Q: Was Izák Šároši Slovak?
Two German letters, sent from Germantown (now part of Philadelphia) to Germany, mention Pastor Saroschy (in 1695) or Isaac Ferdinand Saroschi (in 1697) from the Kingdom of Hungary, who arrived in Germantown on 22 April 1695. He had left eastern Pennsylvania by mid-May 1697, saying he was returning to Europe. He may have been the pastor who lived in Banská Štiavnica (now Slovakia) in the early 1660s, probably also earlier and later, and spelled his name in its Latinized version Isaacus Sharoshi, a common custom among Lutheran intellectuals at that time.
A missing link?
Tobias Schumberg (Jr.) was born in Slovak-speaking Rajecká Lesná in 1626, where his like-named father was the Lutheran pastor. He attended high school in Kremnica. He became headmaster of the high school in Windsheim in Bavaria in 1667 although, as a student of his wrote later, he "could speak almost no German." That did not pose the problem it would today, high school education was mostly, and college education entirely, carried out in Latin in Central Europe.
Later, Tobias (Jr.) gave shelter to his compatriot named as Isaac Ferdinand Saroschi in the 1690s German letters, who became a tutor at his school. Saroschi left Windsheim for America in 1695.
The meager information about persons with that name in the Kingdom of Hungary is that a subject of the kingdom with that name studied at the University of Olomouc in Moravia in 1607 (Schumberg Sr. was from Moravia and probably studied there too). A person with the same name was then a Lutheran pastor in the vicinity of Banská Štiavnica and had one of the largest libraries in the area when he died in 1662, with Latin, German, and Slovak books. The Kingdom's Lutherans were mostly Slovaks and Germans. The pastor had a grandson baptized Isaac (Jr.), who inherited part of his library. There is no record of another person with a name similar to "Isaac of Šariš County" in the Kingdom.
Pastors from the same Lutheran District, which included Rajecká Lesná and Banská Štiavnica, would have met on more than one occasion, Isaacus Jr. and Tobias Jr. would have been acquainted with each other through their families, which both lived in Slovakia (part of "Royal Hungary" then). If their ages were close and Isaacus grew up in Banská Štiavnica, there was potential for them to have known each other earlier too, while Tobias studied in Kremnica – there was a lot of communication between the two formerly wealthy mining towns only 27 miles apart.
As persecution of the Lutherans (some pastors were sent to the galleys in 1675) intensified, Isaacus (Jr.), like many others, must have have thought about defecting from his country. Tobias (Jr.), safe with a steady job in Bavaria, would likely have been one of Isaacus (Jr.)'s professional-cum-family acquaintances to turn to.