So many things going on!
Job hunt, flat hunt, newly discovered archive materials, crazy brewing projects involving catnip… I haven’t even had a chance to think about the upcoming trips!
I have started on a portfolio of sorts! Any advice on which website is good for architectural portfolios would be much appreciated. So far I have Deviant Art but I don’t really like the layout. Not enough customisation. The idea is to eventually create a website of my own but I need something quick so this might have to do for the moment. I just wish the site ‘daportfolio’ didn’t make me sound so gangsta!
Another piece of news, and this might come as a surprise to some, yes Chmeli you, is that we are moving flat again. Our landlord decided to increase our rent by two hundred quid and the agency has been absolutely rubbish to deal with from the start. I’m quite looking forward to writing bad reviews once we’ve got our deposit back. If we get it back that is. We’d like to stay in Marchmont but the area is getting expensive, I personally think we might have raised the attractiveness of it and now it’s backfiring! So we are looking although I don’t even know if I’ll be in the country once the lease runs out in July. With Britain having no architectural jobs available I’m now considering Sweden or Norway. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
My mum found a website which hosts documents from back in the days of Austria Hungary, same ones as those in the archive. Unfortunately there is only one collection for Parnica (Births and Confirmations between 1839 and 1886) which is very hard to use as there is no Marriage collection to cross reference with. The moment you think you found someone, bang… you find another four people of the same name. Still it’s good to be able to view it in our own terms and actually have time to pay attention to helpful little notes on the side. I already found a few things that baffle me, for example, Jan the firstborn of Jan Micik and Katrena Haklik was born at no. 88 (the place where Zuzana Harmaniakova, the woman that was to become Jan’s wife after Katrena’s death lived) instead of their family house no. 139. Were they good friends, staying over because their own house was too crowded after they got married? Would that explain why Jan and Zuzana married later? Were her three illegitimate children Jan’s too??? We can only guess really. I did confirm though, that Zuzana Harmaniakova indeed married Adam Janci and had a child with him before he died in 1887. Jan Micik then did marry Adam Janci’s widow, the fact that confused us.
All I want to do now is go through all this properly, and the collections from my grandfather’s village too, but there’s portfolio work to be done first. *sigh*
In other news, catnip beer is underway! Well, I have planted catnip! We shall see what happens! The aroma is meant to be one of peppermint crossed with skunk!
The whole experiment is meant to provide a beer we could use for a fundraiser (or awareness raiser) for the endangered Scottish Wildcat.
I like my beers to be thematic… This is why I have made a diabolical beer for when Diablo III comes out in about three weeks time. The batch has been fermenting since this weekend so the game better take a very long time to finish!!!
The second and third archive visits from yesterday and the day before shed more light on the mysteries described in Ancestral conspiracies! and Ancestral confirmations?. It turns out my whacky theory was almost completely right, with the exception of the mysterious sister having been Katrena Micik. The baby actually died at six months of age, preceded by her mother by about two months. Jan Micik remarried in 1889 and exactly 10 months later, like a good girl, Zuzana Harmaniakova gave birth to my great grandmother Maria. A slightly puzzling fact is that apart from Jan (*1877) she had another son, Ondrej (1881 – 1893) about whom we knew nothing and as far as we know, Jan’s father was unknown, as so was Ondrej’s. Nevertheless her marriage certificate says she was a widow of Adam Janci. Was he the father of the two boys? Would they have lived together without getting married? Or did she marry him after her two kids were born?
And there is still no sign of the mysterious aunt of my grandma! Could it have been the wife of Andrew’s brother John? I’d thought I had found John’s family in Illinois, but his wife’s name is supposed to be Elisabeth (Alzbeta), while according to the archive it should have been Zuzana. Then again, who knows with so many Jan Miciks. Maybe it will be clearer after June 26th and 27th, the next archive stop.
I have also started a 14 day free trial on Geni and merged my two trees, the Micik’s and ours.
I now have 43 ancestors in my family tree, going as far back as 1700’s (ok, it would be more like 1799 but that’s still 1700’s so shame!) and all the way to my fourth great grandparents. Maybe I should start working on my dad’s side of the family now and look for those elusive Jews!
I have been living in Scotland for almost six years now but it wasn’t until last Saturday’s visit to the newly reopened museum that I first heard of Cat Sìth! If you don’t feel like reading the Wikipedia article, they are mythological creatures of the Scottish highlands: fairies or, in other stories, witches that turn into black cats. Supposedly these legends were sparked by sightings of Kellas cats. The are black feline hybrids of a Scottish wildcat and a domestic cat. This immediately ignited a spark in my head and the lightbulb came on! We should go to the highlands, to Kellas where a specimen was shot probably on the day I was born (I know it was in January 1983) and try to find one! Also, we could examine the one they keep in Elgin museum. Not knowing much about tracking cats, we decided to do some research and that is how we ended up on the Scottish Wildcat Association website.
Turns out these monkeys are on the verge of extinction. The Scottish wildcat is only found in Scotland, usually in the highlands, and even though they provide quite a good tutorial on recognising them, there seems to be only about 400 in the wild, very hard to spot. Challenge accepted!
I have since been given a years membership as a present. The £25 goes towards the conservation initiative and we have ordered a DVD to learn a bit more about them. New goal in life: observe a Scottish wildcat in the wild!
We think that one of the problems is their name. Scottish wildcat just kind of sounds like a cat gone feral in Scotland if you’re not familiar with the topic. Something like Scottish Teacup Tiger or Scottish Pygmy Nightsaber might attract more interest? Any ideas? Post them below!
More posts likely this week: archive days tomorrow and Thursday and portfolio / job hunt has tentatively started!
In one of my previous posts, Ancestral conspiracies! I discussed the possibility of Jan Micik (father of Andrew) and Jan Micik (father of Maria, my great-grandma) being the same person. It has indeed been confirmed to me that Maria’s mother Zuzana had a son by an unknown man before she married Jan, which is what what we’d assumed after finding the records of Maria’s birth. I have also found out that Maria’s son Jan was born in 1887, about three years before Maria. So the assumption that he would have been closer in age with Andrew’s sister Katrena, born in late 1885 than to his own sister Maria was also correct. As he was less than three when his mother married Micik, he would not have realised that his older sister was not really a blood relative. But I’m back to speculations now.
What we know for sure is that Andrew’s parents lived at Parnica no. 139. This is one important piece of information that my mum squeezed out of the birth records of not only Andrew, Jan and their two sisters but also Pavol Micik (*1858) who we think might have been Jan’s brother and Andrew’s uncle.
My mum has also done some on site snooping around however and made her way to Parnica last weekend. From old maps, as well as from what my grandma remembers of the old time Parnica, she has located the site of no. 139:
The house where Andrew was born is not there. All that’s left is a little hole in the ground. It used to be a hole directly in the floor of the house, through which they would pour potatoes into the cellar. It was probably only roofed over after the house has been destroyed, presumably during the Second World War, when the front lines swept across the village. A lot of the houses burned down then, including no. 99, where my grandma was born. They all hid in the cellar and came out to a burned down house with nothing left but the clothes they were wearing. One of the things that burned in the house was the “bible,” the chronicles that my great grandfather kept, supposedly beautifully written and containing a lot of information on births, deaths and marriages, a family tree of his own.
Maybe a similar cellar still exists under that little roof at no. 139.
But let me get back to the point. That house at the back of the site is what my grandma remembers as the house of Jan Harmaniak, the half-brother of her mum’s. Is it a confirmation of my theory that he built his house on the property that belonged to the man who would have brought him up? Jan and Zuzana would have married before Jan was two years old so he would have been brought up by Jan as his father. It would make perfect sense for him to stay nearby and care for his ageing parents.
It could also have been a coincidence of course, but it’s only a week until archive time and if it turns out that Maria Micikova was born at no. 139 it would be a much stronger argument. I’m also hoping the marriage records will yield information and I will be back with more next week!