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for Bill Tarkulich: What are the Slovak customs for naming WOMEN? ie, in researching my Polish-Slovak-Rusyn-Magyar family tree, I am finding that a MARRIED WOMAN apparently adds "-OVA" to her husband's name. However, does this custom also apply to DAUGHTERS and WIDOWS? In 1905 my youngest great uncle Jan Kolackovsky married a woman named "Almasiova." I was told that we are somehow related to the Almasy family

  • 23 February 2021 12:54 PM
    Reply # 10129381 on 10111316

    The same thing can happen with female given names, but with a different suffix.

    Male:  Ladislav

    Female:  Ladislava

    Last modified: 23 February 2021 12:54 PM | Anonymous member
  • 23 February 2021 12:45 PM
    Reply # 10129338 on 10111316

    Apologies for the tardy reply.  We've been very busy recruiting volunteers for C-RS.  Would you like to help?  There are lots of "generic" tasks that can be done from home on you pc or phone!

    Anyways, Petro has it spot on.

    Here's how it came about.  After World War 2 in 1918, Czechoslovakia was formed, taking land from Hungary and Austria.  Since the Capital was Prague, the Czech language became the official government language.  So, for all official documents, people's surnames were to conform to the Czech (and Slovak) surname customs.  

    Petro has done a nice job explaining it from a technical perspective.   When I first was introduced to my cousins in Slovakia, the "ova" part came as a real shock to me.  Being a father of three daughters, I was astonished at how easy it was to identify women.  In the USA, many women do what they can to obfuscate their gender in public directories such as phone books and such.  The point was to avoid becoming a predatory victim.

    So when you are searching for records, keep in mind that any female surname that is recorded in an official government document, is recorded with the 'ova rules as Petro indicates.   If you look at records before 1918, they are subject to the language rules of the government in power.  In our case, we were ruled by Hungary, the language is known as Magyar" and the suffix rules are as Petro describes.  Thus, no "ova's" before 1918 in our lands.


    Still, when you are searching for your family, you will want to search under both the male and female renditions.  An easy shortcut when using computer searches is just to look under the male surname.  Most often all names that begin with those letters will be included in the search results.

    Regarding "ALMASIOVA" , which I assume was a maiden name is quite likely a female form of Almassy.  If it is THE (landowner) family, I cannot say.  If she was married in 1905, it is most likely that the information you received calling her "Almasiova" was provided to you or your source after 1918.  Thus, if you are looking at records prior to 1918, you want to be looking for the name Almassy in official records.


    In terms of young, unwed women either living with parents or apart, they too use 'ova.  Here's a real-world example.    My male cousin is Tarkulic' .   His unmarried daughter is Tarkulic'ova.  

    Does this help?

    Did I say we still can use a few more volunteers?    :)


    Last modified: 23 February 2021 12:52 PM | Anonymous member
  • 18 February 2021 9:16 PM
    Reply # 10115330 on 10111316
    Petro Z

    Hi Bill,

    "-ova" family name ending for females was not only the Slovak custom but the official requirement for documents. Let me try to explain on my ancestors' last names - just checked Czechoslovakia first Census-1921 in Subcarpathia:

     My great-grandpa was Mikulka, great-grandma became Mikulkova, but their three young daughters are still listed as Mikulka, no change. 

    Another great-grandpa was Žihan -  great-grandma became Žihanova and two unmarried daughters also listed Žihanova.

    For widows, as you are asking, I am sure it will remain "-ova"; for young ladies - not sure, as you can see from my example. 

    For previous Hungarian till 1920 rule: married women got "-"  last name ending - like Mikulkané. But not so for Ms.

  • 17 February 2021 9:15 PM
    Message # 10111316

    I am struggling with your format. My Q is, What is the Slovak custom for WOMEN's SURNAMES? In researching my Polish-Slovak-Rusyn-Magyar tree, I find my youngest great uncle Jan Kolackovsky marrying in 1905  a woman named "ALMASIOVA." I am told that somehow  the MALE Almasys are related to the Kolackovskys, but cannot find any proof. Worse yet, I can't find any record for a female ALMASIOVA. I know that married Slovak women added the "-OVA" ending to their husbands' name -- but how could Jan marry a married woman?  SO, is the "-OVA" ending also used for WIDOWS and DAUGHTERS??

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