Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 2000-09 > 0969020130

Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 87A dtd Sept. 15, 2000
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 08:15:30 EDT

(issued biweekly by )
September 15, 2000


This second section of the 3 section newsletter contains Correspondence With
Felix Game, Why Family History? -A Bedtime Story For Little Ones-and Maybe
Some Not So Little, and How To Proceed (as well as How Not To Proceed) With
Limited Data.


In newsletter no. 81, Felix Game was introduced to our membership. He had
provided an invitation to visit his family history site at:

If you missed our previous introduction, Felix Game is a well known member of
the Association of Professional Genealogists. He is a research specialist for
Austria and Hungary and is also a professional translator in those languages.
He has written for many publications. We are proud to have him as one of our

Having taken a short break from editing the BB newsletter, I recently took a
busman's holiday and spent some time at his web site. What I found there
prompted me to enter into some correspondence which I'd like to share.

I sent the following to Felix Game:

Felix Game responds:

Hello Gerry, you write:

Thank you very much for the kind words.

This scares me a bit <g>. In my mind that would cause all sorts of
problems for us poor researchers. First of all, it would immediately push you
back the 150 years to before the Turkish occupation. I cannot perceive any
colonists moving to Hungary while the Turks were there. That leaves us with
that part of the population of Hungary which neither fled nor was
dragged off or killed by the Turks. No doubt there were some else why would
the Turks have set up sophisticated bureaucracy to collect taxes. Next, I
figure that if they went to Hungary before the Turks, they would have had
to arrive there early in the 1500s and I doubt that we could find any records
extant of that period, look how much trouble we already have getting through
the 1700s. The exception to this are noble families who are documented
because of the land they owned, and because periodically they had to prove
their nobility over and over again, which was registered in
the counties of their domicile. However, even that would be little solace
because our skills in reading and interpreting Latin would be totally
inadequate for those old documents - I know mine would. It would be fun
though <g>. (Ed. Note: perhaps some more Austrian/Hungarian scholars in need
of a Master's or Doctoral dissertation would do the original translation and
our German-English translators would do the rest <g>)

Your letter did me a lot of good in that it made me refocus on that Budaörs
problem, and while I looked over my article, I realized that there is an
important clue I never got around to follow: It is where a family chronicle
quotes someone saying "We belonged to the parish of Turbal". It had skipped
my mind but now, thanks to you, I have it back in focus. I
just checked the FHLC and there are six films available for Törökbálint,
which is the present name of Groß Turbal; the first two films would have the
period on them that could have that Fasching I am looking for, the one who
married in Budörs in 1792. I will be ordering those films ASAP. I thank you
for being such a good catalyst!

<Another difference is the origin of the migrating families. Those in Vas
Megye nearest the (then) Austrian-Styrian border seem to have come from
Austria/Styria/Lower Austria as opposed to Bavaria, Swabia, etc. Obviously
the first settlers would take closest land and many western Vas villages had
"empty" holdings, beginning with Rudersdorf (first village east of

We have mostly only our imaginations. In my mind there are two distinct
methods of immigration to Hungary, walking or riding on a wagon, or floating
down a river. It is quite obvious which method the "Danube Svabians" used.
The Austrians living literally in walking distance of Vas megye would have
drifted across over time, and not necessarily in groups.

Whenever there was a recruiting drive it always started with the closest
neighbors. Austria would have been closest and Burgenland is, of course,
about as close as you can get in Austria. When recruits from one area became
scarce, the agents would go further a field, and got into Bavaria, the Black
Forest, Baden, Württemberg, and up the Rhine Valley to Alsace Lorraine and
the Saar. So yes, the closer people got to the closer vacantland, but I
would like to think that since most of the colonists were experienced
farmers, they would have considered the quality of the soil more important
than the distance. Also, the powers who owned the land had
their own needs and would direct new colonists where they needed them the
most. I don't visualize the process like today's house hunting where they
colonist could point and say "I'll take this one".

<another story. Here, the Germanic names (Sorger in my case) appear later,
around 1727. While I've seen the name spelled "Szorger" (Hungarian version)I
believe it may be Swabian or Franconian.>

Well, I took a quick look through the various Werner Hacker books and while
there are Sorg, Sorgh and Sorge, there aren't any Sorger mentioned - neither
in the Baden, Breisgau, nor the Rheinisch Pfalz and Saarland.

<In checking Bogardi's web site I find the Berghold name appears in (1891)
Komaron and Behar Megye as well. The Sorger name, while heaviest in Vas
Megye, appears in 6 others.>

That is not surprising unless you want to say that Berghold is a very rare

<Conclusions: Why can't we find Batthyany (Zichy in your case) archives which
identify the settlers to their regions? At least in the Batthyany case, the
archives are voluminous and in Budapest.>

I know two answers for that. The first, and fairly embarrassing one is that
most of us don't look for them, all that much. This is certainly true in my
case. I have gone to great length to document the various owners of my
ancestral village but I only find minor players, nothing along the
magnitude of a Batthyany or Eszterházy, but little fish who may not even have
had a private archive ever. Secondly, and I am speaking here mostly of
Austrian law - thinking that it would be not much different in Hungary -
there has never been a legal obligation for the great land-holding families
to deposit their archives with the national archives of their country. So
there may be lots of private archives in private hands, and all we can hope
for is that some pot-smoking descendant doesn't make a bonfire of them at the
next "party".

<What we could really use is a migration chart showing group movement over
time. I wonder if we'll ever have the data for one?>

Hacker amassed a formidable treasure trove of data. His books get into many
local/regional incentives for leaving and the years are well identified.
What immediately becomes obvious is that emigrants from any particular place
went in several directions. You could have a bunch go to Galicia, some to
East Germany, some to Hungary and some to the USA. So how would one chart
this kind of migration?

<family survival. Are some of our family names remnants from earlier periods
(all the way back to the settlement of Güssing by Germans in the 11th
Century!) Fascinating but confusing!>

This would probably require a bit of a research detour into naming
conventions. I am not at all sure that all people had family names back in
the 11th century. (Ed. I realize there were few or no surnames that early-I
was only thinking that there may be surviving descendants who later
-16th-17th Centuries-took names which survive today.)

My gut-feel tells me that a few people would have gone together, but that is
not what I am seeing in such works as Hacker's. They would instead go as
families and it probably had to do with each family having to individually
battle the authorities for the manumission papers, their permission to
leave, and the paying of the required "tax" before being allowed to leave.
Ideally such families would have at least one grown son but hopefully more to
take on the hard work of restoring abandoned fields, or of breaking new
ground to be turned into tillable land. Occasionally I have seen two
separate families but of the same name leave a village in Germany and show
the same destination. I don't consider these as "groups" - at least not as
groups organized right from the start amongst themselves. I did see a number
of seemingly unrelated families from the same area finish up in the
same Hungarian village, but that could have been arranged that way by the
recruiting agents or the bureaucrats or the landholder where this was not the
Crown, but an ecclesiastical holding or a family estate, etc.

There is so much to learn, and so little time <g>. Regards <felix>

He later writes:

Since you showed such admirable interest in my articles <g> I want to make
sure that you become aware of the latest one I have added just yesterday. I
goes by the title of "Why did they want to emigrate?" and can be found at

not so little)

I've devoted much of my last fifteen years to pursuing family history. At
times my interest in the past takes me away from the future for too long a
period of time. I'm then often asked why. I frequently give various reasons
depending on who is asking the question. One answer that I cherish more than
any other is one I once gave to one of my granddaughters. I then incorporated
it as an epilogue in a family history called "Berghold-Neubauer Descendants"
which I privately published in 1995. Sometimes when I find I need a little
encouragement to keep me going, I take it out and read it. I'd like to share
it with you. You may wish to adapt it for your own use.



Once upon a time there were three brothers named Johann, Josef and Franz and
four sisters named Julianna, Theresia, Cecilia, and Anna. Their family name
was Berghold and they lived in a little village called Poppendorf in a place
called the Burgenland (which means castle country) in the old Kingdom of
Austria - Hungary, far away across the ocean in southern Europe. Their
father and mother had a Gasthaus, or small inn, and the father had been a
blacksmith. He shoed so many horses that he made enough money to build the
Gasthaus in 1875. It is still standing today, 120 years later, on a road
which goes from the village of Heiligenkreuz, on the Austrian border with
Hungary, to the big city of Furstenfeld, Austria.

There were many mouths to feed and there was not enough work for the brothers
and so, beginning in 1901, they joined many other Burgenlanders who could
find no work at home and they went to the ocean and sailed to America. After
a long voyage their ship landed at New York and they took a train to the
prosperous city of Allentown, Pennsylvania where they settled, because there
was lots of work available in the breweries and mills. Some people they knew
were living there and their own German language was spoken, because other
Burgenlanders had come there before them. They were welcome and happy in the
new land, but they never forgot their homeland and they often thought of
their family and friends back home.

They worked hard, learned English, married three Burgenland girls (Fannie,
Julia, and Julia) who knew the brothers back home. They became American
citizens, and they had many children, who also had many children. It is
because they came and stayed in America that we were born Americans and live
in this fine country.

The sisters stayed in Poppendorf and helped their parents with the Gasthaus,
but some of them also married and the children of one of them named Mirth
also came to America and they settled in Allentown, New York and St. Louis.
Other children eventually went to Rudersdorf, another town in the
Burgenland, and to Vienna and Munich and Greece and today we have cousins
living in many places both in this country and in Europe. There are even some
left in the Burgenland.

This is a true story and not a fairy tale, but a hundred years after the
brothers came to America, the story was almost forgotten and no one knew all
the pieces. Along came a grandchild of one of these brothers. He had been to
Poppendorf, had seen the Gasthaus and visited the cousins and learned more of
the story and he thought "wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if this story was
put in a book", so he collected all the bits and pieces and put them in this
book. You can read it some day when you grow up and wonder where the
Bergholds came from. I'll bet the brothers would be glad that their story
wasn't forgotten and so will you and your children, and your children's

Fritz Konigshofer)

As the BB gets older, we attract more readers. Lately, a number have
presented queries with little data except a name and some vague association
with Austria. Many also crop up on the Burgenland Query Board, including some
that are obviously from geographic areas hundreds of miles distant from the
Burgenland. In this age of instant gratification, some people obviously feel
that if they furnish a name to someone hosting a family history board, they
will receive a family history. I often feel we should ignore requests like
this. Pursuing them is almost hopeless and a waste of time, even when the
family name appears to be one found in the Burgenland. Then we get soft
hearted and try to provide a little direction. After all, we were once new to
this game ourselves.

My most recent query of this sort was an ill mannered boor from California,
who after receiving some introductory data and our welcome letter, responds
"I'm 21 years old and all that was 150 years ago. I don't care where the
borders are. Either you can help me (provide a genealogy?) or not. Stop
wasting my time!"

Not exactly the best way to ask someone to help you. He's been deleted from
my files and I've blocked his address permanently.

Staff member Fritz Königshofer is most adept at answering queries when the
data is a little more explicit and his Burgenland Query Board replies are
classics. Examples follow:

Burgenland Province
Austria Queries. A new message, "ZEMLOCK," was posted by Aaron Zemlock on
Thu, 07 Sep 2000Surname: Zemlock, ZemlyakThe message reads as follows:


This thread: