Thus far on grandpa’s trail

Miloš interrupted my thoughts with an inquiry. The amateur historian back in Partizánske had given us a copy of the only Diviš records he could find. I had thanked him and stuck the papers in my folder before we walked to the museum. It wasn’t news to us – this copy of the baptism record of Hermina, Grandpa’s older sister. Miloš had recorded that information from the church near Nedašovce on our visit two years ago. Family lore was she became a Nun, but we haven’t found any other clues about her. Why would Miloš want to look at that record again….and why now? I retrieved it for him.

“House # 23” Miloš read, or did it say “#123”? He examined the baptism record. I looked blankly at Miloš. Was he suggesting we had been visiting the wrong house all along?? Or, Miloš suggested, did the village change or update its house numbering system sometime in the past since the Diviš family lived there? Or did the family move frequently?

So we drove around the small village following numbers. As a retired postal carrier/clerk, I know addresses!! But NOT in Slovakia! It was just the day before that Miloš was trying to explain house numbers to me in Banská. Smaller villages do not have street names. Only houses have numbers. Some houses have two sets of numbers. It had shed some light on a very mysterious addressing system! But not much!

Now we set off looking for #23…or #123. We found #23 – and the persistent dog in the yard barking at us caused the owner to investigate. Upon questioning, she shared that her father built the house 50 years ago. Too new to be a Diviš residence. Around the block again. Ah-ha – an older looking house – addressed 21-22-23, but vacant. The next door neighbors watched us with curiosity from their yard, and suggested we inquire at the pub across the street. We did, but to no avail.

Now we had a new riddle. Grandpa’s house… longer standing….BUT – was it really Grandpa’s?? Have we been looking at the wrong house? No, our friend ING Anton Kajaba the local senior resident of Nedašovce pointed us to it in 2015. But what of the different addresses on the document – did the family move – before…or after Herminia’s birth? I would later examine all of the baptism records Milos copied that day to discover that there were indeed multiple house numbers recorded in the church book. Five different addresses in fact! Through the 10 years in Nedašovce, in which eight children were born to Augustin and Anna Diviš, they lived at house # 9, 23, 25 & 26. And finally #77/78, which was no longer standing! Always more questions and mysteries than answers…and they would have to wait. Tomorrow I boarded my plane in Krakow to return to the USA.

As for the Ebenezer stones, God intended them to be a reminder of what He has done. In God’s provision for my amazing journey to understand my grandfather and his land, there is much to be thankful for, even though the mysteries remain. That I would come to Slovakia, not once but four times! I would never have dreamed it possible! Seeing for myself where my family lived. To learn the history of this beautiful land, to say nothing of its people whom I have come to cherish, whom I have to thank for all of these blessings. I hugged the Krpelan family tightly and climbed into the van that would take me past the Tartar Mountains, through more rural countryside of Slovakia, this time the NE corner and across the border into Poland. I looked at their smiling faces through the window; they were having as hard a time with this “Dovidenia” as I was. As the van pulled away, and I began my journey home, I realized I will never be the same, as I have left pieces of my heart in Slovakia. Oh Grandpa, that I could share this adventure with you and thank you for your legacy. And now this story becomes another stone reminding me what God has done!

Marie Diviš Coffey
July 2018

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