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JUST A LITTLE INTEREST IN GENEALOGY?
(The simplest, but least rewarding, approach to Burgenland family history.)

Those of us who have been badly bitten by the genealogy bug can never get enough information. We look for anything that might add to our family history. The search is never ending. It is a labor of love, but labor it is! Hours and hours of poring over old documents, microfilm, books, letters, or what have you. Family history is a very labor-intensive search requiring infinite patience and perseverance. There is no easy way to assemble a family history.

Some people, however, see a family history advertisement, read an article or get a computer for the first time and feel they would like to get involved with family history… but just a little. Computers and the internet seem to have been made for genealogy. Newcomers search the web, stumble on a site like ours and are overwhelmed. Often their interest stops right there. The feeling can be "this is more than I want. I just want to identify my ancestor's village of origin, maybe track a few cousins and leave a little information for my grandchildren. What can I do that is easy?"

Others surf the net or read some of the commercial hype that promises a full-blown genealogy… if you only buy their product. They buy and are disappointed. They then search some of the "free" sites like ours and are even more despondent when they cannot get a genealogy from us with a click of the mouse. We have even had some tell us we are misleading people and wasting their time because we will not (cannot) supply them with such!

Well, there is a "simple" approach and we will provide some guidance. (Note: the family names, villages, etc. listed in the following are only an example. A name like "Mill" could have its origin in many places. If a common name and "the old country" is all you know from oral tradition, the possibilities could be endless and hopeless.)

* Start with family tradition; list what you know of the family name, its possible spellings and your ancestors' place of origin. (If you do not know the villages, but only that the family came from Austria/Hungary or, better yet, the Burgenland, don't worry, you may find the villages while checking out other data.) Let us say the family name is now Mill but family tradition tells you it used to be spelled differently, like Muell or Muehl, and you find one of these names as well as the spelling Mühl in the BB Surname List. You also find that some immigrants with this name came from the district of Güssing in the Burgenland and settled in the Lehigh valley of Pennsylvania. Since your family also lived in the Lehigh valley and you still have relatives there, these may be your family. You know your grandfather is buried there. (You can see why we list family name, village and place settled in our membership listing.)

* You might just remember your grandfather telling you that the family came from the village of Grossmürbisch or something that sounds like that. He might have said Alsómedves. You look in Albert's list and find Grossmürbisch in the district of Güssing. You also find its Hungarian name, Alsómedves. You find others searching for your family name in this area. The same list tells you inhabitants went to church in St. Nikolaus. Print and save what you find.

* You then check the Austrian phone listing available from the BB URL list and find some Mühls in Güssing, Kemeten and other villages in south Burgenland.

* You check the maps available from the BB Klaus Gerger Map Site and you find that the villages mentioned are all near each other. You check the old house listings and find some Mühls. You copy the maps.

* You then check the village histories and find Mühls also listed on the Urbar lists, as well as the LDS Microfilm numbers of the St. Nikolaus and Güssing church records.

* You read a little of what our BB site says about the Burgenland and you have concluded your search.

What can you tell your descendents based on this simple search?

How about something like this:

"Family tradition and a brief search for family records indicates that our Mill (Muell) ancestors (beginning with great-grandfather Josef) came from Austria/Hungary in the province of Burgenland (Hungary pre-1921) in the early 1900's. They were Catholics, spoke German and their name was then spelled Mühl. They came from villages in the district of Güssing, which is in southern Burgenland next to the Hungarian border. Mühls have lived in this area from at least 1857 (per date of house lists from BB website). Grandfather was probably born in Grossmürbisch (Hungarian name pre-1921 was Alsómedves). They went to church in nearby St. Nikolaus or Güssing and their birth records can probably be found there. There are still Mühls living in the area but we do not know if they are related. If we check the available LDS microfilm of the church records, we can probably find grandfather's baptism record and prove the data mentioned, and maybe find some other family members. Grandfather settled and died in Coplay, PA, which is in the Lehigh valley of eastern Pennsylvania. He is probably listed in the 1920 Lehigh or Northampton county US Census." (More or less can be included, depending on findings and depth of search.)

The above does two things. It provides a good introduction for a short genealogy (we should all try for a genealogy of at least five generations: your grandchildren, your children, you, your parents, and your grandparents) and it is a superb beginning for any of your descendents who may be bitten by the genealogy bug. You did it all without leaving the BB website or getting deeply involved. It might also have exposed you to the bug and you may now be suffering from a bad case of "genealogyitis." Nonetheless, you did the work and the BB made it possible.

A word of caution. There are many Germanic regions. Your ancestors may not have come from the Burgenland but from someplace similar. See below:
 

REGIONS OFTEN CONFUSED WITH THE BURGENLAND

Included are Germanic areas, some ethnic areas that once were part of the Austro/Hungarian Empire, and other ethnic areas that still exist today (some descriptions taken from Webster's New Geographical Dictionary). If you believe that your ancestors came from any of these non-Burgenland regions, there is little benefit in contacting us; except in a very few instances, we probably can't help.

Algäu -- southern Germany along the Austrian border; Lake Constance to Bavaria

Alsace (Elsass) -- eastern France along the SW border of Germany

Banat -- Tisza River region of Romania; Swabian migration destination

Batschka -- part of Hungary and Croatia; Swabian migration destination

Black Forest (Schwarzwald) -- southwest Germany west of the Rhine, mostly Bavaria

Bohemia (Böhmen) -- western part of Czech Republic

Bukovina -- northern Romania

Carinthia (Karinthia, Kärnten) -- province of Austria, borders Italy and Slovenia

Carniola (Krain) -- region of Slovenia, just west-northwest of Croatia

Egerland -- part of Czech Republic along the eastern border of Bavaria

Erzgeberge -- southeast Saxony, Germany and northwest Bohemia

Franconia -- northern Bavaria (north-Unterfranken, middle-Mainfranken, south-Oberfranken)

Galicia -- upper part of the Dneister River, Poland and the Ukraine

Gorizia -- western Slovenia along the Adriatic

Gottschee -- south-central Slovenia bordering Croatia

Hauerland -- south-central Slovakia bordering Hungary

Hegau -- southwest Germany near the Danube

Moravia (Mähren) -- Czech Republic between Poland, Slovakia and Austria

Nieder-Öestereich -- Austrian province of Lower Austria, west and north of Burgenland

Ruthenia -- region of the Ukraine

Salzburg -- city and province (Land) of Austria

Salzkammergut -- region of Austria, east of Salzburg (part of Land Salzburg)

Siebenburgen -- Transylvania (now part of Romania)

Slavonia -- eastern region of Croatia, south of Hungary, west of the Vojvodina, north of Bosnia

Slovakia -- formerly eastern Czechoslovakia, north of Hungary

Styria (Steiermark) -- province of Austria, south and west of Burgenland

Tirol (Tyrol) -- province of Austria, south of Germany

Transylvania -- see Siebenburgen

Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) -- province of Austria, mostly north of the Danube

Vienna (Wein) -- capital of Austria, one of three "empire" capitals which also included Prague and Budapest; region around Vienna is also called Land Vienna

Voralberg -- province of Austria, south of Germany, north of Italy

Walachia -- southern Romania

Wienerwald -- Vienna woods
 

ACTUAL OR POSSIBLE BURGENLAND REGIONS

Bucklinge Welt -- region of eastern Lower Austria extending into Burgenland around Kogl, Kobersdorf

Burgenland -- province of Austria bordering Hungary; formed 1921 from Hungarian counties (part of Trans-danubia) of Vas, Moson, Sopron

Günser Gebirge -- mountainous region just west of Köszeg, Hungary, extending into Burgenland

Hianzenland -- southern Burgenland; area of Hianzisch dialect; from Hentz (Heinz), who built Güssing Castle and founded the mighty Counts of Güssing

Hügelland -- literally "hill country", but here defined as the eastern foothills of the Alps which encompasses much of the Burgenland

Leithagebirge -- mountainous region to the west of the Neusiedler See

Rosalia -- northwest Burgenland region of the Rosalian mountains including Drassburg, Forchtenstein, and Matterburg

Ödenburger Gebirge -- mountainous region just west of Sopron, Hungary extending into Burgenland

Rosaliengebirge -- mountainous region along the Lower Austria-Burgenland border extending into Burgenland near Mattersburg

Seewinkel -- Lake Corner, area around the Neusiedler See in northern Burgenland

Trans-danubia -- the region just west of the Danube Bend (imaginary line drawn from Budapest to Mohacs) which includes Burgenland


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This page was last updated on 24 March 2006