DNA Evidence at Ellis Island

About the middle of August, Ancestry.com contacted my husband informing him that he had a new DNA match who was his second or third cousin. I was very excited to look into it. This new match is my husband’s second-best match. The two of them share 204 centimorgans (cM) across 3 DNA segments. There were several shared matches between them, and based on them, I was confident that the DNA they shared was from his mother’s side of the family. The surname on the match was Kovacs (Equivalent to Smith in English), and I was hopeful that there would be a connection to one of the known or probable siblings of my husband’s grandfather, Frank Kovach.

I immediately looked at the match’s pedigree. The names of the living were not given, but it appears that the match was the grandchild of a Mr. Kovacs and Betty Baker who were married on 26 February 1960 in Trumbull, Ohio. Mr. Kovacs was the son of William Ray Kovacs Sr and Barbara Bernice Jennings who were married 13 April 1937 in Pomeroy, Washington.  That marriage record indicated that William Sr’s parents were Samuel Kovacs and Elizabeth Jenney. I didn’t find any other records for Samuel, but I did find several for Sandor Kovacs and Elizabeth Jeney. Perhaps, the clerk had mistakenly written Samuel instead of Sandor on that marriage record. The 1940 Census shows a William R Kovacs, his wife, Barbara, and their two children living in Trumbull County, Ohio. That’s where Sandor eventually settled.

Samuel or Sandor.  I was hoping to see John, Stephen, or Julia. I was feeling a little disappointed that I wasn’t seeing the connection I had hoped for. I looked at this DNA match’s ethnicity tab on Ancestry.com. My husband is 98% Eastern Europe and 2% Baltic States. This match was only 4% Eastern Europe, 0% Baltic States, and 96% other places. Doubt crept in. How could these two possibly be 2nd or 3rd cousins? That just seemed too close with so little shared ethnicity.

After I got over my initial disappointment, I looked at my husband’s grandfather’s 1938 petition for naturalization. It stated that he, Frank Kovach, was born in Szürthe, Czechoslovakia (previously Hungary, but currently part of Ukraine) and that he immigrated to the United States on 16 June 1902. I was able to find this page of the 16 June 1902 New York arrival manifest for the ship Vaderland when he arrived at Ellis Island.  I had not seen this manifest before, and it gave me some wonderful information:

  • Ferencz Kovach is the fourth name from the bottom of the manifest. (Ferencz is the Hungarian equivalent of Frank.)
  • The ship, Vaderland, set sail from Antwerp, Belgium on 7 June 1902. It was nine days later when Ferencz got to Ellis Island. (The ship probably arrived at New York sooner than nine days, but each ship had to wait its turn in the harbor for its passengers to be processed.)
  • When he arrived at Ellis Island, Ferencz was a 19-year-old single male in good health, yet he had only one dollar in his pocket. He told officials that his occupation was a laborer. He came here to work!
  • There were a few other Hungarians listed on this same page of the manifest, but Ferencz was the only one from Szürte. Still, he had at least a few people he could speak to in Hungarian on the voyage.
  • It was his first trip to the United States. His brother, Alexander Kovacs, paid for his passage. Ferencz was going to McKeesport, Pennsylvania where his brother lived at 817 Jerome Street. Alexander is the English equivalent of the Hungarian given name Sándor! That meant that Sandor Kovacs was Ferencz’s big brother, AND he was the one who helped him get to America! It also means that the third great grandfather of my husband’s DNA match was indeed named Sandor and not Samuel.

Here is a descendant chart showing how my husband is connected to this DNA match. I would have expected the DNA match to have 12.5% Eastern European ethnicity, so 4% is remarkably low. Ancestry.com says there is only a 2% chance that two people sharing their amount of DNA would only be 2nd cousins, twice removed. We each get 50% of our DNA from both parents, but the 50% we get isn’t necessarily evenly distributed from every previous generation!

Now I wanted to know all I could about this Alexander/Sandor Kovacs! I found out that Sandor and his wife welcomed a new baby boy into their family just a few months earlier. They named him Chas, and he was born on 23 November 1901. Sandor was a miner at the time, a very dangerous occupation. Note that Chas’s birth was not registered until 6 January 1902.  That may be why his birth year was mistakenly listed as 1902 on his birth certificate. His birth certificate lists his father’s birthplace as Szürte and his mother’s birthplace as Gönc. I was so happy to see those birthplaces!

When Ferencz arrived at Ellis Island, he must have been very excited to see his brother, his wife, Elizabeth, and their 6 1/2-month-old baby boy.

I constructed a table of the household of Sandor Kovacs from 1910, 1930, and the 1940 Censuses.  The dates of birth were found in other records that are included at the bottom of this post.

The April 1910 Census had Alexander Kovacs employed as a helper in the steelworks industry and living at 917 Chestnut Street in Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. The census indicated that he immigrated to the United States in 1895 and was now a naturalized citizen. It also includes his brother-in-law, John Jeney, who was an engineer in the Steelworks industry.

That census record led me to the manifest showing Sándor Kovács at Hamburg on 21 August 1895 as he traveled to Amerca. His is the sixth surname from the bottom on the right side of the manifest. Szürte is in Ung county, the previous residence listed for him on the manifest.

The 1910 census record stated that AlexanderJr was born in Hungary in 1905. What was that all about? I found 1905 civil registration records from Gönc, Hungary for this family!

In the margin of the right side is the civil registration of their marriage, we learn that Kovács Sándor and Jenei Erzsébet were married in the Reformed Hungarian Church in Pittsburgh on 6 November 1900 and that Jenei Erzsébet had been born 11 July 1878 in Gönc.  I wondered if I could get a copy of the marriage record from the church in Pittsburgh. Then it occurred to me that it might be in the Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City.  It was! I went to the library the first day I could after work and found it! Click on it to see it better.

Indeed, in Pittsburgh on 6 November 1900, 28-year-old Kovács Sándor, the son of the late Kovács Péter and Péntek Mária wed 22-year-old Jeney Erzsébet, the daughter of Jeney János and Laczkó Mária. He was born in Szürte and she was born in Göncz. I did not know before I saw this record that Sandor and Ferencz’s father, Péter, had died before Ferencz left Szürte to go to America.

I would have preferred to have the entire page from the anyakönyv, but the projector at the library didn’t focus very well when I tried to get the entire page, and I could only get a blurred copy of the full page below.

Thus, DNA led me to Ellis Island where I found my husband’s wonderful great uncle. I am beyond thrilled! I can tell that he was a very kind man because he paid for his little brother’s passage to America and he allowed his grown children to live with him in 1940 as the country was getting over the Great Depression.

Here are the family records that I found for this family:

Károly Kovács (AKA Carl, Chas, Charles) born 23 November 1901 in West Virginia. The record indicates that both Sándor and Erzsébet were living in Gönc in 1905 when this civil registration occurred.

Sándor Kovács (AKA Alex, Alexander) born 3 January 1905 in Gönc, Hungary. 

1930 Census

1940 Census Page 1 includes his daughter Helen Haught and her husband Terrance Haught.

1940 Census Page 2 includes granddaughter Helen Haught and his daughter, Mary Kovacs Collins, who lived next door with her husband and three children. (See Grave Stone and Obituary for Mary Kovacs Collins born 18 Jun 1908 and died 18 Jul 1987).

8 Jan 1953 Death record of Sandor Kovacs from his Find A Grave Memorial.

Edna Kovacs Staub born 19 Feb 1911, married Wayne Staub 11 Jan 1930

Alex Kovacs married Mary Ann Rusky 20 Dec 1948 in Mt Clemens, Macomb, Michigan

19 Oct 1995 Warren, Trumbull, Ohio Death Record for James Kovacs who was born on 29 Nov 1909

4 Sept 2004 death index of Helen Kovacs Waldron who was born 24 Mar 1912, daughter of Kovacs and Jenei

21 Mar 2000 Death of William R. Kovacs Sr who was born 29 June 1914

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1393 DNA Shared Matches

Ancestry.com gave my husband a list of his 50 top matches of DNA from their database. For each match they found, I could click on a button that would reveal any matches that my husband shared with that match. Some of his matches didn’t share any other match with him. Sometimes a couple of their shared matches didn’t make his list of top 50 matches. I made a table of his shared matches. It was pretty big so I made a smaller table that only includes people in his top 50 who have at least one shared match with him AND a second or third cousin.

I purposely cut off people’s names for privacy reasons, but anyone who shares DNA with my husband and the others in the table should still be able to figure out who’s who.

Ancestry explains that a 2nd cousin could actually be a great aunt or a 1st cousin twice removed. The 2nd cousin would have 5 to 6 degrees of separation from my husband, a 3rd cousin would have 6 to 10 degrees of separation, and a 4th cousin would have 6 to 12 degrees of separation, but most likely 10.

DNA does NOT “share and share alike”. Every person gets half of his DNA from his mother and a half from his father, but the half given from each parent can vary from child to child. I noticed that some of my husband’s matches might be siblings with the same surname, but their shared matches were not always the same. Thus, it can definitely be worth it to have more than one family member take the DNA test.

I made this chart to see if it could help me determine who might be my husband’s maternal cousins versus his paternal cousins. I don’t think I completely succeeded. The same DNA might not be the DNA in shared matches. For example, ab, bc, and ac each share a letter of the alphabet with each other, but it is not the same letter of the alphabet. Since both sides of my husband’s family had many siblings and cousins and settled in the Cleveland, Ohio area 100 years ago or more, it seems possible that some of his relatives listed on the chart are actually related to BOTH his father and his mother, but more distantly than 4th cousin on either side.

A positive from making the chart is that I have verified that all the people with x’s in the lower right corner are closely related to each other. The chart says they are also all related to Benjam, but none of them have any idea how.

Like so much of genealogy research, one answer will produce more questions. It becomes such a fascinating puzzle!

Since this is my 1393rd post, I’ll write a little bit about that number:

  • 1393 is a composite number.
  • Prime factorization: 1393 = 7 × 199
  • 1393 has no exponents greater than 1 in its prime factorization, so √1393 cannot be simplified.
  • The exponents in the prime factorization are 1, and 1. Adding one to each exponent and multiplying we get (1 + 1)(1 + 1) = 2 × 2 = 4. Therefore 1393 has exactly 4 factors.
  • The factors of 1393 are outlined with their factor pair partners in the graphic below.

Since both of its factor pairs have odd numbers in it, I know that 1393 can be written as the difference of two squares in two ways:
697² – 696² = 1393
103² – 96² = 1393

 

DNA and Big Brother

When my husband was a little baby, his dad filled out the genealogy section in his baby book in his beautiful, distinct handwriting:

Even though most of the pages are blank, my husband has always cherished that book, and it has been extremely helpful in finding many other of his ancestors.

From additional research, we have learned that my husband’s grandfather, Frank Kovach, was born Kovács Ferenc in Szürte, Ung County, Hungary. That little town has had several border changes and is now part of Ukraine, but still only about eight miles from the Hungarian border. You can see a map showing the location of Szürte in a post I wrote a couple of years ago. Ferenc (Frank) was born 13 June 1883 to Kovács Péter and Péntek Mária – that’s their names in Hungarian name order. The baby book gives their names in English name order. My husband remembers his grandfather, Frank, vividly. He died 10 June 1968 in Ontario, San Bernardino, California.

Many years ago when I tried to figure out Frank’s place of birth, I found three other people whose parents had the same names as his parents. Could they be Frank’s siblings? Could the two boys be his big brothers? (You will need to be logged into FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com to see most of the links I’ve included in this post.)

  1. Julia Kovach (Kovács Juliánna) was born 12 Apr 1882 in Hungary (both of her parents were born in Ung County, Hungary!). She died 15 Jun 1940 in Cleveland, Ohio. Maybe Frank was also born in Ung County, I excitedly thought! Several years later I found a death record for one of Frank’s sons that gave the specific town in Ung county where Frank was born. Still years after that I found Frank’s petition for naturalization also confirming it.
  2. Steven Kovach (Kovács István) was born about 1874 in Hungary. He married Julia Csengeri on 22 Sept 1901 in New York.

    He MAY have died seventeen years later on 11 Dec 1918 in Union, Washington, Pennsylvania, but buried in Cleveland, Ohio.  The father on that death certificate was Pete Kovacs and the mother was Mary Pantik. The certificate says he is married, but there was no place to write the wife’s name on it. The informant was Steve Kovach, which just happens to be Julia Kovach’s husband’s name, so her husband might have actually been the informant. Julia and Steve lived in Cleveland, and the deceased, Steve, was buried in Cleveland even though he died in Pennsylvania.
  3. John Kovacs (Kovács János) was born 23 Jan 1870 in Hungary. He died 29 Oct 1943 in Cleveland. To fully appreciate the information for John, we need to look at his and his wife’s death certificates side by side.

Notice that the address for both John and Veronica is 9012 Cumberland, so that helps to establish that they were husband and wife even though the spellings of their last names are not exactly the same. This is important since there were MANY men named John Kovach in Cleveland. The couple’s shared tombstone confirms the dates given above. On Veronica’s death certificate, her father is listed as John Daniels and the informant is Dale Kovats. Further research establishes that Dale is John and Veronica’s son, and the 1940 census shows Dale and his wife, Rose at the bottom of the page, and their daughter and some of Rose’s relatives on the top of the next page. Dale is the key to this puzzle because Dale has a descendant who is a 3rd to 4th cousin DNA match to my husband! That means that John Kovacs is indeed Frank’s big brother, and I am in tears as I am finally able to positively make that statement.

Ancestry.com explains “Our analysis of your DNA predicts that this person you match with is probably your third cousin. The exact relationship however could vary. It could be a second cousin once removed, or perhaps a fourth cousin. While there may be some statistical variation in our prediction, it’s likely to be a third cousin type of relationship—which are separated by eight degrees or eight people. However, the relationship could range from six to ten degrees of separation.” (bold print added)

My husband, Steven, and this DNA match are separated by seven degrees.

Was big brother John also born in Szürte? It seems likely, but he may have also been born about 3 miles away in Kholmetz where a 4th-6th cousin DNA shared match traces her ancestry. If only I could get into the Szürte Reformed Church records and Kholmetz records to look for a Kovács János (John Kovacs) born on 23 Jan 1870 as well as the records for the others and certainly a few more siblings as well!

 

1168 Sosto Museum Village School Room

During our recent visit to Nyíregyháza, Hungary we visited the Sosto Museum Village. One of my favorite places there was this school room.

The room was roped off so I had to settle for this shot from the doorway. Let me tell you what I see in this picture.

On the right of the picture is an abacus. As a lover of mathematics, I have to love that there was an abacus in the classroom.

At the top of the page near the center is a map of Szabolcs and Ung Counties. Ung county was where my husband’s maternal grandfather was born and was only about 75 km from this museum village. I like to think that his grandfather’s classroom might have been just like this one.

I love the ceiling with its wooden beams as well as the desks and other wood furnishings in the room. My husband’s paternal grandfather was a cabinet maker. The second cousins we met in Romania informed us that this grandfather made the desks at their school. Even though that school was far away from this museum village, I imagine that the desks he made looked much like these.

In a different classroom, we found this mathematics book. We could walk up and look at it quite easily, but we couldn’t turn any of the pages because it was behind glass. I apologize for the glare from the glass. They don’t make arithmetic books like this anymore!

One of the classrooms had this guide for reading and writing the alphabet.

Some other pictures of the museum village can be found here. I took other pictures, but this is enough for this post. I recommend going to Sosto Museum should you ever travel to Hungary.

Now I’ll write a little about the number 1168:

  • 1168 is a composite number.
  • Prime factorization: 1168 = 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 73, which can be written 1168 = 2⁴ × 73
  • The exponents in the prime factorization are 4 and 1. Adding one to each and multiplying we get (4 + 1)(1 + 1) = 5 × 2 = 10. Therefore 1168 has exactly 10 factors.
  • Factors of 1168: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 73, 146, 292, 584, 1168
  • Factor pairs: 1168 = 1 × 1168, 2 × 584, 4 × 292, 8 × 146, or 16 × 73
  • Taking the factor pair with the largest square number factor, we get √1168 = (√16)(√73) = 4√73 ≈ 34.17601

1168 is the hypotenuse of a Pythagorean triple:
768-880-1168 which is 16 times (48-55-73)

1168 is palindrome 292 in BASE 22 because 2(22²) + 9(22) + 2(1) = 1168

1114 My Rant about the State’s Emissions Test

The valley I live in is often the worst place in the country for air pollution. Of course, when we register our cars we have to prove that the car passes the state’s emissions test. Naturally, it sounds like a good idea. In the past, our cars have always passed their emissions tests, but this year I want to rant about how POLLUTING the emissions test can be.

Two and half weeks before our car registration was due, I took our Honda Civic in for the emissions test. It didn’t pass. It didn’t fail either. I was simply told that the car was not ready for the test. We hadn’t driven it enough. I listened in disbelief. “Drive it around some more and come back,” the service person told me. Something on the car was reset the last time I took the car in for a repair or maintenance, so now the car needs more miles on it to be ready for the test.

We drove the car around and had it checked two more times before we left for Europe, but the car still wasn’t ready. Every place we went the weekend before we left, we took that car. Then I asked a neighbor to drive it some the two weeks we were gone. She didn’t drive it much, but we’ve put about 100 miles on the car since we’ve returned. I took it in to get checked again today. It still isn’t ready.

It’s hot outside. There hasn’t been much rain. There is a wildfire close enough that we can smell the smoke. The mountains in the distance look faded. This is not the time for us to needlessly add more pollutants to the air as we drive it around just to make the car ready for the test.  All cars pollute the air. Everyone in the area is encouraged to carpool or combine trips to try to keep the pollution lower. We, on the other hand, need to drive our car aimlessly around just to put more miles on it so hopefully, the car will be ready for the emissions test. I have a very difficult time doing that, so instead of driving it around, I’m sitting at my computer ranting. The car needs to pass the test by Tuesday or we will have to pay for another test. This whole thing is a waste of time, gasoline, and money. Meanwhile, we couldn’t register our car, so potentially we could get in trouble for driving a car that isn’t registered, too.

Writing about the number 1114 should be a much more pleasant subject than car emissions!

  • 1114 is a composite number.
  • Prime factorization: 1114 = 2 × 557
  • The exponents in the prime factorization are 1 and 1. Adding one to each and multiplying we get (1 + 1)(1 + 1) = 2 × 2 = 4. Therefore 1114 has exactly 4 factors.
  • Factors of 1114: 1, 2, 557, 1114
  • Factor pairs: 1114 = 1 × 1114 or 2 × 557
  • 1114 has no square factors that allow its square root to be simplified. √1114 ≈ 33.37664

33² + 5² = 1114

1114 is the hypotenuse of a Pythagorean triple:
330-1064-1114 calculated from 2(33)(5), 33² – 5², 33² + 5²

1114 is the sum of 10 consecutive primes and 6 consecutive primes:
89 + 97 + 101 + 103 + 107 + 109 + 113 + 127 + 131 + 137 = 1114,
and 173 + 179 + 181 + 191 + 193 + 197 = 1114

1114 is palindrome 4E4 in BASE 15 (E is 14 base 10)
because 4(15²) + 14(15) + 4(1) = 1114

 

1112 The Children of Betkó Mátyás

 

It was my privilege to go to the archives at Timișoara, Romania last week and look at the Reformed Hungarian Church records from Igazfalva and photograph some of them.  I would not have been able to write even one word of this post had I not seen those records and learned that the members of the Betkó family were Lutherans who had previously lived in Békéscsaba. I am grateful to the archive for allowing me to share the photos I took. The FamilySearch catalog of Békéscsaba Lutheran records helped me find more information about this family. It contains christening (Kereszteltek), marriage (Házasultak), and death (Halottak) records. The christening records from 1832 to 1895 are also indexed in the links labeled névmutatója. Those indexes save a tremendous amount of time especially when more than a thousand children a year were christened.

Békéscsaba is the largest city whose records I’ve searched. Igazfalva was just a little village so I was able to find most of what I wanted there in just a few hours. Igazfalva can be translated as “Truth Village” in English.

Note: for Hungarian name order the surname is first, followed by the given name. The records use that name order, so I’ve used it as well. It may be necessary to register for a free FamilySearch account to look at the records in the given links.

1879-02-21 Betkó Mátyás married Kerepeczki Mária in a city called Békéscsaba in Békés county, Hungary. Both of them listed their ages as 21, so they were both born about 1858. Here is a list of their children that I’ve found mostly in the church records in Békéscsaba.

  1. Their first child was Mária born 1879-05-30.  See Line 423  Unfortunately, Mária was too weak to survive and died two months later on 1879-08-01. See Line 409
  2. 1881-11-17 They had another daughter that they also name Mária. See Line 950
  3. 1883-08-25, a daughter, Ilona. See line 655
  4. About 1887, a son Mátyás
  5. 1889-04-20, a son, György. See line 249

Sadly, Kerepeczki Mária died that same day, 1889-04-20. Line 266 of the record listed her cause of death as Szülésbeni elvérzés, which means she bled excessively after giving birth. She was only 32 years old (born about 1857). Mátyás and Mária had been married 10 years.

Their daughter, Ilona, married Strbán Mihály on 1900-11-27 in Igazfalva. Her marriage record states that she was the daughter of Betkó Mátyás and the late Kerepeczki Mária. She was 17 when she married making her birth about 1883, so she is the daughter listed above. Click on the photo to see it better. (My husband’s grandparents’ marriage is also on this page: Sallai István and Finta Mária married 27 December 1900.)

Although I did not find a christening record for their son, Mátyás,  born about 1887, I placed him on the list of children based on his marriage record below. He was married in Igazfalva on 1911-12-05 to Tóth Rozália. He was 24 years old (born about 1887) and was the son of Betkó Mátyás and Kerepeczki Mária. My husband’s great-grandfather, Sallai Miklós, was a witness of the marriage.

A month and a half after the death of Mária, the widower Mátyás married Kerepeczki Ilona on 1889-06-04. See line 76. Note that the house number for Mátyás on the marriage record is the same as his house number when Mária died.  I have not been able to determine yet if Ilona was any relation to Mária, but they were from the same town and they had the same surname. His age on this marriage record is 30 suggesting he was born about 1859 while Ilona age was 20 suggesting she was born about 1869. Unfortunately, the marriage records from 1853 to 1895 in Békéscsaba do not list even the father’s names for the bride or the groom, so going back to the next generation will be difficult. For example, there were three girls named Kerepeczki Ilona who were born in Békéscsaba in 1869.  Two are on this page and the other one appears on the next page with a twin brother.

Mátyás and Ilona did not have any children christened in Békéscsaba, but they had children born in other places. Were they one of the 69 families from Békés county and surrounding areas in 1893 who formed the village, Igazfalva? I don’t know, but I know that they lived there.

The oldest child of Mátyás and Ilona that I found is Zsófia who was born about 1891 in Medgyesegyháza, wherever that is. I know about her because of her marriage record in Igazfalva. On 1910-12-06, Sallai Imre age 23 (born in Gyoma about 1887) wed Betkó Zsófia, age 19. He was the son of my husband’s great-grandparents, Sallai Miklós and Szalóki Juliánna. She was the daughter of Betkó Mátyás and Kerepecski Ilona.

I went through the records very quickly because we also wanted to visit with my husband’s second cousins later the same day. It is possible I missed some records, perhaps all the records from before 1900. It is also possible the family didn’t move to Igazfalva until then. Here is the 1900-09-04 birth of their daughter, Juliánna. Note that the record states that both Betkó Mátyás and Kerepeczki Ilona are from B.Csaba (Békéscsaba). The next two records also show little Juliánna’s death on 1901-08-26. She was too weak to live more than 3 months 14 days.

1902-10-25 another Juliánna was born. Her death wasn’t listed on her christening record, and I didn’t see one in the death records, but …

1904-07-14 a third Juliánna was born. Her birth and her 1905-04-11 death are listed on the next two records. She was 8 months, 28 days old when she died from kanyaró, the measles.

I did not see the christening record for this fourth Juliánna who died 1910-11-13.  Perhaps I missed the record or perhaps she wasn’t able to be baptized in her short 10-day life. The record states that she had been weak from birth.

Sometime between 1910 and 1916, Kerepeczki Ilona must have died, and I was too rushed to see her death record. Betkó Mátyás married a girl who may have been from another town because I did not see their marriage record. They had one little girl together, but she died before she could be christened.

1917-01-15 Birth of Betkó Mátyás and Filye Erzsébet’s unnamed daughter who died three days later on 1917-01-18. Her death is listed on the next two records.

1930-06-03 Death of Betkó Mátyás, the widower of the late Filye Mária. He was 72 years old. (Born about 1858 in Békéscsaba.)

My husband’s great-grandmother, Szalóki Juliánna, is also listed on that page.

Betkó Mátyás’s death record and his two marriage records suggest that Mátyás was born around 1857, 1858 or 1859. I checked the index of baptisms from 1855 to 1861 in Békéscsaba of children whose surname began with B. There was only one child who was named Betkó Mátyas during that time. Then I found that christening record. 1859-05-28 Line 444, Mátyás born to Betko Mátyás and Szombathy Maria. But as I’ve already demonstrated, not all births make it into the town’s records. I suppose the only way to know for sure that this baptism record belongs to him is to check the civil registration records that were made after 1895 in Hungary, assuming the clerk was given his parents’ information. I suppose I would have to return to the archive in Romania to view those records, but they might have Kerepeczki Ilona’s parents’ names as well.

Nevertheless, his likely parents, Betkó Mátyás and Szombathy Mária, were married 1857-11-10. See Line 97. That’s after 1853, so it will be necessary to figure out who they were, too. He was 21 (born about 1836) and she was 18 (born about 1839).

Mátyás was able to enjoy some grandchildren when he lived in Igazfalva. Here are some records that support that statement:

It is very likely that János born 1900-01-16, the son of Dryenyovszky János and Betkó Mária from B.csaba was one of his grandsons.

As well as their son Mátyás, born 1901-08-02. Sadly, this son died 1906-02-10.

1902-05-05 Ilona, the daughter of Strbán Mihály and Betkó Ilona was definitely Mátyás’s granddaughter.

This next granddaughter was born 1911-07-09. Her name was Sallai Zsófia, the daughter of Sallai Imre and Betkó Zsófia. Her godfather was her uncle, Sallai Antal. Was her godmother, Betkó Judith, also an aunt?

1911-09-03 birth of Strbán János, the son of Strbán Mihály and Betkó Ila (Ilona):

1913-01-12 Sallai Margit, the daughter of Sallai Imre and Betkó Zsófia:

1913-05-11 Strbán Mátyás son of Strbán Mihály and Betkó Ilona. He died 1913-10-31:

1914-01-04 Betkó Róza, daughter of Betkó Mátyás and Tóth Róza:

I was only able to look at christening records that were at least 100 years old, so I don’t know if he knew any other grandchildren than these that I’ve listed.

Since this is my 1112th post, I’ll now write a little bit about the number 1112:

  • 1112 is a composite number.
  • Prime factorization: 1112 = 2 × 2 × 2 × 139, which can be written 1112 = 2³ × 139
  • The exponents in the prime factorization are 3 and 1. Adding one to each and multiplying we get (3 + 1)(1 + 1) = 4 × 2 = 8. Therefore 1112 has exactly 8 factors.
  • Factors of 1112: 1, 2, 4, 8, 139, 278, 556, 1112
  • Factor pairs: 1112 = 1 × 1112, 2 × 556, 4 × 278, or 8 × 139
  • Taking the factor pair with the largest square number factor, we get √1112 = (√4)(√278) = 2√278 ≈ 33.346664

1112 is also the sum of four consecutive prime numbers:
271 + 277 + 281 + 283

 

 

862 Look What a Little Bit of Spit Can Tell You!

All four of my husband’s grandparents were born in Hungary.

Recently my husband ordered a DNA kit from ancestry.com. When the kit arrived, he spit into the kit’s tube until his spit reached the indicated line and mailed it back to Ancestry. This week he received his results, and I was thrilled!

I made the map below based on Ancestry’s map of his genetic communities as well as other maps showing what Hungary looked like in the 1800’s. Near the center of the map, we see a rough outline of what Hungary looks like today. When his grandparents were born, Hungary was three times bigger than it is today so I’ve made an outline to show the size of the country that they knew and loved.

Places, where there is DNA similar to that of my husband, are shown in pink. The three red dots indicate the known locations of my husband’s grandparents’ births. The town names are in big bold red letters even though they were all little villages or small towns. Gyoma used to be in the center of Hungary. Now it is very close to the Romanian border. Zádorfalva is barely in the country while Szürte is barely outside. I didn’t indicate it on the map but my husband’s father was born in a little village southeast of Gyoma. It was part of Hungary when he was born but part of Romania now.

This map is not necessarily about where my husband’s grandparents were born, however. This map also shows where some of THEIR ancestors lived hundreds of years ago. Even though TWO of his grandparents were born in Gyoma, the map seems to indicate that their ancestors moved to Gyoma from someplace else. Also, if my husband’s brother took a DNA test, his map would look a little different because a child receives only half of each parent’s DNA, and the half received can vary from child to child.

My husband’s paternal grandfather, István Sallai, was born in Gyoma, as were his parents and grandparents for several generations. Our research goes back to the 1770’s where all of his ancestors were either born in Gyoma or else they moved to Gyoma from Túrkeve, a town 34.8 km to the north. Sallai means “from Salla”, but we are not certain where Salla might have been. Maps give many possibilities. Also, Frank Kery is one of my husband’s second cousins through this line, and he made the list of potential 2nd and 3rd cousins that the DNA test gave. That helps confirm our faith in the accuracy of the test.

István’s wife, Mária Finta, was also born in Gyoma, as were many generations of her family on her father’s side. Her 2nd great-grandfather, Mihály Finta moved to Gyoma from Túrkéve where MANY people with the surname Finta have lived over the years. On the other hand, Mária’s mother was of Slovak ancestry and was born in Szarvas which is 24.4 km to the west of Gyoma. The Lutheran Church in Szarvas kept wonderful records so I was able to find most of her ancestors back to the mid 1700’s. Sometime around or soon after 1720, her Slovak ancestors moved to Szarvas from whatever Slovak town in which they used to reside.

My husband’s maternal grandfather was born in Szürte, Ung county, Hungary which is now part of Ukraine. We do not have access to any records in the area so other than the names of his parents and possibly some siblings, we know very little about his family. This map and ancestry.com’s DNA database will likely match and introduce us to cousins my husband never knew he had.

Zádorfalva is located where most of the pink is concentrated on the map. My husband’s maternal grandmother, Erzsébet Lenkey was born in Zádorfalva. Both of her parents were born to noble families so we have the names of many of her ancestors back as far as the 1200’s for some lines who also lived there. Zádorfalva is still in Hungary near the Slovakian border. The other towns of her ancestry are close-by in what used to be Gömör county, Hungary. Now those towns are on one side or the other of the Hungary-Slovakian border. The Hungarian names for these towns include Alsószuha, Mihályfalva, Horka, and Kövecses. The noble families of these small towns tended to stay in town generation after generation, leaving only if they married into another noble family and relocated to that family’s town. It makes perfect sense to us that this part of the map has the greatest concentration of pink.

I am certain that if you took a DNA test, you would delight in the information given, too! You might also enjoy reading Ancestry.com’s research about DNA and western migration in North America.

Since this is my 862nd post, I’ll now write a little bit about the number 862:

I learned from Stetson.edu that the sum of the factors of 862 is not only a perfect square but also a perfect fourth power:

1 + 2 + 431 + 862 = 1296 = 36² = 6⁴.

  • 862 is a composite number.
  • Prime factorization: 862 = 2 × 431
  • The exponents in the prime factorization are 1 and 1. Adding one to each and multiplying we get (1 + 1)(1 + 1) = 2 × 2 = 4. Therefore 862 has exactly 4 factors.
  • Factors of 862: 1, 2, 431, 862
  • Factor pairs: 862 = 1 × 862 or 2 × 431
  • 862 has no square factors that allow its square root to be simplified. √862 ≈ 29.3598

861 Interpolating Genealogical Data

Not that long ago, calculators were expensive and bulky. Algebra students did calculations using lots of different tables: trig tables, square root tables, logarithm tables. Students could quickly multiply or divide two decimals by adding or subtracting their logarithms and then taking the antilogarithm of the sum or difference. Each table was only a few pages and was found in the back of the Algebra or Trig textbook. These small tables contained information for thousands of numbers. Interpolating information in the tables was a skill that was taught and learned. What is interpolation? Interpolation is an estimate of a value that falls between two other values. You could say that interpolating means the same thing as reading in between the lines.

People who research their genealogy interpolate; they read between the lines. Doing so helps answer questions like this:

Some people live on this earth only for a few minutes, others for 70 years or more. If a septuagenarian kept a diary of his life, it could consist of hundreds of pages and be a rich resource of how that person lived. Most people don’t journal their lives, however. All that may still exist from a person’s life is a few dates scattered in various record books. Nevertheless, finding those dates and piecing together an ancestor’s life can feel so rewarding. Interpolating some of the data found often helps make that person come alive to the researcher.

As I’ve researched my husband’s family, I’ve a particular couple’s name over and over again. The wife’s maiden name was Bíró, the same as her husband’s surname, and that was the same surname as one of my husband’s great-great grandmothers. I wondered if either one of them was related to her. Over time I found the answer to that question and in the process learned a bit about the two of them, and I’d like to share some of that here.

How Eszter became Bálint Bíró’s second wife:  Bálint’s father, Mihály, died when he was only 9 years old.  From the time that he was 12 years old when his older brother married, Bálint was the oldest son living at home.  Five days before his 31st birthday, Bálint married Erzsébet Szilágyi. A year and a half later, she gave birth to László Bíró on 28 Feb 1859.  He was christened five days later.

At this time, Bálint’s mother, Susánna Nagy Bíró, was 67 years old and suffered from feebleness and weakness.  She died on 9 May 1859 when her brand new grandson was just 2 months old.

The next day Bálint’s wife died from a stroke.  She was only 21 years old! The responsibility of caring for her baby boy AND her feeble mother-in-law must have been all hers. What stress she must have felt! It literally killed her. Bálint went to his mother’s funeral on the 10th and to his wife’s funeral on the 11th of May. I can’t imagine his grief.

It was not at all unusual for a young father in Hungary to remarry soon if his wife died. So after two weeks of mourning and courtship, Bálint found a mother for his infant son.  He and Eszter announced their engagement on 26 June that same year.  When they married on 10 July 1859 in the Reformed Church in Gyoma, Békés, Hungary, he told her and the preacher that he was 10 years older than she was.  He was actually 16 years older.  Here is a list of their children. Several of them lived very short lives.

As you read the dates in that table, do you find yourself interpolating the feelings they might have had? Can you not help but to read in between the lines? How did it feel to take care of small children suffering with scarlet fever and then seeing them succumb to the disease?

There is almost an eleven year gap between the births of their children, Bálint and Benedek. Coincidentally, there was another couple in town having children during this time who had similar names, Benedek Bíró and Eszter Bíró. It was important not to get them confused with our Bálint Bíró and Eszter Bíró. They lived in a completely different houses and were not the same people!

Bálint and Eszter Bíró were well liked in their community, and they took their religious duties very seriously.  On several occasions when a couple in the town were married, Bálint was recorded as one of the two witnesses.  Many parents asked the two of them to be their children’s godparents. In fact, Dániel Finta, who was my husband’s great-grandfather and Bálint’s nephew, requested that Bálint and Eszter be the godparents to his firstborn son, Dániel.

What do their names mean?

Bálint is the Hungarian form of Valentinus which means “healthy or strong”. Bálint would have celebrated his name day each February 14th.

Eszter comes from the Hebrew word for “star”.  Queen Esther is a courageous woman in the Bible who saved thousands of her people. Eszter would have celebrated her name day each May 24th, which was the day after her birthday.

Bíró is the Hungarian word for “judge”.

What I know about Eszter Bíró’s early life:  Eszter was born 23 May 1842 to Benedek Bíró and Mária Ladányi.  Here is a table that contains Eszter and her siblings:

Almost half of Eszter’s ten siblings died before she was born. After losing so many of their precious children, her parents must have cherished her. She was their oldest surviving daughter.

Eszter’s paternal grandmother was Sára Kurutsó. Kurutsó was one of the three noble surnames in Gyoma, Békés, Hungary. Over the next century that surname changed into Krutsó, Krucsó, or Kruchió.  Noble families weren’t necessarily richer than their neighbors, but they had a title! Eszter was probably aware of her grandmother’s status.

Eszter completed her religious confirmation classes on 16 March 1856, a few weeks before her 14th birthday. In Hungary, birthdays were not necessarily celebrated as much as name days were, however.

What I know about Bálint Bíró’s early life: Bálint was born 18 Nov 1826 to Mihály Bíró and Susánna Nagy. Here is a table listing Bálint and his siblings. His sister, Sára Bíró, who was 3½ years his senior, is my husband’s great-great grandmother.

As you can see there are some blank spots in the table because I haven’t found all the information about this family yet.

I have found a little information about the number 861, and since this is my 861st post, I’ll share that here:

From Stetson.edu I learned that 7 + 77 + 777 = 861. Since that is six 7’s, 861 has to be divisible by 3, but not by 9. (It would have to have nine 7’s to be divisible by nine.)

861 is the hypotenuse of a Pythagorean triple: 189-840-861, which is 21 times (9-40-41).

861 is the 41st triangular number because (41 × 42)/2 = 861. That means that 1 + 2 + 3 + . . . + 39 + 40 + 41 = 861.

861 is also the 21st hexagonal number because 2(21²) – 21 = 861. (All hexagonal numbers are also triangular numbers.) That means that 1 + 5  + 9 + 13 + 17 + 21 + 25 + . . . + 73 + 77 + 81 = 861.

  • 861 is a composite number.
  • Prime factorization: 861 = 3 × 7 × 41
  • The exponents in the prime factorization are 1, 1, and 1. Adding one to each and multiplying we get (1 + 1)(1 + 1)(1 + 1) = 2 × 2 × 2 = 8. Therefore 861 has exactly 8 factors.
  • Factors of 861: 1, 3, 7, 21, 41, 123, 287, 861
  • Factor pairs: 861 = 1 × 861, 3 × 287, 7 × 123, or 21 × 41
  • 861 has no square factors that allow its square root to be simplified. √861 ≈ 29.3428.

571 Family Time

For the last two weeks we’ve been spending time with our grandchildren in Salt Lake City, Utah; Portland, Oregon; Houston, Texas; and Hartford, Connecticut. We also spent time with my brother’s daughter and her two children. AND we celebrated my sister’s 70th birthday party and reconnected with all of her children in Portland. We have been busy, and I am tired, but happy.

We’ve had a wonderful time with all of them, and it was so painful to say goodbye. We and a few other people took pictures except we didn’t get any pictures of the grandkids that live within 10 miles of our home. What’s with that? I’m as guilty as anyone else who takes people and things for granted.

Here’s a picture of me holding my newest grandson. My daughter is in the background holding one of her nieces.

 

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Since 171 + 190 + 210 = 571, it is the sum of the 18th, 19th, and 20th triangular numbers. That makes 571 the 20th centered triangular number.

  • 571 is a prime number and a twin prime with 569.
  • Prime factorization: 571 is prime.
  • The exponent of prime number 571 is 1. Adding 1 to that exponent we get (1 + 1) = 2. Therefore 571 has exactly 2 factors.
  • Factors of 571: 1, 571
  • Factor pairs: 571 = 1 x 571
  • 571 has no square factors that allow its square root to be simplified. √571 ≈ 23.8956

How do we know that 571 is a prime number? If 571 were not a prime number, then it would be divisible by at least one prime number less than or equal to √571 ≈ 23.9. Since 571 cannot be divided evenly by 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, or 23, we know that 571 is a prime number.

 

 

557 Hungarian Genealogy Dictionaries

For many years I’ve used this Hungarian Genealogy Word List from FamilySearch to assist me as I’ve researched my family’s Hungarian genealogy.

This week I found another online Hungarian-English Dictionary. I really like this particular one because for each letter of the alphabet it gives a separate list of diseases beginning with that letter. Knowing the names of diseases in Hungarian is very helpful when looking at death records because often the cause of death is listed on the record.

If you are interested in word lists for some other language, you should be able to find it at FamilySearch.org.

Between those two word lists and an old Hungarian-English dictionary a genealogist friend gave me, I can find the meaning of most words I see. Sometimes I still have to ask my son who speaks Hungarian fluently for assistance, and sometimes the handwriting is so bad that even he can’t read it, but for the most part, we are able to read and understand the records.

FamilySearch included a chart to help people recognize the names of Hungarian months found in the records. When I looked at our family’s records, I sometimes found month names that were not included on their chart, so I expanded the table to include some of these other names, too. The chart is not very difficult to read: the first column is in English, and the last column is in modern Hungarian and looks quite similar to English.

Hungarian Months
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557 is the sum of two squares: 557 = 14² + 19²

557 is the hypotenuse of the primitive Pythagorean triple 165-532-557.

  • 557 is a prime number.
  • Prime factorization: 557 is prime.
  • The exponent of prime number 557 is 1. Adding 1 to that exponent we get (1 + 1) = 2. Therefore 557 has exactly 2 factors.
  • Factors of 557: 1, 557
  • Factor pairs: 557 = 1 x 557
  • 557 has no square factors that allow its square root to be simplified. √557 ≈ 23.6008

How do we know that 557 is a prime number? If 557 were not a prime number, then it would be divisible by at least one prime number less than or equal to √557 ≈ 23.6. Since 557 cannot be divided evenly by 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, or 23, we know that 557 is a prime number.