Slovak banner at St. Cyrils Church

Minneapolis and St. Paul are Siamese twins.  We moved  from one to the other by passing through an intersection, or crossing a bridge, or simply turning a corner, with no street sign to mark the change.
             Downtown buildings                                Light rail

 Minneapolis has a well-developed commercial downtown with glass and metal skyscrapers along with city and county offices; St. Paul is in a different county, has preserved some older buildings (including a beautiful library with a marble staircase), and boasts the state capitol, the Basilica of St. Mary, and an enormous (!) Minnesota History Center.

A few months ago, we didn't know that we had any relatives in Minnesota; after this trip we know there are over a hundred cousins, descended from a great aunt and a great uncle who emigrated from Slovakia after 1900.  We were greatly assisted by a cousin we had already contacted by email.  John and his wife Jean graciously took time off from a hectic work schedule to show us gravesites and introduce us to more relatives.

Many of the Slovaks married Swedes, and of course the resulting stock are plain Minnesotans; it's the old story of the American melting pot.  Auntie Hildur, 86, was happy to have visitors and talk about family.

Northeast Minneapolis was the neighborhood of choice for Eastern European immigrants who worked in the flour mills.  We learned that great uncle Andrew had originally stayed with grandfather John in New Jersey, but was frightened of living in a frame house -- so he built a solid brick edifice which is still standing. Andrew Hopko house

Great aunt Anna had an arranged marriage in 1912, and lived in the same house, two blocks away from her brother's, until her death in 1979.  By now many of the descendants have moved to the suburbs.

Minneapolis has built a new Public Library -- grand opening on May 20th!  Unfortunately for us, that meant the research material in the central library was unavailable because the staff was involved in the months-long process of transporting and reshelving all the library's collections.  We succeeded with our genealogical discoveries because of the records at the Minnesota History Center, the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and the St. Paul Public Library.  Our final discovery was a modern online obituary for a cousin who died in 2003; the funeral home had the record and graciously e-mailed us a copy.

In the first half of the century the church was just called St. Cyril's, because the bishop (an Irishman) thought "one saint was enough." St Cyriil's Church The largest ethnic group in the church today is Ecuadorian; the priest told us the Mexicans living nearby deserted the church because they preferred Our Lady of Guadalupe to Our Lady of the Clouds!

Not far from the church we found a modern Polish deli, whose proprietor emigrated to the U. S. to escape the communist oppression, and now served us a delicious luncheon with pierogy, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut, and fresh rye bread.