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Meet the Galinak, Surma and Kucala Family Lines

Slovakia (Southern Poland)

Our maternal great-great-grandparents were born in and lived in the Krakow Province of Poland's present boundaries. This particular region is located in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains very close to the Slovakian border of today (about 20 European kilometers). Before World War I, the Krakow Province was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and its government was influenced much by Hungary. This is evidenced by the fact that nearly all of the villages in this region had Hungarian spellings prior to 1914. Ann KUCALA was born in Nowa Biala (Ujbela - Hungarian spelling). It is bordered by another small village of Krempachy (Belakorompa - Hungarian spelling). The specific birthplace of Walentine SURMA is unknown at this time. It is speculated to be either Nowa Biala or Krempachy. Adlabert GALINAK's birthplace is at a Polish village nearby Krempachy, in Lesnica.

Krempachy and Nowa Biala were originally part of the Northern most part of Slovakia under Hungarian domination and today, it is part of Nowy ojcz voyvodship, Nowy Targ pwiad only two miles from Nowy Targ. "Our" people were Slovaks, not Polish. As Slovaks, they were subjects of Hungarians for over a thousand years. It can be readily acknowledged that many Slovaks adopted Hungarian nationality. Krempachy and Nowa Biala were part of the old Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Krempachy has two churches, one (St. Martin) was 700 years old and it is still there. The newer church is presently operating. Krempachy was settled at least 700 years ago and did celebrate its 700 year anniversary.

When the countries were cut up and the lands divided after World War II, thirteen villages in the Spis region and thirteen villages in the Orava region were turned over respectively to Poland and Czechoslovakia. The situation in Spis and Orava is like that of Northern Ireland. The Slovaks have certain privileges given them but some of the younger element does not seem to care to take advantage of their plebescite. When the lands were divided, our Slovak people from the areas given to Poland were "invited" to settle in Slovakia, hundreds of them took advantage of this offer and were given unoccupied homes and properties which, I believe, were in former German colony (but not Sudentenland). Our grandmother, Elizabeth GALINAK has two nieces living in Holic- Slovakia, who re-settled "over the Tara Mountains."

The people who remained back in Krempachy, Nowa Biala, etc., were in most cases, the oldest sons who had or would inherit their parent's property. Many of the old parents also went along with their younger children to Slovakia to leave more room for the family remaining. As in many of the old countries, because of a shortage of land several generations usually lived together. Lucky was the boy or girl who got married into a family where he/she could move. Hence, many marriages were of convenience, a boy married a girl whose bother married his sister so that each would have a place to live. Our mothers came to America to make room for older brothers who wanted to get married.

The people who live in Krempachy and Nowa Biala today live in homes that are extremely sturdy, they are built to withstand 200 years at least. new homes are being built in the same manner. All the homes are in residential areas. In Krempachy and Nowa Biala, the farms are in various strips of land in different locations (by inheritance over the years). In Slovakia, the people seem to have large properties in back of their homes, like two/three city blocks long. They raise some of their own products but are not really farmers as they all seem to have outside jobs except for some landowners in Poland -- and their younger adults all have jobs in Nowy Targ, the nearest large city.

Today, people in Krempachy and Nowa Biala do not want for anything. They have sturdy homes, televisions, most of them have steam heat and of course, running water, bath tubs, and indoor toilets. Transportation is excellent and very inexpensive. Food is plentiful (they have plenty of milk, cream, bread, cakes, meats - all kinds of chops, roast, kielbasa and others sausages., etc.) and their eating habits are different than ours. They eat anything at any time of the day, i.e. no cereals for breakfast nor poached eggs. They might have soups, chicken, ducks, geese, fancy torts, etc., at any meal including breakfast. Their coffee is ersatz or Turkish. They have vegetables which they put into their soups but throw them out instead of eating them. They have some salads (potato, macaroni, and even have spaghetti) and some tiny tomatoes. Fruits are available, such as apples, pears, cherries, and apricots -- the same all over the country and at the same prices.

Our Earliest Kucala, Galinak and Surma Family Lines

This past summer, my entire family and I traveled to Slovenia and Poland to do original family history. We visited the villages where my maternal ancestors originated from in Nowa Biala and Krempachy, Poland. These villages are about 10 kilometers southeast of Nowy Targ in Krakow province. Previous to this trip, the oldest identified progenitor from our maternal family lines was our great-grandmother, Anna (Maria) KUCALA. She was born on October 2, 1853. From last summer? trip, I have gone back one more generation as follows with Ann KUCALA? parents and the parents of each of her two husbands? parents: Jozef SURMA and Jan GALINAK.

Melichor KUCSALA and Maria DLUGI who was born about 1840.. They had more than five children: Maria (born June 27, 1851), Anna KUCALA (October 2, 1859), Maria KUCALA (October 30, 1854), Carolin KUCALA (born October 30, 1854 and died May 19, 1935), Josephina KUCALA (born March 18, 1857 and died April 13, 1923), Joseph KUCALA (born March 10, 1862), Rozalia (September 30, 1864), Catharina (born May 20, 1867), Rozalia (born September 30, 1864), Robert KUCALA (born May 20, 1867 and died March 3, 1868) and Jozef KUCALA (born March 18, 1869).

Jozef SURMA was born in the 1830? and married Rozalia KALYATA. They had at least one child: Walentine SURMA (born February 4, 1848 and died February 27, 1887 in Krempachy). Walenty and Ann KUCALA were married on July 23, 1879 in Krempachy, Poland.

Jan GALINAK who was born about 1840 and married Agnienka STOHASKA. They had four children: Wojcech GALINAK (born October 27, 1863 in Lesnica, Poland and died May 28, 1944 in Krempachy), Jozef GALINAK (born June 12, 1856 in Lesnica), Andrej GALINAK (born October 3, 1860 in Lesnica) and Michel GALINAK (born September 25, 1859 in Lesnica). Walentine SURMA married Ann KUCALA on January 25, 1888 in Krempachy.

Ann KUCALA had two husbands: 1) Walenty SURMA and 2) Wojciech GALINAK (our great-grandfather). Ann bore eleven children. The first husband, Walenty SURMA, died in 1888 or 1889 of pneumonia after attending a party. The second husband, Wojciech GALINIAK, married Anna KUCALA about one year later and lived with her to their deaths in 1935 and 1944, respectively. Anna KUCALA was born on October 2, 1853 in Nowa Biala. They were farmers, raising their own food, owning few livestock and living modestly. Their nationality was Slovak. Their subculture is Spis. Their religion was Roman Catholic, which was strongly practiced. Today, there are no descendants of Ann KUCALA in either Krempachy or Nowa Biala. But there are numerous relatives of her two husbands (GALINAK and SURMA) still residing in southern Poland in the Krempachy/Nowa Biala area.

History of the Walenty SURMA Family Line

Walenty SURMA was born on February 4, 1848 in the Krempachy vicinity. His parents were Jozef SURMA aand Rozalia KALATA. He married Anna KUCALA on July 23, 1879 in Krempachy. They had four children: three boys and one girl (Wojcech (George), Joseph (born December 31, 1884), and Maria). Three of them immigrated to the U.S.A.

History of the Wojciech Galinak Family Line

Wojciech (Adalbert) GALINIAK was Polish, being born on October 27, 1863 in a Polish village nearby Krempachy, Lesnica. He married Anna KUCALA SURMA on January 25, 1888. He spoke Slavic. He had three brothers (Robert, Jacek and Andriej). One of which died soon after my grandmother came to the U.S.A. in 1906. Wojciech was a craftsman who made wagon wheels by profession. In general, Polish people were business people, while Slovak people were farmers.

The parents of Wojciech (Adalbert) are Jan GALINAK and Agnienka STOHASKA. Wojciech (Adalbert) apparently had red hair and gray sideburns. Adalbert and Anna lived in Krempachy on the small farm that Walenty SURMA had built. Anna KUCALA SURMA GALINK died on May 19, 1935. They conceived seven children: Michael, Elizabeth, Jan, Jozef, Anna, Zofia and Wojciech. All of these children were born in Krempachy and all of them remained near Krempachy for the remainder of their lives, except for Elizabeth and John. Today, some of Adalbert's descendants are still living in the vicinity of Krempachy. Adalbert and Anna lived together until their deaths. Anna dying first at about 85 on May 19, 1935 and Adalbert later pm May 28, 1944 at about 81 years old age.

Immigration To The U.S.A. - 1880's and later to Passaic, New Jersey

The earliest KUCALA, SURMA and GALINAK immigrants to the U.S.A. settled in Passaic, New Jersey - a small, specialized woolen mill manufacturing center, 12 miles west of New York City. Passaic was a sociological phenomenon. For example, in 1910 its population contained the largest proportion of foreign-born whites, 52 percent of its 54,773 inhabitants, of any city in the United States, four of every five foreign-born residents came from Southern and Eastern Europe or Russia. Later some of these immigrants re-settled in Chicago, Illinois.

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