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ViewMate Posting VM 39118

Submitted by Robert Francis Richfield

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Information Picture Question
Category: Translation - Hungarian
Approval Date: 4/19/2015 4:13 PM
Family Surname: Kohn/Reichsfeld
Country: Slovakia
Town: Banovce nad Bebravou
Date of Image: 1893
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This is the "Notes" column of the birth record for my Great Aunt. The quoted word "Várai" may be a name. I think the rest of the text may be an explanation of it. In the 1920 US census she listed her last name as Varay, which seems too similar to Várai to be a coincidence. Any light you can shed on this is greatly appreciated

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On  Response 
4/20/2015 12:36 PM "Várai" name change of Baán circuit, chief constable's office, no. 1550/902.

It's a bit cryptic in style -- the clerk must've had a long day, because he was leaving out all the "little" words by the time he got to this entry. In any case, it indicates that the surname of the person in the attached record (your aunt) was officially changed to Várai. The "902" in the decree number is probably the year (1902). The issuing circuit court was in Baán (later written Bán), which was in Trencsén county, and is now Bánovce nad Bebravou in Slovakia.

Váray is a spelling variant of Várai, and leaving off the diacritic is standard in American contexts.
4/21/2015 8:22 AM the spelling change from "varai" to "varay" is interesting. the -y ending denoted a nobleman, as in almasy or esterhazy, whereas -i was just a person from that place, much like the difference between van and von.

many emigrants changed the spelling to -y, in america.
4/23/2015 8:39 PM Both the van/van and -i/-y things are false myths.

Van is northern (Low) German, von is southern (High) German -- that's it, end of story. Neither one says anything whatsoever about the family's noble status or lack thereof.

The Hungarian locative suffix is modernly correctly spelled as -i. In older records, especially those dating to the 17th century or before, spelling wasn't standardized, and the "i" sound at the end of a locative could be spelled -y, -j, or -i. It's a matter of pure chance which spelling got fossilized in any particular family, and again, the spelling says nothing whatsoever about the family's noble origins.
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