Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-11 > 0943972448

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 69 dtd 30 Nov 1999
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 09:34:08 EST

(issued biweekly by
November 30, 1999
(all rights reserved)

"Where are the tablets of your ancestors?"

Note to recipients. If you don't want to receive Burgenland Bunch
newsletters, email with message "remove". ("Cancel" will
cancel membership, homepage listings and mail.) To join, see our homepage. We
can not help with non-Burgenland family history. Comments and articles are
appreciated. This first section of the 3 section newsletter has information
concerning the Village of Nikitsch and the name Nikitscher, Material from
the 1884-85 Volksfreund and the Allentown, PA Call Chronicle Archives, More
on the Allentown Ethnic Newspaper "Friedensbote", Another Hungarian Village
Name Source and a report of his most recent First Trip to Burgenland by Alex


Often family names indicate place of origin. It doesn't take much imagination
to connect Frankfurter with Frankfurt, Bremer to Bremen, Sorger to Sorg, etc.
Like- wise some families gave their names to places which others assumed as
their name. There can be a lot of migration following the assumption of a
family name and finding links to the place of origin indicated by the name
may be difficult if not impossible. I recently had a question which
illustrates this.

Question: My name is Fred Nikithser and I am interested in tracing ancestral
information for my family name which also may be spelled Nikitscher. My folks
came from the area of Southern Burgenland. These are the names of villages I
can remember when hearing my parents talk with other immigrants; Punitz,
Gssing, Tobaj, Tschantschendorf, and Moschendorf.

My dad came to the US as a teenager prior to 1920. I don't know when my mom
arrived. My mom's maiden name was MarakovitsI have a map of Austria and it
shows a city or village along the Hungarian border in middle Burgenland named
Nikitsch. It's a long shot but perhaps there is a connection to my dad's and
grandfather's originDad settled in Northampton PA

Answer: Hello Fred, thanks for the contact. Sometimes I get an interesting
query that I haven't researched before. So it is with the village of Nikitsch
in the Bezirk (district) of Oberpullendorf. First let's explain your name.
Nikithser is a phonetic spelling of Nikitscher which is how it is spelled in
Austria and the Lehigh Valley of PA (which includes your Northampton-many
Burgenland immigrants). It probably means "someone from Nikitsch" and there
are a fair number of families by that name in southern Burgenland, although
none are found in Nikitsch today. There are seven Nikitscher families in
Gssing which is the Bezirk for the villages which you mention and which area
sent many immigrants to the Northampton area. There is also one family in

I knew of one family in Allentown, PA. One of their sons was known to me and
my grandmother (Sorger) said his family were from my grandfather's village of
Rosenberg, today part of Gssing.

>From all of this I'd deduce your Nikitscher ancestor came from Gssing or
close by so I'd check the Gssing church records first. Available from any
LDS (Mormon) family history center.

GU"SSING; (Hungarian name-Ne'metjuva'r); 0 33 22; 7540-Bezirk.Stadt (city).
S, at the junction of routes 56 & 57. North of Szt. Gotthard, Hungary. Pop.
4300, houses 1995. All facilities. District & municipal offices. Castle
Gu"ssing (12th Century) museum. Lately named the City of the Emigrants.
Raised to city (Stadt) status 1974. German colonists as early as AD1150.
Croatian colonists AD 1500's. In 1635, the inner city had 42 houses. Among
the family names were 26 Hungarian, 7 German and 6 Croatian. The outer city
(Langzahl and Rosenberg) had 88 houses. Family names included 48 Hungarian,
17 German and 5 Croatian. The outer city now includes the communities of
Krottendorf, St. Nikolaus (Miklos), Glasing, Steingraben, Urbersdorf,
Rosenberg, and Langzahl. Center of emigration to the US. Had as many as 8
shipping company travel agents to serve emigrants. First emigrant was Alois
Sorger (my grandfather) to Allentown in 1901. LDS church records 1828-1896,
0700699-701; 0700420-8; surrounding area 0700429-430. Jewish, 0700702.

District of Gu"ssing includes Bocksdorf, Burgauberg-Neudauberg, Eberau,
Gerersdorf-Sulz, Grossmu"rbisch, Gu"ssing, Gu"ttenbach, Hackerberg,
Heiligenbrunn, Heugraben, Inzenhof, Kleinmu"rbisch, Kukmirn, Neuberg,
Neustift, Olbendorf, Ollersdorf, Rohr, St. Michael, Stegersbach, Stinatz,
Strem, Tobaj, Tschanigraben, Wo"rtherberg.

Now, what about the village of Nikitsch? It is in a region settled since the
stone age. It lies along the Nikitschbach (stream) between the Kreutzerwald
and the Nikitscherwald (wald means forrest). It's name in 1153 was "Philes",
Ukac in 1204, Ikech in 1311, Yketsch in 1437 and Ikitsch in 1522. You can see
how the name developed. The Hungarian name is "Fles or Filez" and the
Croatian name is Opcina Filez. The Croatians came here about 1524 as refugees
from the Turkish invasions.
Marakovits is a Croatian name. "its" meaning descendant of. You might want to
read the history of Croat settlement in Burgenland which is in our archives.
Burgenland is 83% German, 14% Croat and 3% Hungarian. Today Nikitsch includes
the administration of the nearby villages of Geresdorf and Kroatisch Minihof.

In the 13th century, it belonged to the Counts of Gssing, later the master
of Lockenhaus (castle), then the Kanizsy family. It was destroyed in 1536 by
the Turks and I'd guess that is the period in which your ancestors may have
fled south to Gssing area for protection (Turks came through the area from
Sopron, Hungary on their way to the first siege of Vienna.) Rebuilt more than
once due to depopulation through war and plague. There is a "Schloss
-palace-Nikitsch" which stems from Kastell Galsohaza in the possession of the
Zichy-Mesko family since 1903. Nothing to do with Nikitsch family.

You have an interesting name but your ancestors will be found in Gssing I'm
sure. In the book "Stadterhebung Gssing-1973" I find that one Hans
Nikitscher lived in Rosenberg in 1750. You can find out more about Rosenberg
and Gssing by reviewing our newsletter archives.


Ed. Note: The "Volksfreund" (translates "Peoples Friend") was a German
language newspaper widely circulated in the Burgenland region and thus
available to our ancestors. Fritz continues to bring us interesting items
culled from archives found in the Budapest Library. This article includes a
listing of the land owning aristocracy, data concerning religion and
Magyarization of village names.

Fritz recently writes: "There was a lot of interesting material in the early
Volksfreund issues which I was able to browse through during my recent visit
to Budapest in October. The first issue of Der Volksfreund came out on
November 17, 1883. The weekly declared itself as the new organ of the
"Independence Party" (later also called the 1848 Party) and stated that it
was the first newspaper which had ever been published in the German language
in Steinamanger [Szombathely].

The first issue contained, what I deem a prophetic, lead article by the
deputy Dionys Pazmandy in which among other things he wrote that "the
occupation [by Austria] of Bosnia has punctured the dams which until now had
held back the Slavic flood." As we all know, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
indeed did not last that much longer, and the actual events that triggered
its undoing were destined to happen in Bosnia-Hercegovina. However, let me
summarize some of the more mundane news I found in the early issues.

1. The issue of March 14, 1885, page 4, had a summary of the creeds
present in the territory of the roman-catholic diocese of Szombathely.
Please be aware that the diocese Szombathely included county Vas and large
parts of county Zala, both in pre-WW I borders, which means including
southern Burgenland, the corner of Vas which now is part of Slovenia, and the
part of Zala south of the river Mur which now is part of Croatia. In this
area of the pre-WW I roman-catholic diocese of Szombathely, the article
stated that there were 181 parish and 177 filial churches, 48 Lutheran prayer
houses (= churches/parishes), 14 Calvinist churches, and 16 synagogues. In
terms of souls, there were 369,854 Catholics, 73,757 Lutherans, 13,684
Calvinists, 11,697 Jews, and 3 Unitarians.

By the way, the Unitarians were a specifically Hungarian manifestation of a
reformed church, with its origin and center, I believe, in Kolosvr
(Klausenburg, Cluj) in Transsylvania. In one of my recent walks in Pest, I
suddenly and unexpectedly found myself passing the very large brick structure
of the Unitarian church. It turns out that in the time since WW I and the
incorporation of Transsylvania into Romania, the seat of the Unitarian bishop
and head of the church was moved to Pest, and the church I saw was the
present mother church of all Unitarians.

2. The VF issue of June 6, 1885 listed the high aristocracy ( the
"magnates") of Vas county that paid sufficient annual real estate taxes to
qualify them for seats in the Upper House of the Hungarian Parliament. The
list (and annual real estate taxes paid) went as follows:

Count Tassilo Festetics, 55,100 Florins (fl)
Count Franz Erddy, 37,700 fl.
Prince Edmund Batthyny-Strattmann, 25,300 fl.
Count Gza Batthyny, 20,400 fl.
Count Koloman Szchenyi, 15,200 fl.
Count Gza Szapry, 14,900 fl.
Count Dionysius Festetich, 13,700 fl.
Count Dionysius Erddy, 13,700 fl.
Count Georg Erddy, 13,100 fl.
Count Stefan Erddy, 10,700 fl.
Baron Johann Mikos, 10,300 fl.
Count Paul Draskovich, 9,000 fl.
Count Andreas Festetich, 5,900 fl.
Count Sigmund Batthyny, 5,800 fl.
Count Karl Batthyny, 5,000 fl.
Baron Ludwig Ambrzy, 3,800 fl.

There was also a country-wide comparison in the same issue, which listed
Prince Nikolaus Eszterhzy in first place with an annual real estate tax
payment of 334,629 Florins. The family Zichy (all branches combined) paid
300,000 fl., while the family Krolyi (all branches combined) was listed with
263,000 fl. Obviously, the same kind of combination was not applied in the
article with the listing for Vas as given above.

In order to provide proper perspective, one should add that there were other
owners of large tracts of land in county Vas, besides the Hungarian magnates
listed in terms of their qualification for the Upper House of Parliament.
Firstly, there were possessions by high aristocaracy from outside Hungary,
such as the Kottulinsky possessions in and around Stegersbach, and the
possessions along the Raab valley by either the Bavarian or Wrttembergian
royal houses (I don't know which one of the two it was). Secondly, there
were land holdings by the church, and thirdly, there were some lower nobility
and commoners who were large land owners. From my limited knowledge, the
Techet family from the area south of Grosspetersdorf, the Rad de Szentmartn
family from the area around today's Murska Sobota, and the Zells from around
Jk, come to mind, although these land holding were, I believe, only
fractions compared to the ones of the high aristocracy.

3. The VF issue of November 28, 1885, page 4, reported about a new
organization/decree about the way the Jewish communities had to run their
matrikel recordings. The article is interesting as it provides a complete
list of all Jewish matrikel districts (meaning: recording locations) in Vas
county. Accordingly, these places were Steinamanger (Szombathely), Gns
(Kszeg), Rechnitz, Srvr, Kleinzell (Kis-Cell), Jnoshza, Vasvr, Krmend,
Muraszombat (Murska Sobota), Szent Gotthrd, Gssing, and Schlaining.

4. Finally, the VF issue of December 5, 1885 reported on the
approval by the (Hungarian) Ministry of the Interior of new Hungarian names
for some villages which had previously escaped such names. In this
particular round of magyarization, the following villages received Hungarian
names: In the Oberwart district, Sulzriegel became Sskut; Hochard became
Dombht; Wiesfleck became Villmos; Schmiedreith became Hatrf; and Weinberg
became Borhegy. In the Gns district, Kogl became Kupfalva; Salmersdorf
became Salamonfa; Steinbach became Kpatak; Lebenbrunn became Letr; and
Puszta Rothleiten became Irts.

There was also a plan to change the name of the village of Schnherrn to
Szpur, but the inhabitants of that village had been unhappy with the
proposed name and petitioned the government to find a different name. In
this wave of magyarization of names, the government had at least officially
maintained the inclination to find, whenever this was possible, old Hungarian
names for the same village or location. In this particular case, it appears
that the petition failed, as the name of Schnherrn got indeed changed to
Szpur in February 1886.

By the way, there was at least one more such wave of changes in 1907, when
the few still remaining German or Croat village names were magyarized, among
others the names of Kalch to Mszvlgy, Grics to Gercse, and Stincz to
-end of article-


Those of us who have been engaged in genealogy for some time are well aware
of the value of local newspapers. The problem has been that searching these
archives is a long and tedious process. Now more and more newspapers are
putting their archives online and they can be searched via software. One such
newspaper is the Allentown, PA Call-Chronicle (Morning Call and Evening
Chronicle). Their archives from 1984 forward are available at:

Morning Call Newspaper <http://www.mcall.com>; - Allentown, PA newspaper for
Lehigh Valley area; click on Archives for searchable database of birth,
marriage, death, and general articles since 1984

I recently spent a few interesting hours using their search engine. I
searched for every Allentown area family name in my genealogy. I then
searched for other words like "immigrants", "Burgenland", etc. I printed what
I found and now I have a pile of paper to review. Even though my files are
very complete I have already been able to correct some data and fill in some
blank dates. One word of caution-obituaries often as not rely on survivors
for some family data. These survivors are not always knowledgeable or
correct. As an example I found the village of Poppendorf referred to as
Boppendorf and other phonetic spellings. I also notice that the newspaper is
considering charging a fee for downloading material. You may wish to scan the
particulars. It would be wonderful if the pre 1984 archives were also on
line; however, the post 1984 archives catch the obituaries of many of the
turn of the century immigrants and their descendants. If you have family from
the Lehigh Valley, it would be worth your time to investigate this source.


Albert writes: I was inquiring about the Allentown weekly "Friedensbote" some
time ago. I just found some new information in several newspaper articles
published over
here in 1931:

Accordingly, the "Friedensbote" was originally founded in 1812 (no typo!) as
a newspaper of the Pennsylvania-Dutch. In the 1920ies it was published by
Julius BODISCH and widely read among Burgenland emigrants, of whom as we all
know many settled in the area. I read that in 1931 there were about 7
Burgenlnder-societies in Allentown with about 2500 members alltogether (with
900 members, the "St. Franziskus Untersttzungsverein" was largest). These
societies also published their news in the "Friedensbote". In 1931, when the
paper had a circulation of 3000, it merged with or was taken over by the
"Heimatbote", a German newspaper published in Chicago.

The name BODISCH can be found in Burgenland, but I don't know if Julius was a
Burgenlnder. However, I have now read that his wife Else's mother was from
Burgenland. Else died on May 10, 1931, aged 37. She was born in Berlin,
Germany, came to Pinkafeld, Burgenland, at the age of six, where she attended
the cloister school. A few years later she followed her mother to
Philadelphia; from there she moved to Allentown, where in 1914 she was
married to Julius. They had 8 children, of whom 7 were still alive in 1931.
As already mentioned in an earlier email on this subject, Julius died a few
months later (in October or November). According to his obit he had published
the "Friedensbote" for 9 years.


(Ed. Note: Albert's List, available from the the BB Homepage provides all of
the Hungarian names for current Austrian Villages. LDS Index Files will also
provide names of villages by county in Hungary for which they have records.
None of these sources will provide all of the Hungarian village names. Now
another source has been found.)

Klaus Gerger writes: From: (Gerger Klaus)

A Hungarian colleague found a book with ALL hungarian names of cities and
villages from Hungary and all former Hungarinan areas (including Burgenland).
German-/todays name- and ancient names of the villages, number of
inhabitants, date of founding, included villages (Ortsteile) and all used
spellings are mentioned. There are some data of castles various indices and
there are also maps of the "Komitate" included.

The title is:
TALMA Knyvkiad Baja, 1998
1000 pages and it costed abt. 250.- ATS
I have scanned a few pages for a quick look.

Whenever you or a BB member have questions about a village name,I will try to
answer it from this book.

Joe Jarfas writes: Subj: Place name listing.
Hi Gerry, I got in touch with the guy who sells the book: Lelkes Gyrgy -
HELYSGNV-AZONOST SZTR. He replied he will take a personal check or
international money order. The price with shipping is $39.00

His address:T.Ksa Pl, H-6500 Baja, Parti u. 12. Hungary
(Just make sure you include your address where you want the book sent.)


There is an excellent research paper back book (8" X 11") called "HANDY
Everton Publishers, Inc., PO Box 368, Logan, UT, 84321-0368, Tel:
800-443-6325, URL: http://www.everton.com. Cost is $6.50 ("no" S&H) and also
helps with translating Hungarian & Latin(official language of the Roman
Catholic Church) you will encounter in researching Hungarian genealogy
records. It has a tiny history of Hungary, several pages on the language of
Hungary with the alphabet and grammar rules, & examples from parish
registers. From the catalog, personal names and translations for male &
female, AND many pages of Hungarian words translated into English, a couple
of pages of (VERY VALUABLE) Latin words translated into English and a couple
pages of German words translated! It also has the German, Russian, Serbian
and Croatian alphabets! Both have been VERY valuable to me. My copy is 10+
years old, but I know that they still sell them. One may also order it from
Genealogy Unlimited, PO Box 537, Orem UT. 84059-0537, Tel: 800-666-4363,
email: . The price is the same, except there is a $4.50 S&H


(Ed. Note-that first trip to the Burgenland can be daunting. Alex had many
questions about where to stay and what to expect. His German is very limited
and we could tell he was quite concerned and apprehensive. He was fortunate
in having a connection to distant relatives. It appears they gave him a royal
welcome. Of special interest to me is his flight, Vienna to Graz which I've
never done.)

Alex writes: We departed Atlanta, Ga. on an Austrian Air, Airbus 340 for a
very pleasant flight to Austria. We arrived after 11 hours of flight time, in
Wein , transferred to Tyrollean Air for a 45 minute flight to Graz. A cousin,
name of Armin was waiting at the airport, to transport us to our hotel. We
stayed at the Hotel SIMON in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, a very lovely place, with all
the goodies. we were left to freshen up and to rest. After a four hour rest,
another of my relatives picked us up for a small gathering at my cousin
Willibald's home, in Oberwart, a short distance from where we were staying. I
had never met any of these relatives before, and when I met my cousin
Willibald, I was dumbfounded, he looked so much like my father, it was
unbelievable. After all the hugging and kissing was over, Willibald had
drinks made for everyone, made from orange juice, etc. etc. etc., I have no
idea what all was in that drink, it could have floored an elephant. However,
my wife enjoyed it and had another, as did everyone but me. Being on
medication I have to be careful.

We were notified that an itinerary had been made up for us and that everyday
one or more family members would be with us to tour and to take us where the
family was from [ Olbendorf and Gussing area.] The Csar family treated us
with so much love, that we lost all the apprehension we had when we arrived
in Austria. We were made to feel at home and part of the family. It was such
a good feeling to be accepted this way.

The next morning we went down to breakfast. It took me by surprise, as I was
not used to eating this way. However, Breakfast consisted of 8-10 different
breads and rolls, with about the same amount of different cold cuts, cereals
w/milk , orange juice, marmalades and jams, several different cheeses and
fruits and of course the most important item Great Coffee. I feasted on
Kaiser Rolls and coffee and real butter. Of course, I did sample several of
the cold cuts, and yes, they were very good.

After breakfast, Willibald, Jr. came to the hotel and picked us up for the
first part of our introduction to Austria and its People. After a lifetime of
waiting to see what my father told me about the "Old Country" where he came
from, I was about to see it with my own eyes. Excitement built within me like
a child on its first trip to Disney World.

We drove a short distance, about 30 min. to the first stop. We were at a RC
Church which was 600 years old, the church was unbelievable, it was in such
great shape and still serving Mass. After many pictures and video shots we
moved on. I will not be able to quote most of the villages names we visited.
We then went to a village with a castle and a Jade/Serpentine Mine
(Ed.-Bernstein). The mine had been in use for about 200+ years, we toured the
mine and my wife, Doris, bought a large Jade ring. The Austrian Jade
(Ed.-edelserpentine) is much darker green than the Oriental type. We also
visited the Castle not to far from the Jade Mine.

On the same day, after leaving the castle, for lunch I think we wound up in
Pinkafield. We had an exquisite lunch. Started with pumpkin soup, roast pork,
etc., etc. After lunch Willi took us to his school. Willi is a Director of
the School in Pinkafield. We toured his school and enjoyed seeing many of the
projects the students were working on.

On another day we were met by another cousin, name Berthold, he is a teacher
of the Culinary Arts, his students come from all parts of the world. I got
some great recipes from Berthold, such as Pumpkin Soup, Garlic Soup and a few
others. Berthold's brother Willi Jr and his wife Christine gave us an
Austrian Cook Book , some of the recipes in this book date back to before
1500. Berthold took us to Gussing and the Castle Gussing. That is a sight to
behold! As I understood, the castle is built in the funnel of an extinct
volcano. That was a very exciting trip. From there we went to the vineyards
and the wine cellars. we tasted several wines ate the pork cooked on the farm
listened to stories of the area, told by the farmers and several other
people. A very enjoyable time.

The following day we went to Olbendorf with Willibald Sr. and his beautiful
wife Hedy. We were met there by two other cars, one with other relatives from
Stegersbach and the other car with close friends that just wanted to meet the
Amerikaner Relatives. We were taken to the farm where my father was born and
raised; the feeling that came over me was very eerie. We then went to the
Graveyard in Olbendorf. That was rough on me, for I have arthritis very bad.
The graveyard is on the face of the hill on which the church sits on top. We
did search for the Clan Csar; we found many as far back as the early 1700s.
We only had time and energy to check 40-50 % of the graves. Hubert, a
distant relative checked to see if the Priest was available for some answers
to questions, needless to say, he wasn't.

The next day we were picked up by a handsome young man by the name of Patrick
Csar, the youngest male of the Csar family. Patrick,Willi Sr. , Hedy and
Doris and I then left for Stegersbach . We visited distant relatives there,
of which Ooma is 96 years young, her mind was sharp as a tack.

We visited so many other castles, churches, and other sights too numerous to
mention, including the Hungarian border. However, meeting the one relative we
hadn't met yet was done in a most unusual way. My wife and I had some time to
kill one afternoon, so we went to the Billa [a supermarket] to buy a few
items. When we went to check out at the registers one of the cashiers waved
to us to come to her register, she then started talking to us in German, I
said "I do not understand" in German. She got a startled look on her face and
stated that she knew who we were, she was Deanna, Berthold's wife. I guess
there are not that many Americans in the area. The next day we met the last
of the Csar's that we had not met, her name was Alexandra, a beautiful young
lady of [as she states] almost 14. We had met them all.

I cannot express the feelings my wife and I have for our new found family and
the people of Austria. They are so friendly, so helpful, so wonderful, just
so Austrian. My wife calls Austria "The Fairytale Land." What else can you
say? As Arnold Schwartzanegger would say, " I'll be back", and so will we.

(newsletter continues as no. 69A)

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