26 July 2014

Surname Saturday: Matys

I joined a Polish Genealogy group on Facebook and came across a resource, similar I suppose to our white pages here. The site, Moikrewni, led me to realize that the surname Matys is more common that I had thought.

There are, according to this site, 2,446 people with the last name Matys. That said, it does say "people" as opposed to "families" or "households."
On a whim, I searched for Matys in Ancestry.com using only a location as "Fraga, Poland" (which by the way did not self populate. The results? Over 47,000 entries! I should point out that I currently only have the US edition of Ancestry. I am so close to upgrading but I wanted to wait until I had several lines ready to cross the pond, to make it cost effective.
Find A Grave (yes I realize it is now owned by Ancestry.com) revealed 52 entries using only the last name Matys as my search requirements. That's a little more manageable! It also includes some from Poland, including at least one person, Cwajbaum Matys, who died in 1945 at the Auschwitz Death Camp. The entry states Cwajbaum was "deported from France through Drancy Detention Camp." I have to admit I have not heard of this camp.
The Ellis Island Passenger Database reveals 62 people named Matys. That said, if someone traveled back and forth, they would be listed each time. There are even a few who listed Fraga as their last residence, although most list Fraga as being in Austria not Poland. I have found, in tracing my Polish/Ukrainian/Russian/Austrian roots that it depended on the year as to where they said they were from ... but that will be an conversation saved for a Mappy Monday!
Before Ellis Island, immigrants would enter through Castle Garden. Yes there were other ports, like Baltimore, at this time too. A search in the Castle Garden database revealed only two Matys men. One was Johann (arrived in 1892) and the other was Janos (arrived in 1884). Little Janos was only eight when he immigrated from Hungary. Johann was 29. He immigrated from Germany and was headed for Utica.
Just these few sources give me both hope and dare I say frustration! I did not realize it was such a common name.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.