Paula Spier <pspier@...>
This is a summary report on our visit to the Zemplen area at the end of
September. (I also have a day-by-day journal which I would be delighted
to share with anyone who wants to wade through it.)
We had made aarrangements with the Family Tree Agency in Budapest for
hotels and a car and driver-interpreter. We were met at the train
station, and, after a day in Budapest, driven to Satoraljaujhely. Our
guide proved a flexible and tolerant companion, climbing over cemetery
walls scaleable only by the young, negotiating ferry crossings
necessitated by our love of "interesting" back roads, and dealing with
Slovak border guards who were not particularly polit about our desire to
see what was on their side. She also, as planned, took us into archives
and offices which we would have had much difficulty managing by ourselves.
We visited the villages >from which our REICHAARD, PROPPER, and LAZAROWICS
ancestors had come (Tolcsva, Zemplenagard, and Satoraljaujhely). People
were uniformly helpful and interested in our quest, delighted to tell us
what they knew, and to give directions. We prowled cemeteries and
synaagogue sites. We had not really expected to find any graves we could
claim, since none of us could read Hebrew. We had brought along sketches
of what our names should look like, but it never was possible to find
anything in the overgrown cemeteries.
The cemetery in Tolcsva and the Orthodox cemetery in Satoraljaujhely are
really overgrown. We did see one in Erdobenye that was even worse. We
were given a copy of a picture of the Tolcsva synagogue, and told where
to find its surviving gatepost. We found the Satoraljaujhely synagogue,
now a furniture store.
The Zemplenagard cemetery is in good shape: cleared, mowed, and with
some of its headstones repaaired. (If there is a MENDEL reading this, he
is remembered in Zemplenagard as a visitor who came to find his roots.)
There is very little that is old in the town; it was almost totally
destroyed by a fire about 1866.
In Satoraljaujhely we walked the street where our grandparents had lived.
We spent a lot of time in the archives in Satoraljaujhely. We were given
the original fragile records >from Ujhely and Tolcsva, and the book in
which the Zemplenagard records would have been if they had not been
missing since 1866. There are 12 boxes of 1869 census records for
Satoraljaujhely, and it began to look as if what we were seeing was
duplicated in the Mormon records here, so we concentrated on Tolcsva.
We found a lot: marriages, births, deaths, census information. Some was
confirmation of material we had known, or thought we had known. Some was
new. (Our greaat-great-grandfather was a goldsmith, as is my son. Our
grandmother lied about her age. Our mysterious grandfather, whom we had
thought was a carpenter, listed himself as a merchant.) Some of the data
contradicts things we thought we knew. It will take a while to sort it out.
I have photos: Lots of cemeteries, a street scene and the synagogue
pillar >from Tolcsva, the plaza in Zemplenagard, a street in Erdobenye, an
abandoned synagogue and a street in Tokaji, Papshor Street in
Satoraljaujhely. I will be making duplicates soon. If anyone out there
would like copies, please let me know?