Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obituary - James Edward Howard, Sr.

James Howard was the son of Launa Rodgers-Howard. James would be my 3rd cousin.

James Edward Howard
(January 12, 1933 - December 25, 2009)

James Edward Howard of McCarley, born January 12, 1933, died
peacefully on Christmas morning, December 25, 2009. Mr. Howard
was a resident of the State Veteran's Nursing Home in Kosciusko,
where his battle with Alzheimer's Disease was managed by an
extraordinary and loving staff.

Mr. Howard was a retired truck driver and a U.S. Air Force veteran of the
Korean War. He was a member of McCarley Baptist Church in

He was preceded in death by his parents, James Cassie Howard and
Launa Rodgers Howard. He is survived by his wife of 55 years,
Margaret Ann "Peggy" Mullen Howard; four children, Donna Howard
Serio, Debbie Howard Bond (Rocky), James Edward Howard, Jr.,
(Renee), and Fred Ronald Howard; eight grandchildren, Mary Margaret
Serio Holmes (Heath), Ann Claire Serio, Joseph Matthew Serio (April),
An Howard Schubert, Joshua Casey Howard, James Bailey Howard,
Andrea Nicole Howard, and William Cass Howard; and one
great-grandson, Aaron Andrew Holmes.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. at Oliver Funeral Home
Chapel on Sunday, December 27, with visitation from noon until
service time. Burial will be in Mission Cemetery near Winona. Rev.
Rupert Ingram will officiate the services.

Pallbearers will be Matthew Serio, Joshua Howard, Cass Howard,
Heath Holmes, Johnny Bennett, Billy Montgomery, and Wally
Montomery; with Bailey Howard serving as an honorary pallbearer.

The family would like to express their deep gratitude and love for the
host of caretakers and friends that have so generously given their time
and service over the last few years.

Memorials may be made to McCarley Baptist Church or the the charity
of the donor's choice.

My Aunt Kathy's Obituary - 29 Dec 2009

Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2009

Kathleen (Larmon) Johnson, suddenly, 59 years, beloved wife of Jeffrey S.; devoted mother of Kevin (Kathleen) Larmon, James (Jenna) Larmon, Amy Larmon (Robert) Meyer, Julie (Jim) Denny, Amy (Jeff) Olsen and Peter (Candice) Johnson; loving grandmother of 15; dear sister of Timothy Felton, Rene Podgorski, Tommie Lynn Gbur and Jeffrey Rodgers. Visitation Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. Funeral Thursday, 10:15 a.m., from the Becvar & Son Funeral Home, 5539 West 127th St., Crestwood, to St. Barnabas Church for a 11 a.m. Mass. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, contributions to St. Martin dePores, 6423 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago IL 60637. (708) 824-9000.

Kathy is my aunt, my mother is her half-sister René.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Black Sheep Sunday - Alex Gombash

Sunday is almost over.. I better hurry up! lol

My great-grandfather, Alex Gombash, was a character alright. Later on in his life, he was known to always have a bottle of whiskey in hand or a stogie in mouth.

(Note: Both whiskey AND stogie! haha)

He was born 7 Dec 1896 in Tiszadob, Szabolcs megye (county), Hungary, to Sándor (Alex) Gombás and Eszter Tóth (a noblewoman). His father Sándor immigrated to America on 09 Jul 1902 to his brother-in-law Daniel Szuhay. Daniel's wife was Zsuzsánna Tóth, Eszter's sister. Eszter immigrated eight months later on 05 Mar 1903 to her husband. Eszter remained in America until about 1906 and removed back to Hungary. She then immigrated a final time on 16 Nov 1909 with her children Alex (my g-grandfather), Robert and Susan (who was born in America in 1904).

Alex grew up mainly in Butler County, Pennsylvania. At the age of 19 years old, he married a fellow Hungarian named Emma Hido. Her Hungarian name was Irma Hajdú. Coincidentally enough, Emma and her family came from the same village as Sándor Gombás.. Büdszentmihály. And coincidentally again, Emma and her family were listed below the Gombash's on their immigration manifest in 1909. They were obviously family friends, and as research showed, relatives of Sándor through the Pethe family.

Anywho, Alex and Emma were married 19 Aug 1916 in Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I don't know much about their marriage, other than what was in their divorce papers. Alex apparently left the home quite often and wouldn't return for periods at a time. In other words, he would abandon her for a while, then come back and then do it again.

They had a daughter and a son during all of this. As for the daughter, I don't know when she was born or died, but she died sometime after new year of 1919. Their son was named Joseph Anthony Gombash, later changed to Csordas when he was adopted by his step-father. He was born 23 Sep 1919 in Aultman, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. He abandoned her one final time, so Emma moved in with her parents, Andrew Hido and Sophia Pethe. Emma later went to court and petitioned for a divorce. The sherrifs of Indiana and Butler counties couldn't find Alex anywhere, so that he could appear at the divorce hearing. He never showed, nor saw his son ever again.

Alex then began to traveling in open railway cars around the midwest, primarily in the PA-OH-IL area. He finally settled in Joliet, Will County, Illinois where he met my great-grandmother, Catherine Grządziel. Catherine was the first born into an arranged marriage, 05 Nov 1906 in Barycz, Brzózow, Poland. Her parents were Franciszek Grządziel and Amelia Stec. I do not know the marriage date for Alex and Catherine, but I assume it to be sometime between 1920 and 1922. Alex and Catherine later relocated to McDowell County, West Virginia, where their children were born and raised.

Alex's mother who was previously mentioned, died on 04 Apr 1950 in her daughter Julia's home in Richland Township, Guernsey County, Ohio. Alex didn't attend her funeral. Because of this and other things, he became very unfavorable with his siblings and family. In 2004, I contacted my great-great-aunt Julia to ask questions for my research. She nicely replied to my questions, but later asked me to stop writing.

She had tons of pictures and information from Hungary that I would've been ecstatic to have copies of. Pictures from Hungary.. with Hungarian writing on the back! Need I say more?! Originals would've been great, but I don't need them. Just to see a decent clear picture of my great-great-grandparents Sándor and Eszter would've been... simply put, AMAZING! Julia passed away in 2008 at the age of 87 years old. Everthing of hers and her sister Esther's (who passed in 2000, before I started my research), has now been passed onto their niece Patricia. She has spoken with me on the phone several times, and I have asked for copies of things.. even said I would reimburse. But her son told her not to share anything with me, so alas.. I have received nothing. It's unnerving knowing the actions of my great-grandfather are having this effect on my interaction with family that I've never met, and have been nothing but nice and courtesy with.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Database: Mecklenburg, Germany, Parish Register Transcripts, 1876-1918

Ancestry added a new database on December 7th entitled "Mecklenburg, Germany, Parish Register Transcripts, 1876-1918".

I was browsing through the images of this database, and this is one great resource that they've put online! It states: "The majority of the records cover the years 1876-1918. However, there are some earlier records, some as early as 1716." These are digital images of the actual records! Let's hope they continue with this and upload more and more records from other parts of Germany, and Europe too!

There's four (4) initial categories to choose from, for the database:
  • Evangelical-Lutheran Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • Evangelical-Lutheran Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  • Garnisongemeinden (Garrison Communities)
  • Catholic
I can offer my assistance with a quick look-up or translation help. Anything after 1/2 hour, I charge at a fair hourly rate. Here's a list of the towns available for each category.

Evangelical-Lutheran Mecklenburg-Schwerin:
Alt Rehse
Ankershagen (mit Möllenhagen)
Bad Sülze
Barkow und Brook
Demen und Hohen Pritz
Granzin bei Boizenburg
Granzin bei Lübz
Gross Brütz
Gross Flotow
Gross Giewitz
Gross Helle
Gross Laasch
Gross Methling
Gross Poserin
Gross Salitz
Gross Trebbow
Gross Upahl
Gross Varchow und Luplow
Gross Vielen
Grosse Lukow
Güstrow Dom
Güstrow Landarbeitsh
Güstrow Pfarrkirche
Haustorf und Heiligenhagen
Hohen Mistorf
Hohen Sprenz
Jabel Alt
Kalen Alt
Kambs bei Röbel
Kambs bei Schwaan
Karbow und Darss
Karin Alt
Kirch Jesar
Kirch Kogel
Kirch Mulsow
Klaber und Grosse Wokern
Kladow und Vorbeck
Lübsee bei Güstrow
Parchim St. Georgen
Parchim S. Marien
Parum bei Güstrow
Parum bei Wittenburg
Ribnitz Kloster
Ribnitz Stadt
Röbel Alt
Röbel Neu
Sankt Nicolai (Schelfkirche)
Satow bei Malchov
Satow bei Rostock
Schwerin Alt
Schwerin Dom
Schwerin Paulskirche
Schwerin Schlosskirche
Tessin Grosse
Uelitz und Goldenstadt
Upahl Grosse
Viecheln Hohen
Vielist und Sommerstorf
Vietlübbe und Gadebusch
Wangelin Hohen
Waren St. Georgen
Waren St. Marien
Wessin und Bülow
Wismar St. Georgen
Wismar St. Marien
Wismar St. Nicolai

Evangelical-Lutheran Mecklenburg-Strelitz:
Badresch mit Klein Daberkow und Klein Miltzow
Bredenfeld mit Neigarten
Daberkow mit Mildenitz
Dahlen mit Birkhof, Beseritz und Dishley
Dewitz mit Cölpin
Eichhorst mit Liepen, Jatzke und Gentzkow
Friedland mit Lübbersdorf
Friedland St. Marien
Friedland St. Nicolai
Fürstenberg mit Buchholz
Gehren mit Galenbeck und Wittenborn
Göhren midt Georginenau, Plath und Leppin
Grosse Helle
Helpt mit Holzendorf und Krekow
Hinrichshagen mit Rehberg und Ballin
Jatzke mit Genzkow
Kaebelich mit Petersdorf
Kuhblank mit Neetzka und Golm
Neubrandeburg St. Marien
Neubrandeburg Johanniskirche
Neuenkirchen mit Neverin und Glocksin
Neustrelitz Militägemeinde
Neustrelitz mit Zierke
Prillwitz mit Hohenzieritz
Strelitz mit Userin Quassow
Triebkendorf mit Woldegk Synode
Wesenberg mit Drosedow
Woldegk mit Cancow
Woldegk mit Pasenow

Garnisongemeinden (Garrison Communities):
Garnison Colmar
Garnison Ludwigslust
Garnison Parchim
Garnison Rostock
Garnison Schwerin
Garnison Wismar

Barkow Rostock

Treasure Chest Thursday - Carl Gustav Märten

This photo was sent to me in 2008, several months after my great-grandmother, Sylvia (Martin) Flemming passed away. This is of her grandfather, my 3rd-great-grandfather, Carl Gustav Märten.

Carl Gustav was born 23 Aug 1846 in a very tiny village that you won't find on any map, named Töpperkuthen. It was incorporated into a larger village nearby named Berneuchen. They were located in Kreis Landsberg, Brandenburg, Germany.

You can notice on the image, that Carl Gustav is a decorated veteran. His 1934 obituary states that he was a "Franco-German war veteran". After finding this out, I scoured records trying to find his military information. I located him serving in Lieb-Grenadier Regiment Nr. 8 (1. Brandenburg) in the 4th Company (1st Battalion). This Regiment was part of the 5th Division of the Prussian/German army. It was also a famous regiment which distinguished itself in all three of the Wars of Unification. During the Franco-Prussian war the division saw action in the battles of:
Spicheren (August 6, 1870)
Vionville-Mars la Tour (August 18, 1870)
Gravelotte-St. Privat (August 18, 1870)
The Siege of Metz (August 19 to October 27, 1870)
Bellevue (October 7, 1870)
Provenchères (November 6, 1870)
Bretenay (November 7, 1870)
Beaune-la-Rolande (November 28, 1870)
Orléans (December 3-4, 1870)
Revoy (December 7, 1870)
Gien und Briare (December 8, 1870)
Azay-Mazange (January 6, 1871)
Le Mans (January 10-12, 1871)

He received the Iron Cross for his service in this war, along with two other medals I haven't been able to identify yet. Any ideas?

He was married twice: first to a woman named Henrietta Kurth, who passed in 1876 and secondly to my 3rd-great-grandmother Louise Friederike "Auguste" Lübke. They were married on 15 Jun 1876 in Gross Schönfeld, in Kreis Greifenhagen, Pommern, Germany. They had total of six children: Otto (1877), Carl (1880), Gustav (1882), William (1883), Alvina (1885) and Anna (date unknown). The family immigrated to America, migrating through Bremen and landing in Baltimore, Maryland on 18 Apr 1883, aboard the S.S. Hohenzollern.

The family immediately settled in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, presumably with relatives. On 10 Jun 1891, he purchased 80 acres of land in Polar Township, Langlade County, Wisconsin, at Section 14, Township 31N, Range 12E. This land continued to be held in the family until the 1960's.

Carl Gustav and his wife Auguste lived in Polar til their deaths, in the 1930's. Carl Gustav passed on 12 mar 1934 and Auguste on 19 Oct 1938. The entire family is buried in St. John's Cemetery in Polar.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Genealogy Goals for 2010

I liked Elyse's blog post about her goals for 2010, so I thought I would give it a shot. Here are some of my goals I wish to complete for this upcoming year. Be warned, it's going to be a lot. I'm a very driven and persistent researcher, I'll get most of it done... hopefully!

1. Continue with my Hungarian Marriages Project. As of right now, I have the marriages for the Reformed churches of Tiszadob and Taktaszada complete, and I'm 95% done with Tiszadada. I also have a portion of marriages for District I of Budapest complete as well. At the moment, I have these other parishes at hand to begin indexing: Büdszentmihály (1737-1852), Tiszalök (1761-1852), Tiszaszederkény (1753-1895) and Kesznyéten (1760-1895).

2. Prove my descendancy from Revolutionary War Captain, Samuel Martin. Born 26 Mar 1732 in Ireland and died 18 Nov 1836 in Dallas, Lincoln Co, NC. My 3rd-great-grandfather was William S. (probably Samuel) Martin. He was born about 1804, probably in Lincoln Co, NC. He is the grandson of Captain Samuel Martin. I'm just unsure who his father was.

3. Find actual documents including information on my noble Hungarian ancestors from these families: Berzeviczy de Berzevicze, Fekete, Horváth de Perlak, Izdenczy de Komlós, Kottány de Kothan, Miskolczy, Széky, Szük and Tóth.

4. Research my Posen roots: the families of Domagala/Domagalski, Gadacz, Gotowa/Gotowy and Lesniewski. They came from these two areas: Birkenfelde, Kreis Znin, Posen, Prussia, now Brzyskorzystew (Żnin), Bydgoszcz, Poland, and Gluschin, Posen, Prussia, now Głuszyna, Poznan, Poland (part of Poznan).

5. Break down my Costilow brick-wall. James Costilow, whom I know nothing about, was married to Mary Bethia Hopkins in Adams County, Mississippi in 1818. Mary Bethia is a descendant of English and French royalty from the 1300-1400's.

6. Document my descendancy from the English and French royalty from the 1300-1400's. I descend from them through my 4th-great-grandmother Mary Bethia Hopkins Costilow Bell.

7. Learn anything I possibly can about my 3rd-great-grandmother, Martha A. Miller. She was the wife of Civil War veteran James Andrew J. Costilow. She was born 18 Nov 1836, possibly in Alabama and died 19 Dec 1877 in either Holmes or Yazoo county, Mississippi. They were married on 25 Jul 1855, place unknown. Her dates were taken out of a Costilow family bible, that seems to have disappeared.

8. Learn more about my earliest Rodgers ancestor: James Rodgers. He emigrated Ireland in 1718 and came to America, going to Pennsylvania before he finally settleding in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia in the mid-1700's. James died not long before 22 May 1760 in Augusta County, Virginia. He left behind a widow, Ann, and two sons: James (married Margaret) and Thomas (married Elizabeth White). There was a possible third son named John.

9. Continue the research on my Black Forest ancestors. My research in Gutach is near completion (after nearly 10 years). And I now need to move onto Hoheweg (Beilarz's), Reichenbach (Schondelmaier's), Sankt Georgen (Schultheiss) and Kirnbach (Summ's).

10. Continue my research on my Bohemian ancestors in the Czech parish records available on RecordSearch. These are the main families: Grundmann, Heller, Kasper, Matzken, Müller, Munzig, Paschant, Reichelt, Reichenbach, Sandrich, Schicketantz, Schneller, Tietze/Tieze, Vogel, Weishaupt and Wenzel. They are from Graber, Litomerice, Bohemia (now Kravaře, Litoměřice, Czech Republic) and also neighboring Johnsdorf, Litomerice, Bohemia (now Janovice, Litoměřice, Czech Republi). I'm also researching in the towns Dörfel (now Víska), Littnitz (now Litice), Schönau (now Křenov), Schönborn(now Stráž u České Lípy) and Waltersdorf (now Valterice).

11. Begin research on my Sprengling and Mai families from Weinolsheim, Kreis Oppenheim, Hesse, Germany. I know very little on this family.

Black Sheep Sunday - Hiram Howell

Not much is known about my 5th-great-grandfather's early life and family.. or his immediate family, for that matter.

I do know this: His name was Hiram Howell. He was born about 1790 in South Carolina and died in 1853 in Tippah County, Mississippi, from very curious circumstances. He was shot and killed, by his probable son-in-law, Lindsey Slaughter. How ironic is Lindsey's surname?!

Anyway, Hiram was married to a woman named Rachel. Her surname and past is unknown, but I do know she was born about 1794 in Georgia. She died sometime between 1853 and 1860 in Mississippi. According to various state and federal census records, they may have had a total of up to eight children. Three are definite: a daughter who's name is unknown (that married Lindsey Slaughter), a daughter Temperance Howell (who married George Vance) and a son Joel Howell (that married a woman named Rebecca).

As I said, Hiram was listed in several various state and federal census records. Here's a list of the records:
  • 1820 Federal Census: Lincoln Co, TN; Also listed are a David, Joel, Jonathan, Reas (Reece), and Samuel
  • 1840 Federal Census: Fayette Co, TN
  • 1845 State Census: Tippah Co, MS
  • 1850 Federal Census: Tippah Co, MS
Hiram also served in the War of 1812. He was a Corporal in Cocke's 2nd Regiment, Western Tennessee Militia.

Now for the interesting tid-bits. Hiram Howell, along with his two sons-in-law George Vance and Lindsey Slaughter, are found numerous times in the Tippah County, MS court records. One of the three was usually posting bond to get one of the others out of jail. Certain unknown circumstances lead to the death of Hiram Howell, by Lindsey Slaughter. Did Lindsey shoot him accidentally? Was it intentional? Did the men have a quarrel about money or about other no-good men in the area?

In hopes that further research will help settle these questions, I have a feeling I will never know the truth about what happened to my ancestor.

Was he flat-out murdered.....?!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Brick Wall - The Costilow Family

When I first began my research and connected with extended cousin from Mississippi, they gave me the initial information on the Costilow's to begin my research.

My 3rd-great-grandfather is a James Andrew J. Costilow, born 25 Dec 1833 in Yazoo County, Mississippi. He died 22 Feb 1923 in Montgomery County, Mississippi. The family originally believed him to be the son of Christopher Costilow and Mary Reeder from Harrison/Barbour counties, Virginia (now West Virginia). Christopher and Mary Costilow did indeed have a son named James A. Costilow, born 10 Nov 1831 in Harrison County, Virginia, but he is not our James. James from Virginia, was married to an Eliza Robison in 1859 and could later be found in Barbour County, West Virginia in the 1870 census.

After finding that census and marriage information, I was positive that we did NOT connect in with the Virginia Costilow's. I soon found a 17 year old "James Costilough" in the 1850 census in Yazoo County, Mississippi. He was listed in the household of John Z. Bell and his wife Bertha. Also listed was a "Henry Costilough" at the age of 15, a probably brother to James.

I later found a marriage for a John Z. Bell to a Mrs. Mary B. Castlow on 14 Apr 1848 in Yazoo County, Mississippi. So this Mary Bertha Castlow/Costilough Bell is obviously the widowed mother of James and Henry. More in-depth research into Mississippi marriages finds a marriage for James Castilow to a Berthia Hopkins on 17 Sep 1818 in Adams County, Mississippi.

So now we know that James and Henry Costilow are the sons of James Costilow and Mary Bertha/Berthia Hopkins. A simple google book search brought up a title called "The David Hopkins family of New Jersey, 1696-2006", by Mildred Hopkins Pretzer and Dwayne Lewis Pretzer. The book listed a Bethia Hopkins, wife of James Costelow/Castillow, as the daughter of Gideon Hopkins and Sara "Sally" Luce/Luse. Both were originally from Morris County, New Jersey and resettled in Adams County, Mississippi sometime about 1796, when Gideon and Sally were married.

So, the ancestry of Mary Bethia Hopkins Costilow Bell is well documented, with her ancestors going back to the early English and French kings. As for her husband, James Costilow/Costelow/Castilow/Castillow, nothing is known prior to their marriage in 1818.

James appears in the 1818 MS State census for Adams County, as "James Costilow" and with only 1 male over 21 years of age in the household. So this was obviously before they married. He also appears in the 1820 and 1830 Federal census for Adams County. In 1820 he is listed as "James Costlow" and in 1830 he is listed as "Jas. Costeloe".

I am seeking any information on James Costilow. Anything of his parentage, siblings or any kin in general is appreciated, or even where he came from. Also seeking any death and probate information for him sometime between 1840 and 1848 in either Yazoo or Holmes counties, Mississippi.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Complexity Of My Heritage

I thought it would be interesting to pick apart my ancestry and analyze all the individual ethnicities of my heritage. The more and more I research my family tree, the more and more I realize that my heritage is far more complex than it appears.

Let's start with my father's family. In the beginning, when I first started my research, all I knew was that he was strictly Hungarian and Polish. And now it appears that he's a mixture of six different ethnicities: Hungarian, Hungarian-Transdanubian, Hungarian-Transylvanian, Kashubian, Polish and Swedish.

The bedrock of our Hungarian ancestry is obvious. Alex Gombás married Eszter Tóth in Hungary and they came to America with their children. But looking more deeper into their ancestry opens up new things. Let's start with the Gombás branch. The Gombás family is obviously Hungarian.. Gombás being a Hungarian word meaning 'mushroom'. Alex's paternal grandmother, Erzsébet Sajti, was more than just Hungarian. Her mother's family, the Ráduly Kovács's, were a family originally from Transylvania. Radu and Radul are a predominately Romanian (past-day Transylvania) male first name meaning 'the happy one'. Erzsébet's maternal grandmother was a Mária Sveda. I only learned this today by translating, but Sveda is a Hungarian surname meaning 'Swede' or 'Swedish'. So it seems that Erzsébet's maternal grandparents were a Hungarian of Transylvania extraction that married a Hungarian of Swedish extraction.

Eszter Tóth's family is a little more.. common.. I guess you can say, for Hungarians coming from North-East Hungary. Eszter's family is predominately Hungarian, although she does have a few Slovakian lines. The Tóth name for example, which is one of the most commonly used surnames in Hungary, means 'slovak' in Hungarian. Eszter descends from 2, possibly 3, entirely un-connected Tóth families. Eszter's paternal great-great-grandmother's family certainly is a very curious case. Her name was Erzsébet Handa. I know very little on the Handa family, other than that there was possibly two Handa families in all of Hungary.. maybe three. My Handa's resided in Szabolcs megye, in North-East Hungary. There were a few other Handa's in North-East Hungary that I have yet to research, but I am positive they are related. There is also a Handa family that lived in the area of Tamási and Kecsegepuszta in Györ megye, in Western Hungary. They were Roman Catholic and mine were Reformed, but they still may be related somewhere down the line. Other researchers have told me that the surname hails from India in Asia. A google search of the surname brings up thousands of results not only for India, but Japan, China and other Asian countries as well. One thing is for sure, it's definitely not a Hungarian or Slovakian surname.

As for my father's Polish family, they came from three different areas in Poland. Two of my branches came from towns in Southern Poland near the borders of Slovakia, but there is no doubt they were Polish. Another branch came from the Poznan area of Poland, which of course is Polish. Then my last branch comes from the Puck (then called Putzig) area of Poland. This town was right on the coast of the Baltic sea, in Northern Poland. My family from this area belonged to an ethnic group within Poland called the Kashubians. They are descended from the Slavic Pomeranian tribes and date as far back as 1238.

My mother's family is quite the mixture as well. My grandfather was from Mississippi and had old colonial roots in America. He's a mixture of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh.. and possibly Italian, Native American and/or Spanish. My grandmother is three quarters German. Her paternal grandmother, Anna Weishaupt, was Bohemian.

My grandpa Thomas Rodgers descends quite a mixture of old colonial families. The Rodgers had come to America in 1718 from Ireland, and before that they had went from Scotland to Ireland in the 1500's due to religious persecutions. We theorize they were originally Scottish. If not, they were then definitely Irish.. and descendants and relatives of the MacRory family of Ireland. Most of his ancestor's surname were predominately English, like Bennett, Blaylock, Hopkins Scott, and Wilson. But there's also Vance which is probably Irish and then the Howell family, which came from Wales. My grandpa's mother's family were the Martin's and Costilow's. Samuel Martin came from Ireland in the mid-1700's and was a big Revolutionary War captain. The Costilow's are a curious case. We originally thought they came from VA and before that Ireland, but I proved that wrong. From what I've concluded, they could be of Spanish or Italian ancestry. Finding any information on the early Costilow's of Mississippi is proving extremely difficult. The area they lived in at the end of the 1700's was then the Spanish territory of Mississippi. There is of course, the obvious Irish spelling of Costello.. but taking into consideration the area and time they lived in Mississippi we have to consider the Spanish spelling of Castillo. There's also an Italian variation much similiar. Somewhere in the Costilow heritage is believed to be Native American blood as well. It could come through Martha A. Miller, the wife of James A. J. Costilow, whom we know nothing about.. other than her birth and death date.

My grandmother, Elaine Stuempges, has 4 different lines to look at.. three of them being German. Her ancestry is very simple, the majority of it simply being German but coming from different areas in Germany. The Stuempges, or Stümpges as it was spelt in Germany, were from Western Germany in an area called Rhineland very close to the border with France and The Netherlands. Anna Weishaupt, her paternal grandmother, was born in Bohemia, which is the present day Czech Republic. Grandma Elaine's maternal ancestors came from two areas. The Martin's came from Western Prussian and the Brandenburg area of Germany. And then the Summ's came from Baden, deep in the Black Forest.. which was only about an hour from the French border.

So all in all, these are the different ethnicities that comprise my ancestry:

Hungarian - Transdanubian

Costilow (Italian, Native American, Spanish)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hungarian Marriages

I've been contemplating the idea lately of a Hungarian Marriage project, much similar to the Poznan Project. I would like this project to cover the entire area of the Kingdom of Hungary during the 19th century. The aftermath of WWII brought on the Treaty of Trianon, which resulted in a massive loss of Hungarian territory. Hungary lost about 72% of it's land. The lost lands were then merged or created into these new lands: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Galicia, Romania and Yugoslavia.

I already have two towns complete: Tiszadob and Taktaszada. With the great advances of records being put online by FamilySearch, I've been able to start the HUGE undertaking of the marriage records for Budapest. I haven't even made a dent yet.. but it's going.

I'm interested in any ideas or suggestions anyone and everyone may have. I'm also looking for volunteers to help index the marriages. I do already have an Excel spreadsheet layout created, which I've been using. Contact me at nickmgombash@yahoo.com if you're interested.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Gombash Centennial

As of November 8th, our Gombash family will have been in America for 100 years. On that day 100 years ago, our ancestor Eszter (nee Tóth) Gombás arrived at Ellis Island with her three children: Sándor (Alex), Balázs (Robert) and Zsuzsánna (Susan). Alex was listed as 11 years old, Robert as 9 years old and Susan as 5 years old.

The manifest states that they arrived at Ellis Island abroad the S.S. Ultonia. They had emigrated through the port of Fiume, on October 16th. It also stated they were going to their husband and father, Sándor (Alex) Gombás, at Keisters, PA.

Coincidentally enough, Emma Hido, the first wife of Alex Gombash Jr., is listed on the same manifest as the Gombash's. Her Hungarian name was Irma Hajdú and her and her family were from the same village as the Gombash's... Büdszentmihály. Her father was András Hajdú and her mother was Zsófia Pethe, a relative of the Gombash's. The grandmother of Alex Gombash Sr. was also a Pethe.

As I stated earlier, the family was going to their husband and father, Sándor (Alex) Gombás, in Keisters, PA. Alex Sr. had immigrated to America via Ellis Island on July 9th, 1902. He immediately settled in Butler, PA with his brother-in-law Dániel Szuhay. Dániel Szuhay was married to Zsuzsánna Tóth, Eszter's sister.

A year after Alex immigrated, Eszter went to her husband in Butler, PA on 05 Mar 1903. She stayed there for a period of at least three years, during which time she had two children born here in America. They were Susan, on 19 Feb 1904 and Gyula (Julius), on 02 Feb 1906. Eszter returned to Hungary with her daughter, Susan, sometime between 1906 and 1909. I'm not sure exactly when Gyula died, but I can only assume he died as an infant in Butler, PA, before Eszter returned to Hungary.

Alex and Eszter also had a son named József, in Hungary on October 31st, 1900. As told to me from family, when Eszter and her 3 children immigrated, József was left behind with his grandmother, Zsuzsánna (nee Gulyás) Gombás. She had been widowed 23 years previously, and Alex was her only living child. So naturally, they didn't want to simply abandon her. The family was hoping to save up enough money to bring them both over to America. As the years went on, the family continued to keep in contact with József through letters. He was told about his father Alex passing in 1931, and then his mother in 1950. I can only assume that Zsuzsánna passed away before Alex did, or she would've been 81 years old.

WWII then hit and the Hungarian borders closed. I was told that József married and had a family. I can only imagine how hard it would have been to try to escape Hungary at the time, especially with a family. József never made it to America. I would love to track down József's family one day and make contact. Imagine traveling to Europe and reuniting with them after 100 years of seperation!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

FamilySearch is at it again.. now it's Budapest Civil Registration Records!!

FamilySearch Record Search has now uploaded and made viewable the Budapest Civil Registration records from 1895-1972. This is a vast amount of records, and it will no doubt come to use to MANY researchers, including myself! I can't wait to see what Hungarian records they add next! :)

Go check it out here:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

My Porkoláb Family

I deceided to write a blog devoted entirely to the family of my 6th-great-grandmother: the Porkoláb family.

My 6th-great-grandmother was Erzsébet Porkoláb, born about 1741 and died 13 Jun 1788, both in Tiszadob. She was married to István Tóth, a nobleman, sometime after 1757 in Tiszadob. I have an extensive genealogy of the Porkoláb family. It begins in 1635 and ranges to present time, and consists of 41 pages of 13 generations of descendants. The Porkoláb family was THE largest family in Tiszadob, and they were known as such.

I believe I've been able to connect Erzsébet Porkoláb into the very beginnings of the family tree, as a daughter of Márton Porkoláb. He was known as Márton 'Szakálas'.. or Márton 'the Bearded'. He was known by this nick-name because his only male first cousin was also named Márton. This cousin was known as Márton 'Katona'.. or Márton 'the Soldier'.

Márton 'Szakálas' was the son of Jákób Porkoláb and Márton 'Katona' was the son of János Porkoláb. Jákób and János are the sons of the original progenitors of the family, Márton Porkoláb and his wife Dorottya Baranyai. They also had another son named Mihály, who had no known male issue.

Márton Porkoláb, his wife Dorottya Baranyai and their three sons were granted nobility on 09 Feb 1635 by King Ferdinand II. It was later recorded in Petneháza in 1650. They were also granted a coat of arms, which you can see below:

Not much is known about the ancestors of Márton Porkoláb and his wife Dorottya Baranyai. In the beginning of the patent of nobility for Márton it states: "agilis (anyai részrõl nemes) Porkoláb Márton hûségét és hû szolgálatait". This means "agile (mother's noble side) Porkoláb Márton loyalty and faithful services". So apparently Márton's mother's family was already noble. But, I haven't found anything to connect them in anywhere.

Taktaszada Parish Records - Update #2

The Taktaszada baptism records are now complete and online:

There are 140 years worth of baptisms ranging from 1755-1895. I also already have the marriages previously completed, which range from 1773-1895.

I now have to transcribe the death/burial records. I may take a break before I start-up this project. Although, I have the deaths from 1773-1779 complete already.. but not online yet.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Taktaszada Parish Records - Update #1

It's been three days since I last wrote about my transcription project for Taktaszada. In the past three days, I was able to transcribe and upload 52 more years worth of baptisms for the town. The baptisms currently range from the years 1755-1845. The records end in 1895, so that means I only have 50 more years worth to transcribe and upload. I'm hoping for this to be finished sometime in the middle of next week.

Then it's onto the death records! But, I may take a break to give my wrists a break. I can feel the carpal tunnel coming on a bit! haha..

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Aristocratic Cousins!

I hit the major jackpot yesterday with my Hungarian research. I found access to the 'Libri Regii' otherwise known as 'Királyi Könyvek' online, at: http://nfo.arcanum.hu/moldigidat

With this resource I was able to find information on my Izdenczy de Komlós family. This family began with a Márton who was granted nobility on 21 Jan 1696 by King Leopold I. Márton was an upper-military man, this is how he gained his nobility and land holdings. In 1685 he was in command of the Tokaj fortress under Imre Thökölyi. In 1709 he was serving under Prince Ferenc Rakóczy II.

Here is the Izdenczy de Komlós Coat of Arms:

I found a record in this Libri Regii stating the wife of Márton, along with her parents. Here is what the record stated:

"Nobiles dominas Barbaram, Martini Izdenczy consortem
filiamuero praenarrati Stephani quondim Horvath de Perlak,
et praedicta Nobili condim dua Margaretha Berzeviczy"

It simply states that the "Noble lady Borbála, wife of Márton Izdenczy, is the daughter of the previously mentioned István Horváth de Perlak and the previously mentioned noblewoman Margit Berzeviczy".

The István Horváth de Perlak mentioned, was granted nobility on 13 Mar 1613. His wife was Margit Berzeviczy who comes from an extremely old and very large noble family. The Berzeviczy de Berzevicz easily traces it's roots back to a man named Rutkér. He was living in 1209 and he was an "ispán", which translates out to "steward". History states that Rutkér was originally from the mountainous areas of Tirol in Austria. He later moved to the Carpathian mountain area. He arrived in Hungary around the same time as Gertrude of Andechs, when she arrived in Hungary as the wife of King András Árpád II.

Rutkér had two sons: Herman and Rikolf. Herman was known to be living in 1246 and Rikolf was known to be living in 1270. Rikolf had two sons, János and Rikolf. It is through János that the Berzeviczy family descends. Through Rikolf descends the Tárczay family.

Here is the Berzeviczy de Berzevicz Coat of Arms:

Through the Izdenczy de Komlós family, I am kin with these aristocratic and royal families:
  • Baron Izdenczy de Monostor és Komlós
  • Baron Rukovina von Vidovgrad
  • Baron Solymosy de Loós és Egervás
  • Count Khuen-Belasi
  • Count Khuen-Belasi-Héderváry
  • Count Lodron-Laterno und Castelromano
  • Count Matz von Spiegelfeld
  • Count Nemes de Hidvég et Oltszem
  • Count Vay de Vaja
  • Count von Clary und Aldringen
  • Count Woracziczky von Pabienitz
  • Count Zichy de Zich et Vásonkeö

Through the Berzeviczy de Berzevicz family, I am kin with these aristocratic and royal families (not including the ones listed above):
  • Baron Berzeviczy de Berzevicz
  • Baron Szalay-Berzeviczy de Kéménd
  • Count Aspremont-Lynden und Reckheim
  • Count Dessewffy de Csernek et Tarkeö
  • Count Zichy-Kürth de Zich et Vásonkeö
  • Princely Rákóczy de Felsõ-Vadász

If you're related to or descend from any of these families, please contact me!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Taktaszada Parish Records

Much of you know that about two years ago I undertook a massive transcribing project for Tiszadob. It's not complete and I've directed my attention to a new target: Taktaszada.

The Taktaszada parish records began much earlier than Tiszadob (which began in 1786). Their record keeping began in 1755 with baptisms. It wasn't until 1733 that the death/burial and marriages finally began to be recorded as well. It's a shame they didn't begin in 1755 as well, but that's the luck of the genealogist.

To date, I have the marriage records are complete. They cover the years 1733-1895. Although I did originally begin the death/burial records next, I thought it a much better idea to begin the baptism instead. The baptism is a much more higher priority to researchers. As of right now, I have 1755-1793 complete. I have 102 more years to complete.

I've been researching in Hungarian parish records for nearly 10 years now. It still astounds me that the extensive amount families never really moved or left their hometown. People from Tiszadob stayed in Tiszadob.. people from Taktaszada stayed in Taktaszada. Only sometimes they would marry into a neighboring village's family. So because of this, it's not uncommon to be related to most (if not all) of the residents of the village at the time. It's nothing about cousins marrying cousins, but it definitely reminds me of the deep south families of America. The families of a town were so closely connected. We all are truly related to everyone. :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My article for the 22nd Edition of Carnival of Eastern and Central European Genealogy

When I first received the email from Al Wierzba asking me to write a genealogy article, I was very excited by the idea. The article would be included in the 22nd edition of The Carnival of Eastern and Central European Genealogy. The topic of this edition is roadblocks and breakthroughs.

I immediately began to think of which family line I would write about. I have several lines of ancestry originating from Eastern or Central Europe. As I was thinking about the article and which line I would write about, it dawned upon me that I really haven't had very many roadblocks in my European research. I finally decided on one specific family, thinking the significance of this family would give a sliver of hope to others.

My decision rested upon my 2nd-great-grandmother, Anna Weishaupt, and her family. Anna was born in 1867 in Bohemia to Joseph Weishaupt and Maria Anna Kasper. She was one of eight children. Anna married my 2nd-great grandfather, Johann Phillip Stuempges, 20 years later.

When I initially started my research about 7-8 years ago, I knew very little on Anna and her family. Not long after I began, I obtained a 'family story' written in the 1960's by Erma Stuempges Kerska, about the Stuempges and Weishaupt families. The story went into great detail about the personalities of every family member, passing on the memories she remembered as a girl. As I read, I finally came upon information on Anna's parents. It had stated that her father, Joseph Weishaupt, had been a soldier in the Austrian army prior to the family's immigration.

This tiny piece of information would finally lead me to find out where the Weishaupt family had come from in Bohemia. I then went to my local FHC and ordered a microfilm containing Bohemian military personnel records for the years 1820-1864. On these records I found exactly what I had been hoping for! The record listed his name and birthyear (which was correct), along with his birthtown and the county it was in, in Bohemia.. Graber, Leitmeritz, Bohemia. Graber is known today as Kravaře, Litoměřice, Czech Republic.

Using that information I then proceeded to check the Family History Library Catalog for records for this town. Nothing existed. Further research along with correspondence with the Leitmeritz archives revealed that the records had never been filmed and there were no plans in the future for them to ever be filmed. Knowing that informtion, I figured the only way to research this line was to physically go there and do the research or hire a professional. Neither of those would have worked at 17 years old; I never could've afforded either! I had completely given up on that line for good.

Six years passed and the LDS released great news that they were beginning to digitize and put online their mountain-full of microfilm. Knowing the records for Graber had never been microfilmed, I didn't give much hope or thought to the idea of Bohemian or Czech Republic records appearing on the LDS's new website, RecordSearch. Now boy was I surprised when I logged onto RecordSearch one day in late 2008. I saw Czech Republic records from the Litoměřice archive! I immediately clicked on the database and scrolled through the list of towns and villages and saw neither Graber or Kravaře.. I had gotten my hopes up for nothing! It wasn't until six or seven months later when RecordSearch updated the database a second time, when Kravaře finally appeared!

Now the records available on RecordSearch ended in 1833/1834, so I knew I couldn't find Anna's baptism or even her parent's marriage record. Thankfully, I knew both of her parents full birthdate.. her father Joseph being born in 1827 and her mother being born in 1834 (how lucky was I that it wasn't after 1834!) I've now been able to trace at least 6 generations of ancestors for Anna and her siblings

I know this article isn't necessarily a brick-wall or a roadblock, but it is by far a breakthrough. Researchers all over the world are now gaining the capability of knocking down brick-walls, that we never would've imagined possible.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hungarian Parish Records Guide #2

In continuing with the Hungarian Reformed Church parish records, I decided on two marriage records for 1895. The first one will be from a village called Taktaszada and the second being from Tiszadob. I'm doing two villages because the style of the records are different.

Let's begin with the marriage from Taktaszada.

(Click the image for a larger view)

The title of the page says "Házassági életre öszveadattak anyakönyve." Keeping it simple, this means "Marriage Register", with "házsassági" meaning "marriage".

The first column states "Folyószám" and means "Current number".

The second column states "Éve és napja az öszvecsketésnek" and this means "Year and date of the marriage".

The third column states "A völegény" which means "The groom", and is followed by six subsequent columns. The first of which is "Neve és polgári állása". This means "Name and civil standing", as in the occupation. The second column is "Szüléinek neve" which means "Name of parents". The third column is "Származásának és lakásának helye, száma a háznak". This means "Place of origin and current location, and house number. The fourth column is religions, "Vallása". The fifth column is the age of the groom, "Életkora". The sixth column, "Állapota", is the groom's "Condition". His choices were either single, "Nötlen", or widowed "Özvegy".

The fourth column states "A menyasszony", which is simply "The bride". "Asszony" means "woman", as in a married woman. There are also six subsequent columns for the bride, just like for the groom. They all mean the exact same thing.

The fifth column states "Neveik és polgári állásuk a tanúknak". This means "Name and civil standing of the witnesses".

The sixth column states "Neve és hivatala az esketónek" which means "Name and office of the priest".

The seventh column states "Hirdettek-e vagy feloldeztattak a hirdetés alól, felsõségi rendelet utján vagy valamely akadály miatt." This may be confusing to some. It states whether the bride and groom have published their intent to marriage in their local area, as ordered by regulation. This was ordered incase a bride or a groom was not capable of being married, (ie. already married, an arranged marriage was proposed with one of the individual, or if someone objected to the marriage for some reason. Most usually it states their intent was published for three consecutive days prior to the marriage.

The last column is the "Comments" column, with "Comments" translating to be "Észrevételek".

Now let's begin on the marriage from Tiszadob.
(Check out my g-g-grandparents marriage at number 11!)

(Click the image for a larger view)

The heading is different in the Tiszadob marriage record. It states "Esketési Jegyzõkönyv", which means "Marriage Protocol".

As in the Taktaszada marriage record, the first two columns are the same. The second column bearing the dates is only worded slightly differently as "Év és napja az esketésnek".

The third column is "Võlegénynek és Menyasszonynak" which means "Grooms and Brides". This column have five subsequent columns. The first of which is the name and civil standing column, "Neve és állapota". The second column is "Születési és lakhelye a házszámával", which means "Place of birth and current location, and house number". The next three columns are the same as they appear in the Taktaszada document. They are the columns for Religion, Age and their Condition (whether single or widowed).

The fourth column, which begins on the second page, is "Tanuk neve, állapota". These are the "Witness names and status".

The fifth column is the same as the one in the Taktaszada document, as it pertains to the pastor who performed the ceremony.

The sixth column is again the same column, as it pertains to the dates of proclamating their marriage to any who may object.

The last column is the same as Taktaszada, being the "Comments" column.

As you can see, these two marriage records in the majority are similar. But you can see subtle differences that appear in the style and layout of the document. I think this is a great example of how records from the same point in time don't necessarily have to look exactly the same. Also as a side note, Taktaszada and Tiszadob are neighboring villages.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hungarian Parish Records Guide #1

I thought it would be a great idea to create a few guides to help others with their research. These series of guides will be all about parish records and how to decipher them. I'll include image examples to help explain as well. I'll also do a range of records from different points in time. I'll do this because the records usually tended to change drastically from whenever they began to 1895.

The first few guides will pertain to the Hungarian Reformed Church (Magyarországi Református Egyház). It is the second-largest denomination in Hungary. The first is, of course, Roman Catholic. The Hungarian Reformed Church is in the Calvinist tradition, therefore it is sometimes refered to in English as the Calvinist Church.

Let's begin with a style of record you're most likely to encounter when you first begin your research. This is a baptism from 1895.

(Click the image for a larger view)

The top left and right of each page should give a page number, no matter which denomination church records you're viewing. Beginning on the left page are the typed words "Keresztségi anyakönyv a" , meaning "Baptism register the". This is followed by written words "taktaszadai ev. ref." This is simply the name of the town and which denomination church these records belong to. The following page begins with "egyházban 1895-ik esztendöben. This means "church in the year 1895". So the heading of the pages mean "Baptism registers of the Taktaszada Evangelical Reformed church in the year 1895".

The first column is "Sorszám" which means "Number".

The second column is "Napja a", meaning "Day of". This is followed by two subsequent columns below it: "születésnek" and "keresztelésnek". The first meaning birth and the second meaning baptism, so naturally "Day of birth" and "Day of baptism".

The third column is "A keresztelendõ", meaning "The christened's". Then this is followed by four subsequent columns. The first of which is "neve", which translates literally to mean "name". The next is "neme" which means "gender", and followed by two more subsequent columns. The first is "fi" meaning "male" and the second is "nõ" meaning "female". The last two subsequent columns are "törvényes" and "törvénytelen". They mean "legitimate" and "illegitimate".

The fourth column is "Nevük és polgári állásuk a szülléknek". This means "The names and occupations of the parents".

The fifth column, which begins on the second page, is "Lakhely, házszám". "Lakhely" means "location" and "házszám" means "house number".

The sixth column is "Nevük és polgári állásuk a keresztszülléknek". This means "The names and occupations of the baptismal parents". They are otherwise known as the god-parents or sponsors.

The seventh column is "Keresztelõ személy neve". This means "Name of the baptizer". This was usually the priest or pastor of the church.

The eigth and last column is "Észrevételek". This means "comments".