Four generations of Vajda's
Four generations of Vajda's

This research homepage details my paternal grandfather's lineage back to a few villages in Austria-Hungary that now are part of Slovakia. It is my most original area of work and most rigorously documented. Stephen Vajda was born in Čáry, Slovakia and his future wife Anna Somolanyi was born in Kuklov, Slovakia. These small villages are about 1.5 miles apart, so although they immigrated to the United States three or four years apart, it seems likely that they knew each other prior to their arrival in the United States.

Large scale Slovak immigration to the United States began in the 1870s with the forced magyarization policies of the Hungarian government. The Vajda and Jurina families ended up in Orangeburg, New York, where the men worked for the Fiber Conduit Company of Orangeburg.

Vajda surname etymology from Wikipedia:

The term derives from Slavic voi or voj (war-man) + vodi (to lead), and thus originally meant war leader or warlord. The word has developed to take various forms in the modern Slavic languages, such as wojewoda (Polish), воевода (voyevoda, Russian), войвода or воевода (voyvoda, voevoda), Bulgarian, воєвода (voyevoda, Ukrainian), vévoda (Czech) and војвода or vojvoda (Croatian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene and Macedonian). It has also been borrowed into some non-Slavic languages, taking such forms as voievod (Romanian), vajda (Hungarian) and vaivads (Latvian).
This etymology is perfectly parallel, though unrelated, to that of equivalent Germanic titles and terms like the Old English heretoga and the German Herzog, which in feudal times was equated with the Latin dux (originally a term for either a barbaric war leader or a Roman commanding officer and/or military governor, which later evolved into such feudal and modern titles of peerage rank as duke). For this reason, the Slavic terms are sometimes translated as duke. However, although in some countries and periods the rank of voivode was equivalent to a Western duke, it was not universally so.

Notable People

WWII Veteran Stephen Joseph Vajda Jr. (b. 1923) witnessed the Hindenburg zeppelin on it’s last voyage.

Stephen Vajda Sr. (b. 1898) pitched for a semi-professional baseball team, and once pitched against Hall-of-Fame pitcher Leon Cadore. Cadore pitched in the 1920 World Series for the Brooklyn Robins, and shares the single game innings pitched record for pitching 26 innings in game.

At the age of eight, Anna Justina Jurina (b. 1898) immigrated to the United States without any family members onboard. She had $5 with her.

Vajda Ahnentafel

This chart represents my ancestors who came from Austria-Hungary in the late 19th century to Rockland County, New York. You can browse browse an interactive ahnentafel here.

Joseph Vajda >
Abt 1783, Hapsburg Monarchy
Joseph Vajda
1824, Austrian Empire
Maria Shramek
Abt 1792, Hapsburg Monarchy
Stephen Vajda
1865, Austrian Empire - 1948, USA
Joseph Komornik
Abt 1800
Theresa Komornik
Abt 1835, Austrian Empire
Anna Michalik
Abt 1805
Stephen Vajda, Sr.
1898, USA - 1987, USA
Emerius Somolanyi
Anthony Somolanyi
1837, Austrian Empire
Theresa Moravek
Anna Somolanyi
1869, Austria-Hungary - 1913, USA
John Jorok
Helena Jorok
1843, Austrian Empire
Maria Brhina
Stephen Joseph Vajda, Jr.
1923, USA - 2002, USA
Josef Jurina
Austrian Empire
Josef Jurina
1873, Austria-Hungary - 1921, USA
Austrian Empire
Anna Justina Jurina
1898, Austria-Hungary - 1962, USA
Ustina Kumick
1877, Austria-Hungary - 1963

Important Sources

Image:Vajda-SV0 & Anna S nyc marriage license.pdf

Image:Yurina-Anna 1907 NY Ships List.pdf

  • Slovakia Church Books, 1592-1910. These recently (3/2011) scanned vital record books from the churches of Slovakia are the primary source of information on my ancestors in Slovakia during the 19th century and earlier.

External Links