Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-06 > 0929880822

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 14 dtd. 28 Jun 1997 (edited)
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1999 08:13:42 EDT

(issued as required by )
June 28, 1997
(all rights reserved)

This edition of the newsletter contains part two of John Lavendoski's recent
trip to the Burgenland, questions concering Heraldry, Nazareth, PA and the
cement works, excerpts from the 1920's Oberwart Sunday News, causes of
Burgenland depopulation and Styrian Emigration.

TRIP TO BURGENLAND (PART 2) by John Lavendoski
Day Two of my Burgenland adventure was supposed to be focused on researching
the family records of my mother's branches of the family from St. Kathrein
and Harmisch. I had previously used the LDS tapes to research back to the
year 1828. By a stroke of good luck, I discovered that before 1804, the
records of St. Kathrein and Harmisch (and a few other nearby communities) can
be found in the LDS records for Szentpeterfa, Hungary (Prostrum in German).
The Szentpeterfa records on LDS microfilm go back to 1793 and kind of "tie
the whole story back together" as far as my family goes, since another branch
of my mother's family comes almost exclusively from Szentpeterfa. Apparently,
St. Kathrein built its own church in about 1804, and the people stopped going
all the way to Szentpeterfa to record births, deaths and marriages. My entire
goal for the day was to close the gap from 1804-1828 by visiting the priest
in St. Kathrein and seeing the records first hand in the parish registers. I
had written to my cousins beforehand and asked them to pass on this request
to the local priest. When I got to my cousins house, I learned that the
priest doesn't actually live in St. Kathrein at all, rather, his house and
main church are in Deutsche Schutzen several miles down the road.

The journey was extremely interesting due to the fact that the road passed
literally within inches of the Hungarian border as it wound through the town
of Holl. I stopped to look at an old farmhouse (which was apparently used as
the border command post in years past) and to take a picture. Out of nowhere,
several Austrian policemen appeared along with some soldiers. I was advised
to "please not make any photos" and to move along...old tensions must still
remain even after the past five years... In Deutsche Shutzen, the priest
proved very gracious, but unfortunately had nothing but bad news to relate.
It seems that there was a misunderstanding between my cousins and he on which
records I wanted to see. In 1985, all his really old local records were sent
to Eisenstadt for the main church archives office. He only had records from
about 1896 onwards in his on-site Parish registers.

He apologized profusely, but basically there was nothing he could do to get
me access to the records on a Friday afternoon. He gave me the name and
address to the chief archivist and suggested I write a letter requesting
permission to see the records as part of a later visit...in other words "no
luck". This was the low point of the trip...I had traveled 3 thousand miles
and was out of luck due to a move of the records which I most needed...I
learned a valuable lesson that day: It is always better to write ahead
directly to the source and identify EXACTLY what is needed than to rely on
even the most trusted locals to make the connection...Ah well, live and
learn. To deal with the disappointment, I clearly needed to drown my sorrows
in Burgenland's gift to man:wine.

My wife and I hopped in the car and did ring around the entire "wine strasse"
with selected stops to sample small quantities (for me) and larger quantities
for my non-driving "Frau". We purchased several bottles for the trip home and
must have counted at least 100 little places to drink wine and have a little
snack. Anyone visiting should plan at least one day to do nothing but this.
That evening, we had dinner at Frau Gibiser's once again, this time enjoying
some native Panonnian fare which included her own version of Paprika
Goulash...outstanding... During dinner, we learned that the next day
(Saturday) was opening day for the "Castle of Gussing" but no one seemed to
know exactly what that meant in terms that I could understand in my broken
German. All we knew was that it involved a band, food, drink, and speeches by
local and provincial dignitaries. We resolved to attend. In addition, I
decided that I would make a quick trip into Hungary to set the stage for a
longer visit and attendance at Church on Sunday. Stay tuned for more...

In a message dated 97-05-31 10:58:26 EDT, you write:
<< I noticed in one of the newsletters the desciption of the the Burgenland
flag. Any idea were I can view a picture of this flag? I am a little
confused about area flags in Austria. I was told that since the family did
not have a coat of arms, they used the coat of arms of the local regent and
this could be found on a flag for that area. Is this the Burgenland flag or
are there different flags? Re your flag questions:
I'll take a picture of my Burgenland flag and scan it for you. (I'll also
make this available for download) I know of no flags for local families. It's
only in recent times that many Austrian villages have been adopting municipal
arms, although larger and free cities (like Rust and Eisenstadt) have had
arms since medieval times. Each Province also has a flag (like our state
flags) which incorporates armorial markings of some sort.

It would not be proper for locals to use any of the aristocratic arms unless
they were of direct descent. Law suits (and in earlier days, chopped heads)
would result. The Austrian (and most of Europe including the UK) heraldic
practices provide that only the eldest son (or eldest daughter when there is
no son) has the right to dynastic arms. Marriage normally allows the merger
of arms. Read about Empress Maria Theresia's elevation to the Hapsburg throne
via the "Pragmatic Sanction". The Hungarians are not as strict (the
Communists abolished all aristocratic claims but I understand they never
really died out). There, nobility conveyed to all children, not just the
eldest son. There were (and are) a lot of impoverished Hungarian aristocracy.
Most every family that could claim descent from an original Magyar family was
recognized as a member of the aristocracy. Having a similar name is not
enough; however, direct descent must be proven. There is an aristocratic
"Horvath" family for instance, but there are countless "Horvaths", like Smith
in the US. The Austrians (and Germans) practiced primogeniture, where the
eldest inherited all. The Hungarians divided everything in equal shares which
is why so many were impoverished.

An Interesting Extract
"As early as the conquest of present day Hungary (900AD), Magyar horsemen are
thought to have used tribal insignia of a totemic character. The sun, the
moon, the stars, as well as the bear and griffin became common charges in the
arms of Hungarian nobles. A blue sky with a green base or ground is often
found..... (Later during the Turkish wars, Turkish heads dripping blood were
also used). During the Turkish wars, sometimes a whole garrison of 80 to 120
soldiers were raised to nobiliary rank, being granted one coat of arms for
all to share. An extreme case is the collective grant of armorial bearings by
Prince Stephen Bocskai (Bocksy) to 9254 mercenaries, enobled in 1605. About
2000 of these families exist today....." (from "Heraldry, Customs, Rules &
Styles", von Volborth, 1983, Blandford Press). This is the same Bocksy who
burned much of southern Burgenland and destroyed all those nice pre 17th
Century genealogical records!
This is not to say that arms of a town or province may not be displayed in
the same way that a state or national flag may be flown. It is the
appropriation of arms for a family insignia without proven descent that is
frowned upon.

All Austrian aristocratic priveliges and titles were also abolished with the
advent of the Republic, but aristocracy still carries some social
distinction, particularly where hereditary property is still involved. I saw
a group of museum curators bowing and scraping to the widow of deceased
Prince Paul Esterhazy in Eisenstadt at the palace in 1993, but then she
(Trust?) still owns the palace, and Castle Forchtenstein, and who knows what

You might check your local library for the "Almanac de Gotha" which shows
European arms, flags and other heraldic devices. There are many other
heraldic publications, but look at those covering Austria and Hungary.
"Burke's Peerage" (mostly English) won't help much. There is also a book of
Vas Megye nobility available on microfilm from the LDS. (no. 0973247)

<< I seem to remember you researching this area of Penns. near Bethlehem and
Allentown and would appreciate any info on the town of Nazareth you might
have.My father remembers talk of the big cement factory which would spew it's
dust all over the town >>

Nazareth, PA is a Boro in eastern Northampton County, north of Bethlehem,
part of the Lehigh Valley (the valley of the Lehigh River which flows south
eastward to the Delaware at Easton, PA). It has a pop. of about 10M. It was a
favorite spot for Burgenland immigrant settlement because of the employment
offered by the cement mills. Cement was a big industry throughout the area,
starting in 1875. Nazareth lies just about at the eastern limits of the
exploitable limestone deposits. For almost 25 years, the Lehigh valley had a
virtual monopoly on the production of Portland cement (a superior cement
product). Much of the Panama Canal was built with Lehigh-Portland Cement.
Dirty exhausting work, but steady employment and immigrant men could live in
boarding houses, save money and then return to the Burgenland or send for
their families. Many did. There were many mills, Nazareth, Coplay,
Northampton, Egypt, Catasauqua etc. The 1910-20 US Census shows many Nazareth
immigrant names working the cement mills. I understand a cement museum is
being put together near Northampton. Frank Teklits, one of our members has
contacted them for the availablitity of genealogical (employment) records. So
far, no luck.

My Burgenland great aunt Fannie Muell (Mu"hl) Wallitsch Holzer had a tavern
at Ruch & Oak Streets in West Coplay. Burgenla"nders would stop in mornings
on their way to the cement mills for a shot before work and after work for a
shot and a beer to wash the dust from their throats. There were good jobs and
bad jobs. Most new immigrants got bad jobs loading cement (dusty and heavy
work) or working the furnaces (hot and heavy work). I wonder how many died of
lung disorders? Working conditions got better as the years went by and some
worked there all their lives. A sacrifice for later generations. Dujmovits'
book has a picture of six workers in 1928 and then six in 1968. Soft hats to
hard hats! I remember the clouds of cement dust. It would take the finish off
of an automobile! I applied to the Dragon mill as late as the 1950's for
summer work during Lehigh Univ. days. No luck, I ended up making railings in
an iron works in Allentown.

Dr. Walter Dujmovits in "Die Amerika Wanderung der Burgenla"nder" shows as
early emigrants to Nazareth, Georg Reinisch, 1893 from Moschendorf and
Florian Csekits, 1875 from Sulz. Not as important to Burgenland immigration
as Northampton, Coplay Bethlehem or Allentown, Nazareth still got its share
of emigrants. The other places of course offered a greater variety of work in
the textile and steel mills and breweries.

Nazareth, by the way was also settled by early PA-German emigrants from the
Palatinate. German was still spoken as late as the 1930's, maybe later in
some of the churches. See church records of the Lutheran Church in Hecktown.
Any member researching Nazareth may wish to contact

EXCERPTS FROM "THE OBERWART SUNDAY NEWS"-Oberwarther Sonntags Zeitung, year
1925, (courtesy Albert Schuch)

Jan 18th
The brothers Franz and Stephan BAUER are employed in the cement mill 'EGYPT'
in North-America. Stephan Bauer slipped out while cleaning the
'Trockenanlage' (= drying device ?), fell into a heap of cement and died of
suffocation. He is 40 years of age, has emigrated from RAABFIDISCH
(Rabafzes, Hungary) in 1908 and worked in the cement mills ever since.
He leaves his wife and 7 children. Brothers are Frank and Alois. Their
parents still live back home in Raabfidisch.

Feb 1st
The "sterreichisch-ungarischer Veteranen-Untersttzungsverein und St.
Franciskus Untersttzungsverein" in Allentown has donated 50 Dollars for the
hospital in OBERWART.

March 8th
On June 9th Burgenlnder from the Chicago area will depart from New York to
visit Burgenland. They will take the steamship "Columbus" of the
"Norddeutscher Lloyd", and plan to stay until 17th September. The trip is
organized by the "1. Eisenburger Deutsch-Ungarischer Untersttzungsverein von

May 5th
Anton KRPER, who has emigrated at the age of 15 to Chicago, is currently
visiting his home village DEUTSCH SCHTZEN.

June 28th
New York: Killed during a fight with an Italian workmate was Franz PEHR, aged

Milwaukee: A. WILLISCHITZ from KLEINZICKEN is a subscriber of the Oberwarter

July 7th
Georg KERN, aged 43, has died in LYNDORA (PA). He was treasurer of the
"Deutscher Untersttzungsverein" in Lyndora, PA. He was born in STEGERSBACH,
emigrated in 1908 and has lived in Lyndora ever since.

Aug 2nd
On June 28th Chicago emigrants from HANNERSDORF held a beautiful "Gartenfest"
(garden party ?) in Turners Park in River Grove; almost 2000 $ were taken in.
(Reported by the newspaper "Heimatsbote. Organ fr die Interessen des
deutsch-schwbischen Volkes in Nordamerika"

Aug 23rd
Julius GROSS, aged 45, emigrated from DEUTSCH SCHTZEN in 1914, has died of
suffocation in PITTSBURGH. He had entered a house in which insects had been
poisoned just before. His wife, son, parents and one brother live in
Burgenland, his daughter and one brother live in America.

Aug 30th
One S. ALTMANN has written a book called History of Migration' for the Royal
Mail Steam Packet Comp.

(courtesy Albert Schuch)

Balthasar Batthyany (he reigned as the Grundherrschaften of Gssing,
Schlaining-Rechnitz 1543-1590) became a Protestant. He began to remove the
Catholic priests in 1570. A Protestant too was Balthasars son, FranzII
Batthyany, whereas his grandson Adam returned to the Catholic church around

The Protestant preachers were then forced to leave his estates. Following the
"Religionsedikt" of 1589, issued by Archduke Ferdinand, Protestants had to
also leave the Province of Styria (i.e., not all of them: the Protestant
noblemen were allowed to stay until 1628). The Batthyany estates were at that
time a "safe haven" for them under Balthasar and Franz II Batthyany. Father
Gratian Leser writes (in Gssinger Zeitung, June 8th 1924): "FranzII
Batthyany allowed the Styrian Protestant emigrants to settle in his villages
villages (he doesn't mention the names of these other villages!).(Ed.
note-probably included Poppendorf, Ko"nigsdorf, Heiligenkreuz, Zahling, and
Kukmirn since these villages are close to the others and even today have
sizable Lutheran populations). So immigration of Styrian Protestants to
southern Burgenland will date between 1590 and 1630.

Major setbacks in population may have been through war in
1604,1620,1664,1683: In 1604 Bocskai (Steven Bocskai, brother-in-law of
Christofer {Kristof}, Prince of Transylvania, 1576-81)-sidekick of Gregor
Nemethi with about 1500 Hungarian and several thousand Turkish soldiers
devastated the Batthyany estates.(Among other places, they burned Gu"ssing to
the ground). In 1620 a 3000-men army of Gabriel Bethlen (Prince of
Transylania 1613-16290 -supporters led by Georg Haller and Peter Fekete
invaded the Eisenburg County (mid & southern Burgenland). Franz Batthyany
chose to support Bethlen too, but nonetheless his villages were also looted.
In the course of the Turkish wars in 1664 and 1683 (and following) the
villages suffered again. - The effect of the 1644-46 plague on the Herrschaft
Gssing was increased by poor harvests in following years.

concerning the Burgenland Bunch, contact .

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