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Slovakia – Not many people even know it exists let alone where it's located

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

But it's very important to me

It’s not Slovenia or Slovonia but rather the eastern half of the old Czechoslovakia.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the “Velvet Divorce” (Jan 1, 1993) split the Czech Republic from the Slovak Republic, all very amicably. This was a very different result than occurred in the old Yugoslavia which experienced much violence and bloodshed as new countries were formed.

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and we only had enough time here for a tour of the old town, lunch and for me to buy this hat.

The country is important to me for another reason. My grandparents immigrated to the USA from Slovak villages in 1900 and 1907. At that time all of this area was part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire and ruled by Vienna and Budapest.

I’ve been to Bratislava before. It was here that in 2008 I met my Slovak cousins after no contact between the families in over 70 years.

The 2 older women in this photo are my first cousins. We share a common grandfather. He immigrated to the USA after the death of his wife. His 2 sons were grown when he married my grandmother, a widow with 4 children. My mother was their only child.

After much research I found my relatives and they showed me a picture of my grandfather who died in Slovakia in 1935 on a visit to his first family

This was the first time I ever saw a picture of him.

He had 15 grandchildren and 14 of them always knew each other. Finally I, number 15, got to know them too. We’ve stayed in touch since then.

1935 was the middle of the Depression. Then came WWII when their village was a battleground. This was followed by the Communist era.

Communication is so much easier now. We have the Internet!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SHIRAZSOLLY 6/12/2013 1:57PM

    What a glorious church! Thanks for uploading the new photos and scanning the older ones.

My father went all over the former USSR for work and I'm sure he hoped to run into a relative or two, but he never did. He brought back some gorgeous photos, though. Maybe I'll figure out how to use a scanner one of these days.

It's amazing how well that old black and white photo of your grandfather came out!

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BOILHAM 6/12/2013 9:18AM

    I make contact with Slovakia via ham radio all the time. Not conversations, usually just a signal report, what type of equipment they are using, maybe a weather report and a friendly quick goodbye.

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SUNSET09 6/12/2013 4:41AM

  I was wondering where it is as I work with a few people from this country. I've already googled it to know. Knowledge is power! It's great to reconnect with family and to conitnue the legacy and share the heritage. Good for you in reaching out and staying connected! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/12/2013 4:50:19 AM

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WILSONWR 6/11/2013 10:40PM

    What a great opportunity to explore your roots!

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DESERTJULZ 6/11/2013 9:51PM

    What a great trip for you! I'm glad you were able to go and enjoy touring the "where you're from" regions. I'd like to visit Italy one day, for the same reason. :D

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JESSICABOOTY 6/11/2013 9:16PM

    And to think you were able to connect with your relatives after all the time and space is fantastic. Good for you and your extended family! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 6/11/2013 8:58PM

    We didn't know: but now we do! Nice to know where it is and why it's important to you!

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MJREIMERS 6/11/2013 8:01PM

    How cool! I love when you finally get to meet family that you didn't know or haven't seen in a long time. What a beautiful place!! It's awesome that you know so much about your family history! emoticon

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COCK-ROBIN 6/11/2013 7:00PM


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SARAWALKS 6/11/2013 6:56PM

    How marvelous that you found them! History becomes so interesting when you imagine an ancestor living it...even more so when they are alive to tell about their experiences! emoticon

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MJZHERE 6/11/2013 3:34PM

    My husbands grandparents came from Slovakia and mine from Hungary. Glad you are home safe and sound.

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RUBYREDIVY1 6/11/2013 2:26PM

    Wow, how interesting! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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BELLAMEMAW 6/11/2013 12:18PM

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing, Pat

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JAHINTZY 6/11/2013 12:08PM

    awesome! our family has a similar story with cousins in (former) East Germany - some of my Great Grandmother's older sisters stayed behind when the family moved to Philadelphia. We've been back in touch with our long lost cousins and some of us have gone to Germany to visit them and some have come here to the states for visits. My dad found a cousin working for Deutsche Bank in the early/mid 90s and emailed him through the bank - the wonders of the internet :)

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BOOKAPHILE 6/11/2013 11:38AM

    History lives when it becomes personal! I enjoyed your history here.

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CELIAMINER 6/11/2013 10:26AM

    Great pictures and fantastic story! Glad you were able to visit your roots!

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MYSTERYROSE74 6/11/2013 9:38AM

    Awesome family history. It's amazing how much communication has changed in so little amount of time.

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SUZYMOBILE 6/11/2013 9:35AM


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SLIMMERJESSE 6/11/2013 8:59AM

    What lovely photos! Thanks for sharing them.

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DR1939 6/11/2013 8:36AM

    What a lovely experience. The political changes in Eastern Europe have reunited many experiences.

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    Hurray for filling in the missing pieces that make us who we are!

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NANNABLACK 6/11/2013 7:26AM

    It is good to know your family stories. You are so lucky to be able to have that communication now. That is so awesome.

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BLUENOSE63 6/11/2013 7:26AM

  Wow that is great that you finally got to see a picture of your Grandfather. 15 grandchildren? Huge number! Must be great to have pieces of your ancestry fall into place. Are you going to do a family tree?

Keep posting, so interesting.

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GARDENCHRIS 6/11/2013 7:21AM

    what a nice story.... glad you are keeping in touch. I too have relatives in Europe, and you are right the internet is so much faster!

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ONEKIDSMOM 6/11/2013 7:11AM

    Roots. So deep, so strong. Glad you got to see your cousins, and that life has given you these connections over the years.

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MAGGIEVAN 6/11/2013 6:39AM

    It is good to know one's roots. Congrats on staying in touch. My dentist (a woman), is called Bratislava. I am living in New Zealand. The name of her husband? Also Bratislava. Amazing, I think.

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DOVESEYES 6/11/2013 6:29AM

    It's great to piece together your history.

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