Finally, after years, and I do mean YEARS of poking, searching and poodling around–I finally found my Weisz relatives on the other side of the pond! Yeah Baby! And they come from…where else?…the proclaimed Geographical Center of Europe!
Yes, we’re talking Kunesov (or Blaufuss) Slovakia. Although if that’s all I had to go on during my exhausting search, this whole “middle of the world thing,” I could also have searched for them in about a dozen other places with similar central claims. Yes, per Wikipedia and a few other sources I have consulted, there are roughly 15 places with claim to being the center of the world and/or the center of Europe geographically. There’s also a “Center of the World” town in the state of Ohio. But my bunch came from a small gold-mining region of Slovakia, where there isn’t much more than a Church plunked on a plot in the middle of nowhere. Kunesov is said to be the place where both the Black and the Baltic Sea basins rise up to form the hill. Said hill, or “crest” is responsible for officially dividing the entire continent! That makes Kunesov rather like an out-y-bellybutton for all of Europe. The church was built in the 14th century and is named for St John the Baptist. Poor St John is also famous for his point of “division” in another way. The lonesome little building is adorned with white stone walls and a green onion dome silently adding a touch of East meets West.
Oddly, GGGrand-Papa is sporting a commonly Jewish surname while being christened there at St John’s Roman Catholic Church.
I mention the surname twist, not only because it adds to what I consider the crazy ironic stew that I am made of, but also because of the implications. Health implications. In researching the spelling of this name (translated it means “White”) I find that it was a common surname given to Ashkenazim Jews who were fair haired and fair complected (ala “Mom”). Health-wise, the BRCA genes which give one a high predisposition to breast cancers and some other cancers are commonly found in people who have an Ashkenazim Jewish linked heritage. I have always said there was no way I would have that gene, my family is all Catholic or Protestant. Looks like I was pretty much wrong, so maybe yes there was a reason I had breast cancer after all!
Nobody get sappy, I’m fine and dandy now…”only the Good die young…” the rest of us stick around forever tormenting our heirs 😉
Well how’s about them apples? So, the thrill of finally pinning down Grandpa White was quickly tossed to the side. Now I am obsessed with finding HIS parentage. I can’t wait to see why a nice Jewish boy (at some point in the history of “us”) jumped sides and became a nice Catholic boy (from there continuing the history of “us”). I really cannot imagine that his parents were amused! I’m going to bet that “her” parents were equally “un-jubilant” over the whole pairing.
Juicy! Can’t wait to find that one!
So, poor GGGrand-Papa White and his lovely wife Marija from Kunesov, Slovakia have been celebrated briefly (a quick Happy Dance around my ironically “Mid-West” family room) and I am on to “Next.”
Isn’t that always the way though? As soon as one is found and solved, the door to another volume of questions cracks open…and we the Family History Hounds are Off! Sniffing out the next empty lines on the chart, anxious to find the next fascinating story to write.
So how about you? Have you ever bumped into a surprise like this one? Are any of your relatives from somewhere as exciting as the Center of the Civilized World? Dish it up and share the story please!
You can take your time if you would like…I’m off to the backyard to erect a monument stating that my driveway is the official Center of the Universe 🙂