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The Chubon Family Name

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 "Cuban."

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.
  "Falva" means 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 Naturalization papers
(January 11, 1922)
Name spelled with the Slovak alphabet. Pronounced Chew bon