Friday, November 25, 2016

The Case of Both Barbara's Births

My Grandpa Vasicek said that his mother (Elizabeth “Betty” Michna) never got along with her mother in law, Agnes Steffek.  “They tolerated each other and were civil, but argued nevertheless.”

Betty’s parents, Anna Šumbera and Bedrich Michna, were not social equals. In fact, Bedrich was the hired hand on Anna’s father Ludvig Šumbera’s farm in Taiton, Texas. Bedrich and Anna had to marry each other in 1901 because Anna was already pregnant with Betty. Pop said,

“When I was a teenager, I asked Aunt Martha*, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a mistake; Betty was born in September but her parent’s marriage was in April, how can that be?’ Aunt Martha shrugged and said, ‘Well, these things sometimes happen. But they stayed together.’ ”

[*Betty and Bill had two children: Bob and Vic (my grandpa). Bob married Lois Shimek. Martha is Lois Shimek’s sister, and thus my dad’s aunt’s sister.]

My dad speculates that this scandal was known in the small, close-knit Moravian Texas Czech community of El Campo. Is it possible that Agnes’s prejudices against Betty were shaped in part by her own family’s dealings with illegitimacy?
Beginnings

Agnes’s mother was Mariana Janda, who married Jan Šteffek (and later Jan Reichel, a tragic tale for another day).

Mariana’s parents were František Janda and Barbora Lidiak who married in Trojanovice in July of 1839. Two months later in September, Mariana was born; obviously Mariana was conceived out of wedlock. Not only that, but she was certainly Barbora’s second child; the first daughter, Veronika, was born in 1837. Perhaps she was named after Veronika, Barbora’s mother, who died four months later.

Child’s name
birth date
place
father’s name
mother’s name
witnesses
midwife
officiating clergy
2 January 1837
Trojanovice 105
-
Barbara, single daughter of the single Veronika Lidiak
Johann Schrubař pasekář of and Barbara his wife
Mar[iana] Mazoch of [Trojanovice] 147
Joh. Sohram, koop.
21 September 1839
Trojanovice 102
Franz Janda, pasekář in Trojanovice
Barbara daughter of the deceased Veronika Lidiak in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara his wife
Marianna Mayoch of [Trojanovice] 147
Johann Peřina, koop.
margin note about his marriage
1842
Trojanovice 102
Franz Janda, local day laborer
Barbara daughter of Veronika daughter of Josef Lidiak pasekář of [Trojanovice]
Johann Schrubař, local pasekář and Barbara his wife
Mariana Mazoch of [Trojanovice] 147
Valentin Zulik, koop.
margin note about his marriage
1843
Trojanovice
Franz Janda, day laborer in Trojanovice
Barbara daughter of Veronika daughter of Josef Lidiak pasekář in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara his wife
Mar[iana] Mazoch of [Trojanovice] 147
Josef Schrom, koop.
margin note about his marriage
23 October 1845
Trojanovice 110
Franz Janda, day laborer in Frenštát
Barbara daughter of Veronika daughter of Joseph Lidiak pasekář in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and his wife Barbara
Mar[iana] Mazoch of Trojanovice 147
Johann Peřina, koop.
19 September 1847
Trojanovice 197
Franz Janda, pasekář in Trojanovice
Barbara daughter of Veronika daughter of Josef Lidiak, pasekář in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and his wife Barbara
Veronika Schmira of Groß Kuntschitz [Kunčice pod Ondřejníkem]
Joseph Schrom, koop.
margin note “soud Frenštát 1906”
12 August 1850
Trojanovice 197
Franz Janda, pasekář in Trojanovice
Barbara, daughter of Franz Lidiak pasekář in Trojanovice, and his wife Johanna born of Johann Walek, day laborer in Gross Kuntschitz
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and Rosalie his wife
Anna Jaschek Frenštát 740
Josef Srovaalik?, koop.
18 December 1852
Trojanovice 197
Franz Janda pasekář in Trojanovice
Barbara daughter of Veronika Lidiak born of Josef Lidiak, pasekář in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and Rosalie his wife
Anna Jaschek of Frenštát 740
Josef Schrom, kaplan
Note that Veronika, Barbora’s first illegitimate daughter, cannot be definitively connected to František. Also, why is Rosalie’s grandmother’s name listed as Johanna Walek of Kunčice pod Ondřejníkem? Who is Walek?

Despite some inconsistencies, I set out to look for Barbora Lidiak, the illegitimate daughter of Veronika born to Josef Lidiak and Mariana Vasut in the Trojanovice birth records. I thought it would be simple to find her.

I was wrong. There is no baptism record for any Barbora Lidiak in Trojanovice, Frenštát, or Kunčice pod Ondřejníkem between 1799-1850.

Two Potential Barbora Lidiaks, same parents?
There were actually only two Barbora Lidiaks born in the area: one in 1805, the other in 1815. Both are listed as the daughter of Jiří Lidiak (Veronika’s brother) and Tereza Uhlař.

When Czechs reuse a given name, it is because the first child died. However, there are no death records in Trojanovice for any Barbora Lidiak between 1805-1830. This is negative evidence supporting the theory that one of the Barboras supposedly born to Jiří and Tereza was actually born to someone else, perhaps Veronika, Jiří’s sister?

Unsatisfied, I decided to trace this other Barbora. I discovered that, “Barbora, daughter of Jiří Lidiak pasekář and Tereza born of Joseph Uhlarž” bore five illegitimate children between 1831-1844: Rosalia, Johann, Genovefa, Veronika, and Anna before she eventually married Johann Blazek in 1850, when she was 47 years old.

I thought that one of these two Barbora’s was probably mine, but I did not know which one.

Name
Barbora Lydiakin
Barbora Lydiakin
House Number
Trojanovice 105
Trojanovice 105
Birth date
10 October 1805
27 September 1815
Father
Jiří Lydiak pasekář.
Jiří Lydiak pasekář
Mother
Tereza daughter of Martin Uhlař
Tereza daughter of Martin Uhlař
Midwife
Barbora Lydiakin [Trojanovice] 97
“die selbe”, referring to the midwife in the previous entry, Barbara Lydiakin [Trojanovice] 92.
Witnesses
Franz Schablatura, pasekář
Mariana his wife
Franc Parma, sexton and tailor and his wife Anna
Officiator
Martin Wicha, Kaplan
Johann Thuný, pfarrer.

Veronika’s other Bastard
My Barbora Lidiak had a sister who died young. Her name was “Marina Lydiakin” born to “Veronika daughter of Josef Lydiak in 1818”. She died 5 months later of the measles on 26 April 1819. I found no other children born to Veronika, nor did I find any marriage. When she died in 1837, she was a 52 year old single woman living in Trojanovice 105, the home of her brother Jiří.

The other František Janda - Barbora couple
No other František Janda married any Barbora Lidiak between 1840-1880 in Frenštát, Trojanovice, or Kunčice pod Ondřejníkem, but there were two different Frantisek Jandas in Trojanovice married to two separate Barbaras: one was married to Barbora Lidiak (my great x grandmother), the other to Barbora Krhut. This second couple married on 4 August 1835 in Trojanovice.
Year
František Janda and Barbora Lidiak
František Janda and Barbora Krhut
1836

Veronika Janda born 25 Sep 1836 at Trojanovice 246
Witnesses: Andreas Kania, pasekář and his wife Veronika
Joseph Schrom, koop
1837
Veronika Lidiak born 2 January 1837 at #105 Trojanovice
Illegitimate daughter of Barbara single daughter of Veronika Lidiak
Witnesses: Johann Schrubař pasekář and Barbara his wife
Midwife: Mar. Mazoch #147
Val Zidek koop.

1838

Johann Janda born 8 June 1838 at Trojanovice 246 to Franz Janda pasekář and Barbara daughter of +Ignatz krhut pasekář and of Barbara born of Joseph Minarz
Andreas Kania pasekář and Veronika his wife
1840

Franz Janda born 21 October 1840 at Trojanovice 246 to Franz Janda pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara daughter of Ignatz Krhut pasekář and of Barbara born of Joseph Minař both of Trojanovice
witnesses: Andreas Kania pasekář of Trojanovice and Veronika his wife
1842
Franz Janda born 2 January 1842 at Trojanovice 105
Franz Janda day laborer
Barbara daughter of Veronika born of Josef Lidiak pasekář from Trojanovice
Johann Schurbař hiesiger pasekář
Barbara his wife
Josef and Marina born 28 June 1842 at Trojanovice 246 to Franz Janda pasekář of Trojanovice and Barbara daughter of Ignaz Krhut pasekář and of Barbara born of Josef Mynar both of Trojanovice
Andreas Kania pasekář in Trojanovice and Veronika his wife witnesses

1843
Johann Janda born 23 November 1843 at Trojanovice 111 to Franz Janda day laborer in Trojanovice and Barbara daughter of Veronika born of Josef Lidiak pasekář in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara his wife

1845
Josef Janda born 23 October 1845 at Trojanovice 110 to Franz Janda day laborer in Frenštát
Barbara daughter of Veronika born of Joseph Lidiak pasekář in Trojanowice
Johann Schrubař pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara his wife

1847
Karl Janda born 19 September 1847 at Trojanovice 197 to Franz Janda pasekář in Trojanowice and Barbara daughter of Veronika born of Joseph Lidiak pasekář in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař pasekář in Trojanovice
Barbara his wife

1850
Rosalia Janda born 12 August 1850 at Trojanovice 197 to Franz Janda pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara daughter of Franz Lidiak pasekář in Trojanowice and his wife Johanna geb Johann Walek, day laborer in [Kunčice pod Ondřejníkem]
Johnan Schrubař pasekář in Trojanowice and Rosalia his wife

1852
Barbara Janda born 18 December 1852 at Trojanovice 197 to Franz Janda pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara daughter of Veronika Lidiak born of Josef Lidiak pasekář in Trojanovice
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and Rosalia his wife

Josef Janda born 10 Feb 1852 at Trojanovice 246 to Franz Janda pasekář in Trojanovice and Barbara daughter of Ignaz Krhut pasekář in Trojanovice and his wife Barbara born Josef Muras? pasekář in Trojanovice
Andreas Kania pasekář in Trojanovice and Veronika his wife
1856
Agnes Janda born 26 June 1856 at Frenštát 530 to Franz Janda pasekář in Frenštát and Barbara daughter of Veronika Lidiak daughter of Georg Lidiak pasekář in Frenštát
Johann Schrubař, pasekář in Trojanovice and Rosalia his wife


Does Rosalie Janda belong to Barbora Lidiak, Barbora Krhut, or somebody else?
Rosalie’s house number (197) and godparents are more consistent with Barbora Lidiaks’s children (Johann Schrubař and wife) than with Barbora Krhut’s (Andreas Kania). I do not understand why there is an apparent gap in Barbora Krhut’s children between 1843-1852; maybe they were living (and baptizing their children) in Frenštát?  

My František Janda moved to/was moved to Frenštát 530
The Trojanovice death index for 1850-1874 mentions no Rosalie Janda. I thought it was probable that she did not die young and that instead, she either moved or married. I began to look for her in Trojanovice marriage records in 1874.

I found that she married Johann Šrubař, son of Jan Šrubař domkář in Velké Kunčice, on 28 October 1873. She was described as the daughter of František Janda pasekář in Trojanovice, and his wife Barbora born of František Lidiak of Trojanovice 330.   

Weirdly, somehow Frenštát 530 is connected to Trojanovice. In the 1869 census for Frenštát, there is a note: “Trojanovice V 49 1878” but there is no digitally available 1869 Trojanovice census. In the 1880 census, Frenštát 530 and 531 are “now [in] Trojanovice.” There is no Trojanovice 530 listed in the 1880 census; did the boundaries between Frenštát and Trojanovice change?

Deriving the birth date from her age at death
I decided to start my search by finding Barbora Lidiak’s age at her death. I searched the Trojanovice deaths for a Barbora Janda (her married name), by index from 1842-1884, and manually from 1885-1890 (the index is not available online yet). There was a Barbora, wife of František Janda, who died in 1870 at Trojanovice 550/3, age 60, therefore her calculated birth was 1810. I think that this is “my” Barbora Lidiak, not Barbora Krhut; when Frantisek Janda and Barbora Lidiaks’ daughter Barbora marries Karel Kopřiva in 1874, her parent’s address is listed as “Frenštát 530.” Later in 1877, a younger 19 year old sister Aněžka marries Filip Kopřiva, and her house is listed as Frenštát 530 as well. More importantly, note that no children were born to this couple in Trojanovice after 1852, but apparently Aněžka, their last child, was born in 1856 Frenštát 530. Also, this land record for Trojanovice 197, which is definitely connected to my Frantisek Janda, mentions Kopřiva children.

Frantisek Janda’s death
Frantisek Janda died in 1857 in Trojanovice 240, aged 48, but he must be the other František of Trojanovice 246; “my” František gave his mark of approval on his daughter’s 1877 marriage record, and very likely remarried another woman named Barbora, the widow of Franta Novák, also in 1877. If he remarried, his spouse most likely predeceased him; divorce was not the pattern.

Deriving her birth date from her age at marriage
I decided to derive Barbora’s birth date from her age at her marriage. In July of 1839, František Janda married Barbora daughter of Veronika daughter of Josef Lidiak, pasekář in Trojanovice 105, age 27. This gives her an estimated birth date of 1812. This is inconsistent with her birth date derived from her death record (1810), but it is close.

Mariana’s 1862 marriage record lists her as the 22 year old daughter of František Janda and his wife Barbora born of Veronika Walek in Trojanovice. Again, who is this Walek person? Could this be a spelling/transcription error? If so, why did it happen twice in connection with this family?

Which Barbora is my Barbora?
My Barbora’s birth was more likely in 1815 than in 1805. First, the witnesses/godparents on the 1805 record matches the witnesses on every other record for the children of Jiří and Tereza, whereas the 1815 record lists Franc Parma, “kirchendiener schneide.” (sexton [and] taylor) , and his wife, Anna. Did the sexton act as witness merely because he was around the church at the time of the baptism? Apparently, he would have been 72 years old when he was the witness, because he was 74 when he died two years later in Frenštát. He is an unlikely candidate for Barbora’s father, because he was old (therefore less desirable to a young , worked for the church (so possibly religiously devout), and married.

Midwives and Officiators
Both the 1805 and the 1815 Barbara Lidiak had a separate (but probably related) Barbora Lidiak of Trojanovice act as the midwife. Basically, this piece of information does not help determine Barbora’s parentage at all. Neither does the officiating clergy, because there is no pattern in this family for who baptized the child. Investigating when the various clergy members first arrived at the parish might help give a clue as to how closely they knew the family, and perhaps how liable they were to make mistakes.

Declining Fertility
My Barbora’s last child was born in 1852. It is more plausible for a 37 year old to give birth than a 47 year old, since female fertility generally plummets in their early 40’s.

If it’s not in the Parish Records, it will be in the Land Records
The “Survivor’s Writings” of Trojanovice are not digitized, but they do exist in ZAO - Olomouc. They brought me the records from the back. To say that I was shocked is a gross understatement. I was floored. It turned out that the “Estate Proceedings” were not tiny bound volumes, but rather files after file full of papers stacked five inches tall, each only spanning ~3 years. This experience transformed my perception of Czech genealogical research. I realized that what is digitized and online is only a fraction of the records that exist.

Veronika Lidiak’s death hearing
The most precious record I found was Veronika Lidiak’s Estate Proceedings. She died in 1837 in Trojanovice 105, age 52, the single daughter of Jozef [sic] Lidiak, with one surviving child: Barbora Lidiak “of full age.” This implies that Barbora was 24 by her mother’s death in 1837, giving her a calculated birth date of before ~1813.

Notice also that Veronika died the same year that her daughter Barbora had her first child, the illegitimate Veronika. This might have been an important factor for Barbora’s family members to persuade her to marry, or in other words, find a new place to live. For, while Veronika’s brothers Jan and Jiří would probably be willing to house and feed their sister, they conceivably could have  been less willing to house and feed their niece, and especially with her illegitimate child.  

By this point, Barbora’s calculated birth dates were 1810, 1812, and before ~1813. None of these dates was a consistent, decisive match for either the 1805 or 1815 birth candidate, but they favored the later birth.  

Even though I still did not yet know for sure if my Barbora was baptized in 1805 or 1815, the land records had confirmed that Veronika Lidiak was indeed her single mother.

Ledgers have heir lists
Another useful land record was the 1813 Trojanovice ledger record for Jiří Lidiak after his father Josef’s death. Jiří is ascribed the inheritance claims of his siblings, including his married sisters listed under their married surnames, which of course is a genealogist’s dream. Also on the list is his unmarried sister Veronika receiving 13 florins, 36 kreuzers.  

Tereza’s death hearing
I decided to check Tereza Uhlař or Jiří Lidiak’s “Estate Proceedings.” Maybe there would be a list of her heirs. Luckily, I had photographed it, because there was the answer right in front of my face.

Tereza has only one short page in her “survivor’s writings” file, which is her 1830 death hearing. In it we see that she leaves behind her husband Jiřík Lidiak, her sons Francz, Jan, and her daughter Barbora, born 10 October 1805.”

This leaves only one possibility: The 1805 Barbora belongs to Jiří and Tereza, so the 1815 Barbora must be “mine”, and the illegitimate daughter of Veronika Lidiak.

Final Thoughts
What is Veronika Lidiak’s story? Based on other research in this town, it was incredibly rare for women to remain unmarried and childless their entire lives. Why did she die single at age 52 in her home of birth? What did she do/what happened to her?
  • Maybe Veronika was a prostitute. This seems unlikely because they lived in a small mountain village in rural Moravia, not an urban hotbed of social activity. Also, all of their descendants were devoutly Catholic; their religious mores probably were taught to them by their parents.
  • Maybe Veronika was raped. It seems unlikely that she would have been so unlucky to be raped and conceive twice. I wondered if there could have been a hired hand on their farm who might have taken advantage of her, but do not think this family was in a position to hire laborers. They were very poor farmers struggling for survival [though this should be investigated further]
  • Is it possible that Jiří, Barbora’s uncle, was actually Barbora’s father, and that this was not only rape, but also incest? This seems like the least likely possibility because it certainly would have defied all contemporaneous cultural, religious, and moral codes.
  • Maybe Jiří the uncle was the person who asked the priest for the baptism. Maybe he was ambiguous when he asked, saying something like, “We have another girl (Veronika) at home, I’ll bring her tomorrow for baptism,” and so the priest assumed it was his daughter.         
  • Maybe Veronika conceived by someone who she could not marry for some reason. Maybe he was a soldier, a protestant (though interfaith marriage was legal), from a higher or lower social class, someone her parents hated, someone she didn’t want to marry, etc.?
  • Maybe Veronika had a mental or physical disability.

Why are Jiří Lidiak and Tereza Uhlař listed as Barbora’s parents?
  • Czech Catholics regarded early baptism as an essential sacramental rite, and were almost always baptized within 3 days of the birth. Is it possible that Barbora was baptized two years after her birth? In short: no. This was not done.
  • What is Veronika’s relationship to the witnesses/godparents?
  • Is it possible that they were not actually a devout Catholic family? There is no evidence to suggest that this family was protestant.
  • Did Barbora’s baptism, “slip through the cracks” as an oversight? In short: in the 19th century, very unlikely.
  • Was Barbora actually born in 1815, and the other records which imply a birth in 1810, 1812, and before ~1813 are wrong? Did Barbora (or her family) claim she was “of age” (24) even though she was really 22, because they were motivated to get her out of the house? Was it because she acted older? Was it because she had experienced pregnancy/childbirth?
  • Were Jiří and Tereza trying to help their sister/sister in law Veronika, who may not have been able to raise a child herself for some reason? Were they acting as “adoptive” parents?
  • Are the birth date discrepancies just a clerical error? There are other apparent mistakes in the records, so why not here as well? And can you really blame the clerk for mixing up two first cousins named Barbora Lidiak who lived in the same place?

I am convinced that my great great grandmother Agnes Steffek Vasicek’s apparent feelings against illegitimacy were based on previous knowledge, beliefs, or experiences she had in her life. Not only was she herself a devout Catholic, but we can see that illegitimacy was almost “contagious” in her maternal line. It is highly likely that she knew that her own mother Mariana Janda was conceived out of wedlock; maybe she also knew that her grandmother Barbora Lidiak had both previously born/was herself an illegitimate child. Did Agnes also know about her great grandmother Veronika’s experience with illegitimacy? Did these experiences contribute to her negative perception towards her almost-illegitimate daughter in law Betty? Did Agnes feel a sense of betrayal when her efforts to break the cycle of illegitimacy were thwarted by her son’s choice of spouse? Can we understand Agnes’s prejudice a little bit more, imagining the kinds of personal experiences and conversations she might have had in her family surrounding this difficult topic?

Further Questions:
  • Where did the money in this family go? What happened?
  • Is Rosalie the child of František Janda and Barbora Lidiak, or Johanna Walek?
  • And what is the apparent connection that these Lidiaks have with someone named Walek?
  • How do the witnesses on Barbora Lidiak’s 1815 birth record relate to her?      
  • Who is the father of Barbora Lidiak? Is it possible to ever find out?
  • Is Johann Blazek the father of the illegitimate children of Jiří and Tereza’s Barbora Lidiak? If so, why didn’t they marry earlier? Was he a soldier? Were they living a “common law” marriage because active duty soldiers were not allowed to marry?
  • Was there a similar situation with Veronika? Did she perhaps have an “understanding” with a soldier who died before he could come home and marry her? Or perhaps he flat out abandoned her?

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