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2012 September 4
by admin

I inherited about 50 8mm cine reels and wanted to convert them to some digital format for future generations. That triggered my curiosity about my ancestors and where did we come from. I stumbled upon site and found it extremely interesting since they have digitalized some church records (births, deaths, marriages) from Slovakia. Apparently there was some controversy regarding this in Slovak press like what’s hidden motive of Mormon church making all those old records available and something about breeching Slovak Privacy & Information Act – that is – they shouldn’t make available records from 20th century.

Anyways, it looks like not all scanned records were processed yet but nevertheless I was able to trace my family almost back to 17th century. It’s quite fun for me to trace missing links and putting this puzzle of our family together. I might not able to solve it to degree I would like to, but still it’s interesting read and makes one wonder about all stories which could be read from old records. (It’s scary to see child mortality rate 200 years back).

Funny thing is to notice how spelling has changed during all those years. I found different variations of my name Verčík. I found Vertsik, Vercsik, Verczik, Veressik, Vertsik, Vercik, Werczik and most likely some miss-spellings like Vercžik, Verčzik and so on. Would be interesting to know how would SOUNDEX function cope with this 😉

Few points to remember :

– searchable database is wonderful to start with, however it might be worth checking original scan – you might  find some errors or some simplifications which might be crucial ( some births were assigned to different village, some information was not yet processed (marriages in my case) and it contains some relevant information as well – age of groom and spouse, witnesses names)

– search from different angles – use mothers’ name from primary search to find if there’s some misspelings or other siblings – try to cross check different records – births vs marriage records – could you find groom’s birth (baptism) in the right year ?  (date of marriage minus age of groom on marriage date)

– cross check different sources – there are some census/tax records in Hungary which might be helpful

Actually, anyone dealing with data quality should try this kind of investigation, you find some issues still relevant today !

For instance – how some misspellings are dragged along and after while they became new “entity” of its own. (or maybe it’s not misspeling – who knows ?). How one person can be known by different name variations.

You shouldn’t confuse map with territory !

I actually found in deaths records one candidate for world’s shortest novel  : “24/12/1806 Joannes Vercsik 5 years old” (we are celebrating Christmas on 24/12 – did they back then ?).

Anyone has something interesting to share from family history ?