Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Misleading Documentation & Corroborating Evidence

I was wrong; I admit it.  Last month, I posted about how I'd just discovered my great-great-great grandparents' names, including my ggg grandmother's maiden name.  They were listed as Hers and Roza Motyovics Eizikovics on my great-great grandmother's death record, so I dutifully added those names to my family tree and list of ancestral surnames.
Minda Eizkovics Joszovics' Death Record--Parents are the late Hers Eizikovics and the late Roza Motyovics
But it seems I was wrong.  And it reinforced a lesson--even with something as straightforward as this, look for corroborating evidence!

Mindel was the oldest of four siblings that I know of. And I've discovered death records from the other three as well:

Motya Eizikovics Death Record, 1915
Martan "Motya" Eizikovics died at 1915 at the age of 57.  His parents were given as the late Hers and the late Roza--with no maiden name.  So far everything seems to match Mindel's death record.
Josef Eizikovic Death Record, 1922
Josef died in 1922 at the age of 61.  Josef's death record only had his mother's last name as Eizikovic, her married name.  But it had his father's name as Samuel, not Hers--what's with that?  (An interesting side note is the change in the spelling of the last name which was reflected in the area as a whole--the town had changed hands from Austria-Hungary to Czechoslovakia; the town name was also changed from Darva to Kolodne.)

So let's check the last sibling.  She also died the earliest (in childbirth), so maybe she'd have the most accurate information.
Snippet of Basha Eizikovics Death Record, 1905
Basha Eizikovics Lebovics' parents are listed as the late Hersko and Riza Markovics.  Not Motyovics.  That raises yet another question.

There were two questions raised from this series of sibling records.
  1. Was their father Hers or Samuel?
  2. Was their mother Reiza's maiden name Motyovics or Markovics?

The answer to the first was easy.  Looking through the graves shown on Kolodne's KehilaLinks page, I found one that matched the death date from Josef Eizikovics' death record.
Josef Eizikovics Grave
Yosef Yehudah son of Shmuel Tzvi died in Iyar 5782, corresponding to May 1922, which is the month on his birth record.  Tzvi is Hebrew for the Yiddish Hirsch or Hers, so my great-great-great grandfather was Shmuel Tzvi "Hers" Eizikovics.

But there's still the problem of Roza's maiden name.  It can't be both Motyovics and Markovics.  And both are names of Kolodne-area families.  And then I saw it--what almost wasn't there.
Josep Eizikovics Birth, 1862
At first glance, the above looks like an 1862 birth record for Selig, son of Leib and Sara Meilechovits.  Very cool if Selig is your relative, but as far as I know he isn't mine.  But look at the crossed-out record--the birth of Josep son of Smil Eizikovics and Reize Markovits!  Smil is Shmuel, so this is the birth of Mindel's brother Josef.  And here is another piece of evidence to back the Markovics/Markovits surname!

So if we go for majority rules (and also guess that the birth of Josef was reported by his parents who likely knew his wife's name), my great-great-great grandmother was not Roza Motyovics but rather Roza Markovics.  So I was wrong in my previous post.  And this shows (something that Israel Pickholtz has tried to drive home) that one piece of evidence isn't solid proof.

Please welcome me to the extended Markovics family!  I think.

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Feel free to follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Markus is generally Mordecai. I see Motyovics (son of Moti=Mordecai) as the same as Markovics. They could be different but they don't have to be.

    1. Hmmm. So maybe I wasn't wrong after all? Or I was wrong in that I was wrong? :)

      I'm going to go through the town's records to see if the other Markovics and Motyovics individuals are consistent with their last names or if they switch between the two.

  2. Always comes back to that we need to be open and keep learning and checking.