The expansion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire extended a Western bureaucratic approach to Eastern Europe. In 1869, the Hungarian government conducted a census in Slovakia to take stock of the peoples who were its subjects. As a result, many peasant families were enumerated, gaining a modest place in the historical record that they would have lacked otherwise.
The surviving pages of the handwritten census preserve the specific characteristics of Slovakian households: their religion, nativity, family composition—even the number and type of livestock they kept. Only some parts of the census are extant. The most extensive part covers the Zemplina district, which encompassed the town of Nižný Komárnik (called Alsó-Komárnik).
This small mountain town in northeastern Slovakia near the Dukla Pass consisted of twenty-eight households, five of them formed with members of the Radomsky family.
In House 6 lived Maria (Radomsky) Widrek (b 1826) with her husband János (b Koprivnica 1824), their six children (2 boys and 4 girls), his brother-in-law Peter [Lavasinin], a married man, and Peter’s bachelor son, Lukas. The Widrek house consisted of a ground floor with a separate pantry or storage room and 2-1 rooms for sleeping. (The Widreks probably had two rooms, the Lavasinins one.) The household was a working farm; besides the house, the property had a stall and a barn. The Widreks kept four head of livestock (one Swiss cow, two oxen, and one calf) and two beehives.
János Widrek identified himself as the owner (“tulajdonos”) of his land. He alone among his household was literate.
In House 8 lived Anna (Radomszka) Röszler (b 1830) with her husband, Janos (b 1824) and their six children. All were native to the town. Their house was similar to the Widreks, except that it had one less sleeping room. Both the Widreks and Röszlers were Roman Catholic. The Röszlers had two Swiss cows, two calves, two oxen, and two beehives. Behind the Röszlers’ house, in House 8B, lived an unrelated couple in their thirties lacking any apparent occupation.
In House 14 lived Josef Radomszky (b 1821), his wife Karolina Schuler Radomszky (b 1831) and their two sons, Joszef (b 1863) and Mihály (b 1867). All were native to the town. This family too was Roman Catholic. Their home was modest. They owned two Swiss cows and a calf. (Baptismal records show they had also had a daughter Carolina, born 5 May 1862; since she is not listed here, she likely died.)
In House 15 lived Feodor (Theodore) Radomszky (b 1833) with his wife Maria Biszaha (b 1834). She was the sole Greek Catholic in a Roman Catholic household. He could read and is identified in the notes column as “Ki szolgals gyalok | Köz legeny,” which I think means “off guard service” “infantry” “private”. Feodor and Maria had four children: János (1853), Maria (1855), Mihály (1862), and Mihály inf [junior] (1864). This younger Mihály may have been the child of a deceased sibling.
In House 16 lived the multigenerational family of Haver Radomsky (b 1789) and his wife Alsbeta Schwancer (b 1788) with two of their sons, the son’s wives and children, and one servant—thirteen people in all. The Haver Radomskys, at roughly 80 years of age, were the oldest people in Nižný Komárnik. Neither was native to the town. He appears to have been born in the Saros region but not in the town; unfortunately the word giving his birthplace is illegible. She was reportedly born in “Prag” [Prague] in “cseh sver-ag” [in the Czech land], which would account for her Germanic name.
The household was reportedly Roman Catholic.
Their house was no more complex than the others, having an indoor pantry and two sleeping rooms, but the family had more livestock than other households, owning two mares, two cows, two bulls, a calf, and three goats. Haver Radomsky was described as a farmer-owner, similar to the household heads already described.
The Radomskys’ two resident sons, widely separated in age, may have been the oldest and youngest of their children. The elder son, János Radomszki (b 1819), was the only one at home who knew how to read and write. His wife Anna Biszaha of Rassony (b 1837) was substantially younger than he. They had five children born in the space of 11 years: Veronika (1856), Mihály (1859), Anna (1862), Theresia (1865), and János (1867).
This was probably János’s first and only marriage, unless he was a widower with much older children who were already grown. More likely, János married late because of a shortage of marriageable women in Nižný Komárnik, a problem he eventually overcame by marrying a woman from farther away.
(Several years after the census, János and Anna had another child, Julia, born 21 July 1875, whose baptismal record survives.)
The younger of Haver and Alsbeta’s sons was my great-great-grandfather Karol [Charles] Radomszki, b 1837. (At the time of his birth, his mother would have been 49 years old.) Karol married Anna Sudiak or Sutiak (b 1839). At the time of the census, they had one child, János (b 1869), an infant less than one year old.
Image is a detail from the 1869 census courtesy of Family Search.
It shows the multi-generational household of Haver and Alsbeta Radomsky.
Click to enlarge.
This is the third in a series of posts about my origins.
Click here to go to the first “Origins” page.
Click here to go to the previous page on the 1869 Slovakian census.
Click here to go to a page on Slovakia within the Austro-Hungarian empire.
17 April 2017