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Slovenian Genealogy Society Newsletter Vol. 4 No. 1 1990

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Martin Roberts recently mailed us a photocopy of the History of St. Mary of the Assumption Church and School, Cleveland, Ohio, 1905-1962. As you know, Church histories or Jubilee Books are primary sources of genealogical information for the Society. Our collection continues to grow slowly, and I would once again like to include a listing of church histories in the U.S. and Canada that WE STILL NEED:

Please send us a copy/photocopy for any of the following: Church of the Nativity, San Francisco, CA; Holy Family Catholic, Willard, WI; Holy Family Catholic, Oglesby, IL; Holy Family Catholic, Kansas City, KS; Holy Rosary, Denver, CO; Our Lady of the Miraculous Meda, Toronto, Canada; St. Cyril Roman Catholic, New, York, NY; St. Cyril Slovenian, New York; Sts. Cyril & Methodius, Rock Spring, WY; St. Elizabeth Catholic, Duluth, MN; St. George, Chicago, IL; St. John Vinney Slovenian, Highland, Park, MI; St. John's Windish Lutheran, Bethlehem, PA; St. Joseph's, Calumet, MI; St. Joseph's, Leadville, CO; St. Martin Catholic, Tower, MN; St Mary Help of Christians, West Allis, WI; St. Mary's Catholic, Cleveland, OH; and St. Paul, Cleveland, OH.

Nancy L. Moore donated a copy of a books titled April's Year by Elizabeth Teicher. The book is not a genealogical source, but the books author was born in Zagreb. She emigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 3.

We are looking for the address of the Research Center for Slovenian Culture, a Canadian center for the publication of English books on Slovenian topics.

There is a very good reference book on Slovenian/German names titled Etymologisches Waterbuch Der Deutschen Familliennamen by Prof. Josef Karlmann Brechenmacher. It was probably published in 1957. If you have a copy, or know where one can be purchased, please let us know.

I have enclosed a Family Registry form from the LDS Church. I encourage every member of our Society to photocopy this form and mail one for each ancestor to the address on the form. I have already mailed one for each of my ancestors. The forms are microfilmed by the LDS and distributed to libraries across the country. There is no fee, and I believe there is no better way to coordinate your research with other serious genealogists. I remind our members that the LDS Church sponsors many genealogical activities. There are no religious overtones and participation is open to Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

There will be another federal census in 1990. Remember, the 1990 census will not become public record until the year 2062. I urge our members to photocopy their census form before it is mailed back to the government. A file copy could be maintained for family usage. If you desire, a copy could be forwarded to the Society.

We are pleased to report that we have found someone in Slovenia that is willing to conduct research for individuals for a fee. If you would like to hire someone to conduct research in Slovenian archives, please contact the Society. You should always discuss fees before allowing any work to be done. Fees will usually be charged by the hour. Remember that any researcher will be only as good as the information you provide as a starting point.

by Louise Vidmar Starek

Like most genealogical researches, I have encountered a large share of conflicting bits of information from supposedly genuine sources. However, my frustration has been modified by the occasional acquisition of reliable tidbits of data. My father told me he came over from the old country when he was about a year old. My aunt, his youngest sister, believed he came over as a baby, but she didn't think he had been born on ship. The U.S. census I searched had his age as 2 years old at the time of immigration. I added and subtracted years and dates from the different sources. I could come to no firm conclusion.

I looked through the 1900 U.S. Census at the LDS Family Library in Los Angeles. When it was taken, my grandparents were living in a Bohemian neighborhood. The enumerator recorded their birthplaces, and the birthplaces of their parents, as Bohemia. However, since my parents spoke Slovenian and their culture is Slovenian, I believed they must be Slovenian (according to the duck theory, anyway). My cousin informed me that the Vidmar name is as common in Slovenia as Smith is in the U.S. Also, Sustarsic, my grandmother's maiden name, is as Slovenian as names come. The census listed my grandmother's age as 33.

I researched the 1910 Census at the National Archives, Pacific Southwest Region, at Laguna Niguel, California. I hoped that the passage of 10 years would result in a more accurate enumeration. It listed my grandmother's current age as 30. She lost three years while living a decade. My father was listed as 22 years of age. Based on this data, my grandmother would have to have given birth to my father when she was 8 years old, truly a feat worthy of mention in the annals of medicine. If she had found the fountain of youth in Cleveland, she didn't tell anyone but her husband. Grandfather was listed in the census as 35 years old, his same age as reported in the 1900 Census. He hadn't aged a whit in 10 years.

The enumerator recorded Russ-German as the birthplace for my grandfather and his parents. This was plausible, since German was one of the several languages Grandpa could speak. For my father's, my grandmother's, and her parents, the enumerator listed Russ-Slovenian for birthplace.

In the course of my search, I attended the Southern California Genealogical Society Annual Jamboree. Many countries and Societies were represented, and I was ecstatic to find the booth of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. When they asked me where my ancestors came from, I replied, "That was the information I was joining the organization to find out." Their first suggestion was to write for a copy of my grandfather's Declaration of Intent to become a citizen.

The reply from the Cuyahoga County Archives included a copy of one index entry for a John Vidmar. The dates on the file card did not correspond with those from the census. Judith Cetina, manager of the Archives, recommended I write to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. They sent me copies of index cards for 7 John Vidmars. Birth and emigration dates could not be reconciled, but other information was tantalizingly close. I will have to order copies of many of the documents.

I also wrote to the Church my father attended in Cleveland. He was married in the Church and I expected to get some background information from his baptismal certificate. A search of their records produced no baptismal certificate, but other records indicated his place of birth as Zagradec, Yugoslavia. A quick note from the Slovenian Genealogy Society helped place the town about halfway between Ljubljana and Novo Mesto.

A gentleman helped me compose a letter of query in Slovenian. It was sent to the pastor of the church in Zagradec. I was told to send it by registered mail. Otherwise, he said, "It could get lost in the mail." I enclosed several International Reply Coupons. However, at the Post Office, I was so anxious to do everything correctly, that I walked out without registering it. It's now been a year since I mailed it and no response. I recently purchased a letter writing guide from the Slovenian Genealogy Society, and I hope to have more luck using it's form letters and addresses.

I also have been writing to the Vidmars and Sustarsic/Sustersics in the Cleveland area and their response has been most gracious. While many replies regretted that they could not help, others noted that they were forwarding my letter to their relatives who possibly could. One woman sent me a listing of Vidmar and Sustarsic families that she tore from her phone book. One correspondent sent me her Church Sunday Bulletin. The priest there responded to my letter with interesting information about Zagradec, a town first mentioned in 1251. I also received some photocopies from my deceased Uncle John's stepson. Until then, I was unaware that Uncle John (dad's brother) had a stepson.

Many people have been helpful and anxious to facilitate my genealogical travel back through history. However, my constant regret is that I did not become interested in my ancestors until after the death of my parents.

Albert Peterlin

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