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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 35 dtd 15 may 1998 (edited)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 07:20:21 EDT

(issued biweekly by )
May 15, 1998
(all rights reserved)


This edition of the newsletter contains articles on Status of Croatian
History, House Names, Meaning of Names, Burgenland Jewish Population, Views
of America & Burgenland, and More on the Bakony Region of Hungary.

Ed.-Charter member Frank Teklits has devoted over a year to the translation
of a text on the Great Migration of the Croats, written by Johann Dobrovich.
It deals with reasons for the migrations, villages settled by the Croats, and
their origins. The text starts with the history of Croatia and the Turkish
invasions. Then it covers particular districts of Burgenland and history of
the villages. There is also a chapter on the three major dialects of the
Croatian language and where used. This is one technique to determine the
origin of the original settlers. About 500 villages, so most BB members will
find something about their village.

Frank is being helped by Albert Schuch (historical terms translated by Albert
have been the subject of previous newsletters) and has supplied the
following status:
"I thought I'd provide you with a progress update on the translation of
Prof. Dobrovich's text, 'Burgenland Research'. There are a total of 31
chapters, and as of tomorrow (a month ago), I should be starting the last
one. However, the last chapter has a length of 43 pages, versus an average
length of 3.5 pages for the previous 30..... Credit for this effort in a
major way goes to Albert, for his consistent, patient explanations. I would
have terminated this effort months ago without his assistance. I estimate
(editing) to take a few more months, barring any long vacations that my
better half wants to take.

I am Lori Ifkovits the wife of Eddie Ifkovits who just joined the
Burgenlander Bunch from Connecticut. My sister-in-law Terry Blank just joined
the Bunch also. We were discussing house names as another avenue to find
relatives. There are so many people in Burgenland with the same last name
that it helsp if you knew their relatives' house name. For example, my
husband's father's name is Edward Ifkovits from Kr. Tschantschendorf and his
house name is Farkus . His mother's name is Stephanie Serencsics and her
house name is Darish. When we visited Burgenland for the first time about
15 years ago, it was much easier to find the relatives' houses because we
knew their house names. If you asked someone walking down the street "do you
know where Frank Serencsics lives, they ask you which Serencsics.." Then you
"Darisher Frank" and they know right away where he lives. We went to the
local pub owned by Klutsarits, but they dont call it Klutsarits , they call
it Checkish which is the house name for those Klutsaritss. Everybody in
the area says Ill meet you at Checkish because they all know that as the
house name. My husband's cousin's name is Pani and his house name is
Schwarzbardel. There are other Panis in town, but we know that the
Schwartzbardel were the ones that we were looking for, and anyone that we
asked knew the Schwartzbardel house. There were a lot of other house
names, but I dont remember them because they were not related. I am not
sure of the spelling of these house names either, but it made it much easier
to see which Ifkovits or Serencsics were related. Even when a female
marries, she still retains her house name. For example if a Ifkovits marries
a Jandrisovits she is still a Farkus, so you know if she is a relative or
not. Most of the older generation went by the house names. We found this
very interesting and it was easy to find cousins if you know the house names.

MEANING OF NAMES (GJB, Albert Schuch & Fritz Knigshofer)
I'm always interested in the meaning of family names since they can be a clue
to origin. Some are easy to translate, if from places or occupations, others
can be obscure. I have many definitions of the name Berghold, but have yet to
find a definitive one. The first place to look is one of the books on the
subject. I have mentioned a few in previous newsletters. Some Burgenland
names seem to defy any kind of translation until you consider the dialects in
use. One that I have is "Pltl" (Po"ltl). I recently asked Albert what he
thought. His reply: "I can only guess: You will have heard about the town
Sankt Plten, which is now the capital of Lower Austria. The name is derived
from Saint Hyp(p)olytus. So this may be a possible source. Another
possibility might be the name Leopold: In the "Hianzn" dialect, it was often
shortened to "Pultl".

Another was "Schabhttl"-this was easier, meaning "someone from (inhabitant
of) a small cottage (httl) with a thatch (Schab) roof". While this one was
difficult for me, it was easy for a Burgenlnder. We need a primer of
Burgenland names. A good subject for someone's dissertation!

Another is "Kornheisel". I asked Albert. "Could you comment on the
diminutive(?) "-heisel" (husel). Emil Langasch married Ersebet Kornheisel in
Heiligenkreuz in 1858 (she was from Rabafzes -father Janos, mother Anna
Knaus). I have seen other names with that ending. Does it signify a
particular region in Austria, etc."

Answer: I'd say this is very similiar to "Schabhttl" : A "Kornhusl"
originally was a small house ("Husl") used for the storage of corn. Ed.-so I
guess, Janos, the one with the new corn crib, becomes Kornheisel, Janos.

Closer to home is the use of "berghold" as a name for status. Frtiz
Knigshofer writes:
" By the way, while in Graz I checked the meaning of Berghold with the head
of the diocesan archives (Dr. Mueller). My reason for asking him was that I
found an ancestor with the name Schwab in south Styria (the hills between
Leibnitz and the Carinthian border) whose profession ("Stand" -- civil
status) was listed as a "berghold." According to the archivist, "berghold"
described the tenant of a hut in the mountains, and as such was lower in the
rank established by ownership of one's abode than a Soellner or Keuschler.
In this interpretation of the meaning of "Berghold," therefore, the name
derives from the housing condition.

Another member asks: >>I have found a Kapeller and wonder if that could have
been a variation of Presseller. The Presseller name I found to be spelled
different ways... <<

Answers: Spellings vary a lot, but I doubt if Kapeller is a variation of
Presseller. The German word Kapele means "chapel"-so a Kapeller means "one of
(from) the chapel", in music it also means "bandsman". I can't find a similar
definition for Presseller, but a Presse is a "squeezer" (probably has to do
with wine making). We tried this out on Albert Schuch, who writes: "Gerry, I
agree. Kapeller is too different from Presseller to be a variation. It may
also be derived from "Press-Sllner". The "Presse" indeed has to do with
wine-making, one still can find an old "Presshaus" (house for the wine-press,
where the grapes are brought for squeezing/pressing) in a few villages. Now a
"Press-Sllner" could have been a "Sllner" (= landless village inhabitant),
a person with no farming land living in and maybe owning the "Presshaus".

JEWS IN THE BURGENLAND ( from Fritz Konigshofer)
Please see attached note I wrote to Maureen Tighe-Brown and Gert Tschgl,
which was triggered by the material printed in today's (Jan. 31, 1998)

Subject: About Jews in Rechnitz (Rohoncz) Maureen, When I read the
interesting message about your research on family culture in Christian and
Jewish life of old Western Hungary (now Burgenland), I was reminded of
Rechnitz (Rohoncz), the village of a major branch of my forebears. While my
ancestors were all Roman Catholic, my interest in Rechnitz obviously brought
me in contact with this market town's remarkable multi-ethnic and
multi-religious history. This afternoon, I again read a booklet titled
"Beitrge zur Geschichte der Grogemeinde Rechnitz" which has no publishing
date, but must have come out relatively recently. The contents are based on
notes written by the long-time r.c. teacher of Rechnitz, Karl Klein, and also
uses material from Loipersbeck's "Rechnitz und die beiden Hodisse."

I did not know about the "Sieben [Jewish] Gemeinden" but was somewhat
surprised to find Rechnitz in the follow-on (not the original seven) list of
villages with strong Jewish communities. Karl Klein (p. 103) refers to a
book from 1833 by Thiele "Das Knigreich Ungarn" according to which
Rechnitz's population consisted of 2,022 Catholics, 1,818 Protestants, and a
remarkable 789 Jews. He also mentions the church schematism of 1841 which
lists the numbers as 2,330 Catholics, 1103 (only!) Protestants and 916 Jews.
Klein's booklet contains a whole chapter on the "Juden in Rechnitz." This
chapter (pp. 79-86) starts with the fact that by the year 1676 there were
already 37 Jewish families in Rechnitz, and that a synagogue (he writes "a
temple with an Ark of the Covenant") had existed since 1649. From the numbers
alone, I would assume that the Jewish community of Rechnitz must have been
one of the most significant Jewish presences in Austria. When performing a
search of the catalog of the Library of Congress some years ago on the name
Rechnitz, I noted that the library's holdings include some apparently
important religious text saved from the Rechnitz synagogue. Another item
worth mentioning is that Hedwig Weiler, the first love of Franz Kafka, was
born 1888 in Vienna to Jewish parents who had come from Rechnitz. (Hedwig,
later married a Herzka, who played a key role in the Zionist youth movement,
at the left end of the political spectrum.) The bibliography of the Rechnitz
booklet lists another article by Karl Klein, namely "Zur Geschichte der Juden
in Rechnitz." It states that this article was published as part of the book
by Hugo Gold: "Gedenkbuch der Untergegangenen Judengemeinden des
Burgenlandes," 1970, Alamenu, Tel Aviv. In my view, Rechnitz was not only
remarkable for having three very strong religious congregations, but it was
also an incredible ethnical mix. There was a German, a Croatian, and a
Magyar "market." I am sure, there were also some Slovenes. Over the first
two thirds of the 19th century, one could perhaps see the town as the
example of a tolerant community. Unfortunately, this tolerance all came to
naught as nationalism ascended, politics became extreme and divisive, and
religions also tightened the screws on their own flock. I am really happy
about the project you (and Gert) have chosen to pursue and wish you the best.

Ed. Note: In looking for villages containing minority groups, see "ORTS
LEXICON VON UNGARN", Joh. Dvorzsak, published 1877. It can be found in the
permanent microfiche file of each LDS Family History Center as fiche number
6000840. The Lexicon is arranged by Megye (county), Bezirk (district) and
Hungarian village name. A German-Hungarian name locator is in the front of
the lexicon to enable you to find the Hungarian name. Each village is then
found with German name, code indicating if a local church is present (capital
RK for catholic, AG for Lutheran, REF for Reformed, IZR for Jewish), or the
village where the inhabitants went to church. IT ALSO SHOWS THE NUMBER OF
RESIDENTS by religion. Example:
Patafalva (Poppendorf), rk 645 Raba Keresztur ( German Heiligenkreuz), ag 108
Kortvelyes (German Eltendorf), izr 2--(no village shown-nearest Jewish
congregation would be Gssing).

Erich Kumbusch (Vienna) sent the following interesting letter:

<< Yesterday we saw on TV a movie about the Burgenlnder in USA. This was a
nice report and I got the opportunity to see the landscape of Pennsylvania.
It is very nice and nearly Austria. I was very surprised. Our inside picture
of USA is of very big cities and skylines, or desserts, canyons or
California. The soap operas and TV series are bulding this wrong image. They
showed a video from the little Burgenland. Some people were introduced:
Walter Kroeller is a musician and leader for journeys to Austria. We saw also
his mother Hedwig Krller. The next was Al Zach born in Gerersdorf and his
wife Rosalia from Gu"ssing, both living in New York. He has a baker's shop.
Then we saw a report from a harvest festival from the Bruderschaft der
Burgenlnder (a NY Burgenland association). In the Bronx is a
Burgenlndisches Restaurant and the Edelwei Baum (musical group) supplied
Music. Miss Burgenland was Stefanie Deutsch (her story is featured in a
recent Gemeinschaft newsletter). Then they introduced Stefan Deutsch he is
the owner of an Burgenlndischem Restaurant in New York. He showed his house
and his family. Then Josef Zenta from Deutsch Schuetzen was interviewed. The
camera team also followed some USA Burgenlnder during a visit to
Gu"ssing.They were looking for relatives and villages .>>

(Editor's Comments) In the same way that Erich and many Austrians view the
United States, so do most Americans think of Austria as being the oft
mentioned cities of Vienna, Salzburg or Innsbruck. Graz, the second largest
city is almost unknown. Some think of the movie "Sound of Music", the Danube,
Alpine ski slopes or Strauss music as being Austria. Very few can picture
the Burgenland.

The July/August 1997 Burgenlandische Gemeinschaft newsletter has two front
page pictures. One is captioned "Amerika" and shows the New York skyline. The
other is called "Burgenland" and shows a small hamlet in a pastoral valley.
Both of these pictures are correct, but are two extreme views. My home in
America (the Shenandoah Valley) is more like the Burgenland scene and the
Burgenland shown in the picture is now only seen in rural areas reached by
"Guterweg" (farm roads) or "Rad Fahren" (bicycle). While lacking skyscapers,
the Burgenland too has its developed areas and congestion (i.e.-parking in
Gu"ssing, the border crossing at Heiligenkreuz, Oberwart on Saturday,
Eisenstadt most days, auto traffic etc.)

The real difference between life in Burgenland and life in main stream Ameica
are their villages versus our cities. Villages of less than 2500 people,
related or acquainted by ties of blood, religion or ethnic similarity, with
roots that reach far into the past, they are Burgenland. Most have one church
or chapel, a scattering of shops, services and Gasthausen, a volunteer fire
company, one or more historic sites, a sports club, a Gemeinde Amt (district
office), a war memorial, a Volkschule, a post office, a cemetery, often a
park and a few hundred well maintained houses, neat and tidy with lots of
flowers. On the fringes today you'll find a gas station, an auto dealer,
perhaps some small industrial sites and often a modern bypass road. A place
for peaceful pleasant living. You can still find their equivalent in America;
the small farm communities far from megalopolis, almost an anachronism. They
are often featured in travel magazines and "best places to live" books. In
Virginia we have some, along Route 11, the "Valley Road" of the Shenandoah
Valley. Unfortunately, you'll also hear the roaring traffic of parallel
Interstate 81 -our valley "Autobahn".Too few Europeans see this America, as
it is rarely featured by Hollywood or Television. When they visit, first
impressions must be pretty dismal. They see the areas surrounding the air
terminals of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. Yech! One
gentleman in Eltendorf stopped me and said "I've been to America (New York)
and I don't like it. Es ist nicht schon". How far you must drive to escape
the agonies of megalopolis. As our urban cities struggle to prevent further
decay, our remaining "rural villages" struggle with the down side of
development. Rural Clarke County to the east of Winchester, noted "horse
country" of rolling farm land, constantly battles the encroaching growth of
bed room communities from metropolitan Washington. Only distance (65 miles)
and the Blue Ridge Mountains have spared my own Winchester, VA. Urban
development is a main difference between us. The Burgenland has just begun
this growth, we've had it for some time. I hope they do better than we have.

The "village" is the Burgenla"nders "Heimat" (home). He's had too many
"rulers" over the centuries to think of "Heimat" in nationalistic or
political terms. When he migrates, he takes this "village" allegiance with
him and tries to recreate it. Thus we have small communities of Burgenland
immigrants like Coplay, Egypt, Nazareth, Northampton, PA, etc. and the ethnic
neighborhoods in larger cities like Allentown, Chicago, Cleveland, New York,
Passaic, and St. Louis. The immigrants tried to settle in an area that
reminded them of home. The similarity between the Lehigh Valley of
Pennsylvania and the Burgenland is striking. As descendants migrate in turn,
some of these new American "villages" disappear, but they remain part of
historic memory. Some acquire "new ethnicity". Allentown for instance is
changing from a Pennsylvania German-Eastern European city to a haven for
Hispanic immigrants.

When Austrians visit the United States, they of course want to see the sights
featured on television (and some they may not like), but they should also
visit some of our "villages". When Americans visit Austria, in addition to
looking for "The Sound of Music", they should also spend a few days in a
Burgenland village. If you look closely you'll find the "old" village and the
"old country" in both places.

MORE ON THE BAKONY DIALECTS (Ernest Chrisbacher and Fritz Knigshofer)
In BB News No. 31 you (Fritz Knigshofer) told a little story about your trip
through the Bakony Forest of Veszprem County, Hungary on your way to
Bakonybel. The village that you stopped at, Ne'metba'nya/Deitschhu"tten, was
the birthplace of my grandmother, Maria Fodi. The village where you saw the
bilingual street sign is Bakonyja'ko', the birthplace of my grandfather,
Jozsef Griesbacher. The beautiful old dialect that you heard from the three
older women is indeed similar to the Heanzen dialect, but it tends more to
the "Baierisch ui-Mundart". This area of Veszpre'm County contained 30 or 40
almost pure germanic villages at the turn of the century and 50-60 others
with minority German populations. I believe it was the second largest
contributor, following Burgenland, during the early years of this century, of
Germanic emigrants to the USA from Austria-Hungary. The Bakony Forest Area
was settled during the beginning and the middle of the 18th century, to a
great extent by Germanic people from Lower Austria, Steiermark, The Danube
Basin of Austria, The Burgenland area and the Heideboden area. Germans also
came from The Black Forest area, Bavaria and from Southwest Germany. The
Heanzen Area was settled earlier by people from the same areas in the German
Empire. My 5th great grandfather, Johannes Carolus Griesbacher came to
Bakonyja'ko' from Felso"o"r (Oberwart) and he probably spoke the Heanzen
dialect. Incidentally, the three women that you spoke to in Deitschhu"tten
probably said to you: "You can't get there (Bakonybel) from here" unless you
hike over the mountain or go back through Bakonja'ko' and go around. (Ernest

Fritz replies: How nice to hear from you and that you had forebears coming
from Deutschhtten! In fact, I felt a bit nervous when I wrote the women
spoke Heanzisch, because, hailing from Graz, Steiermark, I am nowhere near
being able to identify Heanzisch. Also my dialog there was extremely brief.
However, I had often been in the Southern Burgenland in my youth, and my
impression was I could have heard just about the same thing (words, color)

It was definitely not any dialect you could hear in today's Germany proper.
In fact, I was able to continue from the end of the village. There was a
forest road leading up to Bakonybl. I was told something like "foans do
eini und dann aufi" (Fahren Sie da hinein und dann hinauf... drive further
along and then up). I still regret I did not talk with them a little more.

(Ed. Note: I believe the above as well as the origins of some Burgenland
region inhabitants is explained in the following). In the series "The Making
of Europe", a recent volume "The Peasantry of Europe", Werner Rsener, 1995,
Blackwell Press, says the following (p131)-"the struggle to expel the Turks
(1686)....had left large sections of the Pannonian basin depopulated. At
first German (read Ausrtrian as well) peasants began to occupy marginal
districts in a disorderly fashion; however, owners of large estates thereupon
assumed control of resettlement efforts. Thus German ethnic enclaves were
established in the Bakony Forest, in the hilly country near Buda and in the
Baranya....after the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718)....a major wave of
colonization (began); it reached its peak under Empress Maria Theresa....it
was not just the Germans who arrived ....immigrants came from Swabia, the
Palatinate and even as far away as Lorraine. They were personally free and
given their farms on a hereditary basis."

for information about the Burgenland Bunch.

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