Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-07 > 0931264059

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 43A dtd 15 Sept 1998 (edited)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 08:27:39 EDT

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

This second section of the 3 section newsletter features an article authored
by your editor and recently published in the September/October 1998 edition
of Heritage Quest magazine. A bibliography is included.

Article "THE BURGENLAND BUNCH" was submitted to Heritage Quest Magazine under
a "first rights basis" by Gerald J. Berghold (). Three
previous Burgenland articles have been printed in Heritage Quest Magazine. He
is founder and co-ordinator of the Burgenland Bunch and editor of the
Burgenland Bunch newsletter. He has traveled extensively in areas researched.

(An email approach to genealogical research.)

The world of genealogy is vast even though our general concept of the world
is shrinking under the impact of things like television, international travel
and internet communication. A study of a genealogical microcosm by just one
person however, can still be lonely and unrewarding work. This is evidenced
by the formation of many groups studying smaller specific geographic areas.
There are still areas that have barely been scratched and some like the
Germanic and Slavic regions have many gaps waiting to be filled. The Austrian
Province of Burgenland ("Castle Country", part of Hungary pre 1921) is one
such place. Austria, rarely mentioned by itself genealogically, is most
often combined with Germany under a title like "Greater Germanic". This area
stretches all the way from the North Sea (some would argue it starts at the
Mississippi River!) east to Poland and Russia and south east to Romania and
the Ukraine. (see regions mentioned in "Address Book for Germanic Genealogy",
Ernest Thode, Gen. Pub. Co. 1994). To all too many, Austria's former partner
Hungary is a confusing language mystery, located somewhere east of the old
"iron curtain". The former lands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire are an enigma
most genealogists prefer to leave to others. It is little wonder that a tiny
(1600 sq. miles, pop. 300M) province like the Burgenland receives limited
genealogical attention. As recently as August of 1997, the McDonald
Hamburger Empire had placemats printed for their Austrian franchises. These
featured a map of Austria. Unfortunately the map detailed the 1938-45 Nazi
Gau's (7), not the provinces (9) incorporated following WWII. Burgenland was
not even shown! (source, "Die Kurier" via Reuters). This is equivalent to
ignoring New Jersey on a map of the United States! With relics from Neolithic
times, much evidence of Roman occupation, and written records as early as
the 11th Century, the Burgenland has been settled for at least two millennia.
It had a prolific history of migration and conquest even before it was
overrun by the Magyars in the10th century. It was colonized by German
speaking immigrants in the 9th and 11th centuries and again by Germanic (from
Lower Austria, Styria and Croatia) and Croatian colonists in the16th to 18th
centuries.Civil records ("Urbar") from the 1500's onwards still exist and
Church records ("Visitation" and "Matrikel" from the 1600's or 1700's onwards
are available. There is much local literature, albeit written in German and
difficult to find. With such material available, why is it that the area has
been mostly bypassed by genealogists? There are at least half a million
American descendants of the forty thousand Burgenlnders who emigrated to the
United States in the period 1890-1910, and there were both earlier (1870-80)
and later migrations (1920's & 1950's), so a base of researchers can not be
lacking. One answer surely lies in those deterrents to all research; foreign
language and involved political history. Bridging the gap to foreign records
is a major problem for American genealogists, particularly for those third
and fourth generation descendants of immigrants, who no longer know the
language. (Fifth and higher generation descendants often are still struggling
to find that first US immigrant foreign link!). Unlike our European
counter-parts who study English, few Americans know or study German, much
less Hungarian or Latin. How then do we read that German or Hungarian record?
How can we interpret that superb Latter-daySaint (LDS) microfilm from Salt
Lake City? (The LDS microfilmed huge quantities of Burgenland records {copies
of originals, 1828 forward} in Budapest in the 1960's). How to find a name
that has been Americanized from a German or Hungarian name containing a
diacritical mark? In addition to language problems, the Burgenland region
politically , while predominantly German speaking, has swung back and forth
between Austrian and Hungarian sovereignty many times. During WWII, as
previously mentioned, it was even part of the greater "Third Reich". The
name "Burgenland" has only been used since 1921, when it was last ceded to
Austria by Hungary. Prior to that it was known as "Vas Megye" along with
parts of "Moson" and "Sopron" Megye. There were even earlier names. We have
villages with German names that were once known by Hungarian names and vice
versa. Locations of civil records have moved from one village to another as
the politial winds shifted district (Bezirk)and community (Gemeinde) offices.
Villagers, depending on religion, attended churches in neigboring villages
and church records followed suit.

Fortunately these problems have been addressed and there are solutions.
Specialized ethnic guides and histories are being published, language
translation software for computers is becoming more precise and internet
communication with foreign contacts is a reality. What is still necessary;
however, is the ability to find, combine and communicate with other
researchers of similar specialized interests. There aren't that many
genealogists with the persistence, knowledge, stamina or time to continuously
reinvent ethnic wheels of genealogical research. Too many give up, satisfied
with their American pedigree, when a little push would link them to their
foreign ancestors. Those who have done any ethnic pioneering can become
mentors and share their results. Such sharing involves more than contributing
occasional articles in prestigious publications with limited distribution.
This is the premise on which our specialized group was formed. We call
ourselves the "Burgenland Bunch" (BB) and we are dedicated to researching
that genealogical microcosm called "Burgenland".

After spending early retirement digging around my Burgenland taproot, I
began to share my experiences with kindred souls in various places in cyber
land. Replying to bulletin board queries or placing postings in genealogical
niches, I developed a list of specific Burgenland genealogists while
expanding my own knowledge. Finding them among the Germanic and Eastern
European bulletin boards involved some effort but I soon found that I was
forwarding copies of email to a lot of interested people. An ad hoc group
resulted, along with an email newsletter to hold us together. Group entry
requirements are simply name, email address, Burgenland family name and
Burgenland village if known. (We also accept members who are searching in
Hungarian, Lower Austrian or Styrian villages near the Burgenland borders).
There are no fees or special requirements. As self appointed editor and
coordinator I do what you'd expect these jobs to entail. Our newsletters have
covered Burgenland related subjects such as:

"Genealogy Sites, Borderland History, Burgenland Flag & Arms, Heritage Quest
Magazine Articles, German, Hungarian, Latin Dictionaries, Hungarian-American
Friendship Society, Austro-Hungarian Census, Village Descriptions,
Availability of Maps, Our Homepage, Germanic, Hungarian, Latin Months &
Dates, Use of the Umlaut, the Burgenlndische Gemeinschaft, Immigrant
Itineraries, Early Migration to the Burgenland, Members' Queries, Austrian
Zip & Area Codes, Thirty Years War, Military Organizations, German-Hungarian
Village Name Locator, Trip Reports, Burgenland Music, Burgenland Castles &
Genealogy, Heraldry, Immigrant Articles from the 1920's Oberwart Sunday News,
Burgenland Depopulation, Nazareth, PA Cement Mills & Immigrant Workers,
Burgenland Food at Turn of the Century, Hungarian Marriage Records, German
Language Software Translators, Riedlingsdorf History, Elder Hostel Trip to
Austria, Urbars & Canonical Visitations, US- German Newspapers, Occupations,
Village Migrations, etc." We try for biweekly editions with ocasional special
editions (large enough to take up a whole newsletter). We prefer to use email
to avoid downloading files. Material is limited to about 12 pages for each
edition. Since January 1997, 20 newsletters and 5 special editions have been
issued. (as of August 1997)

The newsletter was a winner, but one of our group thought an internet
Burgenland Homepage would get us even more coverage and of course, he was
right. He even assumed responsibility and we feel he maintains one of the
better homepages on the net. Another of our members offered his talented
services as a professional graphics designer and polished the homepage
graphics. Our homepage has a general map of the Burgenland, showing areas
being researched, a member list, a list of villages, family names being
sought, links to other sites and links to our newsletter archives and to our
members. It also has general "how to" information about joining the group,
etc. It is updated frequently and averages 350 contacts a month.

We were very excited when the Homepage attracted our first Austrian
correspondents. To our immense relief they had a command of English although
as a matter of courtesy, some German is used. If you've ever keyed a purely
German document from your English keyboard, you'll appreciate the effort
required to do the reverse in addition to a translation! (where is that
umlauted capital "O"?). In our bunch, it's best to learn a little
genealogical German. One of our members is a candidate for a doctoral degree
at the University of Vienna. He has proved to be a most prolific and learned
correspondent and is a fountain of ethnic information. We thus share in
previously unknown Austrian research areas and publications.We are linking
our group with foreign Homepages like the Oberwart News (OZ) and the Austrian
government. Recently the offices of the Burgenlndische Gemeinschaft (Dr.
Walter Dujmovits, president and editor), oldest and largest world wide
Burgenland association, headquartered in Gssing, Burgenland, Austria went
on line.

Our future thus hinges on finding interested members, issuing informative
newsletters, sharing data and maintaining a high quality internet homepage.We
hope that eventually, anyone interested in the Burgenland will be able to
reach us via internet search engines.

Another problem that arises when a special group forms is that genealogists
seeking family in other areas are excluded. Our search area is limited by
definition. At times we must reply, "sorry, but your area appears to be the
Banat of Hungary (or wherever)." We also have a problem reaching those who
have Burgenland immigrant ancestors and don't realize it. These can sometimes
be found by scanning the genealogy bulletin boards. Recently one said "My
grandparents came from Gas Vadersdorf, Austria in 1900. Their names were so
and so. Does anyone know the name of this village today and where it can be
found?". It appeared that "phonetic German" had struck again and that the
village could be Gross Petersdorf, a good solid mid-Burgenland village not
far from Oberwart. Since the questioner's uncommon family names appeared in
the Burgenland phone listing for that village, we had fairly good proof we
were correct and a reply was forwarded. We acquired another member.

There are those who don't do their homework and don't avail themselves of
readily available reference sources before asking questions. I feel we're
occasionally the target for jokers, school children looking for fun or an
easy composition or those computer genealogists who contact everyone hoping
for a hit. This is a pitfall of going on line. There are all too many
bulletin boards that carry questions like "Where is Burgenland?"; answer
easily found in any geographic reference.

I'd like to be able to report that the formation of the "Bunch" has expanded
my family genealogy by several generations. It hasn't, but I'm sure I
exhausted the easy records some time ago. I think the Turks used earlier
ones to heat coffee! I'm still stuck in the late 1600's, looking for a
migration link from Lower Austria, Styria or Bavaria. My genealogy did grow a
little fatter around the middle when some unknown distant cousins (2nd & 3rd)
joined the group. I've also been able to correct errors in allied lines. I
have gained a much greater appreciation of Burgenland geography, history and
culture. I have several more volumes in my Burgenland library, some ethnic
music recorded on site, copies of several new historic documents (1572, 1697,
1757, 1787) containing family names, new "cousins", several friends of
friends and historic family neighbors, numerous migration and travel stories,
super great Austrian contacts and a list of fine correspondents who share all
sorts of ethnic data. I also enjoy helping others. None of us are immune to
strokes of appreciation. Who knows when email may contain another elusive
clue. Morning email has become a genealogic adventure.

While our archives lists family names and villages being researched, we do
not have a data base of individuals. If you're looking for "Specific Name"
from "Such" village, we can put you in touch with someone in our group who is
also researching that name and village. You must still do the work of finding
your ancestor. In addition we can tell you what we have concerning your
village, its history, demographics, possible migrations, etc. as well as all
normal types of genealogical aids like maps and local terms. Likewise, if
you have special knowledge, we expect you to share it.

Before listing our members and how we may be reached, I'll define the
Burgenland in order to exclude possible futile queries for villages not in
our area of study.

"Burgenland, province, eastern Austria, lying south of the Danube River
(Capitol Eisenstadt). It is bounded on the north by Lower Austria Province,
on the east by Hungary, on the south by the republic of Slovenia, and on the
west by Styria and Lower Austria provinces." (courtesy of Microsoft
Encarta-reg. trademark for their computer encyclopedia)

If you fail the above test; however, and if you feel your village is in Vas,
Moson or Sopron Megye (counties) in Hungary or near Frstenfeld or Graz,
Styria, Austria or within shouting distance of the Neusiedler See, or near
Mosonszentja'nos, Szombathely, Szt. Gotthard or Kormend, Hungary, etc., etc.
we want to hear from you. There was a lot of village migration and the
borders are very convoluted. Contact the author via email at
. Our Homepage and archive File Transfer Protocol addresses
are at the end of this article.

THE BURGENLAND BUNCH MEMBER LIST (as of August 1997, followed-unfortunately
it wasn't possible to update with the current membership)

Titles to Hungarian publications(H) which are printed in Hungarian have been
translated to English. (G) means German language publication. Many are still
available although writing publishers may be necessary. One of our Austrian
contacts uses Austrian Libraries like the National Library in Vienna
(Heldenplatz) or the Landesarchiv/ Landesbibliotek in Eisenstadt, Burgenland.
Here can be found excellent village source material by using the "Allgemiene
Landesbibliographie des Burgenlandes, part VII, Topo-Bibliographie" which in
turn references editions of "Volk und Heimat" or "Burgenlndisches
Heimatblaetter". Probably best left to a professional or someone experienced
with Austrian library research, I have not had personal experience with those
sources. Our newsletter does publish material gathered from them by our
Austrian member. Frequently some villages issue local histories which are
fantastic finds. The newsletter has uncovered a few. If you write or visit
your immigrant's village, always inquire if such is available.

AMTLICHES TELEFONBUCH BURGENLAND,(G) official residential phone book,
available from Austrian Post Offices.

Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1963, (out of print, available in some libraries)

Druck, Eisenstadt. (G) Lists all villages, their Bnrgermeisters,
briefbiography, village statistics, pictures. Was your ancestor a politician
in the post 1919 period?

Belvedere Verlag, Wien, Austria 1983(G). A lovely picture book with
interesting text.

AGES), Kirsner & Peternell, Kapellenweg 14, 8502 Lannach, Austria 1995. Price
396 Schillings (about $40 pp). Also "DER BEZIRK JENNERSDORF" and "DER BEZIRK
OBERWART". (G) These cover each village in the respective districts, 27
Gemeinde (communities) in the Gssing area for instance along with affiliated
Gemeinde villages. Some history, pictures, etc. MARVELOUS, but in German.
These books will eventually cover all of the Burgenland. A wonderful adjunct
to your genealogy if you know your immigrant's village.

BURGENLANDERS) Dr. Walter Dujmovits, Desch Drexler, Pinkafeld, Austria
1992(G). The definitive study of Burgenland migration by the leading
authority on the Burgenland emigration ("Auswanderung") to the United States
and elsewhere. Available from the Burgenlndisches Gemeinschaft, Hauptplatz
7, A7540 Gssing, Burgenland, Austria.

BURGENLAND, Text book for the Upper School), Floiger, Gruber & Huber, Druck
Ed. Hlzel, Gmbh, Vienna, 1996 (G). Very comprehensive history, very well
presented and up to date.

Press. The Austrian & Hungarian sections. Tells the why of the "Auswanderung".

LDS Film number 1045430 is a microfilm of "Magyarorszag Varmegyei es
Vasvarmgye", an 1898 Geography and History of Vas County in Hungarian. It
lists all the Burgenland villages, population, churches, when built, local
aristocracy, etc. Has maps.

NACH AMERIKA, (TO AMERICA) Burgenlndische Landesausstellung Burg Gssing,
Roetzer Druck, Eisenstadt, Austria 1992(G). The migration to the US. Issued
for the 1992 Gssing Castle "Auswanderung" exhibit. Comprehensive text and

COUNTY) J. Dvorzsak, Budapest, Hungary 1877(H). Available on microfiche at
LDS Family History Centers. German-Hungarian village name cross-reference.

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF ROMAN PANNONIA, Lengyel & Radan, Univ. Press of Kentucky,
1980. Early History of region which included what is now Burgenland.

THE BOOK OF AUSTRIA, E. Marboe, Austrian Printing Office, Vienna, 1948, and
AUSTRIA, A PHAIDON CULTURAL GUIDE, Prentice Hall, 1985, both have Burgenland

THE SPIRIT OF HUNGARY. Stephen Sisa, 1983, Rakoczi Foundation. Available from
them at P. O. Box 110025, Cleveland, Ohio 44111. General Hungarian History in
English, presents a Hungarian view of history, but full of information.
Magyar tribal migration to present.

Delegation of the Peace of Hungary, Budapest, 1920(H). Also on LDS FHC

There are various general histories of the Habsburgs and their Empire (Kann's
"History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918" is very good as is Sugar's
"Southeastern Europe under Ottoman Rule, 1354-1804") but the Burgenland and
Vas Megye are hardly ever mentioned. References to Western Hungary are
pertinent. Good political background. "German Minorities and the Third
Reich", Komjathy & Stockwell and "The Habsburg Monarchy as a Customs Union",
Komlos also have some information.

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