There was a discussion concerning the land claims at Slovak Roots,
a Yahoo group. Bill Tarkulich presented the following opinion:
As a direct descendant you should be aware that:
I strongly believe that if you make a claim that you should in-turn
release it to one or more of the families that live in Slovakia
today. It is their families who had to suffer through two
world wars, poverty, communism, disease and difficult living.
In my opinion, they deserve the land share. Our ancestors escaped
this, with no expectation of property ownership or in going back
again. We indeed have
received much more than our Slovakia cousins ever have.
- Your share is most likely fractional: owned jointly with other
heirs. You potentially could be sharing ownership with as many
as 50 other people in Slovakia. If these are your
grandparents or great grandparents, then all their descendants
(your siblings, aunts, uncles and their descendants) will also
share in a proportional ownership.
- Your fraction could be as little as 1/256th or LESS due to
hereditary succession laws (American-style "wills" are not
- Getting a group of joint owners to decide to do anything with
the property is a Herculean effort. This is one reason why
we see abandoned and deteriorating property in rural Slovakia
- Joint share ownership by any unknowns after this fall
will pass to state ownership. Do you really want to
jointly own land with the state?
- Most of our immigrant ancestors came from small, rural
villages. Most of these land parcels are a few acres at
the most. Land values in these regions may only be US$100
per acre. You share may be "worth" only a few dollars by
the end of it all.
- Even if everyone can agree, there is no real market for these
properties, consequentially, there are hardly any buyers.
- Most locals cannot afford to "buy out" each others shares.
Please don't promulgate the stereotype of the "greedy American"
whose only interest is in laying claim to the "family farm", which
is many people's biggest fear. They have suffered as subjects to so
many, now that they finally have their independence, we should
support them. Let's give something back.