From left to right:
Elizabeth Capek (wife), Andrew John Namik (husband), Ann Namik (daughter)
Update I at the end
Update II near the end
In the previous post (see here) covering the Capek branch of my family, I ended the post with teaser regarding the “Namik” branch of the family. This post will answer that tease.
I use italics on the name “Namik” here because, like most immigrant surnames (especially from Eastern Europe), the original spelling was anglicized to some degree upon arrival to America. This modification of a family surname creates a huge challenge when trying to find family records back in the “old country”. This was definitely the situation with this branch of the family tree because the surname is very common in Slovakia, expressed in various spelling (Nemec, Nyemecz, etc.).
While creating a private family tree for a newly-discovered distant cousin along the Cepak branch, I noticed something in passing. The Cepak’s are from a very small village in Slovakia called Nový Ruskov. In researching the Cepak family branch I rely on a translated Slovakian genealogy site (see here) that has great information on Slovakian towns and villages, including surnames from the 2005 phone books. As I was finishing up the information I happened to notice something in the list of names for Nový Ruskov.
Below is a screen snap from a section of that website. It shows the variations of the “Capek” surname in this village of less than 700 souls (outlined in green). And outlined in purple is what caught my eye – variations of the surname “Nemec”.
Elizabeth Capek and Andrew Namik were married in Ohio, not in Slovakia. According to the 1920 US census they both list Slovakia as their native tongue, but they immigrated to America in two different years (1898 and 1901, respectively). So I had assumed they did not know each other back in the “old country” and came over independently. When I noticed variations of the surname “Nemec” in this still rural region of Slovakia I realized I needed to reconsider that assumption.
In the last post on the Cepak branch I noted how I was able to utilize Slovakian Church records to find another generation of Cepak’s. But in the case of the “Namiks” I have never been able to locate any European record that I had confidence was one of our ancestors. The only thing I knew was that Andrew John Namik was born in the huge Kingdom Hungary, and that was from US records.
So I began to search the Slovakian Church records on the surname variations of “Nemec” I had just discovered (this weekend). I did have one important data point – Andrew Namik’s birthday: May 17th, 1880. I used this to filter out the thousands of possible records I was facing.
There was no luck in the village of Nový Ruskov where the Cepak’s were from. But it was not long before I found this record:
Name András Nyemecz Gender Male Baptism Date 18 May 1880 Baptism Place Sečovce, Trebišov, Slovakia FHL Film Number 1924882 Household Members
Name Age András Nyemecz Susanna Bactusz János Nyemecz
Note, the three names in the “household” represent the child being baptized, the mother and the father.
What sealed it for me was that this baptism record is one day after Andrew Namik’s known birthday.
But in addition, Andrew’s Americanized name is Andrew John Namik. From this site we know Andrew is spelled “Andraš” in the Prekmurje dialect of Slovene. And from this site we know the name John is spelled “János” in Hungarian. So “Andrew John” in the native language is spelled “András János”. It makes sense to have Andrew’s middle name be the same as his father’s.
Most importantly, we have the original Slovakian spelling for this branch of the family: “Nyemecz”. To me this is a a treasure. It helps me differentiate between other variations and branches, but also allows us to know our ancestors by the name they preferred.
Finally, (as if we need any more evidence) the location sited for the baptism of – and assumed to be the birth place of – András Nyemecz is Sečovce, Trebišov District, Slovakia. This is amazingly close to Nový Ruskov, where his wife was from. Here is a Google Earth image of the two locations close up, which are only 4.1 miles apart by car (click image to enlarge):
The next image shows the two locations within the country of Slovakia itself:
It is very possible these two knew each other in the old country, came to America and then married.
The evidence that this Slovakian Church record is for our ancestor Andrew Namik is overwhelming. And along with that record – the first for the Namik branch in Europe – comes another generation of our ancestors: our Great-great grandparents János Nyemecz and Susanna Bactusz.
Update II: I decided to go through the many Namik-related pictures I have been sent over the years and was surprised to learn I have a picture of the birth certificate of András Nyemecz – confirming everything I had discovered! [Click to enlarge]
Along the top is the date of birth (1880, Majus, 17) along with the place of birth (Gálszécs). Going back to that trusted Slovakian site we learn that “Gálszécs” was the name for the town of Sečovce from 1863–1913. The birth certificate above was issued in 1913:
The certificate also confirms the names of our Great-great grandparents. So there is no more doubt – we have established where in Slovakia the Nyemecz were from. – end update
Here is an updated family tree showing Mary Theresa Namik’s ancestors (my grandmother) now filled in with all this new information (and the additional information from the prior Cepak post):
Update I: Decided to include an image of the town of Sečovce