Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 2000-11 > 0975593691

Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 90 dtd November 30, 2000
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 09:14:51 EST

(now issued monthly by )
November 30, 2000
(all rights reserved)


Look for answers to your Burgenland genealogical questions by using our BB
Newsletter archives index at:


* Congratulations are in order for our Burgenland Editor Mag. Albert
Schuch-now Herr Doctor Albert Schuch, having been awarded his Doctorate in
History from the University of Vienna on September 25th. He not only deserves
our thanks for the many articles he has contributed to the BB, but for doing
so while being deeply involved with his studies. Our congratulations and best
wishes for a wonderful future! A most prestigious institution, the University
of Vienna was founded in AD 1365 and reorganized under Maria Theresia.

* Check out the changes to Tom Steichen's Surname List and Klaus Gerger's
House List (hyperlink to both from Homepage). Search engines have been added.

* Klaus Gerger has also redesigned his House List Pages at:


There are now 41 (Südburgenland) villages in his lists and he has created
summaries from house lists and from Albert's village data. You can either
browse the family names in alphabetic order or search (with MS Internet
Explorer) a database with over 6000 surnames.

NOTE TO RECIPIENTS. If you don't want to receive these Burgenland Bunch
newsletters, email with message "remove". ("Cancel" will
cancel membership, homepage listings and mail.) Send address and listing
changes to the same place. To join, see our homepage. We can't help with
non-Burgenland family history. Comments and articles are appreciated. Add
your full name to email. Our staff and web site addresses are listed at the
end of newsletter section "B". Introductions, notes and articles without a
by-line are written by the editor and reflect his views. This first section
of the 3 section newsletter contains the articles: America's Immigration
Crisis, Stifter Trip To The Burgenland, True Facts From The 1500's, Taste Of
The Burgenland-Pogatchel Recipe, Fourteen Years Of Heritage Quest On CD-ROM
and New Austrian Museum In NYC.

AMERICA'S IMMIGRATION CRISIS -(a personal view from G. J. Berghold)

One of my perquisites as an editor is the opportunity to express my views. I
try not to abuse the privilege, but there are times when events stir me. In
this instance I feel that some of our current pundits may not have learned
much history.

By recent mail I received a newspaper called "Middle American News" (M. A.
News, Raleigh, NC, J. Woodruff, Editor) which asked for my support and
subscription. It purports to be "a visible platform for middle Americans"
(defined as "average citizens like you and me"-but those of you who pay
attention to numbers know that averages can put you at either end of the
scale.) Well written and featuring a number of syndicated columnists, the
paper contained a "Special Report: America's Immigration Crisis." Without
going into all the pros and cons of immigration, the report advocates that
immigration is not good for America and should be severely curtailed if not
eliminated. It also suggests that Americans of European extraction are being
threatened by the large numbers of non-European races who are entering the

Shades of "Henny Penny"-"the sky is falling down-the sky is falling down!"
This same view has been expounded every time a successive wave of immigrants
reached our shores. It's the philosophy of "I've now got mine, raise the draw
bridge!" The English were fearful of the Germans, the Germans were fearful of
the Irish, the Irish were fearful of the Italians and eastern Europeans and
so on. Three generations ago our own eastern European ancestors were under
attack and the 1924 Alien Immigration Acts were passed as a result.

Our ancestors were also seen as a bad lot, they looked different, they had a
different culture, they couldn't speak English, they weren't educated, they
ate strange food, they conducted religious services in foreign languages-they
were poor undesirables. Yet these were the same "undesirables" who joined
mainstream America and made the cement for the Panama Canal, made US steel
products the envy of the world, helped build the automobile industry,
out-produced the axis in a war of material, fought their cousins in two world
wars, helped rebuild a devastated world, and raised and educated their
descendants to be Americans. Today, their descendants (you and me) have been
absorbed into mainstream American life and the only remains of "difference"
are names, an interest in our "roots", and perhaps a desire to visit and
establish ties with the "Heimat". So it will be with the new immigrants,
provided we don't allow ourselves and our government to do something stupid,
like either denying immigration outright or unduly encouraging it with
massive, government- sponsored give away programs. We must also be absolutely
certain that programs will not exacerbate racial or ethnic differences.
Likewise, we can't allow immigrants to persue ancient enmities in the new
world. What is done is done, apologies or redress for the actions of
generations long dead is ridiculous in the extreme. We must always work
toward "Americanization", not "Balkanization." Immigrants must be made to
realize that to share in what America offers, first and foremost, they must
become Americans. Given these caveats, let the immigrants come.

Immigration is a resource to be managed like any other. Whenever cultures
collide, strange customs and language differences will generate problems. We
can solve those problems at the local level and we'll all be the better for
it. We must continue to tell the world at large that we'll always accept
those seeking what America has to offer.

No, I won't buy the Middle American News, much less support it, because I
believe it is our divergent backgrounds, fostered and nourished by
immigration, which have made us the wonder of the world. I'm first and
foremost an American, but I also feel that I am a Burgenlander. You'll notice
I put "American" first. So should we all, even though we pay homage to our
respective roots, roots that supply the metal for the great American mix.


(ED. Note:-I enjoy these trip reports and so do many of our readers. Every
one is a little different, a little unique. In this one, Gerry Stifter and
wife enjoy a short acquaintance with a wine cellar among other things! The
Stifters did it all, from north to south and managed a bit of the rest of
Austria and Europe as well. A great report.)

Gerry writes:
Rosemary, my spouse and I recently returned from a trip to Europe which
included a 10 day stay in Burgenland. The following are a few highlights of
that trip that may interest BB members.

After a 12 day tour of Germany and Switzerland, we rented a car in Frankfurt
and proceeded to Austria. The first night we stayed outside of Linz. The next
day we drove to the center of Linz and received our first taste of driving in
the center of European cities. We drove to the museum of Adalbert Stifter,
Austria's noted writer. Unfortunately the museum was closed that day and we
were only able to view the outside of
the house and Stifterstrasse. As we were anxious to go to Burgenland, we
didn't take time to see all the other sites of Linz.

We proceeded east to St. Pölten and then left the main highway for a more
scenic drive. We drove south and then turned east trough the Wienerwald and
the Hohe Wand. After a beautiful drive on a sunny autumn day, we arrived in
Wiener Neustadt.

Our trip continued onward to Eisenstadt, where we spent the night at the
Hotel Burgenland. Next day, we toured Schloß Esterházy, Haydn-Haus, the
Domkirche of St. Martin, Kalvarienberg und Bergkirche, and the mausoleum of
Hadyn. Next we headed to Klingenbach at the Hungarian border, but didn't
cross into Hungary. A road (which we later discovered was a bicycle path on
which autos were not permitted) followed closely the Hungarian border as we
traveled toward Mörbisch am See. At times the border was to the right
of the road and at times to the left. Several times we saw Austrian military,
but they probably saw that we were just a couple of dumb Americans. The road
passed through beautiful vineyards and forests. As we approached Mörbisch am
See, we drove over a small hill and had our first view of the Neusiedler See.
It was a memorable sight.

We continued on through Rust to Breitenbrunn, were we stayed for three
nights. Familie Janisch is a small "farm holiday" we discovered on the
Internet at www.tiscover.com. They had only three rooms built onto their
residence. The room was comfortable with a two beds, feather comforters and a
bathroom. A sun room in the courtyard was used for breakfast. It also had a
television on which we could watch CNN in English. Given the time of year,
we were the only guests. In fact the hostess Lisi Janisch informed us that we
were the last until next spring.

The Janisch family owns vineyards and makes wine in a facility across the
road. A short tour showed us an ancient wine cellar as well as the area were
the wine was pressed and held in vats. We were invited to help ourselves to
their wine from the wine cellar and we did several times fully expecting to
pay for the wine. When we left, they told us there was no charge for the
wine. While we were there, they also provided laundry service for us, which
after 2 weeks of travel was much needed. The clothes were returned, washed
and ironed, including the underwear. Rosemary told me not to expect ironed
underwear when we return to the USA.

The Janisch house was across the street from the Türkenturm, a tower and
museum. The tower dated back to 1262 and was used as a lookout. The museum
has an impressive exhibit of antiquity and is well worth a visit. This
segment of our trip was a quiet relaxed several days. We drove along the east
side of Neusiedler See and the surrounding countryside.
We also drove into the Leithagebirge, low hills to the west of Breitenbrunn.
The final night, we visited with our hosts (who knew about as little English
as we did German) over a bottle of wine, our language dictionaries and
atlases to talk about Minnesota and Austria.From their we drove to
Pilgersdorf, where my ancestors originated in Salmansdorf, Deutsch Gerisdorf
and Bubendorf. We couldn't find
accommodations in Pilgersdorf so we stayed in Kirschlag about 8 kilometers
west (just outside Burgenland). We visited each village and their cemeteries.
In Salmansdorf cemetery, we were overwhelmed by the number of Stifter family
plots. We visited in Salmansdorf with Gisella Artner, who was a contact given
to us by my cousin Gene Stifter. The church in Pilgersdorf provided us an
opportunity to look at the
baptismal records from 1780 to 1855. We found several ancestors from a
generation further back. A digital camera hopefully will provide additional
information once we have a chance to study further.

We visited the museum in Bernstein and did some shopping of
Edelserpentine jewelry. The burg at Lockenhaus was another memorable visit.

Güssing was our next stop were we visited the burg and the Auswanderer
museum. Fortunately, our guide for the Auswanderer museum spoke excellent
English and gave us an in-depth tour of the exhibits. This museum should be
a must for anyone from the United States visiting Burgenland. We returned to
Kirschlag following roads in the eastern part
of Burgenland.

Finally it was time to depart Burgenland for Westphalia where we researched
Rosemary's ancestors. We traveled by way of Graz, Klagenfurt to Salzburg. The
scenery again was overwhelming. Burgenland gave us a chance to walk in the
country of our ancestors and to absorb a bit of living history of Burgenland.
A new appreciation of Burgenland resulted from our visit. Gerry Stifter

TRUE(?)FACTS FROM THE 1500's (from Mike Spahits)

Mike sends the following which he received via email. Good for laughs and
some of these facts(?) have an element of truth. While obviously taken from
English sources and spanning at least 500 years, not just the 1500's, some
items also applied to European villages as late as the 20th Century.

It is hard for us to imagine how our ancestors lived just 100 years ago, much
less 500 years ago, but some of the following may tickle our imaginations,
send us looking for the really "true" facts or remind us of some ancestors'
immigrant stories. A few remind me of some of the "facts" being taught today
as "history."

THE FACTS(?)(editorial comments are in parens):

O Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May
and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell,
so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. (The truth is
most peasant marriages occurred following the harvest in the early Fall or in
the dead of Winter when their was little work to be done. Custom of June
weddings stems from the Roman festival of Juno, goddess of women from birth
to death. The festival took place in what became the month of June. Flowers
at weddings are a symbol of fertility.)

O Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house
had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other males, then the
women and finally the children--last of all the babies. By then the water
was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it -- hence the saying,
"Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." (I recently reread
"Akenfield" by Ronald Blythe-story of a Suffolk village in England. As
recently as the years between World Wars, male children were washed until
about age 2, then they didn't see water again, except to drink, until they
swam in the local creek. Hence, "this place smells of boy." Baths were also
considered unhealthy in medieval times. Perfumes were in great demand among
the nobility.)

O Houses had thatched roofs--thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath
(beams held the thatch). There was nothing to stop things from falling into
the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other
droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big
posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how
canopy beds came into existence. (Few 1500's peasants had a bed, much less a
bedroom. They slept on benches or chests or on the floor, some in one room
huts with their animals, later in a room next to one containing their
animals. Beds came much later. Canopy beds -with curtains-were probably
designed to eliminate drafts in unheated houses of the nobility and wealthy).

O The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence
the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery
in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh on the floor to help keep their
footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you
opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was
placed in the entry way -- hence, a "thresh hold." (Dirt eventually gave way
to plank and brick floors in the Burgenland.)

O Sometimes they could obtain pork. When visitors came, they would hang up
their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring
home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would
all sit around and "chew the fat." (Really an old expression meaning "to
grumble". Pigs were important livestock in the Burgenland-butchered or sold
in the Fall. Hungarian herders liked to cook bacon for a meal- they gathered
by an open fire, toasted bacon on a stick, allowed the fat to drop on a piece
of bread and ate it with a slice of onion. They thus kept warm and ate at the
same time. Manipulating knife, stick, bread and onion with two hands was the
sign of an experienced herder. He also had a skin or pottery jug of wine

O Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the
loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."
(There were at least four types of bread baked-white or milled flour, the
most expensive, then a combination of wheat & rye [maslin], all rye, and
finally rye and other grains like millet and barley, including the chaff left
from threshing and milling. By the late 18th century, Hungary was an
important wheat producing area, vast quantities were sold throughout
Europe-much wheat flour was thus available to Burgenländers. Before plates or
bowls were common, food was often served on a large slice of bread- a
trencher- common pots in which all dipped were also used for many years.)

O England ran out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins
(more of this was done on the continent then in England where few graves were
disturbed) and would take the bones to a "bone-house" (ossuary) and reuse the
grave. (in Burgenland it was simpler to place new dead over the old.) When
reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch
marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So
they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to
sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the
bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" (a boxing expression) or was
considered a "dead ringer." (this is a race course term although such bells
on caskets were used in England up through Victorian times).

(ED. Note: If you'd like to read some factual books concerning how people
lived before the 20th Century, I can recommend the following. Avoid the
mistake of equating what we know of American colonial life or life in
England, with that which took place in different areas of Europe. Life there
could be very different (lack of timber, game-fish, freedom to use what was
available, robotage, governmental differences, custom etc.)

A World Lit Only By Fire, William Manchester, Little Brown, 1992
Lost Country Life, Dorothy Hartley, Pantheon Books, 1979
The Common Stream, Rowland Parker, Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1975
The English Village, Richard Muir, Thames & Hudson, 1983
The Medieval World, Jacques Le Goff, Pargate Books, 1997
Also see Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Evans Editor, Harper & Row,
PB 1981 for origins of phrases.)


(ED. Note: Many readers enjoyed these as children, I'd fill my pockets and
head out the door to childhood misadventure. They wouldn't see me till dinner
time. Bake some and taste the Burgenland. Although recipes abound (see
previous newsletters), this is a particularly good one, being easy and pretty
healthy. My grandmother would have used lard and when my grandfather was
alive they would have had to include "grammels"-cracklings or bacon bits.)

From: (Croatian Editor Frank Teklits)

Frank writes: Pardon the delay in getting this recipe out to you. I copied it
as per the recipe that my better half uses in making "pogatchels", but I
always ask her to make them thinner than the 1/2" specified. I prefer these
"goodies" thin & crisp, & I can put a major dent into a pan of these all by
my lonesome.

Potato Biscuits (from the kitchen of Mary Bodisch Teklits)


6 medium sized Idaho potatoes
2 cups of flour
1/4 lb. Crisco - butter
1/4 lb. Margarine
1 egg
1-teaspoon salt

Cook the potatoes & mash with a potato "ricer". Cut shortening into flour, &
add the potatoes. Add the egg & salt, and then with floured palms of your
hands, knead gently on floured board. Roll out into approximately 1/2 "
thickness & cut into small biscuits. Place the biscuits onto a greased cookie
sheet & gently make a cris -cross on the top of each biscuit with a fork.
Brush each biscuit with a little beaten egg yolk. Bake at 375 degrees for
about 10 minutes or until brown. Place sheet into middle rack in the oven,
one at a time.


Some years ago while digging roots at our local LDS Family History Center,
one of the staff showed me a great genealogy magazine called "Heritage
Quest." I quickly subscribed and if you've made use of our archives, you're
aware that they subsequently published four of my Burgenland articles. If you
haven't already read them you'll find they are a good way to get started on
your own Burgenland search. The magazine is a bi-monthly available at
$6.95/copy or $28.00/year postpaid and it is a good way to stay abreast of
what is new in the field of genealogy.

Heritage Quest now offers fourteen years of the publication on CD combined
with a Subject, Author and Word search engine for $69.95 postpaid. That's 84
issues, over 10M pages with over 1800 articles. Other than my articles, you
won't find much on the Burgenland except for some great coverage of "Record
Availability in the Domains of the Former Austria-Hungary" (in five parts)
written by Felix Gundacker, a professional genealogist specializing in this
area. We've mentioned Felix in previous newsletters. I believe professional
genealogist and BB member, Felix Game has also written some articles for
Heritage Quest. Horst Reschke, well-known Germanic expert, writes an ongoing
column concerning "Germanic Questions and Answers" which is quite good with
much of what he writes spilling over into the Austrian Empire. Other featured
writers cover other areas, much in the US. Those of you with roots among the
Penna.-Dutch (Palatinates) in eastern Pennsylvania will find many pertinent
articles. Some well known contributors are Annette Perry, Cyndi Howells,
Leland Meitzler, and Rhonda McClure.

Most of us have family we are tracing in the US (or elsewhere) in addition
to the Burgenland. If you are included in this group, or have more than a
cursory interest in genealogy, you'll find the CD of value.

Call 800-760-2455 or contact www.HeritageQuest.com to order a copy. A
substantial early order discount is being offered.

NEW AUSTRIAN MUSEUM IN NYC (from Kitty Sauber ()

You may already know of the Museum being created for Austrian Arts, Crafts
and History, in an old beautiful mansion on Fifth Avenue at 86th Street in
NYC. It used to be a Whitney or Vanderbilt mansion. I believe it is a gift
from Lauder, a former ambassador to Austria. It will also reportedly house a
Viennese cafe/a Bavarian restaurant, ready for opening in the Spring of 2001.
Hoping Burgenland will also be represented.

(Newsletter continues as no. 90A)

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