Slovakia Genealogy Research Strategies
About The Author
Bill Tarkulich has been actively researching the region of North-Eastern Slovakia since 1998. His quest escalated in 1999 upon the passing of his father, Michael, who was the son of Rusyn immigrants. As with so many Americans, the family history was filled with great voids of information. Bill started his research with very little information, no birthplace, no country, no immigration information, no family records. There was also no clear understanding of the ethnicity or religion of his grandparents. All he had to go on was some sounded-out place-names "Za-boy-ah", "Car-potty", "Ga-lick-see-ah" and a few glancing comments, "we were just hill people from the mountains."
Through the selective use of US government documents, he was able to identify the names of their villages and then determine which country. After this, he discovered the Mormon's holdings, which included the village church books. You can imagine the feeling the first time the church books were opened and he saw his family surname in 200-year-old records for the first time. Nearly a spiritual experience.
The next step on the journey was carefully crafting a "blind letter" to people in the communities of Slovakia with his surnames. With the help of a priest to translate, he sent the letter off, shortly after Thanksgiving, 1999. To his delight and surprise, in January, 2000 he received two replies which were the start of a wonderful series of correspondence.
In the year 2001, Bill and his sister had the privilege to visit his ancestral homeland, visiting for two weeks with new-found cousins in Zboj, Nova Sedlica, Ulic, Snina, Kosice and Bratislava. He visited our ancestral churches which had been moved to Skanzens (open-air museums) at Humenne and Bardejovske Kupele. Bill was able to confirm his Rusyn ethnicity and Greek Catholic heritage.
Bills' appetite for historical knowledge of this area remains high. There is very little English-language information on this region. He has spent a tremendous amount of time locating, translating and publishing information on this ignored region of the world. Bills' research interest includes most of the settlements of northeast Slovakia from Humenne to the Ukraine and Poland borderland villages.
Bills' second desire is to promulgate as much of this information as possible, especially to family researchers with roots in this region. To this end, he extended the "strategies" web site to include English-language based information about the region and its villages in order to bring people together.
Current projects include compiling and publishing on this web unique information about the small villages in this region, which until now have had no English-language venue. He is also working on compiling a brief history of the region for genealogical researchers. The history includes borderland events. Bill also spends much time learning about the World War II Soviet "eastern front", and the post-war communist regime, in which Slovakia played a big part, but is largely ignored by the west. Much of this information has been locked up either by the Communist governments or by language barriers. Bill strives to break down some of those walls, so we can have a better understanding of the history of our ancestral lands, up through modern times.
An unavoidable fact of life is that his day job does interfere with genealogical activities. He is a 31-year veteran of the computer industry, with a focus on Product Planning and Management. He hold an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a graduate degree in Business Administration. In his spare time he enjoys snow skiing and ocean sailing. His marriage is blessed with three lovely daughters.
Ancestral Village Research
Zboj, Slovakia - Peter Tarkulich, Grandfather, born 1882
Nova Sedlica, Slovakia - Maria Dzuba, Grandmother, born 1886.
Wetlina, Poland - Pal Dziuba - Great Grandfather, born about 1850.
Scranton/Dunmore, Pennsylvania, USA - The original immigrant settlement.
Corning, Binghamton, Syracuse, Rochester, New York, USA - Various places and residence of his ancestral family.
Family Surname Research
TARKULIC or TARKULIČ (Tarkulich, Tarkulicz, Tarkulics), DZUBA (Dziuba, Juba) , LESKO, BRASKO
Member, Carpatho-Rusyn Society
Photos - 1) Author atop Kremenec, the geographic peak along the Carpathian Mountain ridge, where Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine converge, 2) Third cousins: Bill Tarkulich and Ladislav Tarkulič, 2001, Zboj, Slovakia (These scythes were still in regular use by our 81-year old Babka in 2001 and are sharp enough to cut skin.) 3) War Memorial to Soviet liberators in Stakcín, Slovakia.
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