Cousins in Slovakia

April 2, 1996

In February, 1995 I visited the village of my ancestors, Nalepkovo, Slovakia. That July I attended the Slovensky family reunion in Steelville, Missouri to report on my adventures. One of my cousins, Larry Johnson, who was at that reunion called me this last January and said we was going to try to go to Nalepkovo. It thrilled me to know that yet another member of the Slovensky clan was heading back to the "old country".

One of Larry's concerns was language, he was from a small town about 70 miles south of St. Louis, only knew English and no possibility of learning it before his trip. Then something wonderful happened. He found out through his church that there was a Baptist minister on foreign missions project in Bratislava. Larry made contact with the minister and arrangements were made for the two of them to travel together from Bratislava to Nalepkovo.

Larry, his wife and the minister showed up in Nalepkovo on a Sunday morning and went straight to the Evangelic church. This was after all the church of his relatives. The were met with disappointment. The church was closed, there were no services being held. But Larry was intent on making contact with people of Nalepkovo, so they decided to visit the Catholic church across the road. I had made copies of the old church records that contained the births and marriages of our relatives, including Larry's great-grandfather. He had these copies with him and with the help of the minister for language translation, they started showing these pages to people outside of the Catholic church after services.

Two elderly women told Larry that they knew a woman who's maiden name was "Slovinsky", and then walked away, Larry was disappointed, he was hoping to met some long lost relative. But then the two women came back and brought with them another elderly woman apparently in her 70s. She told Larry her name was Anna and her name before she was married was Slovinsky. Larry showed her the old documents of his great-grandparents, John Slovensky and Elizabeth Heinz Slovensky. The talked for a few minutes then the woman turned around and started shouting. Larry asked the minister what she was saying. The minister said she was saying "These are my American cousins !!!". She was so excited!.

She lived in a small village nearby and had come to Nalepkovo to attend church. She invited Larry to her house where they had a wonderful visit. Larry took pictures of Anna to bring back to show us American Slovensky's and is planning on sending her some pictures of her "American Cousins" real soon.

Larry is home now and still has his head in the clouds thinking about the wonderful trip to Slovakia, the friendships made along the way and the warm open hearts of the Slovak people. Will Larry be going on another trip to Slovakia? You can count on it!

Email: Len Slovensky -

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