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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 37A dtd 15 Jun 1998 (edited)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 07:22:27 EDT

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

This second section of newsletter 37 contains articles on Burgenland
Emigration (from Der Volksfreund), a Naturalization Question, Confusing
Foreign Words With Family Names, Comments Concerning Miedlingsdorf
Immigrants, McKees Rocks- Another Burgenland Enclave, Klemens Name- Oslip &
Passaic, and a Report From Chicago Burgenland Reporter Tom Glatz.

translations and article by Fritz Konigshofer)

Emigration from Western Vas County (the later Southern Burgenland) in the
reports of "Der Volksfreund" (Szombathely), years 1910 to early 1914. From
the articles in Der Volksfreund it seems that by 1910 emigration to the
Unites States had become an accepted fact and the earlier articles deploring
emigration were fizzling out. The emigrant communities with their money
transfers and their sheer size had started to put their mark on developments
(economic and cultural life) back home. The following summary surveys
emigration themes as covered by Der Volksfreund in the years 1910 to early
1914 (before the outbreak of the First World War), sorted by general
subjects. The dates in brackets refer to the issue and page of the related

Continuing depopulation of Western Hungary and attempts to stem it. The
rampant emigration severely reduced the number of young men showing up for
the obligatory military draft. For instance, in one of the drafts of 1910,
only 170 of 277 eligible candidates appeared in Szentgotthrd, of which 56
were declared fit for military service. The article says that "most of the
missing men are in America" [DVF, Aug. 13, 1910, p.7]. In the military draft
of 1912 in the same town, only 725 candidates showed up out of the expected
1,500 legally obliged ones, of which 309 were found fit for service [DVF,
Oct. 5, 1912, p.6].

Probably all towns and villages were affected by emigration, though the
effect was not the same everywhere. For instance, Rechnitz (Rohonc) was only
modestly affected. The census of 1910 counted a population of 4,185 for this
market town, while 10 years earlier it had stood at 4,051. According to the
new census, 500 locals were living either in America or Vienna [DVF, Feb. 4,
1911, p.6]. To keep the emigration in some check, new measures were
introduced. For instance, in 1911 possession of a passport became an
obligatory requirement for leaving the country [which in this case meant
crossing the border from Hungary to Austria!], and only certain explicitly
defined larger border stations could be used (e.g., Sopron, Pozsony =
Bratislava, etc.) [DVF, July 29, 1911, p.6]. This measure clearly put a
damper on official emigration. For all of Vas county, only 170 passports
valid for emigration were issued in the year 1911 [DVF, Feb. 10, 1912, p.6].
However, it appears that after the initial shock, the numbers quickly went up
again, as between April 1 and June 30, 1912 (a 3 months period) the number of
passports issued in the county for emigration purposes was reported as 188
[DVF, Sept. 7, 1912, p.5]. The newspaper reported an apparently new rule
(part of the defense law) which required that persons subject to the military
draft now had to deposit an emigrant bond when asking for the issuance of a
passport. The case of a security of 100 crowns is described [DVF, Sept. 14,
1912, p.7]. Not much later, a new emergency emigration law
[Ausnahme-Auswanderungsgesetz] actually prohibited the emigration of any
person who was in the obligatory age for military service [DVF, Aug. 2, 1913,

Nevertheless, emigration continued and the following numbers for emigration
to the United States got reported: (a) a total of 7,149 Hungarians during
January 1914 [DVF, March 28, 1914, p.2]; a total of 118,470 Hungarians for
the whole of the year 1913 [DVF, April 4, 1914, p.1]; and a total of 803
[sic] from Vas county during all of 1913 [DVF, May 2, 1914, p.4]. The later
figure gives me some concern as it looks unrealistically low and is so much
out of line with the others. Perhaps the newspaper misprinted the number or
I made a mistake when noting it down. If the number is correct, though, it
might indicate that most people who had wanted to leave Vas county had
already done so earlier, or that this county in 1913 managed to clamp down on
emigration more forcefully than other parts of Hungary.

Illegal emigration. Due to the bureaucratic and legal impediments to
emigration, some eager would-be emigrants tried to use tricks in order to
cross the Hungarian border (which implies that this border was guarded and
patrolled by customs and police, even the one to Austria; similarly, this
might suggest that continuing on from Austria to any of the countries with
harbors for boarding a ship presented less of a challenge). One innovative
approach was for a troop of emigrants to disguise themselves as a pilgrimage,
e.g., pretending to travel to the famous catholic shrine of Mariazell in
Styria. The newspaper reports of a successful attempt by 70 illegal
emigrants to pass the border to Austria in the Lafnitz (Lapincs) valley by
carrying church flags and banners in front of the group. The border police
realized the trick too late for stopping this action [DVF, March 26, 1910,
p.8]. As a result, however, the border police appears to have increased
their vigilance, because a short while later there is a report about another
pilgrimage procession, coming from Horvt-Ndalla (near Krmend), which was
stopped at the border crossing from Hungary to Styria at Neudau. In this
case, while this was a real procession, a close search of the individuals in
the group by the country-police (Gendarmerie) of Szentelek (Stegersbach)
revealed four male would-be emigrants who were promptly arrested. An
interesting detail of the story is that during the check at the border it
also became clear that there had been two border policemen in the procession
in the disguise of civil clothes who had joined it in Gssing (Nmet Ujvr)
pretending to be pilgrims and had tried during the march to surreptitiously
find out about any illegal emigrants within the group [DVF, May 7, 1910, p.7].
In another reported case, a carter ("Fuhrmann") from Bernstein (Borostynko)
with the name Josef Hofer attempted to assist three women in an illegal
attempt to cross the border into Austria. The women were also from
Bernstein, wanted to emigrate, and their names are listed as Theresia Hofer,
Johanna Fried, and Maria Puhr. The article states that all four persons
involved were severely punished as a consequence [DVF, Sept. 24, 1910, p.7].
There is also reporting of more organized, commercial (yet illegal)
assistance to people who wanted to emigrate, such as by the German firm Falk
& Comp. [DVF, June 15, 1912, p.6].

Interesting stories about or by individual emigrants. There were still
some stories about individual emigrants, though less in frequency than in
previous years. The newspaper reports about the suicide in Bridgeport [I
wonder which Bridgeport?] of an Alexander Paulovics originally from Kethely
[probably refers to Neumarkt im Tauchental, but there were several places
with the name Kethely in Hungary]. The article writes that this emigrant had
fallen ill in America and thus completely lacked the means for his further
livelihood [DVF, Dec. 3, 1910, p.8].

Another article reports that in early 1911, the [wealthy] owner of the
canning factory of Rechnitz (Rohonc), Rudolf Bogdny, emigrated to South
America, after passing the management of the business on to his brother and
brother-in-law [DVF, May 13, 1911, p.4]. Bogdny's emigration became a
sensational story - and part of the history of Rechnitz - when news crossed
the Atlantic about his murder by two highwaymen in the course of a holdup,
while he had been traveling on horseback near Montevideo. The paper carried
an extensive story about the details surrounding this murder [DVF, Aug. 3,
1912, p.2].

A possibly interesting feature for some Burgenland descendants might be an
obituary for Michael Schmidt who died on December 22, 1911 in Rabafzes
(Raabfidisch). The story is interesting because the obit was written by the
daughter of the deceased, Theresia Tausz [Taus, Tauss] nee Schmidt, who lived
in Mansfield, Ohio, and submitted the obit from there to the Volksfreund for
publication, which was duly accomplished [DVF, Feb. 2, 1912, p.7].

Economic impact of money remittals by emigrants. Money remittals to the
old homeland had become a significant economic factor. The newspaper
reported on the transfers for the Christmas season 1909. Accordingly, the
Americans, said to be mostly "workers," had sent about 60 million Marks to
Europe during December 1909, of which about half was passed by means of a
total of 485,151 postal orders though New York. The lion's share of the New
York postal transmittals went to England (about 7.6 million Marks), followed
by Italy with about 7 million, but transmittals to Austro-Hungary already
held the third rank, with 5,640,000 Marks. In contrast, only 2,808,000 Marks
went to Germany via New York [DVF, Jan. 1, 1910, p.6].

As a concrete example, during 1910, the village of Unterbildein (Als Beled)
is reported to have received from the United States a total of 36,000 crowns
in money transfers [DVF, Jan. 21, 1911, p.6]. [To put this amount into
perspective, in my estimate a teacher's salary amounted to about 2,000 crowns
per year during this time.] In a similar news item, the paper reports that
the transfers from the USA received during 1910 by the post office of
Rabafzes for the villages of Rabafzes and Jakabhza amounted to 62,398
crowns [DVF, July 15, 1911, p.4].

Somehow as a curiosity, the paper also reported about an incorrect transfer
of an inheritance of $613 after the deceased Johann Stappel of Pittsburgh,
which was wrongly handed out to a family Kappel in Fels Szlnk
(Oberzeming) instead of to the rightful heirs, a family Stappel in Fels
Rnk (Oberradling). [As far as I recall this article, the wrong receivers
then balked at handing the money back.] [DVF, Oct. 8, 1910, p.7]

Fund drives among the emigrant communities. Through fund drives and
voluntary contributions, emigrants started to play a symbolic and sometimes
significant role in assisting the construction, renovation or furnishing of
churches and other public buildings in their old homeland. For instance,
members of the Gilly family are mentioned as the driving force in fund drives
among emigrants for the erection of the new Lutheran church in Szentgotthrd.
These attempts of collecting contributions abroad were reported by the
teacher of the Lutheran school of Als Rnk (Unterradling), Anton Spisszk.
One of his reports tells about a fund drive organized by Franz Gilly, son of
the innkeeper Theresia Gilly of Fels Rnk (Oberradling) who lived in
Chicago. [By the way, this Franz apparently was a close relative of the
family branch of our Burgenland Bunch's Joe Gilly -- the uncle of Joe's
grandfather.] Franz collected 250 crowns among emigrants, and in achieving
this, followed earlier contributions made by a Josef Fischl in W. Kees Roks
[sic,.... does anyone know what place this may have meant?], (ED: probably
McKees Rocks, near Pittsburgh) and a [Mr.?] Graf from Allentown [DVF, April
22, 1911, pp.3-4]. This fund drive had collected $50 which translated into
the 250 crowns as mentioned above. A namesake, Josef Gilly, originally from
Als Rnk (Unterradling) but now living in Coplay near Allentown, PA, is
reported to have organized another fund drive among emigrants for the same
new church, collecting $60 and 50 Cents (said to be about 300 crowns). He
was helped in collecting the money by a Franz Sulzer [DVF, Oct. 7, 1911,
p.4]. Towards the costs of the bells for the same church, and once again at
the prodding of teacher Spisszk, 100 crowns were collected among emigrants
Cincinnati [DVF, Aug. 3, 1912, p.6]. The same article reports that, prodded
by teacher Johann Kirnbauer of Zahling (Ujkrtvelyes), a Franz Gaal collected
210.75 crowns among emigrants in America for the same purpose (the bells of
the new church). By the way, this new Lutheran church in Szentgotthrd was
finished by the spring of 1912, the bells had been consecrated in May of that
year [DVF, May 25, 1912, p.4], and the church itself was consecrated in a
huge ceremony in October [DVF, Oct. 26, 1912, pp.4-5].

Another story reports about the dedication ceremony for a new schoolhouse in
Horvt Lv (Kroatisch Schtzen). It mentions that two statues for the
building were donated by Julian Hegeds and Agnes Schneider respectively,
"currently living in America" [DVF, Sept. 8, 1911, p.6].

Emigrant publications in the USA. The Volksfreund issues of that time
suggest that emigrants produced publications or received them from the old
homeland. This fact might indicate that copies might still exist in
libraries or archives of typical immigrant communities or at the libraries
and archives of certain states and the Library of Congress. For instance,
the same article referred to above about the collection for the Szentgotthrd
church bells mentions the existence of an American newspaper
"Deutsch-Ungarischer Bote" (German-Hungarian Messenger) published at the time
in Cincinnati. Another issue mentions an "Address Book" of Hungarians living
in America, published (in the USA) by Karl Babics, son of the pharmacist
Stefan Babics of Szombathely [DVF, Aug. 9, 1913, p.4]. From the issues of
Der Volksfreund it is also clear that this weekly had a readership in North
America, and its distribution there was organized by an agent located in
Coplay, PA. (end of article).

TOBAJ (from Anna Kresh)
I just spoke via phone with Marie Panny who told me a bit of Croat history in
which I thought you would be interested. When the Turks were persecuting the
Croats in what is now Tobaj, the inhabitants cried out "Tobaj, Tobaj",
meaning "Mercy! Mercy!", hence the name of the village. (ED.-If this isn't
true it ought to be!)

A new member gave us the name Wittwer. Neither I nor Fritz felt this was a
good Burgenland name, but Fritz wrote: "Your signature line included the
names you search. Are you sure about the family name Wittwer? Witwer is
German for widower, and was often used together with the name of a person,
e.g., when somebody remarried or died, the priest would write the name
including the word "Wittwer." Just as the priest would write Junggeselle or
Jungfrau for somebody who had not been married before. Wittwer as a family
name is very rare. In fact, I have not seen it in this form at all. I
vaguely recall forms like Widwar used as family names in Austria."

A few other foreign words to be aware of when searching church records are
"Ismeretlin" (H-unknown), zvegy (H-widow), nehai (H-the late), csaladi
(H-family name), utoneve (H-given name), colebs (L-unmarried), hajadon
(H-maiden). Watch names with "-in" endings, they can "signify the wife of
"like Bergholdin, Janos (wife of Janos Berghold). You'll see some of these in
the IGI file! Also watch out for poor script. I had an Eslinger in my files
for a few years which turned out to be Artinger. Poor translation of bad
script or my mind was on beer!

<< I also just found out that these same gr-grandparents spent about six
years in Pennsylvania before settling in Minnesota. In 1900 they were
permanent residents of Minnesota and stated for the U.S. Census that they had
been in the U.S. for 17 years which puts their immigration date at 1883. I'm
assuming they spent 1883-1889 in PA. Family recollections indicate they
"gained citizenship" before arriving in Minnesota .. probably! I'm just not
sure how to proceed from this point. (They do not show up in "Germans to

Answer: That is a tough one. Neither 1880 nor 1890 PA census would show them
even if you checked all of the PA counties. The naturalization record is at
the county office but we don't know which one! Needle in the hay stack. You
might check 1883 ship arrival lists but what port? Likewise if they left from
Bremen or Hamburg, those ship records might tell you where they were headed.
Let's bounce this on the membership in a future newsletter.

Yes, there are many Burgenlanders in Chicago. My mother's home town of
Miedlingsdorf contributed at least nine that I can think of and probably more
if I ask around. I know of five from my father's town of Rumpersdorf.
Rumpersdorf goes back to 1289 and was originally known as Rumpolstorf. In
1938 it had a population of 240 but was down to 111 in 1950. I'll have to ask
my Aunt Mary about the 1907 fire in Miedlingsdorf. She just turned 100 on
Apr. 9 and her memories of her childhood are sharp and clear. She is the last
of her generation and once gone will leave a great void in my life.

My ancestral villages include not only Miedlingsdorf and Rumpersdorf but
Podler and Mischendorf. I have relatives in R-dorf and Miedlingsdorf and
nearby. I am in contact with my once removed first cousins in Vienna by fax
and e-mail One has a catering business and the other works for the Red Cross.
I am in contact with other cousins by snail mail and phone.

A strange thing has happened to Burgenland. The Viennese have discovered it.
More and more of them are building weekend homes there. The land is cheap and
they can get away from the tourists. My wife and I were there in 95 and could
not believe the amount of new construction since our previous visit in 1980.

For some family history I depend on my Cousin Josephine in Switzerland. She
grew up near Miedlingsdorf but married in Switzerland. She knows more about
local history around G-Pedersdorf than anyone else in the family. Good thing
my wife, a Transylvanian Saxon, speaks German or else I would be in a pickle.

There were many Baloghs in Miedlingsdorf. In 1980 (my first visit) my Aunt
Rosa went nuts trying to sort which Baloghs belonged to my mother's family
and which did not. You see, my mother's father and mother were both Baloghs;
no relation at all. The Balogh name was common in the area. The phone list
now shows only one Balog ( no H ). Sorry to go on like this, my father was a
barber and I get carried away at times. FredB54576

MCKEES ROCKS- ANOTHER BURGENLAND "ENCLAVE" (from new member Bernadette Sulzer
Have been doing research using LDS microfilm on my ancestors in Felsoronok
and Alsoronok. Family names are Wagner, Harrer, Windisch, Sulzer, Artinger,
Schmidt, Gollinger. Have filled in a lot in my family tree (back to about
1800), but I'm interested in knowing more about the area where my
grandparents were born.

I know that McKees Rocks, PA, (ED. Borough in Allegheny County, ESE of
Pittsburgh) was a common destination for many emigrating from Felsoronok.
There is a street in McKees Rocks that was called 'little Ronok' because so
many folks came from that village. I've even met a very nice woman who
escaped from Felsoronok in 1956 during the Hungarian revolution. She lives
nearby. Her last name is Gaal; her maiden name was Stern. I also correspond
with a cousin who lives in Australia. She was forced to leave her home and
settle elsewhere after WWII. Please let me know how I can find out more about
this area, websites, etc. Thanks!!

KLEMENS FAMILY, PASSAIC, NJ & OSLIP (Bezirk Eisenstadt, near Rust-from new
member Bruce Klemens)
Researching: KLEMENS in Oslip (near Eisenstadt), MUHR in Schandorf
(southern Burgenland). Michael Klemenschitz, 1889-1954, (changed it to
Klemens) was my paternal grandfather and Elizabeth Muhr, 1892-1958, my
paternal grandmother. Both Oslip and Schandorf were Croatian villages in
Burgenland. Grandpa and Grandma Klemens settled in Passaic, NJ before World
War I, and later in adjacent Garfield, NJ, where my father grew up. In
reading your Burgenland Bunch archives, I see Passaic listed now and then.
The reason so many Burgenlanders settled in Passaic was the woolen mills,
where there was work for the immigrants. There was also Holy Trinity R.C.
Church, which I attended as a child. Even into the 1960's and later, Holy
Trinity still had some German language masses and sponsored trips to Austria
and specifically, Burgenland. My parents took several of these trips and
were able to see Grandpa Klemens' house, which still had the name
"Klemenschitz" on it. Let me explain why I listed so many variations of
Klemens above. I hope I did this in the correct format. KLEMENS was how
Grandpa Klemens and most of his many brothers shortened KLEMENSCHITZ in
America. (Oddly enough, one brother, for reasons unknown, called himself
KLEMENTS.) Another brother, Karl, stayed in Burgenland. I have met him once
in person and regularly correspond with, his granddaughter, (my second
cousin) Anna Odorfer of Eisenstadt. In a letter I just received from her
regarding my queries about the family name, she says her mother (Karl's
daughter) always spelled it KLEMENSICH. Plus, in the past there were
variations such as KLEMENSITS and KLEMENSITZ. I've gone through the on-line
Austrian phone book, and cannot find either of the two latter names anywhere,
although there are quite a few KLEMENSCHITZ and KLEMENSICH names listed, and
just plain KLEMENS as well. All of these names are Germanized versions of
the original Croatian name KLEMENSIC. (Plus, you can see below that
apparently the way it was spelled by the Croatian immigrants in Oslip in 1569
was CLEMENSCHITSCH.) I'm still trying to sort all this out! Based on my
translation of a letter Anna sent, below is a history of Oslip (ED: SEE BB
NEWS 35A) which explains how the Croatians got there. Also, based on what
Anna has researched, we can trace back to our common ancestor, LORENZ
KLEMENS__? We don't have any dates for him, but since we know his son Franz
was born in 1811, he had to have been born in the 18th century. Anna tells
us that the church that kept the records before this time burned down, so
there are no direct records of KLEMENS ___? before Lorenz. I know very
little about the MUHR family and Schandorf.

I saw many people at the Rosegger Steirer Dance last night (May 1998). Walter
Pomper (editor of the Chicago based "Austrian American Newsletter") liked the
newsletters very much. He said he will send you some information on Neuberg.
I gave the newsletters then to Ernest Kolb who is the Mayor of Oak Lawn, one
of the largest suburbs of Chicago. His roots are in Harkau. He had brought
with him a well documented book someone had written in Harkau about
emigration from that town. Unfortunately I didn't get to look at it that
good. But hopefully I will be able to get together with him soon. I was also
able to copy BB News 34A at work. Everyone liked it very much. Those who are
not as interested in genealogy always find other things like the Elderhostel
articles interesting.

(ED: Tom Glatz also corresponds with fellow Burgenland researcher Robert
Strauch from Allentown, PA. Strauch is not on the net but has shared a
significant amount of material with Tom, who forwards copies to us for our
use. We recently received a publication of the "Pannonisches Institut (in
German and Croatian) from A-7535 Gttenbach (email )
and various articles (German) dealing with Burgenland Folk Songs (from
Burgenlndisches Volksliedwerk. Our special thanks to Strauch for his
contributions. We hope to see him on the net one of these days!). Tom's
package also included two critiques of Burgenland political dissertations by
Andrew Burghardt and other material. A source of future articles.)
(newsletter is continued as number 37B)

for information about the Burgenland Bunch.

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