There has been
some question as to what the actual family
surname is. According to the Ellis Island
records, it was Cubany. The entry in the
Kronprinz passenger manifest is also spelled
Cubany. These entries, however, were penned by
clerks and are not Peter's signature. Peter's
son Anthony thought that the original name was
On his Naturalization papers (January
11, 1922), Peter clearly spelled his surname
Chuban. Eventually, the "a" was changed to an
"o," possibly when his children began attending
school. The variations probably stem from the
fact that the alphabet being used in Slovakia
(part of the Austria-Hungary Empire) at the time
of Peter's emigration contained 40 letters,
including several with diacritics (accent
marks). That alphabet contained both the
conventional letter "C" and a letter Č with a
hacheck which changes the pronunciation to "ch,"
as in chop. Thus, the original may have been
altered to a form consistent with the Anglo
alphabet by the immigration officials at the
time Peter entered the country. The "y" on the
immigration record is more difficult to explain.
A review of Slovak surnames revealed that
although not especially common, there are some
ending in y.
The y was commonly placed at the
end of words in the Magyar language, which was
predominantly used in official documents when
Hungary controlled the region. That conclusion
is supported by the fact that Peter and Rose's
place of birth is listed as Turzafalva, Hungary
on the Naturalization papers.
village in Magyar, reflecting the influence of
the language at that time. On the other hand, it
simply could have been a result of an
immigration official mishearing what Peter
spoke. There is no indication that Peter ever
included a "y" in his signature.
The Barbarossa passenger
manifest listing Rosa had other spelling variations. Her
last name was entered as "Cubon." On the same line, her
husband was listed as Peter "Csubony," which also
appears to be a Magyarized, phonetic spelling.
Discussions with relatives located and visited in
Slovakia indicate that the correct Slovak spelling is
"Čuboň," with hachecks over both the C and n. During his
trip (October, 1999) to Slovakia, Mike learned that the
pronounciation by Slovaks is "Chewbon," with the "n"
pronounced like the first "n" in "onion." Rose's maiden
name, Chudej, is pronounced "Whoday."
Peter's signature from his
(January 11, 1922)
Name spelled with the Slovak alphabet. Pronounced Chew