Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-12 > 0945265880

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 70 dtd 15 Dec. 1999
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 08:51:20 EST

(issued biweekly by
December 15, 1999
(all rights reserved)

"Frhliche Weihnachten"





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 our Free OZ Inquiry Service, Strodl Name in Village of Forchtenau,
More on the Alex Tscharr Trip, More Comments Concerning Different Spellings
of Family Names, On the Way to the Millenium-The 30 Year War, Village of
Kukmirn and Gludovatz Family, Panama Canal Visit, Hungarian Villages of
Varbalog, Fertorakos, and Harka. This is almost a Fritz Konigshofer section
and he has our special thanks for his many articles in this and prior


Burgenland Editor Albert Schuch sends the following:

"If you want to find your relatives in Burgenland, consider placing a free
inquiry in the "Oberwarter Zeitung" (OZ), a local weekly newspaper. Contact
Albert Schuch <> for details."

ED. Note: There is no cost and no obligation. All Albert needs is some data.
He will then edit your query, translate it into German and place it in a
forthcoming issue of OZ (Albert is a contributing columnist to OZ). Some of
our members have already been contacted by relatives and have received
genealogical help.

I read a lot of qestions and answers in genealogical magazines and one
suggestion always surfaces; genealogists searching Europe should always try
to place queries in a European newspaper. Most newspapers will charge
advertising rates for this service unless they have a genealogy column. Some
won't even consider it. The Burgenland Bunch, through Albert, has arranged a
free genealogical query column. Take advantage of what this can do for you.
Todate about two dozen of our members have done so.

On page 15 of OZ for the week of Novemder 24, I see under "Verwandtensuche"
(searching for ancestors) a full column concerning the RESCH and GUTMANN
ancestors of member Jeanne Smith. I wonder how many relatives will read it?


As I get older, my holiday thoughts turn back to the 1930's when I was still
a youngster, the world was new and Christmas was a time if wonder. By then my
Burgenland immigrant grandparents were comfortable with Allentown, PA and had
a comforable life style. My parents, the first US born generation, were
Americans first and foremost and weren't too interested in the old country.
They were busy establishing American traditions. As a result, I turned to my
grandparents for "Heimat" Christmas stories and Burgenland traditions.

My maternal grandmother Hedwig Sorger (nee Mhl, referred to as Mom), was
whom I talked to most often. Her kitchen was my favorite place and she always
enjoyed my company. I learned some cooking from her, using her combination
wood and gas stove in an alcove off of the kitchen, a great place to raise
strudel. I well remember the way she always spent many days preparing for
Christmas. Dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies and other baked goods were
stored in tins and cloth covered bowls high up in the kitchen cabinets and in
the dim recesses of the pantry.

Mom's father died a few months before she and her twin sister were born. Then
their house in Kleinmrbisch burned down and they moved to Gssing, on the
south west side below the castle. The whitewashed, straw thatched cottage no
longer exists. It was in the vicinity of what is now the fish "teich" or fish
farm. At about age 12, she and her sister both went into service. She worked
as a maid for the family of a lawyer in Szt. Gotthard, Hungary. Her older
brother Josef was apprenticed to a tailor, became a journeyman and emigrated
to Allentown, PA. Four years later he sent for the rest of the family.

Mom remembered that when she was little, the Christmas season started with a
visit from her uncle, a game warden. He would come with a horse and wagon and
bring a load of wood and some flour and sugar and sometimes a rabbit or other
game. On Christmas morning her mother would give the three children an
orange, some nuts and a few pieces of marzipan in a stocking. During the day
they would go with other village children to a large building to look at a
decorated tree, where they would be given a small gift. (I wonder if this was
the Draskovitch Schloss or the Gssing Gemeindeamt? Obviously it was either a
civil or prominent family way of providing a Christmas treat for the poorer
children.) Then, they would pass sleighs or carriages with well dressed
people in furs on the way to the Maria Heimsuchung church.

After Mom went into service, she said that Christmas became much more ornate.
The home where she worked was decorated for Christmas and there were many
luxuries and good things to see and eat. She was always made part of the
family Christmas and given a gift. The mistress was nice to her and taught
her many things including how to cook. Within a year she was cooking as well
as being a maid. With this family she learned how to cook Croatian and
Hungarian specialties as well as fancy dishes. (My mother always said she was
treated very badly because the mistress would put her food on a plate and
lock the rest away.) My grandmother would reply that was the way things were
done in those days and besides a cook never went hungry. She always spoke
fondly of this family and sent them money and clothing after they lost their
home following WWI.

Family Christmas traditions evolve from a mixture of the old and the new, in
our family a blend of Burgenland, Hungarian, Pennsylvania German and purely
American (with a little from our good Italian neighbors). Today it's
impossible to identify the exact origin of all of them. I wonder where some
of our family traditions did originate? How many were adopted by parents and
grandparents remembering the Christmases of their childhood. We seem to have
so many traditions! When Mom got too old to prepare everything, and we felt
we had prepared more than enough, she would say in German "but we must have
so and so for Christmas!"

Here are some of our traditions-are they familiar?

Foil wrapped candy on a tree-German or Hungarian?

Gold and silver painted walnuts hanging on a tree-Burgenland?

Glass blown figural ornaments on the tree (not just balls)?

Putz (miniature village under the tree)-Penna. German?
Later an electric train might be added.

Spice cookies in the shape of trees and men-Burgenland baker treats?

Raised nut and poppy seed Strudel-Hungarian?

Nut Kipfels dusted with powdered sugar-Burgenland via Turks (crescent shape)

Marzipan fruits-German or Burgenland (becoming hard to find)

Sugar cookies in the shape of stars-Penna. German?

Christmas goose-Burgenland (now rarely encountered-replaced by turkey)

Multi-colored filled candies?

Assorted mints?

A large box of chocolate candy?

Oranges and tangerines piled up in a cut glass bowl-Burgenland?

Bowls of mixed nuts to be cracked and eaten with sweet wine after dinner?

Dates stuffed with nuts and dusted with sugar?

Fruitcake and stollen?

Special sparkling wine for Christmas breakfast-American?

Cranberry sauce and crisp celery-American

Electric candles in the windows-American?

Creche-Penna. German?

Outdoor lights and wreaths-American

Gifts for adults as well as children-American?

Ornate gift wrappings-American?

Christmas cards for every relative and friend-American?

Opening one present on Christmas eve-carry over from European custom where
gifts are exchanged before Christmas?

Christmas day visits by neighbors and relatives? -a dying custom.

These are just some of our traditions, the absence of any would now be
questioned by most family members. Has the pendulum swung much too far from
the spirit of a Burgenland Christmas?

(correspondence between Albert Schuch and Ralph Nielson)

Albert writes: I have now been able to look at my books about Mattersburg
district. According to the article on Forchtenau, the Strodl name is already
listed in the first records (dating from 1498/1500), in this document spelled

The Strodl name is included in all later lists (1526, 1589, 1675, etc.).
Members of the family have occasionally held the "Richter" (mayor) office:
Hans Strodl (1622, 1623, 1625, 1626, 1630), Josef Strodl (1804-1808), Leopold
Strodl (1811-1815), Josef Strodl (1843-1845), Anton Strodl (1853) Andreas
Strodl (1854). I did not find any connection of the Strodl family to a
certain profession.


We have received so many nice comments concerning the report of the Tscharr
trip to the Burgenland that I feel I should share some more of the tips
provided to Alex. The following were from Fritz Konigshofer and I'm certain
they helped make Alex's trip a success. Other members may also benefit from

Fritz writes: October is still a reasonable time to visit, as there is a good
chance for some sunny days, though you need to have a sweater, and should
even take a coat or anorak with you. You might have a good chance in October
to get fresh game for dinner, like pheasant, venison or even wild boar.
Unless you are a vegetarian, don't miss it. Another special treat is the
very fresh, still opaque wine, barely fermented, called "Sturm." Maybe the
1999 Sturm will already be available for you, in case you'll be there in late
October. Please also try to drink an Uhudler, a Burgenland wine speciality,
i.e., a wine from direct rootstock (ungrafted) vines. The most recent
Burgenland Bunch newsletter mentioned it. However, please be modest when
drinking Sturm or Uhudler as they can overwhelm a man in no time. (Ed. Note-I
once drank "Sturm" for breakfast considering it to be no more potent than
grape juice-I then took a mid-morning nap.)

I had a fabulous rental car deal in Graz this summer, arranged via
Europe-by-Car. Unbeatable in price. I rented a VW Golf class car, and
indeed received a VW Golf, entirely adequate and very economic (gas is
expensive in Europe). If you plan to drive to Hungary or Slovenia, you need
to mention it when you order, or when you pick up the car, and it costs
extra. The website of the company is http://www.europebycar.com

Alex, on your question about hotels, I am no expert. Since my home
town is Graz, I have never needed to stay overnight in the Burgenland. You
need to touch base with bb members who have visited the area. Some wrote
about their trips in recent newsletters. One of the stories was by Bob Unger
whose trip, I believe, included the Rudersdorf area. Gerry Berghold might
have a better overview about who has recently traveled the area you will
visit (i.e., between Oberwart and Olbendorf). Didn't I mention a web site
with hotel listings to you in one of my earlier messages? Have you also
checked for leads on the bb website links maintained by Anna Kresh? Anyway,
I did a little www searching for you, and found
http://www.burgenland-tourism.at/activity.asp?menu3=2 which has leads to
hotels and inns. Another site which may be of interest for you is


The Hungarian -s- stands for the pronounciation -sh- in English or -sch- in
German. The sound we usually connect with -s- is spelled -sz- in Hungarian
and often appears in dictionaries as a separate character. Therefore,
Germans living in Hungary were faced with the problem that Hungarians would
pronounce an -s- in the
name like a "sh," thereby essentially changing the pronounciation. The most
famous example is the composer Franz (Ferenc) Liszt. Down to Liszt's
grandfather, the family name had been written as List or Lisst, but
Hungarians would pronounce this as Lisht, therefore Liszt's grandfather (a
very opinionated teacher, who ended up in real trouble with his overload,
from which his then famous grandson was able to extricate him) decided to
change the spelling to Liszt.

Other examples are easy to find. For instance, in my own ancestry I
have a family of teachers with the name Frsatz. Occasionally, their name
was spelled Frszacz, for exactly the same reason. Another example is the
name Simitz. Just two days ago, when browsing the records of Raba Szent
Mihaly, I noted between 1800 and 1818 that the Simitzes there were spelled
Szimits and Szimics.

Therefore, the name Nikles and Niklesz are clearly one and the same,
in German versus Hungarian spelling. There is a very similar case with a
recent enquirer at the list server of Family Tree. His Banat region
ancestors spelled themselves Mingesz, when the original name in Germany is
spelled Minges. The different spellings are simply due to the German and
Hungarian spellings of the same pronounciation. The German letter "sharp
-s-" (written ) plays no additional role in this equation.

The spelling problem worked also the other direction. For instance,
names spelled with -sch- in German, could becaome spelled with -s- in
Hungarian, as the Hungarina spelling -s- already provided the -sh-
pronounciation. Viktor Fischer, one of our bb members, has ancestors the
Hungarians spelled Sbler when the original German name (and pronounciation)
were Schabler, probably even Schaffler.

As to the other question, I think Gyri would clearlybe a Hungarian
name meaning "the one from Gyr." This original designation of a family name
might reach far back in history. When churches started to make records (from
the mid 17th century), these names might have been several hundred years old.
Therefore, I do not believe one can normally draw a recent geographical
conclusion from such a name, although it is not impossible that a specific
person's family name formed in more recent times. While geographical
designations ("the one from ....") are not as common among German names as
they were in Hungary, they still exist(ed) as well, but in German the ending
designating "from" is "-er," like in Wiener (the one from
Vienna), Grazer, Eisenst"dter, or Raaber (the German equivalent of Gyri)
which became spelled as "Raba" in Hungary.

It is true that the Swiss also use the -i ending for some family
names, but I do not think it has any geographic connotation, and has no
connection at all with the Hungarian forms. I have a Hungarian line with the
name Bri or Bry (the -y being the noble ending, i.e., approximately meaning
"the [nobleman] from Br"). One of my first experiences with genealogy was
when I looked up the Washington phone book and found scores of Beery and
Beeri there. My hopes were raised immensely, especially since a half-brother
of my great grandmother had introduced the spelling Bery (with double e).
All these hopes of finding immediate connections were immediately dashed when
some calls to local Beerys established that they all descended from
Switzerland, from one ancestor who already fought in the civil war and had
the original Swiss name Pierri (little Pierre, or little
Peter). Gerry, in fact, mentioned another source for the final -i or -y,
when he referred to the possibility of bb member Gilly's ancestors being
possibly from Ireland, descending from an Irish soldier who may have fought
in the imperial army that defeated the Turks in Szent Gotthard in 1664. This
is, of course, a possibility. However, when some time ago I looked through
the Brgerbuch of Graz (listing people who had moved to Graz from somewhere
else, but were awarded citizen status), one or two of the Gillys mentioned
there were stated to hail from the canton Graubnden in Switzerland!

The bottom line is that one needs to be very cautious in genealogy,
before taking some datum as a fact.


Bob writes: The 30 yrs war is being recognized as a major event of the
millennium. The following article appeared last week in our area newspaper:

Tom Mallory
30-Jul-1999 Friday

The war lasted 30 years, involved every major state in Western Europe and
left what is now Germany an underpopulated wasteland. It began with two men
being tossed out of a window.

That act, known as the Defenestration of Prague, was a result of rage over
persecution of Protestants by Bohemia's Catholic king, Ferdinand II, the
Hapsburg heir to the Holy Roman Empire.

On May 23, 1618, armed and angry Bohemian nobles hurled two of Ferdinand's
Catholic advisers out a castle window. They survived; Catholics claimed they
were rescued by angels wile Protestants said they just landed in a
dung heap.

No matter, a large complicated war ensued that began as Catholic vs.
Protestant, with huge armies of mostly non-German combatants rampaging across
German soil. It evolved into a contest for dominance of Western Europe
between Austria's Hapsburg dynasty and the Bourbons of France.

The Thirty Years War ended in 1648 with a treaty that enshrined the modern
concept of nation-states, while only reaffirming what had been established in
a treaty 90 years before: Each prince had the right to choose a church for
his subjects.

The war left Germany fragmented, so ravaged and brutalized that the region's
population declined by between 15 percent and 20 percent. Centuries later,
that indignity would be a note in the siren song of German nationalists,
which the Nazis sang all too well. By Tom Mallory
(Ed. Note: the results of the 30 Years War causewd many of our ancestors to
migrate to the Burgenland regions.)

Fritz Konigshofer to Norman Gludovatz

Yesterday, when I did my own searches in the film with the records of
the rom.-cath. parish of Kukmirn (Kukmer), I saw a Gludovac entry and noted
it for whatever interest it may have for you. Accordingly, this was the
marriage of a Gludovac Alajos, "mester" (master) from Rehgraben, 23 years
old, the son of Gludovac Armin (not sure, would be a very unusual first name)
and Niklosi (not sure) Maria, with Terez Rober, 18 years, of Kukmirn. The
witnesses were Gyorgy Rober and Ferenc Schlegl.

Kukmirn is in the Southern Burgenland, near Gssing, and Rehgraben is
very nearby. Kukmirn was mostly Lutheran, and the rom.-cath. parish was
rather small in the size of the congregation. My interpretation of the
"mester" is that this Alois (Louis) Gludovac was the schoolmaster of
Rehgraben. The marriage of Alajos Gludovac and Terez Rober happened on
February 16, 1871.

(by Anna Kresh)

Just returned home from about 3 weeks of travel. A couple of days in
Acapulco, followed by a 10-day Panama Canal cruise, two days home to do
laundry, then a weekend in the Pocono's, followed by a 4-day trip to West
Chester, Wilmington, and the Lehigh Valley.

The Panama Canal cruise was a very moving experience for me since I probably
owe my very existence to the Canal. If my father hadn't emigrated to work in
the Atlas Cement Mill to supply cement to build it, then he would not have
met my mother on Newport Avenue in Northampton.

HUNGARIAN BORDER VILLAGES ((from Hizi Atlas courtesy of Fritz Konigshofer)
descriptions which are now available on line-see Homepage URL list)


*Va'rbalog* [Ed.: northwest of Mosonszentpe'terjanos, on the way to
Halbturn] The village was first mentioned in documents as Va'ras-Balog.
Pecheneg and Hungarian inhabitants of the village were killed by Tatar
troops. The village was acquired by king Andras III in 1297. It became
depopulated during the Turkish wars, and was later resettled by Germans. It
became a farmstead owned by the Habsburg archdukes. Hungarian people were
resettled in the village in the 1930s. There is a nice neo-Gothic church in
Albertkazmerpuszta [German name: Albrecht-Kasimir-Hof; on the way to
Halbturn] which belongs to the village.

*Fertorakos* [northeast of Sopron] Limestone mining in this village
already started in prehistoric times. The villag was first mentioned in
documents in 1199. It was acquired by the bishop of Gyr in 1254. In the
Middle-Ages, the village acquired the status of a market town with the right
to stage fairs twice a year. Many public buildings in Vienna and Sopron were
built from stone mined from the quarries near Fertorakos. About 90% of the
inhabitants were expatriated in 1946. The present village has a population
of 2,240. The ethnic Germans run a choir and a dancing ensemble.
Interesting sights are as follows: Stone-quarry ( theatrical performances
and concerts are staged here every summer); Mithras sanctuary (fom Roman
times); the roman-catholic church; crystal exhibition; pillory; water mill;
bishop's castle; and the remains of the fortification walls of the
Middle-Ages. Near Fertorakos lies the only camping and recreation site in
Hungary on the shores of the lake Fert [Ed.:Neusiedlersee]. There is a
temporary border station between Fertorakos and Mrbisch operated solely for
pedestrians and bicycle riders. [German name of the village was Kroisbach]

*Harka* [Ed.: south of Sopron; also known as Magyarfalva] The name
of the village was first mentioned in documents in 1245. The first
contingent of Germans settled here in 1432. The village became a market town
with the right to stage fairs in 1674. Today, the population stands at
1,400, and the village has good public services. The area of the village
includes the "Kogli" (or Harkai peak) which is a nature conservation area.
[German name was Harkau.]

(newsletter continues as no. 70A)

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