The News
Dedicated to Austrian-Hungarian Burgenland Family History

April 30, 2017, © 2017 by The Burgenland Bunch
All rights reserved. Permission to copy excerpts granted if credit is provided.

Editor: Thomas Steichen (email:
BB Newsletter Archives at: BB Newsletter Index
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Our 21st Year. The Burgenland Bunch Newsletter is issued monthly online. It was founded by Gerald Berghold (who retired from the BB in the Summer of 2008 and died in August 2008).

NOTICE: Your Editor will be traveling in late May and early June (for the Burgenland Delegation visit in Chicago and for a family wedding in Minnesota), therefore, there will not be a BB newsletter published at the end of May.
Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 2530 * Surname Entries: 8083 * Query Board Entries: 5624 * Staff Members: 13

This newsletter concerns:




4) AUSTRIAN EMIGRATION TO THE USA, 1900-1930 (by Dr. Kurt Bednar)

    - MY BB LAST HURRAH! (by Gerry Berghold)



1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER (by Tom Steichen)

Tom SteichenAfter the bits and pieces here in my "Corner" (which I hope you find interesting and/or useful!), we continue with Article 2, one in which BB member Sarah Kierein makes a case that the "Revised History of the South Bend Hungarians" needs to be Revised Again. She has me convinced... but what about you?

In Article 3, non-BB member Hein Elemans of Sint-Michielsgestel, Netherlands, asks a question concerning two land areas in Burgenland named Grubengärten und Schaffgruben that may tell us something about an early agricultural practice in Burgenland, and even something about the origins of the village names for Rust and Illmitz... would you be surprised to find out that they are closely related?

Article 4 speaks to the emigration of Burgenländers to the USA as part of the wider Austrian Emigration to the USA in 1900-1930. This is a section from a 2012 Ph.D. dissertation by Dr. Kurt Bednar that I (and GoogleTranslate) translated from its original German.

The remaining articles are our standard sections: Historical Newsletter Articles, and the Ethnic Events and Emigrant Obituaries sections. Records Preservation - Burgenland Impact: I mentioned last month that the LDS has moved to digital imaging in place of microfilm imaging and that their digital image collection is growing by about 250 million images per year from its microfilm-to-digital conversion of the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm it created during the first 70 years of its preservation efforts.
What became apparent this last month is that at least some of the Burgenland microfilm has already been converted to digital images. Thus I strongly suggest that you research the availability of digital images for your villages.

To do so, go to and type in the church recording location for your village and see what is available. If you see an image of a camera under "Format", the images are available (a magnifying glass indicates that they are searchable in the online index). Conversely, if there is a film reel, the records are still just on microfilm. [To find the recording location for your village, use our LDS pages at]

From what I have observed, it appears access to the microfilm is no longer allowed once the digital images are available (but I'm not complaining about that!).

AUSTRIA DAY! at the Austrian Donau Club, New Britain, CT: Mona Starczewski, VP of the social members' Singers Group at the Austrian Donau Club at 545 Arch Street in New Britain, sends notice that the Singers, in collaboration with the Sick Benefit Society, will celebrate Austria Day at the Club on Saturday, May 6. 

It will feature a performance by the Chorus, dancing (including Maibaum!) by the Alpenland Tänzer group, music from Scha-Musi (Schachtelgebirger Musikanten) and a sit-down meal—an event not to be missed!  Doors open at 1 pm, dinner served at 2 pm, Chorus performance at 3 pm. Tickets available at bar, $20.

Mona notes that they need a staff of volunteers for a variety of duties, upstairs and downstairs—see sign-up sheet at the Club. Call Mona at (860)508-8236 with questions and/or to volunteer.

40th Anniversary of the Burgenländer Club Toronto: Eva Hergovich sends notice that the Burgenländer Club Toronto will celebrate its 40th Anniversary on Saturday, May 27th, 2017, starting at 6 pm at 1686 Ellesmere Rd., Scarborough (the former Danube Swabian Club). They will be joined by a Burgenland government delegation led by Governor Hans Niessl and the President of the Burgenländische Gemeinschaft, Dr. Walter Dujmovits.

The entrance fee is $25 and a buffet dinner will be offered for purchase at 6:30 pm. Music duo, Matt Labar & Co., will serenade attendees at dinner time and the Golden Keys will play after dinner for your dancing and listening pleasure. Attendees will receive a commemorative gift and enjoy a "walk down memory lane" presentation.

For tickets: Contact Club President, Mrs. Gabriele Grof: 416 282-5968.

Change Notice - St. Louis Gathering of Burgenländer and Descendants: Theresa McWilliams sent a second notice that the upcoming Gathering of Burgenländer and Descendants to be held in St. Louis, MO, has been rescheduled and slightly relocated. The event is now scheduled for Sunday, June 4, 2017, 2 - 5 pm, at the Parish Office Commons of the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 10235 Ashbrook Dr., St. Louis, MO.

Theresa still says: "Come, enjoy meeting and conversing with folks who share an enthusiasm for their Austrian/Hungarian heritage. Burgenland is one of the 9 states of Austria and borders Hungary. Many Austrian and Hungarian immigrants came to St. Louis in the early 1900’s from this region. If you have ancestors from any of the villages in the Burgenland area this gathering is for you! Bring photos, family trees, memorabilia, favorite family recipes, even a dish to share if you like ~ or just yourself!

"For more information, and to let us know you plan to attend, contact Theresa McWilliams via email or phone (314) 869-8938.

Erzählen Sie Ihren Freunden! (Tell your friends!)"

FamilyTreeDNA Updates myOrigins: myOrigins 2.0, released in April, is the latest update of FamilyTreeDNA's mapping tool for estimating your ethnic and geographic ancestry based on your autosomal DNA data (I underline "estimating" as that is the truth behind all of these tools; they are estimates, not reality!). FamilyTreeDNA claim that its tool uses the latest reference populations, 24 in all—including "newly refined European, Middle Eastern and Native American clusters" and "smaller trace-percentage results previously not available"—thus allowing you to "gain further insight into your geographic origins."

Not surprisingly, the various online DNA blogs are full of loud complaints that the tool totally mis-estimates the writers' origins, meaning, in reality, it poorly estimates those last few hundred years that the writer can document via written records. In my case, I suspect the new tool does a better job of estimating my recent origins than the previous version did (so, being satisfied, I have not complained on a blog!).

Below are the old estimates (on the left) and the new estimates (on the right) for me:


Based on the paper genealogy I have done (going back at most 500 years), I have no Scandinavian ancestry, thus I was dismissive of the old estimate of 53% Scandinavian DNA (I could only assume that it may have indicated that the Vikings had raided south into Luxembourg and western Germany, thus influencing that portion of my ancestry). The new estimate still has 16% Scandinavian, plus 26% British Isles (another ancestry that does not appear in my paper genealogy), thus has 42% that I again remain dismissive of based on paper genealogy... but, still, it is a step in the right direction (I think), as the remaining 58%, spread mostly between West and Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and East Europe, matches well with my paper-based genealogy, as does the large reduction in estimated Middle East DNA.

Realistically, though, I suspect these percentages reflect more-ancient DNA contributions. Thus, judging them by the most recent 200 to 500 years of my genealogy, the only part that I can document by paper records, is somewhat stupid! And, despite what those records say, false paternity has always existed and there is a small possibility that I have misinterpreted some older record, thus claiming an ancestry I do not have. Further, who knows what the ancestry was of the peoples further up my lines beyond those that I could document? I certainly do not!

If you choose to question what I say in the above paragraph about false paternity and errors in interpretation, I suggest you contact some of your proposed 2nd-to-4th DNA cousins and see if you can confirm those relationships by paper documentation. My experience is only about a 50% rate of being able to show the paper relationship for even third cousins ...despite the fact that I have very completely documented those recent generations of my family tree! As I trust what the DNA says, that calls into question the completeness and accuracy of my paper genealogy... maybe it is not a fact that it is complete and accurate!

As before, the tool also provides a color-coded map (the map colors match the bar colors) showing the regions these clusters represent. To the right is the map for me.

In addition, boxes will pop up if you click the bars or the colored regions on the map that provide "new, detailed descriptions of each population cluster." In reality, these are very general descriptions, being more the changing history of the populations of the areas rather than distinctive genetic features of the peoples from those areas.

Perhaps the most important bit of information is a sentence found in the introduction to these descriptions, in the section titled "My Ancestral History." The sentence reads: "Though we are all different and distinct, we are also drawn from the same fundamental elements." Tying this statement to the many mixings of populations documented in the population-cluster narratives strongly suggests that it is very difficult to assign definitive origins to any of us with European roots... so take all of these origins estimates with the proverbial grain of salt.

There is also an somewhat new ancientOrigins option (added in November of last year, I think). This feature compares your autosomal DNA to DNA found at archaeological dig sites in Europe and provides a percentile breakdown in relation to the three major ancient European migration groups: Hunter-Gatherers (Mesolithic and Neolithic Eras), Farmer (Neolithic Era), and Metal Age Invader (Bronze Age), plus a proportion of non-European DNA. The associated map shows either the migration routes or the location of dig sites. Here are my percentiles with the migration routes shown:

The Hunter-Gatherers were the earliest group, with migration to Europe estimated to start about 45,000 years ago. Farmers were next, migrating roughly 7,000-8,000 years ago, and the Metal Age Invaders even more recent, showing up in Europe 3,000-5,000 years ago. This suggests that my ancestors had been in Europe a long, long time!

To see your new estimates, sign in to your FamilyTreeDNA account and, from the myFTDNA dashboard, click the myOrigins button or the ancientOrigins button.

FamilyTreeDNA Now Allows No-Cost Autosomal DNA Uploads: There was another recent change at FamilyTreeDNAyou can now upload autosomal DNA (atDNA) data from AncestryDNA and 23andMe to FamilyTreeDNA and see your cousin matches free of charge. You can also use the Matrix tool to help you analyze these matches. However, because of differences in the data provided by these vendors, "speculative" matches are not reported.

If you would like use FTDNA’s other tools, such as the Chromosome Browser or MyOrigins ethnicity (ancestry) or ancientOrigins reports (see above), you will have to pay $19 to unlock those features.

Rumor also has it that a $59 option may also be offered that will allow for "speculative" matching, along with the features offered in the free and $19 options... but it will require a new sample be submitted so that FTDNA can analyze it for the missing data. Further, if you have already paid the $19 fee, that will be credited and you will need to pay only the $40 difference. But do wait for a formal message from FTDNA before requesting this! [The current alternative to access the full extent of FTDNA's database and tools is to pay the regular $79 fee for a FamilyFinder test from FTDNA, so this potential option, should it be announced, will save you $20.]

FTDNA can accept test versions V1 and V2 from AncestryDNA and versions V3 and V4 from 23andMe. MyHeritage atDNA is not currently accepted, though may be in the future.

To upload your atDNA you will need to download your raw atDNA file from 23andMe or AncestryDNA. You can find instructions for AncestryDNA here: and for 23andMe here:

If you already have a FTDNA account, you can log in and proceed with the upload; if not, first create a free account and then proceed to upload your raw atDNA file. Go here: to do so.

Once you have uploaded your atDNA, your results should be back within a day and you will be able to view your matches for free. If you uploaded atDNA in the past, all of your matches are now unlocked and you have the $19 option to upgrade for the additional features.

Personally, I see no downside for doing the free transfer... you get a new pool of potential matches to explore for very little effort! And, realistically, the $19 fee to upgrade is peanuts... I can't fill my car with gas for that! 

Connecting the (Autosomal DNA) Dots: Frank Paukowits writes:

It’s not that easy when doing DNA (autosomal) testing to determine familial relationships and connections for third cousins and beyond. It requires a lot of persistence ...and sometimes a bit of luck.

Recently, BB member Ann Green and Gus Messenlehner were able to establish familial connections back to the early 1800’s. Ann has been in the Burgenland DNA Project for some time. Gus, who had his grandson Alexander tested, is a relative newcomer to the Project.

As the Group Administrator of the Project, I paired up Gus and Ann when I found out that both had roots in the town of Tobaj near Güssing, both had the name Stimpfl in their family trees, and were projected to be third cousins.

Through the exchange of a series of emails in which they highlighted the names and house numbers where certain people lived, they were able to determine that there was likely to be a familial connection. But some pieces were missing. That’s when Ann got her cousin Patrick Kovacs from Burgenland to review the church records to resolve the inconsistencies. Through Patrick’s efforts, Ann and Gus determined that they indeed shared the same great-great-grandparents (for Gus) and great-great-great-grandparents (for Ann).

While the process is understandably not simple, through good detective work and use of available tools, a favorable outcome can be achieved. Here are a few tips that might help people involved in autosomal testing.

1) Focus on relationships where the testing agency (FTDNA in our case) determined the relative is likely to be a fourth cousin or closer. Generally, avoid more distant relationships.

2) Having a family tree or other detailed information is essential.

3) Work closely with the other person who is involved in the inquiry. Share information and maintain a dialogue and develop a relationship.

4) Make use of all available resources. This would include FamilySearch, LDS records, Burgenland Bunch House lists, etc.

5) Establish a hypotheses and gather information to either validate or disprove your original supposition.

Doing this type of research is not “rocket science.” However, it does require effort and time. In the end, it could be very satisfying, especially if you find a “new” cousin in the process.

Injuries Due to Accidents in Austria in 2016: 794,748 people were injured or killed in Austria due to accidents in 2016, a rate of ~91 accidents per 1000 citizens, including 26,860 seriously injured (3.4%) and 2,548 killed (0.3%) [where percentage values are relative to all reported injured persons, 794,748]. These numbers come from the Austrian KFV (Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit / Board of Trustees for Traffic Safety) and the counts are of Austrian residents that were injured or killed, as reported by hospitals and registered doctors. Given the way the numbers were gathered, it is quite possible that some people had more than one reportable accident. Approximately 270,000 of the injuries (34%) required only a single outpatient visit with a doctor.

595,600 injuries were in home, leisure or sports activities (75%), with 306,800 injured in household accidents (39%) and 288,800 injured due to leisure or sports activities (36%). 81,900 were injured in road traffic accidents (10.3%) and the remaining 14% occurred at work or school. Injuries due to traffic accidents and at work or school declined in 2016 compared to 2015 and that decline continued a trend of fewer injuries from these causes.

218,300 injuries due accident occurred in people over age 65 (27.5%), and about 73% of persons killed by accidents were in this age group. Only 16% of the injuries were to children under 15 years of age.

Clearly, the highest share of people injured is in the household, followed by road traffic, with the elderly in their own homes being the most likely to be injured. Younger people were more likely to be injured by road traffic. Fatal accidents occurred primarily in the areas of household and leisure.

Overall, 53% of the injured were male, but the male percentage was 56% among the killed. While men are mostly injured in sport (68%) and in road traffic (55%), women are more likely to be injured in the household (59%).

However, the data were not broken down by Austrian provinces except in total:

Province (Land) Accidents Population Accidents / 1000
Burgenland  20,979  291,011 72.09
Lower Austria  130,346  1,653,691 78.82
Vienna  147,261  1,840,226 80.02
Vorarlberg  32,786  384,147 85.35
Styria  116,376  1,232,012 94.46
Upper Austria  138,237  1,453,948 95.08
Carinthia  54,323  560,482 96.92
Tyrol  81,334  739,139 110.04
Salzburg  73,106  545,815 133.94
Austria  794,748  8,700,471 91.35

From this we can see that Burgenland recorded the lowest accident rate, one almost half that of Land Salzburg. No explanation for this wide variation was given, though I'll speculate that the lack of mountainous roads and environs in Burgenland likely contributed to its low rate.

Do You Have Living Relatives Born in the 1800s?: This was the heading for a tidbit I wrote for BB newsletter No. 257, dated July 31, 2015. Of course I said "I doubt it!" to the question I had posed, as the rest of the tidbit spoke of last two living people whose births were verified by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group to have been in the 1800s.

When I wrote that piece, Susannah Mushatt Jones (July 6, 1899 – May 12, 2016) was still alive and was the oldest known human. Born in Alabama, she died in 2016 at age 116 years, 311 days.

She was then succeeded by Italian Emma Martina Luigia Morano (29 November 1899 – 15 April 2017). Emma died this past month at age of 117 years, 137 days, and was, prior to death, the world's last living person to have been verified as being born in the 1800s. She was the oldest Italian person ever, the second oldest European person ever behind Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, and one of the five verified oldest people ever.

Violet Brown (née Mosse; born 10 March 1900 in Jamaica) is now the oldest verified living person in the world... but she was born in the 1900s. Although already past 117 years of age, she has a way to go to set a new documented longevity record (she'd need to surpass 122 years, 164 days, a longevity record set in 1997).

However, statistics predict a maximum human lifespan of about 125 years, so there may be an undocumented person out there that makes Violet look young! Is he/she in your family?

Book coverUpdate for book "The Burgenländer Emigration to America": Here is this month's update on purchases of the English issue of the 3rd edition of Dr. Walter Dujmovits' book "Die Amerika-Wanderung Der Burgenländer."

Current total sales are 1157 copies, as interested people purchased 11 more books during this past month.

As always, the book remains available for online purchase at a list price of $7.41 (which is the production charge for the book, as we purposely choose not to make a profit so we can avoid dealing with the income tax consequences and so you can obtain the book at as low a cost as possible!), plus tax & shipping. See the BB homepage for a link to the information / ordering page and for any current discounts (and there is at least one discount on price or shipping available most of the time... if not, wait a few days and there will be one!).

Burgenland Recipes: Christine Rubba shared a recipe from the Burgenländisches Kochbuch (recipes collected and authored by Marietheres Waldbott, illustrated by Gottfried Kumpf, and published by Roetzer Verlag, 1976, Eisenstadt). Christine says that the cookbook contains 264 German-language recipes from old Pannonia, "where you will find Bohemian, Hungarian, Serbian and Viennese cuisine melted together." I will note that new editions of this cookbook continue to be published and that a used copy of the 2006 edition can be purchased through for under 3 Euro (plus shipping).

This recipe will be for Altmodische Rindsuppe (Old-fashioned Beef Soup), but Christine starts us with some general information from the cookbook "about soups in general":

- Clear soups are made with either beef, beef bones, poultry, fish, venison, smoked meat or soup extracts.

- Soups that are creamy are usually made with "Einbrenn" [roux]: 50 gram butter, 50 gram flour and 2 liter liquid, with the liquid coming from the [boiled] bones of veal, fish, poultry, venison and vegetables. [You very slowly brown the flour in the melted butter and then, after the color is right, slowly stir in the liquid.] Important! For "Einbrenn" for soups and sauces, the added liquid has to be cold and then well-stirred so there are no lumps in the soup.

- For creamy soups where the meat, vegetables or potatoes has been pureed, you do not need an "Einbrenn" or "Einmach" (both mean the same), you just add beef stock or bone stock.

- Cold-served soups are a real treat in extremely warm climates. We will give you a couple of these recipes. On a hot summer day, these soups are the very special treat and come off the top.

I will note that, like so many older, European recipes, this one is short on specific instructions. Thus, I'll add some comments in [italicized square brackets, like this] and suggest that you read the full recipe before starting... you will need to make some decisions!


1 kg [2.2 lbs] beef            1 carrot
1.5 to 2 L [6-8 cups] liquid   1 parsley root
2 to 3 tsp salt                ½ celery root
1 purree [leek]                1 medium onion
spices [to taste]              cauliflower
champignons [mushrooms]

Wash the meat and/or the bones, add to boiling, lightly-salted water, bring back to a boil, take the foam off using a "Schaumlöffel" (a spoon with slots), add cleaned vegetables (carrot, parsley root, celery root, purree, onion) and let boil for 2 to 3 hours, medium heat. The soup does not become clear when you have a rapid boil all the time.

You have to decide whether you want to make a clear soup or a meat soup.

For a clear soup, add the [whole] meat into the boiling water. The protein on the meat surface becomes white and makes a protective crust, and this way the meat become very tender inside and juicy [but stays together].

For a meat soup, you have to set up the soup by putting the meat in cold water and bringing to a boil. [I suggest cutting into bite-sized pieces first.]

If you want the soup to be a dark broth, then you have to first roast the meat in pork lard, the bones and the vegetables as well, and then you add the water.

You can also take a half onion, put it [in a fry pan] on the stove top (the older stoves were built in) and brown the slice until the cut area of the onion is quite dark. This method makes the soup brown.

After 1 to 1.5 hours cooking time you can add spices, cauliflower in small chunks, and a few champignons.

For a clear soup, when the meat is done, remove it from the soup. You can scoop off the fat and then pour the beef stock / soup through a very fine sieve or, better yet, use a cloth.

Reminder: As mentioned a while back, I no longer have a "regular" source for Burgenland recipes. As above, a few readers have shared favorite family recipes so I'm good for a fair number of months now, but if contributions stop coming in, I'll be begging by year-end again! So, please consider sharing your favorite Burgenland recipes or recipe books with me so I can then share them with the readership... and so our ethnic dishes do not get washed away by the ever-flowing river of time and become lost to our future generations. Thanks!

Cartoon of the Month:


BB member Sarah Kierein recently wrote about a family research "dead-end"... an ancestor she could not document... one that may now have yielded to her continued research and analysis. The blockage had arisen mostly because the circa 1856 Pamhagen birth record of her great-great-grandmother, Barbara Wartha, was missing. Complicating the problem were the usual spelling variations and what appears to be an unusual number of recording errors by the parish priest(s), including the fact that Barbara's first marriage record gives an apparently incorrect first name for her mother. In response, Sarah has built a probable family history scenario based both on other records and the lack of records supporting reasonable alternative scenarios.

Given these difficulties, Sarah has enlisted various researchers, myself included, to give her evidence an impartial evaluation. Below is some of the evidence and logic she has assembled.

Sarah Kierein writes (in part): Hi Tom, Like all family history researchers, I have several frustrating "dead-ends" in my family tree (in a structural sense only). Earlier this year I believe I broke through a dead-end involving the identities of my great-great-grandmother's parents. Her name was Barbara Wartha and she emigrated from Pamhagen/Pomogy to South Bend, IN, with her children and second husband, Matthias Kramer, in 1887.

The identities of her parents were in question for two reasons: 1) there is no record of her birth, and 2) her mother's name is, I believe, misstated in her marriage record.

I've identified her parents as Andreas Wartha and Theresia Csaller/Csally. I was able to come to this conclusion after trying and failing to prove otherwise. I've presented my evidence to several Pamhagen/Wartha family researchers and have managed to convince them that I am correct (either that or they're just too nice to tell me otherwise).

The reason I'm bringing this up to you is that an article in BB Newsletter 206, entitled Revised History of the South Bend Hungarians, specifically mentions the parents in question:

Steve Wartha’s parents were Andras Wartha and Theresa Csaller, who were married in Pamhagen on 20 Apr 1843. They had seven children and, beside Stephen, the youngest, they had an older son Martin ... [who also] migrated to South Bend.

(The article, written by Gary Gabrich—one of the people who's letting me believe he's on board with my theory—is about the first Hungarians in South Bend.)

I don't know if this is newsletter-worthy, but if you're interested I'd be happy to walk you through how I came to the conclusion that Andreas Wartha and Theresia Csaller had eight children, not seven, and that three of them migrated to South Bend, not two. If this doesn't exactly strike you as a page-turner, I'll understand if you'd prefer to pass.

Either way, thank you for all that you do. The Burgenland Bunch has proven to be an invaluable resource for me! I hope you're doing well. Sincerely...

I replied (in part): Hi Sarah, As for your detective efforts, I suspect they could make for an interesting, useful article, if expanded out.

Am I right in assuming Barbara was married to Andreas Ganser first (indexed [in FamilySearch] as Janser and possibly Gansfried, neither of which are Pamhagen surnames, but Ganser is) and then had at least three children in Pamhagen with Mathias Kramer before they emigrated? [She answered 'yes' in a later message.] If so, she is indexed as Vartha rather than Wartha (again, Vartha is not a Pamhagen name whereas Wartha is).

Also, do you have a birth date for her? The 1900 census says Oct 1856 ... but I know these are often only approximate. [She answered that is the 'best' she has and that ages on other documents are consistent, give or take one or two years.] I ask because there is an out-of-wedlock birth that might (emphasis on “might”) muddy your theory. (Even if so, it still may be an interesting article!)

By the way, have you consulted with Konrad Unger from Pamhagen? He has transcribed the complete Pamhagen records (including before microfilm) so might be good to talk with.

Editor: Because Sarah's next reply is quite extensive and covers many points, I will insert my comments, where appropriate, at the places they respond to, using indented, italic text. Most of these comments were sent in an email reply constructed after reading Sarah's arguments below. I'll also insert her replies, indented but not italic.

Sarah replied (in part): Hi Tom, Thanks so much for getting back to me. In answer to your question, Yes, I've been in contact with Konrad Unger. He's been very helpful and generous with his records. He is actually one of the people I've been able to "turn" (i.e., I've convinced him that I'm correct—or at least he's kind enough to let me believe so).

Now, on to Barbara Wartha. Full disclosure: I have two goals here: 1) If I'm right, to convince you that I'm right, and 2) If I'm wrong, to gracefully accept that I am wrong. I'm an auditor, so I like to think that I'm very good at being objective. I realize however, that I, like all humans, have a natural confirmation bias or "my-side" bias (the tendency to put more emphasis on evidence that supports my theory and dismiss evidence that refutes it). So, I'd like to say this for the record: I want to get to the truth. I'm trying my best to avoid confirmation bias and to look at all the evidence with a completely objective mindset. I'd like to request that you avoid agreeing with me just for the sake of social graces. I know that's a little odd to do with a complete stranger, but I want to assure you that you don't have to worry about hurting my feelings. If it appears as though I'm succumbing to confirmation bias, do me a favor and point that out (as long as you feel comfortable doing so). Of course, in the end, we may just agree to disagree about what the most likely scenario is. And with that, here we go!

I replied: I think you make a good case, though I’m not ready to concede that you are “right” until I run you over a few rocks ;~). As you’ve already noticed, I’m not shy about pointing out alternatives.

You mentioned an out-of-wedlock birth. Are you referring to the October 31, 1854, birth of Barbara Wortha, born to Helena Wortha? [Ed: yes!] If so, I used to think this was my great-great-grandmother's birth record. However, there appears to be a death record for this same child on December 28, 1854 (Ex. 1, see below). I was quite disappointed when I discovered the death record. Even a partial record of who my Barbara's parents were is better than no record at all, and that's what this left me with (at least back then).

Ex 1: birth and death records of Barbara, daughter of Helena Wortha

I replied: I want to ask a question about the death record for Barbara, daughter of Helena Wortha: it indicates, I think, that she died on 28 December (second column) but I’m troubled by that 22 in the second column from the other end: what is that? If it is her age (in days) then she would have been born 6 December, not October 31. I can speculate that it is the actual death date (and then the 28th is the day it was reported) but 6 days is a very long time for such a difference in death and reporting. I could assume it is a house number, but I know #22 was town property (the beer house), so that doesn’t work. So what is it?

She replied (in part): I'd never noticed that before, and when I opened it [now], I thought, "uh-oh." I think I figured it out though. One thing ... odd about the 1854 death records is the order in which they're presented in the microfilm. The page with the December deaths, which should be the last page, is actually the first page presented - before January even! It's clearly labeled as 1854 though, so I dismissed the possibility of it actually being the last page of the 1853 records. [Further, for] the entire page ("Dec 1854 deaths"), ALL the numbers in the place-and-date-of-burial column pre-date the dates of death. Additionally, the records on the right-hand page extend beyond the records on the left-hand page. [Then I looked at] the "Oct-Nov 1854 deaths" attachment. It appears as though the left-hand pages of these two were swapped.

[Editor: So that explains away my concern. However, it points out two issues:
1) apparently these were loose-leaf pages that could be misordered. Might the birth record for Barbara also be misordered and is hiding far from where it should be?
2) loose-leaf pages also might explain how a birth record might easily have been lost... which is truly unfortunate.]

There's one thing you mentioned that, if you're right, really could muddy my theory: the Wartha vs. Vartha issue. You said that Wartha is a Pamhagen name while Vartha is not.

I have to respectfully disagree with you on this in two ways: 1) They are both Pamhagen names, and 2) I believe that they are, in fact, the same name (at least back then). I think I mentioned in my last email that I've been transcribing the Pamhagen microfilm into a searchable spreadsheet for the past several years. Based on what I've seen, there are about as many Vartha as there are Wartha. A quick look at baptism records in my spreadsheet showed me 11 Vartha and 16 Wartha. On top of that, I am (was) fairly confident that V and W in names, in general, were interchangeable. I don't think there's a single Pamhagen V name for which I haven't seen a W counterpart. Some examples: Vagner—Wagner, Volkerstorfer—Wolkerstorfer, Veincetl—Weincetl, Veisz—Weisz, Vallisch—Wallisch, etc. I was also under the impression that the pronunciation would be the same with either spelling (the way Americans pronounce V or F). Back before my accounting days, when I studied art history, I learned it was common for artists to sign their works with different spellings of their names. It wasn't until recently that the concept of a "right" way to spell names existed. Back then it was more like "Yes, that is one way to spell my name. This is another way to spell it." And that included literate populations. To illustrate this, I found an example of one couple, Stephanus Vartha and Agnes Fleischhaker, who are shown in three different birth records with three different spellings: Wartha, Vartha, and what looks like Wortha (Ex. 2). This isn't an isolated occurrence either; I found several like that (though the Wortha variation could just be a handwriting issue).

Ex 2: Variations on the spelling of Wartha / Vartha / Wortha

I did, however find a couple things that could support the theory of Vartha and Wartha being different names. When I filtered my spreadsheet to look at birth records where the child's surname is Vartha/Wartha, I noticed that for the most part, repeated mentions of one couple would stay somewhat consistent spelling-wise. However, I think this could just as easily be caused by the fact that a single set of parents tended to have all their children within a 5-to-20-year block of time, and these records tended to be recorded by the same person for big blocks of time. Therefore, there's a good chance the same person was recording the births of all the person writing all these entries may have just preferred one spelling over another. In all fairness though, I did find one instance of two adjacent baptism records: One was a Vartha and the one immediately following it was a Wartha. So I don't know what to believe anymore! Since there is so much spelling variation throughout the Pamhagen records, I think it's best to focus only on the spelling variations directly related to the people in question. In the case of my great-great grandmother Barbara, there isn't a single post-emigration record in which her maiden name is spelled with a V. I am very interested to hear what you know about the Wartha vs. Vartha topic though.

I replied: As for what I called a “Pamhagen name,” what I really meant was the spelling variation that has survived into the present and was likely the “correct” German spelling (as opposed to the phonetic version a non-German ear (Hungarian or Latin) might hear and then write as they heard it)... for example, neither Vartha or Wortha appear in the current-day Burgenland phonebook, but Wartha does (though not in Pamhagen now). And Vartha was much more likely to be a phonetic version of Wartha, than vice versa. Interestingly, Wortha appears in Austria but only well north of Vienna.

By the way, the German W does sound like a V to an American, but a German V does not sound like a W, it sounds like an F (so V and W would not be fully interchangeable). More to the point, that spoken German W also sounds like a V to a Hungarian or a Latin-speaking priest, which is why you often see V substituted for W in Burgenland records (... there are numerous similar substitutions, all stemming from the writer recording in his language what he hears).

The handwriting is always a challenge too... but there is not much we can do about that. I did note that you wrote word
coelebs in your Excel sheet, and I also noted that the priest wrote it that way in some records too, but the correct Latin word is caelebs, meaning single... so the priest evidently has an a/o substitution thing too.

Given spelling and handwriting issues are so very common, I almost always ignore differences that are likely due to these causes... so I fully agree with you that
Wartha and Vartha and even Wortha are written forms of the same spoken name (though I will still argue that Wartha is the “correct” written Pamhagen name – smile!).

This is also why I suggested that
Janser and Gansfried (from the FamilySearch index) were variations on Ganser, though I suspect that Gansfried is a transcription problem, not a phonetic substitution.

So, I suggest we set aside these types of spelling things...

Now, onto evidence which I believe proves Barbara Vartha was the daughter of Andreas Wartha and Theresia Csaller (or, if it doesn't prove it outright, it proves that my theory is much more likely to be the truth than any other scenario). This email had a first-draft in which I tried to present EVERY record I had on Barbara and all of her children as well as EVERY record relating to every Wartha and Csaller in Pamhagen. As you might have guessed, that version became exhaustingly long and I realized that if I wanted anyone to bother reading this, I needed to keep it concise. So I'm going to present what I think is the most compelling evidence, and if you have any questions I can give you more.

Like I said, I've searched and searched and have concluded that a birth record for my Barbara Vartha simply does not exist. I think that any number of things could've caused this, but I don't think it's because she was born somewhere other than Pamhagen (or Wallern; I'm 99.9% sure Konrad Unger checked all the Wallern records for me). I know that the Pamhagen records don't always note when someone is from a different village, but, given all the Pamhagen records related to Barbara Vartha after her birth, I would expect at least one of them to mention it, and none of them do. Therefore, I think her birth record is missing (or never existed) for some completely uninteresting reason (let me know if you want to hear my purely speculative theories on what that reason may be).

My first lead was Barbara Vartha and my great-great-grandfather Andreas Ganser's marriage record on February 11, 1877 (Ex. 3). She is 22 years old, lives at house 127, and her parents are listed as Andreas Vartha and Elisabetha Csala. Now, if you're anything like I was when I first saw this, you're thinking, "Great. We found her parents. End of story." I wish it were that simple.

Ex 3: Marriage record of Andreas Ganser and Barbara Vartha

I replied: The first real thing I wondered about is why you did not include the marriage record of Barbara with Mathias Kramer... this seems to be a key document as it should include the names of her parents. You state the wedding date, January 23, 1882 (which is consistent with the birth dates of Ganser then Wartha children that I found in the FamilySearch index), so I assume you have it, but who are the listed parents? If they are the same (whatever that means in this case) as on the her Ganser marriage, then I think you have plenty of evidence to claim her parentage as you have proposed.

She replied: I didn't include Barbara and Matthias Kramer's marriage record because Barbara is simply listed as "Barbara Ganser, vidua [widow], nata [born] Vartha" and they leave it at that (since it was her second marriage). [Editor: this is disappointing! But it is clear that this is the same Barbara who was married to Andreas Ganser.]

Naturally, once I had her parents' names, I wanted to find Barbara's siblings and find her parents' parents. I looked and looked and couldn't find a single baptism, marriage, or death record mentioning Andreas Vartha and Elisabetha Csala! I understand that it's possible they never had any other children (or had them elsewhere), got married elsewhere, and then moved away after Barbara's marriage, but what I think actually happened is this: her mother's name is Theresia Csala/Csally/Csaller, and it was just transcribed incorrectly in that marriage record. I know mistakes were made in these records. I believe it was Konrad Unger who told me mistakes were most commonly made with women's names (I'm going to leave it at that since I think this idea is generally accepted, but I'd be happy to present evidence supporting this assertion if you'd like to discuss it further).

Here is why I believe a transcription error was made in this is the case:

First, I could not find any other Pamhagen records relating to an Elisabetha Csala. Second, the only other records relating to anyone named Andreas Wartha/Vartha were either a) the same person, or b) could not be Barbara's father based on age. Andreas Wartha and Theresia Csaller (or some variation of Csaller) appear frequently in the records. See Ex. 4 (below), which shows all baptism records related to them.

Ex 4: Baptism records involving Andreas Wartha and Theresia Csaller

A few things should stand out to you:

1) I've inserted Barbara Vartha's approximate birthdate: October 1856 (based on the 1900 US Census and corroborated by her marriage records and her 1901 obituary). Note that the birthdates for Andreas and Theresia's other children don't rule out the possibility of Barbara being their sibling (I would even argue that the 5.5-year gap between Anna and Andreas' births is suspiciously wide).

I replied: I’ll make a comment related to the passenger manifest I sent to you: Barbara’s age of 33 in late Oct 1887 on it suggests she was born 1854 or 1855. This still works with the birth gap but places her birth a year or two earlier than your other evidence. In addition, the Katharina on that manifest is most likely Catharina Ganser, age 10, so that works too.

She replied: I got your email this morning just as I was about to send you the following regarding that amazing ship manifest (I still can't believe I have it after all these years). When I first read it, I thought it listed Katharina's age as 8, even though she would have been a few weeks from turning 10. It was only after you mentioned their ages that I noticed the zero in the adjacent column next to Maria's name. Maria would have been almost 2 years old (born Dec 1885), but I can imagine that kind of error occurred often (there I go with my confirmation bias again).

I replied: Actually, I think that strange-looking 8 is a zero overwritten on the one, so 10. The other 8’s are more clearly an 8. Still, the transcriber read it as an 8 and the other children’s ages are all a little young too. As for Mary, I saw an 8 in the months column, but we can’t know if a 1 was obliterated in the damaged year column (filling out both year and months columns was rare but it did happen for some of the younger ones). Getting ages slightly wrong on manifests was so common that I hardly notice it any more... the stress of such travel must have been overwhelming, so exact ages weren’t worth lingering over!

By the way, some of what you call “confirmation bias” is something I might call “knowledge bias.” I have seen tremendously awful transcriber errors that, knowing the name I’m looking for, are clearly something other than what the transcriber wrote down. I’m not blaming the transcriber, rather I’m recognizing that their lack of knowledge of what to expect leads to errors. This “lack-of-knowledge bias” is why the FamilySearch indexes are so error-filled, especially when the original author wrote in the old German Kurrent hand script. Some letters in Kurrent can look much like modern Latin-script writing ...but they represent different letters!

2) In two records, the mother has a different first name (Anna in one, Maria in the other). I believe these are also transcription errors. Here's why:
     a) The godparents' names and the fact that the mother is from Wallern is consistent.
     b) See Ex. 5 (below), which shows daughter Anna Wartha's birth record above her marriage record. Note that her mother is named "Maria" in her birth record, but then her mother is "Theresia" in her marriage record. Below that are the birth and death records for son Mathias Wartha. Note that his mother is "Theresia" in his birth record and then his mother is "Anna" in his death record. There is nothing in the Pamhagen records to suggest that these records relate to the birth / marriage / death of a different Anna or Mathias Wartha. Also, note the spelling "Vartha" in Anna's marriage record (I couldn't find any further mention of their daughter Theresia Wartha - the other birth record with a different first name for the mother).

Ex 5: records for Anna Wartha and Mathias Wartha

      c) If this were simply a case of Theresia dying and Andreas going on to marry one and then another of her siblings (which was not uncommon), I'd expect to see a death record for Theresia and a re-marriage record for Andreas; I could find neither. Further, the names are out of order. Chronologically, it goes from Theresia, to Anna, back to Theresia, to Maria, and then back to Theresia.

I replied: [H]owever, those complete given-name swaps, Theresia / Maria / Anna, are a little more troubling (though I’ve seen that too often too!). However, this was the era of Empress Maria Theresa, so tying those names together makes some sense, and Anna Maria was always a common pairing. Generally though, multiple given names were not common in Burgenland, though I assume a Confirmation name was given with that sacrament. Multiple given names were very common in Northern Germany (and make a genealogist’s task very difficult! never knew which one would get recorded!). If the priest came from there, he might have promoted multiple names. But none of this explains an 'Elisabetha' in Barbara's marriage record!

So she replied: If we agree the same woman was incorrectly recorded as Maria on one occasion and Anna on two, why not Elisabetha? True, it's the only time Elisabetha is used for her, but there really weren't that many first names in Pamhagen at the time. Almost everyone was either a Maria, Anna, Theresia, Magdalena, Barbara, Catharina, or Elisabetha. I'd guess that those seven names made up 95% of all Pamhagen women's first names at the time. So my point is, why not Elisabetha too?

Now, please refer to Ex. 6 (and also Ex. 4), which show every mention of the name Andreas Wartha / Vartha in the Pamhagen records.

Ex 6: Marriage and Death records involving Andreas Wartha (see Ex 4 for similar Birth records)

The only entry that refers to a different Andreas Wartha, I believe, is the 1832 death of a 14-year-old named Andreas Wartha. Please note that the only house number associated with Andreas Wartha is 128 (other than 127 from Barbara and Andreas Ganser's marriage record).

Please refer to Ex. 7, which shows the same-day marriages (June 13, 1870) for Andreas and Theresia's children, Anna (same as Ex. 5) and Martin.

Ex 7: Same-day marriage records for children Anna and Martin

I replied: I’ll throw out another comment too: The Michael Schreuer from Wallern that married Anna Wartha was actually from house 86 (per Father Graisy’s “Houses of Wallern” document), not the 85 that the priest recorded! So again the priest had a fact wrong (he is nothing if not consistently sloppy!).

Both records show them as living in house 128 (I realize that Vartha is spelled strangely in Martin's marriage record, but, given the matching house numbers and complete lack of any other mentions of this spelling throughout the records, I'm dismissing this as irrelevant).

I replied: The BB Houselist (dated 1856) shows only one Wartha family, that being house 128, with Andreas and Theresia (Csoli) Wartha listed as owners (so someone else thinks her name is Theresia too, though the last name is interesting (see below)). This (only one Wartha in the houselist) does not mean that there were no other Wartha families, but it does mean that they were not land holders.

From here, I want to direct your attention to Ex. 8, which shows the out-of-wedlock birth record and subsequent death record of Joseph Vartha, born to a Barbara Vartha on May 13, 1876 (died August 28, 1876).

Ex 8: Baptism and Death records for Joseph Vartha

Note that in both records, Barbara's father is Andreas Vartha (no mother mentioned) and they live at house 128. Therefore, this is evidence that the Andreas Vartha who lived at house 128 had a daughter named Barbara. Since we've concluded that the Andreas Vartha who lived at house 128 was married to Theresia Csaller, and they had been married since February 20, 1843 (Ex. 9), which is before Barbara was born, and they continued to have children after she was born, I have concluded that my great-great-grandmother Barbara Vartha was their daughter.

Ex 9: Marriage record of Andreas Vartha and Theresia Csaller

I replied: [I]t appears that Theresia Csaller / Csoli / Csoly, recorded as daughter of Gregorius Csoly and wife Maria from Wallern in her 1843 marriage record to Andreas Wartha, may actually be Theresia Schaly, daughter of Gregor Schaly of Illmitz and his second wife Maria Csida of Wallern, Gregor first married Theresia Opitz of Wallern in 1808 and settled in Wallern #109; then he married Maria there in 1820. Although I could not find a birth record for Theresia, if she was born shortly after the marriage of Gregor and Maria, she would have been a very marriageable early-20s in 1843. Although not definitive, “Schaly” is the only Wallern surname I could find that was anything like Csoly and had a Gregor married to a Maria in the appropriate time frame. You might ask Konrad to look for Theresia’s birth record (as it most likely precedes microfilm).

She replied: Konrad Unger did indeed look into Theresia Schaly's origins (he said Schaly is the correct spelling) and he did conclude that her parents were Gregor Schaly and Maria Csida, as you theorized (he even gave me Maria's parents' names: Michael Csida and Maria Graf).

Lastly, I've included Ex. 10, which is a timeline of known events in Barbara Wartha's life. I included it a) to give you a "big picture" perspective and b) because I think it's fairly compelling. My poor great-great-grandmother suffered a lot of loss in her short life. I will be eternally grateful for her perseverance in the face of hardship, which made it possible for my great-grandmother Katherine Ganser to survive (the only surviving child from her first marriage). Obviously, I wouldn't exist and have the comfortable life I have otherwise.

Ex 10: Timeline of events in Barbara Wartha's life

I've included two photos. Photo 1 is Katherine Ganser [daughter of Barbara Wartha by her first husband] and John Kierein's wedding photo (my great-grandparents, they are the couple on the left). I think Katherine must have resembled Barbara Wartha because I think there's a striking resemblance between Katherine and who I believe to be her uncle, Barbara's brother, Stephan Wartha (the man standing in [a clip from] Photo 2).

Photos 1 & 2: Katherine Ganser (seated left in left photo) and Stephan Wartha (right photo)

All that being said, please feel free to tear my evidence apart, ask questions, etc. I hope I didn't make it too hard to follow. Thanks for being interested in this topic!

I replied: Beyond these things, I mostly agree with your reasoning and analysis... it seems that the most logical conclusion is that Barbara’s parents were Andreas and Theresia (Schaly) Wartha. Nonetheless, being “reasonable” does not rule out the possibility that something weird happened (as you noted).

But do answer the questions I posed above!

Editor: At this point, Sarah sent another long message replying to my comments and making a final case on why her proposed family scenario is more probable than any alternative scenario. Rather than reproduce all of that here, I'll jump to the key points Sarah makes...

Sarah writes (in part): The bottom line for me is this: the right explanation is usually the simplest one.

In order for my theory to be correct [Ed: that her parents are Andreas and Theresia (Schaly) Wartha], two mistakes had to have happened:
 1) Barbara's baptism was never recorded, and
 2) Her mother's first name was recorded incorrectly in Barbara's marriage record.
Ok, in fairness, 3), 4), and 5) the same mother's first name was incorrectly recorded in two birth records and a death record.

Now, in order for my theory to be incorrect (i.e., there is no mistake in Barbara's marriage record; [thus] her parents are Andreas Wartha and a woman named Elisabetha Csala), you would have to accept that the following things happened to the records:
 1) The birth record is still missing for one reason or another. It either doesn't exist or she was born elsewhere which means:
 2) Her marriage record fails to mention she was born in a different town at a time when this is being noted often in marriage records.
 3 ) Her second marriage record also fails to mention this.
Also: 4), 5), 6), 7) and 8), the births of all her children fail to mention this as well.

I suppose there's a third option: Not accepting any theory in favor of saying that there's just not enough information to conclude anything one way or another. I'm probably more inclined than you are to come to some conclusion since this is my family tree we're talking about, and I just don't want to leave it open-ended when I do have all this evidence. I'll understand if your conclusion ends up being "no conclusion" though.

Oh, I almost forgot: DNA. One of my DNA matches (4th to 6th cousins according to, Kathy Rosenthal, is a descendant of Andreas Wartha and Theresia Schaly (and is a fellow BB member). Konrad Unger has made both of us family trees and we don't appear to have any other common ancestors. Of course this is Pamhagen, a very small village, so I wouldn't necessarily call that "proof" (everyone was related to everyone in some way), but it doesn't refute my theory.

Editor: So, which of the three options do you, as an unbiased newsletter reader, find more acceptable?
1) That, based on the preponderance of evidence, Andreas and Theresia (Schaly) Wartha are Barbara's parents;
2) That, based on a single marriage record, Andreas and Elisabetha (Csala) Wartha are Barbara's parents; or
3) That there is not enough evidence for a decision.

As for the DNA data, if Sarah and Kathy are from the same generation and both are descendants of Andreas Wartha and Theresia Schaly, they would be fifth cousins, so that seems supportive of option 1.

I'll note that I have built similar scenario options for a few "hard cases" in my family tree and I'll state that I think it is a reasonable approach... As for Sarah's problem, I lean toward her option 1... but I'd feel required to include an asterisk in my records!


BB staff member Alan Varga recently received an interesting message from Hein Elemans of Sint-Michielsgestel, Nederland, concerning two areas marked on clips from old Burgenland maps that appear on our website. Specifically, one area, north of Illmitz, was marked as Grubengärten and the other, west of Rust, was marked as Schaffgruben Wald. Here are the images:


Hein writes: I am reading your site Burgenland Bunch. I do research on elm forests in Europe, and the area surrounding Burgenland is the "mecca" of the elm forests. Can you tell me the exact meaning of Grubengärten? I think it may be an old elm garden designed to feed sheep or cows. Roman era. Gruben are often translated as stone quarries, but it could also mean raking, collecting leaves in the forest. On the other side of the See, you also have Schaffgruben, a forest to feed sheep. In England there is also grove (a forest or garden). Can you help me?

As you can see, the message from Hein only mentions the words Grubengärten and Schaffgruben and does not say where he had found those words... which led to a little confusion. As Alan did not know what to say in reply, he chose to pass the message along to the rest of the BB staff, so I responded to both Alan and Hein...

I wrote: Grube refers to a pit, ditch, small valley, etc., so a pit garden seems a reasonable interpretation. However, I have no idea about where Hein found a reference to that on our website. Can you share more information on that, Hein?

There was a Schafgruben near Rust in the 1860s, which I’d translate as sheep pit or sheep valley (though my look at that area suggests pit is closer to reality and it is wooded now, though it may not have been in the past.

That makes things even more confusing, as Hein says it was on the other side of the See (I’m assuming Neusiedlersee here), but the other “other” side is the swampy Seewinkel and then the treeless Heideboden!

It would be southern and central Burgenland that has forests, not the north.

This prompted Hein to write back to clarify his question (see below) and to provide the map extracts shown above.

Hein writes: Dear Tom, on your website I found no explanation, only the old maps.
But… both Ruszt and Illmitz means elm-forest (Ulmetum) and both villages have a gruben. I've found approximately 30 places with olmet / elmet / almet / ulmet / ilmet ...all remains of old elm forests in Roman territory.

I am seeking for your explanation for Grubengärten, unlike the meaning of mine, pit or ditch. But maybe you tell me I am wrong; I am just a hobbyist. Do you have older maps or literature?

In Roman times, most villages in Europe had ‘groves’ to feed their livestock. Mostly with ash and elm. They harvested the leaves or branches each year, because they are very rich in nutrients. In France they have ‘Gota de olmo’; in England ‘Elm grove’. Grove is still a small forest with one kind of trees.

Well, I must admit that both of Hein's claims—that 1) both Ruszt and Illmitz means elm-forest, and 2) in Roman times, most villages in Europe had ‘groves’ to feed their livestock—were surprises to me. I had never considered what the village names Ruszt and Illmitz meant and I was flabbergasted that their meanings might be the same... but they are! As for the Romans using branches and leaves as animal feed, I know little about current animal husbandry practices, and much less about Roman-era husbandry practices!

Given the above and Hein's question about whether we had older maps or literature, I did a little research, then replied as follows:

I wrote: Hi Hein, I had never looked into the origin of the village names, Rust and Illmitz, but I see you are correct.

Rust < Rüster = Ulme (in Latin) = Elm.

Illmitz is said to have two possible derivations, both of which make sense:

Illmitz < Ilmovec (from old Slavic) = Ulmendorf = Rüstendorf = Elm village; or
Illmitz < Ygmeleech < vigy-mellek (old Magyar) = Water-bearing.

Illmitz is in an historically swampy, occasionally flooded area, so water-bearing makes sense; and there were reportedly giant elms in the distant past in the Neusiedler basin, so that makes sense too.

I can see no obvious explanation, though, for the Schafgruben and Grubengärten terms. Here are some map images over time for Illmitz:

These are from 1763-87, 1806-69, 1869-1887, and 2017, respectively. Clearly, some form of village land (pasture? woods?) existed at the Grubengärten spot in the first map, it was marked off in the second, is shown as a partially-treed area in the third, and is now open ground.

Here are similarly sequenced maps for Rust’s Schafgruben:

What is most noticeable in these images is the Roman-era stone quarry (center-left), with the Schafgruben to its right (and clearly labeled in the second map). In the modern map, it remains a wooded area (the dark green next to the Familypark).

None of these maps, though, help very much to explain the names. There is some indication that the Schafgruben area is a bit of a rough ditch or low area, but there is no indication of such for the Grubengärten. Thus, I can offer no more-learned interpretation than the one I stated in my first message, that being that “graben” is a quite common term in the Burgenland area used to describe a narrow valley or ravine, and gruben/grube are variations on that, being more pit-like.

What I will do is run an article in the Burgenland Bunch newsletter (probably at the end of April as the next newsletter is almost complete) about this to see if any of our members have an explanation for you. Until then...

So, what you are reading is the article I promised Hein that I would write. As you will see below, in a reply by Hein, the practice of using elm and ash leaves and new branches as fodder has a long history, both before and in the Roman era. As Burgenland was once part of the Roman Empire, it is reasonable that they might have implemented that practice in what is now Burgenland.

Thus, the real questions are whether the
Schafgruben and Grubengärten mentioned and mapped above are 1) fodder groves, and 2) derive from Roman times? I would also be curious whether this practice is still used in Burgenland. I'll display Hein's message here and then make a few closing remarks.

I do invite you to comment if you can add to this discussion.

Hein wrote: Thank you Tom, I will send you more sources for the rare and ancient explanation for grove / gruben. Most people (including experts) take the most logical explanation, being blind to the other one.

I did not tell you before what I am trying to prove: Before Roman times, farmers used the forest for feeding their cattle. The Romans introduced one species of field elm over the whole of the Roman Europe. Instead of using forests, they planted forests of elm and ash and pollard [Ed: prune heavily, see example of a pollarded tree to right] the trees every year, like hay, for winter. Later, they plant elms in gardens (garten) and groves (possible gruben!?). Likewise in the whole of Asia until the last century, and also in Switzerland. In Italy they used elm in combination with grapes. I hope to find more in your region. Thank you for placing an article in the BB newsletter.

Ed Note: in addition to this message, Hein also sent one with the etymology (from multiple sources) of words related to gruben and grove. I won't repeat that here however. However, he shared a couple of historical pictures of "pollarded" elms with his first message, and those I will share:


The image on the left comes from a Swiss church, built ca. 1110. The one on the right is from 1849 Italy, showing grapevines supported by pollarded elms.

That then leads to my final remarks... if the discussion above did not reveal to you that I'm a city boy, I'll state it directly: I'm a city boy! As such, I have never once thought explicitly about whether trees were grown by humans for use as animal food. Yes, I knew that horses would nibble some branches and that deer were a plague on new shrubs in Minnesota, and that rabbits will nibble off the new growth on my wife's rose bushes, and of course I knew that the panda and giraffe were the poster-children for animals that depend on trees for nourishment, but for humans actually, purposely, growing and harvesting trees as animal fodder... nope, didn't know that! Having now been enlightened by Hein on the topic, I did a little research...

First, I discovered that the forestry industry has a term for this:
forage, being "vegetation such as leaves, stems, buds and some types of bark, that can be eaten for food and energy."

I also discovered (from Wikipedia) that "elms also have a long history of cultivation for fodder, with the leafy branches cut to feed livestock. The practice continues today in the Himalaya, where it contributes to serious deforestation."

I also learned (again from Wikipedia) that elm bark can be (and was) used for human food: "Elm bark, cut into strips and boiled, sustained much of the rural population of Norway during the great famine of 1812. The seeds are particularly nutritious, containing 45% crude protein, and less than 7% fibre by dry mass."

Lastly, I'll note that the currently most-widely used forage tree is
Leucaena leucocephala, which "had its origins in Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico where its fodder value was recognized over 400 years ago by the Spanish conquistadores... from there it has spread to most countries of the tropical world...  it was introduced into Australia in the late 19th century... Leucaena is well known for its high nutritional value and for the similarity of its chemical composition with that of alfalfa."

Enough... it is your turn to comment now!

4) AUSTRIAN EMIGRATION TO THE USA, 1900-1930 (by Dr. Kurt Bednar)

Editor: There are not many publications concerning the emigration of Burgenländers to the USA, especially English-language publications. Thus, when I find a source, even if in German, I find it worthwhile to attempt to translate and understand the material. What follows is a largely a "doctored" GoogleTranslate translation of section "Burgenland," which is pages 220-231 of a 2012 Ph.D. dissertation by Dr. Kurt Bednar concerning emigration from all of Austria during the indicated time period. While I find that Bednar's author attributions are sometimes incorrect, that he is condescending at times, and that he is uncomfortable with the fact that the Burgenland emigration is both better documented and larger than that of the rest of Austria, overall I think he does a reasonable job of discussing Burgenland's emigration. 

Following the translation of the Burgenland section of his dissertation, I include translations of a few paragraphs found elsewhere in the dissertation that mention Burgenland.

Please forgive my poor efforts at translation, though I think I have fairly represented most of Dr. Bednar's words. Note also that I have inserted full citations for indicated publications at the first point they appear; these citations were provided as endnotes in the full dissertation.

Source Citation: Österreichische Auswanderung in die USA 1900-1930 [Austrian Emigration to the USA, 1900-1930], Kurt Bednar, Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria, 2012. Found at:

The dissertation apparently served as the basis for a book (see right), one with a very slightly modified title, that was published by Dr. Bednar in March, 2017. It also is written in German.


Chmelar's mass-oriented publication [Chmelar, Hans (editor). "... nach Amerika" exhibition catalog, Eisenstadt, 1992, catalog of the 1992 State Exhibition Güssing] is, of course, limited for scientific use. At the same time, however, it should be noted that the recent state of this part of history has been accepted and has been worked out intensively. Moreover, the catalog still contains some additional data of value. Thus it is learned that in 1913 a total of 111,678 men had withdrawn from their positions by absence. As relates to Burgenland, Chmelar differentiates quite accurately between the circumstances that the province has in common with Hungary and Austria, and those that have to do with Germany. The latter happen in the areas in which the Burgenländers settle in America, the "German Belt," to which the (German) West Hungarians went. They do their work in German-run companies, because "in these establishments German was spoken." There is not much left for Austria except creating cohesion after the young province [i.e., Burgenland] was turned over to the likewise young republic [i.e., Austria]. The Burgenländer now form closed groups and are the main contingent of emigrants from Austria. The motifs have now changed. In the Hungarian period, they first moved from the Seewinkel (1875), then Middle Burgenland (1880), and then from the southern part of the country (1885), in an inner migration of three arms. The main cause would have been the "unfavorable social structure" in Hungary.

It was mainly due to the economy that so many people took to their heels. The agricultural structure brought many to the brink of existence, catastrophes continued even more (examples: mice in the Seewinkel, fires in Middle Burgenland and the phylum in the south). Thanks to lower mortality rates and higher birth rates, the overpopulation grew.

Sociologically, Chmelar ties the expectations of the always-mobile Burgenländers to a kind of wanderlust, the lack of fear of the stranger, a shot of adventure and a high adaptability. Chmelar considers John Wenzel from Grodnau, who, in 1900, transferred 45 young men as a "group" on the "Kaiser Wilhelm" (the "Mayflower of the Burgenländer") to the United States, to be "the paternal father of the Burgenländer in Chicago."

This behavior glides seamlessly into the motifs grounded by geography and psychology, whereby the author becomes almost poetic when he speaks of the Pannonian plain leaning against the Alps, and from this quasi-comfortable position, the view resembles one sea. The mixed population makes man harmonious and balanced, "being different was not necessarily alien." This explains, however, only the slight assimilation over there, not necessarily the departure, if everything so harmonious, if it is true.

This is followed by the politics, which make people unsafe. That would have been with Bosnia in 1908, for several years because of the growing Balkan crisis (military service was there), and finally after the war, when the people did not know whether the country would stay with Hungary or be pushed to Austria.

Some corrections are made by Chmelar to the statements of Dujmovits [Dujmovits, Walter. Die Amerikawanderung der Burgenländer (The American Emigration of the Burgenländer), Stegersbach 1975.] and Graupner [Graupner, Ludwig. Die Amerikawanderung im Güssinger Bezirk (The American Emigration in the Güssing district), Horn 1949]. Thus began the mass emigration quite early, namely, as early as 1875. That is why the year 1975 has been called the "Year of the Foreign Burgenländer" by the state government in Eisenstadt. He also introduces another region in the US with the example of the name Tschida from Illmitz, which is still today (1992) frequently found in the telephone book of the capital of Minnesota (St. Paul) (219 entries). A recent review of this census gives 148 entries for St. Paul alone and 299 for the capital including the surrounding area and 58 for Minneapolis, thus overall a significant increase.

On the other hand, the early emigrant Josef Urschik from Rauchwart (1884) is confirmed. The increase in the back migration to about 30 per cent by 1914 and the depiction of the migration after 1919 as a family reunion is also correct. When the settlements move to the labor migration and the backward migration increases, the region of the origin moves from the northern to the southern Burgenland and the branch from the middle west back to the east in the USA. It is an ironic fact that the traces of the citizens of the youngest province are still most likely to be found in the USA, while the historically Austrian countries are omitted. The Burgenland thus behave more nationally than the tribal Austrian citizens.

Dujmovits has a pioneering role thanks to his publication date (1975). However, his work is limited to a brief outline of the three periods before the Great War, between the wars and after the Second World War. Dujmovits lists the settlement areas of the Burgenländer and, as a consequence, important personalities from this province (Lebensbilder). Of course, the West Hungarians also count to the "new" immigration from the point of view of the US, they also contribute to the change from farm work to factory work. The Burgenländer does not therefore mutate to the industrial worker except in America.

Before 1890 however, the formula was: few emigrants (and hardly from the south of the province), pure settlement activity (they wanted to remain farmers, but had no place at home), family migration, high investment, hardly any back migration and money transfer, high willingness to naturalize.

Only as part of the large wave do they mix with it and lose this characteristic. Only the appearance in groups, retains something specific. They are usually wandering alone in the slaughterhouse, cement mills and breweries. They keep the home upright and make the family and the parish community at home with much needed money (for without, it was difficult for a man to sow and plow and harvest). The connection should have gone so far that the bells were also rung when someone died in the distance ("Ausluten"). After the final homecoming, he was paid with dollars and thought of as an American and traded until the behavior came to an end and he died in Burgenland. Those who were not successful at the same time often went "into America" or "into the Americas" and often regulated economic and personal matters. However, those who had not reserved their land at home and did not want to become an innkeeper, apparently did well to stay in America.

It must be borne in mind that Burgenland as such did not yet exist at all. The anxiety which the mass emigration caused had befallen Hungary. The south (imaginary "border" Bernstein) brought the masses, the district of Güssing formed the center of the wave (with the goal of Pennsylvania and New York), as well as the districts of Oberwart (destination area Chicago) and Jennersdorf overseas. The belt of the Burgenländer (probably in reference to the "German Belt") stretched from Chicago via Detroit to Pennsylvania, to New Jersey and New York.

After the war, when the valve was briefly opened, one quickly decided either to return or emigrate. This explains the enormously high proportion of the Burgenland, which now belonged to Austria, to emigrate until the mid-twenties. It is unclear how strong the additional motive of the change at home [from Hungary to Austria] might have been. For Dujmovits, Magyarization in 1907 (introduction of the Hungarian language as the only language of instruction) and the Balkan crisis in 1908 were already important impulses for the intensive emigration of these years. The uncertain situation between the end of the war and the surrender to Austria, the behavior of Hungarian militia, which apparently resembled an army, and the personal decision neither for the Hungarian nor for the Austrian encouraged emigration. Even the loss of earnings due to the elimination of smuggling was a motive for departure.

In 1923 the Burgenland broke all previous records: the 6,683 emigrants made up 72 per cent of the Austrian emigration. For Dujmovits, however, the year 1930 was the turning point, for him everything before it was old and everything after new immigration, because until 1930 the people had the six-year Hungarian school education, their education was "frighteningly low"; as well as on professional and social advancement. Afterwards they had eight years Austrian school behind them and on this basis also learned the English language much easier. The second essential difference was the village background until 1930, which was now replaced by a provincial consciousness, less as belonging to Austria, but to the new Burgenland, more drawn to the Germans of Hungary than to the Tyrolean.

This valve manifests itself first as a large extension of the backward migration, because the character of this wave was exactly the seasonal orientation, and only the war had hindered the people on the way home, which they now wanted to catch up quickly. The big waves before 1914 spilled back now in 1920. The family was then given up to stay together, or to exchange with the children to return themselves, and at the same time to make the offspring easier to take off. Some children had been born in the USA and now became acquainted with the home of their father or their parents as US citizens, most of whom were not staying in the Burgenland; when they did, they either retained the US citizenship or accepted Austrian citizenship. The return was either the old overpopulation which was to drive him to a new and definitive emigration, or to an orphan court, which he now had to order.

Anyone who came to the (renewed) emigration to the USA had to be fast. First, the first law on quotas required a kind of guarantee from a US citizen for the immigrant. Since during the period 13,131 Burgenländer entered, there must have been at least ten thousand Burgenländer in the USA who vouched for their countrymen. With the second law on quotas, the Austrian share fell, and already at the middle of the year it was exhausted. Instead of 6,683 Burgenländer (total quota for Austria 7,442) in 1923, in 1924 only 523 (Austria's total 785) citizens of the youngest province of Austria took up admission in the USA.

In a later work, Dujmovits notes that "the Burgenland Croats ... do not show a specific emigration behavior" [in: Geositz, Stefan (Hrsg.). Die burgenländischen Kroaten im Wandel der Zeiten (The Burgenland Croatians in the course of time). Wien 1986]. In this later portrayal he refers to more principles. Thus one could speak of a gradient in two directions: the numbers of emigrants would increase from north to south and from west to east. The tendency to emigrate was structured not sociologically but geographically. The Burgenländer (Germans and Croats) were everywhere a closed group and would find in America the same cultural expressions as at home. This author characterizes the concept of "landscape culture" that covers everything else.

The regional features can indeed require some attention.

- The North Burgenland benefits from the urban magnets of Vienna, Bratislava and Wiener Neustadt as well as from individual large employers such as the sugar factory in Siegendorf.

- The municipality of Oslip is a special case: after a first wave around 1856, nothing else happens until after 1900; of 175 American emigrants (including 144 in the USA), 65 people (almost 40 percent) moved away in the peak year of 1907.

- Mattersburg tends to go more southerly than North America.

- In the eastern Oberpullendorf basin, all want to go to South Bend near Chicago, where the Burgenländer form a small colony. In Kroatisch Minihof is a street called "Sotbend."

- The district of Oberwart also wants to go there, but not the people from the microcosm of Güssing: First, Detroit, then New York was the goal of their dreams.

Today Dujmovits presides over the Burgenländische Gemeinschaft (BG), which represents the interests of the foreign Burgenländer with offices in over ten countries. On the issue of identity, this author, who, of course, could be accused of being partisan ("white-washing"), talked to the "press": many of the emigrants had become Americans, but Burgenländer remained. Therefore, there is still a lively social life.

Graupner (1949) is restricted to the Güssing district from an Austrian point of view. From the Hungarian point of view, the West-Hungarian (German-Hungarian) counties of Eisenburg, Ödenburg and Wieselburg, as well as the Banat and the Batschka, are foremost.

By 1900, the migration from West Hungary still does not take place, but in the following years it rises rapidly (1901: 987, 1905: 2,821, 1907: 1,521), and the share for Güssing growing steadily (1907 already 152, and wide spread: from 62 municipalities), though around 1908, it shrank again in the US (only 360) on account of the economic crisis, but recovered rapidly (1909: 1,188, 1912: 516, 1913: 540), but never reaches previous peak levels again. Before the Great War, 14,413 people left Western Hungary, 153,653 from the Banat, 50,667 inhabitants from the Batschka (the German share is 60 and 53 percent, almost all are targeting the USA).

Afterwards the Burgenland is spoken of, and the numbers reach the pre-war level for the time being, the quotas in the USA quickly fall, but only in 1930 are the quota and the Burgenland part increased: 1919: 1,873 (total), 1922: 5,346 (Güssing: depending on the counting, 600 to 900), 1923: 6,683 (total), 1924: 299 (Güssing: 118), 1925: 601 (total), 1926: 239, 1927: 479, 1928: 904 (total minus Canada), 1929: 1,030 (total minus Canada), 1930: 741 (Güssing: 194).

The emigration from Güssing towards the USA begins as early as 1884 (confirmed: a Josef Urschik, single, farmhand from Rauchwart, return migration 1897). Up to 1894, nine persons followed, until 1896 it was only 17, and the first return was registered one year before. It should be noted that the people from Güssing must not have been Germans alone. Since the National Migration Office has not produced any national statistics, the share of each group is difficult to determine. Graupner assumes that among the Croatian Güssingers the return migration was particularly small.

In summary, Graupner weighs the pros and cons of the Burgenland exodus and reaches the following conclusions:

- As a positive consequence, he classifies the fact that America's money was often used in a number of ways, such as debt, land purchase, house purchase, house construction or economic development. Hardly anyone had invested his money, many therefore also lost much by inflation and by war bonds, hardly anyone could have done anything, and—meticulously registered—55 returnees would have played the rich uncle until everything had been consumed or given away.

- On the other hand, the author considers the negative consequences of a massive "loss of population" due to the massive departure, leading to a biological weakening (by accepting American customs) that negatively affected the life of the returnees and had reduced the house stock and had neglected the land.

Finally, it should be noted that this work is still much older (1949) than that of Dujmovits (1975), and in jargon, therefore, reminds us of the times that were hardly past, such as the word "Umvolkung" [a term in Nazi ideology used to describe a process of assimilation of members of the greater German people (the Volk) so that they would forget about their prior language and origin].

In his current dissertation, Strobl [Strobl, Philipp L. Too Little to Live and Too Much to Die. The Burgenländers' Immigration to the United States During the Interwar Period. (Dissertation) New Orleans 2010.] summarizes the state of research on Burgenland's emigration to the USA, although it is based essentially on only two papers, namely Dujmovits (1975) and the contribution to the Landesausstellung (State Exhibition) (Chmelar, 1992), as well as narratives of individually-affected persons. Strobl counts a total of 80,000 (62,600 elsewhere) US immigrants from Austria's youngest state (which, according to the number, lost a third to a quarter of its population), which form three waves:

- The pioneers started towards the end of the 19th century and were stopped by the World War (a total of around 26,000). They formed the basis for the later emigration.

- The second wave (a total of 24,553, elsewhere: 24,300) surfaced during the inter-war period on America's shores, specifically for only two years, namely 1922 and 1923, in which Burgenland accounted for 60 per cent of the total emigration from Austria.

- The last movement took place after the Second World War and ended with the economic recovery of Austria and thus also the Burgenland home.

As a result, Strobl contradicts Spauldings' thesis [Spaulding, Ernest Wilder. The Quiet Invaders. The story of the Austrian impact upon America. Wien 1968], which the latter has represented in "The Quiet Invaders," namely that the Austrians were not noticeable in the USA.

The peace treaties of Paris meant a definite end to the Danube Monarchy, the large economic area had decayed, thousands of state workers were no longer needed by the central state, so we could speak of a "time when people were increasingly interested in emigration." For the Burgenland the crisis consisted in the fact that there was hardly any industry, that the agricultural structures were inadequate and the financial reserves of the Burgenland were exhausted.

But this sad situation was not new for, already in the monarchy, West Hungary fought against the hard competition of the workers from Bohemia and Moravia. It was the news of the Hungarian people who had already tried their luck in the US that drove people into the American industries, which urgently needed labor for its dynamic growth. The Burgenländer were already accustomed to seasonal work, railway lines were now extended, and the journey with quick steamers did not take so long. The German-speaking West Hungary sought the German triangle as the goal.  The low rate of return of these Burgenländer (15 per cent) was surprising, although the prevalence of the seasonal work could not be said to be a "real" emigration.

The situation in the Burgenland remained unchanged:

- The houses now had brick chimneys and covered roofs, and a fountain in the garden.

- The roads were not asphalted, the covering consisted of sand and gravel.

- Most of the people had only two sets of clothes: the Sunday clothes and the everyday garment that was worn throughout the year. A pair of shoes had to last long.

- One fed on one side (sterz) and slightly, especially the winters were hard.

- If you did not have a farm, you had to look for work abroad; if there was none, emigration was the only option. Whoever had a farm suffered from the small size of the farm and the resulting impossibility of economic management.

- The abundance of children and a decline in mortality exacerbated the situation.

- Those who emigrated only wanted to send good news home because failure was unpopular and might have caused a bad impression at home.

- The young republic's Emigration Office was in Vienna, and the capital was far away.

- The money for emigration in the First Republic was missing, many farmers had no cash at all, many simply earned too little, for the crossing alone had already shed thirty weeks' wages, to which the head tax added eight dollars, and 25 dollars of cash had to be presented at the entrance to be able to finance the onward journey. Those who borrowed the money, had to work on the repayment for many weeks and years.

Agencies of the ship lines lured people to Bremen and Hamburg as they did during the Monarchy. The bus took people to Vienna; from there, the train to North Germany took one and a half days. The Austrian state had issued a "Regulativ," which the ship lines had to adhere to, so that they could transport Austrian citizens. The steamer ride itself was very good and brought many new experiences (exotic fruit). Ellis Island, too, had apparently lost its fright, for the island was scarce in the letters of the emigrants. This may also be because the government in Vienna had made an agreement with Washington, after which the decisive investigations had already been carried out in the port. Only on the outbreak of a disease on board was a new investigation in New York required. There the emigrants were received and looked after by employees of the Austrian Society of New York.

Vienna even supported this organization financially (5,000 dollars a year). The new problem was the new legislation of the USA, which classified Austrians as "non-white." The rate for Austria, which belonged to Eastern Europe, initially amounted to 7,442 (1921) and shrank in 1924 to 785 Austrians per year. In addition, a US citizen's guarantee was required. While in the two years of 1922 and 1923, 10,255 Burgenländer had entered the United States, it was only 3,408 after 1934. But thanks to the pioneers, the chain migration could now work. One who went from the farm scarcely found similar employment, all landed in cities and in industry. The women were more likely to find themselves in foreign households and as children's nannies. In Chicago, a "Little Burgenland" actually came into being, and Strobl now makes a decisive difference from the other Austrians, "the quiet invaders."

The Burgenländer in Allentown, Pennsylvania, have a special place, but this is not always praiseworthy. In the successful musical "42nd Street," the girl from Allentown is given a cartoonish caricature. The Burgenländer owes their apparently low educational level to the Hungarian school system, to which they were subjected before the Anschluss to Austria. While schooling in Austria lasted eight years, Hungary was only six years. The lessons were held in the Hungarian language. Strobl now mentions four reasons why, unlike the other Austrians, the Burgenländers would not be ready for assimilation at all:

- The Clan: Already during the crossing they were mostly among themselves.

- Aggregation: In just two years, tens of thousands of countrymen emigrated to the neighborhoods of Chicago. This density led to domestic inns and churches, where, of course, they also spoke German. So it is a miracle that, in 1930, only five per cent (of all Austrians in the United States) did not speak English. They were better than the average (6.6 per cent) and much better than Italians (18 per cent) and Poland (9.2 per cent).

- Partiesystem: Originally, one was a seasonal worker in a group; only when the groups were dissolved but enough work remained, one thought of lingering.

- Rejection for Racist Reasons: The Burgenländer counted naturally to the late, bad immigration, and, like all others, they met with rejection.

There is, of course, a distinction between the return and a home visit. The former group includes around 3,500 Burgenländers, which means they are clearly below the average of other peoples with a rate of only 15 per cent (here Strobl is mistaken if he suspects the Burgenland in harmony with the mass). The latter group benefited from progress in transport. While these people returned to invest in the homeland (whether really in a small farm is questionable), the members of the first group were under duress: with the depression they lost their jobs, so at this time (beginning of the thirties) the balance was in favor of the old home. With the calming in the USA and the still dreary situation in the Burgenland (intensified by the effects from America itself), many returnees had to leave again after a short time, some of them changing the continent. Strobl quotes here Spaulding (which again takes the entire republic as a base) with a range of 17 to 27 percent as second emigrants.

In his summary, he concludes that the Burgenländer was not one of the "quiet invaders" in the US (on the contrary, the "Little Burgenland" was opposite from the rest of Austria) and thus clearly differentiated from the other Austrians. They were more like Italians and Poles. But the Burgenland was historically West Hungary and Austria's youngest. Here, of course, it would be interesting to see whether the behavior in the third wave had changed. In the two tables in the appendix (source: Dujmovits), which unfortunately represent different periods (for no apparent reason) and different destinations (USA 1922-1934; America 1919-1939), are more interesting points:

- Even before the peak years 1922 and 1923, Burgenland emigrated, certainly also to the USA.

- The jump from 1920 (906) to 1921 (1,873) is already considerable (doubling).

- In the two peak years 1922 and 1923, the proportions of those who did not make it to the US was about five percent and 20-25 percent, respectively.

- This rate varied widely, from half to nearly 70 percent (1928) again to just over 10 percent (1934).

The Burgenländer drew its major coterie to Chicago. Horvath, whose work (1991) is not quoted by Strobl, although he deals with the specificity of the backward-looking Burgenländer, points to the differentiation of some authors between Auswanderung and Emigration insofar as they do not find any political, religious or ethnically motivated pressure among the Burgenländer. [Note: the citations given for Horvath are: Horvath, Traude (Hrsg.) – Heinz Faßmann. Migration und Arbeitsmarkt (Migration and the Labor Market). Eisenstadt 1991; and Horvath, Traude (Hrsg.). Auswanderungen aus Österreich. Von der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts bis zur Gegenwart (Emigration from Austria. From the middle of the 19th century to the present) Vienna, 1996. Thus Horvath is listed only as editor of both documents, not author.] For Horvath, the Burgenländer did not enter the immigration until the turn of the 19th century to the 20th century, when the immigration of the Europeans had long since mutated into an industrial migration, but then as a migration of masses (in Burgenland dimensions). Until 1914, he counts about 30,000 Burgenländer, which were mainly intended as a migrant worker only and then wanted to return home with sufficient money.

The backlog of emigrants due to the World War broke after 1919: Around 24,300 Burgenländer (70% of all Austrian emigrants of that time) turned their backs on their country between 1920 and 1938 and found their jobs in industry in the USA. Horvath then makes an interesting connection between the social stratum—immigrants from the youngest state of young Austria had to start at the very bottom—and formed associations and support societies. These should not only bring a small, poor group aid, but also supplies from the old homeland. This explains the high concentration of Burgenländer at a few places in the US and the tenacious survival of their native language.

But the work is titled "Die Rückkehrer" (The Returners). [This appears to continue the author's confusion with Horvath, as the correct citation appears to be: Dies., Die Rückkehrer, in: Horvath/Münz (Hg.), Migration und Arbeitsmarkt, Eisenstadt 1988, S. 59-69. Again, Horvath is an editor, not author.] Horvath, therefore, concludes her little investigation with the emotional conclusion that the returnees represent an "unused potential." Methodically she comes to this statement from interviews, which were led by re-emigrants. It distinguishes between five groups according to their characteristics:

- emigration at a young age, the founding of a family in the country of immigration, but usually with a partner from a close environment, deciding whether or not to return at a time compatible with the school entrance of the children

- emigration in later years, with long prehistoric times in the homeland, one remains among themselves in "landsman's circles," return mostly with retirement of the man

- return migration not planned, usually anchoring in the new home, singular events (examples: death of the spouse, divorce, childlessness) arouse nostalgia and thus desire for "homecoming"

- Not a return as a back-up, only relatively short abroad, without will for integration there, chance to secure income at home

- retirees, sufficient assets for stay in both homeland ("America commuters"), dependence on the exchange rate, later concentration on a residence inevitable

The results are summarized as follows, with the return on the one hand and assimilation and integration on the other being clearly related:

- Back-migration from the US is more likely than from Canada (USA: a more traditional agricultural organization; Canada: faster integration without this infrastructure)

- Social enclave in the immigration country (geographically America, still mentally still in the old homeland, poorly developed assimilation)

- motivation to return to the family (chain emigration).

- holidays are preceded by a back migration (home as an exclusive or alternative holiday resort)

- Professionals depend heavily on the economic situation (work or other existence in the home, presence of savings)

- labor and housing market in the US (higher mobility in the US, also a different place for a home)

- re-emigration can not be ruled out (without a real decision between the two "living worlds")

Return also has its faults. The society to which one is returning has, of course, changed in the meantime. If the homecomer wants to change something, however, it will be hard. Despite the development of the community in which they are reintroduced: deviant behavior is still not appreciated. People who come back "over the water" are easily credited as being "flittish."

The municipality of Poppendorf may have been a focal point of the American migration from the Burgenland, at least it claims this on its homepage. [Note: Poppendorf im Burgenland has not been a municipality since 1971 and does not have a homepage! It is not clear where the information in this paragraph comes from.] It reportedly was harassed by the Hungarians when the village was brought to Trianon Austria. Even the small border traffic was slow. A causal link to emigration is not demonstrable, but may be presumed. However, as early as 1890, a servant girl broke out the wave of wandering, followed by a small group of twelve people in 1893 going from Antwerp to Ellis Island via the usual process, and had followed the girl to Allentown, Pennsylvania, and only one person could not get in New York. In 1901, 33 Poppendorfer continued the chain migration, the next wave broke only in 1922/1923, and it is doubtful whether the dreary economic situation and/or the separation from Hungary gave the last impetus to emigration. However, the municipality acquired the peak position in the emigration from Burgenland only after the Second World War. Unfortunately, at the time of writing the present work, a master's thesis at the University of Salzburg pertaining to Poppendorf and the emigration to America was not yet available.

On the other hand, "Österreich-Information," sponsored by the Vienna Office, lists the following activities (as of 2009) for the Burgenländers:

- In 1923 a Krankenunterstützungsverein (Health Support Association) was set up in New York, in which everyone could contribute and from which every individual benefited as needed.

- For many years, a "Miss Burgenland" was chosen, the prize of which was a trip to the homeland in July and the participation in the picnic of the Burgenländische Gemeinschaft in Moschendorf near Güssing.

- In 1937, a Brotherhood of the Burgenländer was founded in New York, which also carries out a "Miss" selection.

Thus the state of research: What has been missing is an overall view for Austria. There are partial surveys of regional (e.g., Burgenland) and factual nature (example: Leopoldine Foundation).

Other comments about Burgenland found in other sections of the dissertation:

Burgenland: The province, which actually represented West-Hungary, was the only gain of the young Austria, and here, too, the result is in stark contrast to the will of Wilson, for West-Hungary was by no means a closed German territory.

For occupational structure of the Burgenländer, Pucher reports that 90 per cent over there pursue other professions than in the home. Despite over 70 per cent with peasant origin, they land in the big cities. This leads to several special features:

- Concentration in a few cities such as Allentown, Buffalo (most came from Stinatz), Chicago (Pinkatal), New Britain (Raabtal), New York (Stremtal), Philadelphia (South Burgenland), South Bend (Croats) or St. Paul (Seewinkel);

- the certainly miraculous intercourse (intensive association and church life, strong contributions to donations, minor assimilation), and

- Alternative currency US dollar: Through a special agreement between American and European banks, money transfers and donations in dollars were made via local post offices in dollars; the money circulated and thus also went back to the banks.


Although the emigration from the Burgenland has been extensively studied, this work is nevertheless treated mainly because the literature proves to be a model for a general Austrian representation. The so-called territory "German Austria" would have become the new Austria if Wilson had been true to his "points." The emigration to the USA involved "material" from this area, before the war because German Austrians felt themselves as such, after the war because they had to move to the downsized Austria or move away. At the latest in the 1930s, they lost their hold in the respective successor state, which is already outside the reporting period.


In summary, ... that of all major immigrant groups from Austria-Hungary, the German component represents the least studied. Only (Burgenland), the Gottschee in present-day Slovenia, as well as islands in Bohemia and Hungary, are documented.


The geographic distribution of emigrants in the period from 1921 to 1935 sees Burgenland with 22,462 in front, followed by Vienna with 19,089 and Styria with 9,711 persons. One of the reasons for the first place of the Burgenland is that Hungary was a point of reference, but the Austrian economy was at first too weak to accept the new citizens.


The embassy of the USA in Vienna observes the young Austria quite well. A circular of April 21, 1922, notes the phenomenon of unbroken emigration to the USA for Burgenland, even though the currency situation has become unfavorable for the people of Austria. The author, Consul Carol Foster (supported by the Austrian consulate-employee Elsa Dichler), cites some reasons for this special development of the Burgenland:

- Population Density and Structure: families in Burgenland are blessed with children, but only the oldest son has a chance for the peasant heritage and must pay the siblings; The war gave rise to a female surplus.

- Economic Situation: Rural labor is poorly paid, so Burgenländers first take part in the internal migration within Austria.

- If close relatives or friends in the US still send a prepaid ticket, there is hardly any stop. Many countrymen are also rapidly becoming US citizens. Many years later they return and invest in the old homeland, not infrequently relatives follow to the USA and take their old places. In any case, there is intensive travel activity of the Burgenländer in both directions. In addition, the dollar already replaces the Austrian currency.

The author briefly touches on the history of the Burgenland migration of transferring pioneers to the USA in the time around 1875, testifying to the good quality of the workforce and therefore their reputation in America, and deploring the fact that the Burgenländer who remained in the Hungarian part are facing greater problems in the United States because the Hungarians' quota rate has already been met.

- The US quota rate for Austria in 1921 was about 4,000, of which at least in the second half of the year less than half fell to the Burgenland, while the second half was divided among all the other federal states of Austria. Most Burgenländer live in the state of Pennsylvania.


To the regional origin: After the Burgenland (5,346), the new province of Vienna followed with 2,093 and Lower Austria, now reduced due to the loss of Vienna, with 1,098 people. Styria is in the next rank with 842 emigrants. Even before the rigorous quota law, 8,256 and thus 80 per cent of the emigrants made it to the USA. Of the total, 60 percent were men, only one fifth (previous year 2.5 percent) of the total paid the ticket itself.


Editor: This is part of our series designed to recycle interesting articles from the BB Newsletters of 10 years ago. Unlike some months where I struggle to find an item worth repeating, April 2007 was full of good—though bittersweet—choices. I say this because it was the month in which Gerry Berghold officially stepped down as President of the BB... his health issues would no longer allow him to carry the significant load he shouldered as President, Newsletter Editor, and chief-of-everything-else! He would continue as Editor for another 16 months—before his cancer finally claimed him—but the daily management, procedural and contact roles were switched to his newly designated "managing directors." Below is Gerry's write-up of his last in-person interaction with the BB staff, the BG, the Burgenland government, and the wider Burgenland community.

April 30, 2007

MY BB LAST HURRAH! (by Gerry Berghold)

The years flow by and, before we know it, age is upon us, health deteriorates and we can no longer cope with all that we would like to do. I had told the Staff that I was in no condition to greet the Austrian Delegation during their April visit to the Lehigh Valley. Everyone expressed regret that I was not able to attend this event that also promised to be the largest meeting of BB staff. While distance and prior commitments prevented some from attending, we had their support. Staff member Maureen Tighe-Brown then convinced me that my attendance was possible, offered to provide transportation and, as a professional nurse, offered to help me. One of her suggestions was that I fly as opposed to driving. Along with the obvious, the airlines do provide wheel-chair service. With trepidation, Molly and I changed our minds, booked flights and motel room, and advised everyone that we would attend.

Was man ever so fortunate to have so many boon companions and associates! An angel did tap on our window! The love, compassion, joy, thanks, help and respect of those who greeted us will be with us always. The first person to greet us as we were wheeled from the plane was Maureen followed by nursing friend Dorothy Zwick. Behind them came Klaus Gerger, Anna and Rudy Kresh, and my area cousin Hilda Wallitsch Burkhardt (second generation Burgenland immigrant descendant) and her son Kenneth. Hilda celebrated her 93rd birthday by coming to the airport especially to greet us. Hilda is one of the last of my Lehigh Valley family group.

With Maureen and Dorothy supplying transportation (for our entire visit, guided by Anna Kresh) we drove to our Four Points Hotel and Maureen provided a reception area in her room. Within minutes we were joined by most of the welcoming group as well as my sister Donna and husband Don Kotz and cousin Emil Poeltl. Hours of ethnic, family and BB talk resulted, followed by lunch hosted by Rudy Kresh. With our room available, a nap was in order, after which we drove to the Northampton Liederkranz for a festive evening. We were joined by Margaret Kaiser and her cousins and John Lavendoski (flew in from Texas) and his mother, Tom and Lois Steichen and Bob Strauch. When Klaus Gerger arrived with the delegation (greeted with thunderous applause), the BB group was complete.

Throughout the evening I was hailed, hugged and made to feel like a VIP and a most important celebrity. We distributed special BB invitation letters in the Burgenland colors, prepared by Tom Steichen. As the new head of the BB, the delegation presented Tom with a Burgenland flag. The singings of both our national anthem and the Austrian national anthem were stirring.

The following day, BB staff gathered at the home of Emma Farkas (sister to Anna Kresh) in Northampton. We were joined by former staff member Frank Teklits and wife Mary from New Jersey and Frank Paukovits from New York. Following a delicious multi-course lunch we tried to get Emma to accept a BB staff position as head chef but she declined. We then held the first staff business meeting (see minutes at 162B). Another nap was required and, prior to attending the Sängerbund affair in Coplay, Maureen, Dorothy, Molly and I looked for and found a Yocco Hot Dog Shop—a local specialty from my younger days that I wanted to share with hot dog fanciers Maureen and Dorothy. (I had jokingly asked for three Lehigh Valley specialties if we attended, Yocco hot dogs, molasses cake and Moravian sugar cake—they were all supplied by members of the group). We then went to Coplay for another festive evening with the added pleasure of local baked goods, including raised strudel and kipfils of all sorts. The choral group and the music, both supplied by Bob Strauch, were magnificent. After being introduced with honor and presented with numerous gifts, I delivered my last address as president of the BB. I later greeted and said goodbye to attending BB members and BG friends. When we left this event, I knew I'd probably not see many of these people again.

The next morning was anti-climatic as Maureen and Dorothy took us to the airport. With great emotion and heartfelt thanks, we said our goodbyes to the two people who, by suggestion, perseverance and hands-on assistance, had made our attendance at this memorable experience possible. The Delegation was also leaving from our gate and their plane left a few minutes before ours. Klaus Gerger stayed with us until they left, at which time we again received the best wishes of that group. As my wheelchair was pushed to the plane, I realized that the BB project started so many years ago—and so successfully developed—was now in new hands and this had really been my last hurrah. Yet it was not quite over, as Tom and Lois Steichen, on their way home to North Carolina, visited us in Winchester the next day. We discussed the future over a bottle of Mosel and sister Donna's nut strudel. Too soon, the Steichens left for home with two boxes of BB subject books and sundry items from my library. As their car backed out of our driveway, the early days of the Burgenland Bunch gave way to a new era. Heartfelt thanks to all for a splendid conclusion to what has been a most gratifying experience.



Saturday, May 6: 68th Stiftungsfest of the GTV Edelweiss Schuhplattlers at the Reading Liederkranz. Music by The Haus Band. Info:

Sunday, May 7: Maibaumtanz at the Coplay Sängerbund. Music by the Joe Weber Orchestra. Info:

Sunday, May 7: Reading Liederkranz Singers’ Maifest German Church Service at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Reading. Info:

Saturday, May 13: Maitanz at the Lancaster Liederkranz. Music by the Josef Kroboth Orchestra. Info:

Saturday, May 20: Maifest at the Mount Bethel Fire Co. in Mount Bethel. Music by the Walt Groller Orchestra. Info:

Tuesday, May 30: Heimatabend at the Coplay Sängerbund with the Governor of Burgenland and visiting delegation. Info:


Friday, May 5, 7 pm: Heimat Abend. Austrian Donau Club, 545 Arch Street, $3. Music by Joe Rogers and his band.

Saturday, May 6, 1 pm: AUSTRIA DAY! at the Austrian Donau Club. Features a performance by the Chorus, dancing by the Alpenland Tänzer, music from Schachtelgebirger Musikanten and a sit-down meal. Doors open at 1 pm, dinner served at 2 pm, Chorus performance at 3 pm. Tickets available at bar, $20. Call Mona at (860) 508-8236 with questions and/or to volunteer.

Friday, May 19, 7:30 pm: Heurigan Abend. Austrian Donau Club, 545 Arch Street, $3. Music by Schachtelgebirger Musikanten.


Sunday, June 4, 2-5 pm: Gathering of Burgenländer and Descendants
at the Parish Office Common of the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 10235 Ashbrook Dr., St. Louis, MO. Contact Theresa McWilliams at or at (314) 869-8938 for more information and/or to let them know you plan to attend.


Saturday, May 27, 6 pm: 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Burgenländer Club Toronto
, 1686 Ellesmere Rd., Scarborough (the former Danube Swabian Club). Music by duo Matt Labar & Co. and the Golden Keys. Contact club president, Mrs. Gabriele Grof, at 416 282-5968 for tickets.



END OF NEWSLETTER (Even good things must end!)

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