Friday, February 21, 2014

Uhersko, Banat

Yesterday, feeling frustrated, I contacted several of my Czech research contacts. Dr. Josef Šimíček emailed me back. He is a genius. He has written volumes and volumes of books that pertain to the exact area that I am researching, about the emigrants from the Moravian Czech lands to the United States, and mostly to Texas.

His email was reassuring after yesterday's failure. Well, more accurately, yesterday's realization that after weeks of researching, I am at an impasse. While he didn't have any new leads per se, he did confirm what I had found: this branch of the Haidušek family completely disappears from the parish registers towards the end of the 19th century!

So...where did they go?

Dr. Šimíček pointed out the one shred of a clue that I do have, and it is in the 1869 census. Here the brother Ignác Haidušek is listed as a single journeyman, residing in "Uhersko Banáty." Or perhaps that is a comma, not a diacritical mark.

If this enumerator followed the same system in every entry, the larger "county" type area would be listed first, and the city would be listed second.

Uhersko (and variants) is a village name in at least 4 different places within the Czech borders. But what if this is not within modern Czech borders? What if "Uhersko" is actually, "Hungary"?

Then...Banat would be a region of Hungary?


I had no idea that Czechs left their lands to go to the Banat region. I actually, truthfully, had no idea this place existed. I'm up on my Western European countries, and even regions, but not so much on Eastern Europe. I guess I mostly (wrongly) assumed that people have always migrated west. From my very American paradigm, I have this stereotype in my head that the further east that you go on the Eurasian continent, the less freedoms exist for typical people.

I know this is a simplistic view of the world, and I know that there are exceptions to this (and all - including this one bahaha) generalizations. Hear me out. Here I am in Iowa. I feel that I enjoy a high level of freedom in my country. I have lived in Western Europe (France) and there are many freedoms there, too. I have also lived in the Middle East (Jordan) and there are less freedoms there, but I imagine more than in Russia, the Ukraine, China, and then, of course, the scariest place on earth for a person to live right now, North Korea!

But! People did (and still do!) migrate east. In the 1820's, a group of Czechs settled in the Banat region (an area overlapping Hungary, Romania, and Serbia). They have remained there, an isolated agrarian society, holding to their religion (Catholic), language (Czech), and traditions. If I were to visit there today, it would be like glimpsing my own ancestor's world 100 years ago.

The problem is...If my Haidušeks went to Banat, how will I locate where in Banat?

The good news is that when I search the Hungary Catholic Church Records, 1636-1895, I do find a "Hajdusek" family!

The bad news is...I have no idea how to do research in Hungary. Or historic Banat.

But wow, it's fascinating to learn about this!

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