Bela Nad Cirochou

23 comments
My heritage quilt is by far one of the best accomplishments for last year.  I really loved making blocks from flags that represented the countries my ancestors came from to the United States. 
 
I'm 1/4 British, 1/4 Danish and 1/2 Slovakian.  I'm so proud of that.  I am proud that I had ancestors strong enough to come to a new country and risk everything because of their quest for a new religion or for hope of a better way to make a living for their family.   
In particular, I'm especially grateful for my Slovak grandparents.   My grandmother never spoke English and always wished to go back and visit family in Slovakia.  My father always wanted to go see where his parents lived and go back to "the old country" as well.  But neither of them made it.  I am sure that I won't make it to Slovakia myself, either.
My daughter Chelsey is spending the summer working in Europe as a make-up artisit.  She had the opportunity to accept work in Bratislava Slovakia this week.  My dad would be so proud and happy to know one of his grandchildren was able to go back to Slovakia and visit the town where his parents grew-up.  Chelsey and her friend rented a car and drove the 6 hour rural road from Bratislava into Bela Nad Cirochou, the little tiny village in the Snina area of Slovakia.   
Chelsey tried to translate this via Google for me.  I actually don't know much about the town of Bela and really I don't know much about the life my grandparents, Jacob and Mary Breton (Britan, Brittan) lived in Bela, except it was near a beautiful lake and was a green, lush area of the world.
I had no idea that there were very old castles in Slovakia.  This castle is called Spis Castle.  But apparently there are dozens and dozens of castles there.  
One of the things I wanted Chelsey to do in Bela was to visit the cemetery.  I understand I am related to most of the people in that cemetery.  Britanova would be the feminine of Britan.  When my grandfather arrived at Ellis Island either he or someone there changed the spelling of Britan to Breton.  I grew up being a Breton.
Chelsey said the cemetery is very beautiful and there were flowers on nearly every grave.  I was deeply touched by that.  I think our ties to our ancestors are very strong and I'm sure they are incredibly happy to have Chelsey visit the village where our heritage still lies.

-nanette
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23 comments

Deborah said...

What a lovely story. I'm very touched by your daughter's visit to the family cemetery. Your flag quilt is such an inspiring way to record your ancestry.

Lori Holt said...

How beautiful Nanette!...our family ties can never be broken!
I can see the look of reverence that she has for her ancestors on her pretty face:)...what a great opportunity for her.
I love your heritage quilt more and more each time I see it!

PamKittyMorning said...

Oh I love seeing Chelsey's pretty face, and that last photo is lovely. I hope she's enjoying her trip, what a fantastic experience!

Nedra said...

What an amazing experience for Chelsey! When I went to the MIM museum on Saturday I took pictures of the musical instruments from Slovakia for you :) I'll be sending those on to you soon.

Shelley said...

Our history never really leaves us does it. After researching some of my family origins, I discovered that all of my grandmother's people were actually from Bavaria,,,,for years we thought they were French. There are alot of castles in Bavaria too:) Visiting there is on my bucket list!

Jan said...

Lovely quilt and family story!

Jennifer said...

Love your quilt and the family history that it reflects! That's very cool that your daughter was able to visit as well. She's beautiful!

Jennifer :)

Darlene said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Nanette. Your heritage quilt is wonderful.

What a delightful opportunity for Chelsey - memories in the making.

Lynn said...

What a lovely post to share. I'm sorry that your grandmother never got back to Slovakia, but your daughter visiting there is like closing a circle.

Sherrill said...

That is so awesome that your daughter made the effort to visit. And Chelsey is BEAUTIFUL!! What fun she must be having.

Cindy said...

Wonderful story! How great that your daughter was able to go and see that beautiful country.
I just love the quilt you made.

Muddling Through said...

That's a beautiful daughter you have there! How neat that she got to go on the trip and report back to you. Almost as good as going yourself, huh?

jen duncan said...

Chelsey is beautiful, and I'm so excited for her opportunity!! Very cool indeed. :-)

Cardygirl said...

Fabulous quilt...really lovely story!

Sherri said...

What an amazing post...so fun that Chelsey is there in the land of her ancestors...

Sandi said...

What an awesome trip for Chelsea and through her visit.........it's almost like you got to be there!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh gosh Nanette -- this story choked me up! What an exciting trip for Chelsea! Isnt' it sad that so many of our ancestors came from such gorgeous areas, yet they had to leave to make a living for their families?

Carrie P. said...

How cool that Chelsey got to visit you home country. I think it is so interesting how the people would change their last names when they came to America. thanks for sharing your story.

Cynthia said...

What a beautiful story! That just gives me goosebumps. Your heritage quilt is really beautiful. My husbands' grandfather was a stowaway on a ship bound for Ellis Island.When he landed, he changed his family name to Horst. We don't even know what the original name was and we think he came from Estonia. Family heritage is so important. You have left a great legacy for your family in your quilts, especially since they have such a reach meaning!

Lurline said...

Wonderful - so nice to know your bacckground! What a wonderful experience for Chelsey.
Hugs - Lurline.

amy smart said...

What a special trip for Chelsey, and how awesome that you now have those pictures!! I'm feeling a bit obsessed with Family History right now - maybe because it's pioneer day next week? I don't know. But I love it. Fun to read more about yours too!

pratima said...

Wow, It's a memorable trip and very special for any grand kid to experience! It is so nice that Chelsey got to visit your parents' beautiful country! Thank you for sharing the story and lovely pictures :)

viliam said...

Ciao my name is viliam.
By chance i saw a pin on pinterest where my village was named bela nad cirochou.
Now i live in italy but my neighbor in bela called britan,he is my best friend.
If there is any chance to find out more i would like to help you bas i speak slovak and my relatives live in bela.
Ciao!