Ancestral conspiracies!

Archive Day has come and gone and finally, a week later, I am writing a post! This is because I have been kept busy by a competition in office hours and by sports of all kinds (ice hockey, gym, Order & Chaos) in the evenings. It’s also because I’ve been wanting to draw a little tree so my crazy theory is easier to understand.

In darker shades it shows the people we started from: Andrew, his wife Susan, my great grandmother Maria, her half brother Jan and their mysterious sister in the US.
Lighter shades are all the newfound people. The dashed line means I’m not entirely certain about that connection. In this case it’s because my mum only found it as she was getting kicked out of the archive at closing time. Pavol, born in the same house as Andrew but obviously a generation before was most likely his father’s brother but we still need to double check this. Should this prove correct, Pavol’s parents would also be Andrew’s grandparents!

Just a quick recap about the mysterious sister. When my grandma was a child they used to receive boxes of presents from someone in the States. These boxes would go to her uncle Jan Harmaniak, his ten kids would pick their presents first and Harmaniak would then take the leftover presents to his sister’s house for her children. It was Harmaniak who once told my gran that they were from ‘her aunt in America’. Her own mum never spoke about it though I’m not sure if it was a secret or just lack of interest.

Now here goes my crazy theory:
What if the two Jan Miciks in the middle row were the same person? If Jan’s wife Katrena died sometime after the births of her last child  in 1885, he would be very likely to remarry soon, it was a common thing for widowers to do. Back in those days both parents were necessary to bring up a family. Jan would have been left with four kids, all under the age of 10 and even a single mother like Zuzana Harmaniakova would have been good enough for him in this situation. I assume she would have been just as keen to marry.
We still have to check the date of birth of Zuzana’s son, Jan Harmaniak, but I assume he could have been of an age with Jan Micik’s youngest daughter Katrena. Katrena would have been five years old when my great grandmother Maria was born. The three of them (Jan’s daughter Maria died at the age of 6, before great grandma was born) would have been brought up together, possibly largely oblivious of the fact that they are but half/step siblings.
Ondrej and Jan were a bit older however and wouldn’t have been very close to their siblings. They both emigrated to the US in early 1900’s. So what if Maria’s mysterious sister who used to send presents from the US was actually her half sister Katrena. She could have emigrated herself (after she got married as I didn’t find any documents on Katrena Micik), it would have been easier for her with a little help from one of her brothers in the beginning.
To be sure, Jan Harmaniak never mentioned Ondrej or Jan to my grandma, when he said the presents were from ‘her aunt in America’ but she might have been the only one of his step siblings he’d kept in touch with. If my assumption about his age is correct, he would have been of an age with Katrena but only about 10 years old with the two left the country. They also wouldn’t have been sending presents to their baby step-brother some 30 years later. But Katrena would have left in the late 1910’s or 1920’s and her attachment to her family back home would have been much stronger.

Sounds plausible? The truth is the names in these small villages just keep repeating, its all Jan, Ondrej, Maria, Zuzana over and over again. It’s possible it was a completely different Jan Micik. On the other hand, there is another Jan Micik in that generation. The father of Zuzanna Micik (1887-1966? whom I originally found and thought was my lost second great aunt) and the husband of Zuzanna Chilka who also emigrated to the US as a widow in 1921, supposedly to join her daughter? That’s three Jan Micik’s in that generation. Still possible I guess, but hopefully less likely…

Jeez our ancestors had no imagination whatsoever when it came to names. I wish they were a bit more Jewish and thought it bad luck to name children after living relatives!

I’m looking into some cheap tickets for the next archive slot: April 18th and 19th. The things to look up (for this particular branch) would be:
– Jan Harmaniak’s date of birth
– Jan Miciks’ birth certificates
– Jan Micik and Katrena Haklik marriage certificate
– Jan Micik and Zuzana Harmaniak marriage certificate
– Katrena  Micikova Haklik death certificate
– Katerna Micikova’s marriage certificate
– maybe look for Andrew and Susan’s daughter Anna again? My mum didn’t really find anything on her.
– I also want to see if I can find an Emilia or Emil Micik as Andrew seemed quite keen on those names. Or maybe this was from the Michalic side of the family?

A huge thanks to my mum Jelena who did all this research and some more!!!