THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS - No. 246
August 31, 2014, © 2014 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved
Editor: Thomas Steichen (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Archives at: BB Newsletter Index
Our 18th Year. The Burgenland Bunch Newsletter is issued monthly online. It was founded by Gerald Berghold (who retired Summer 2008 and died in August 2008).
Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 2277 * Surname Entries: 7467 * Query Board Entries: 5366 * Staff Members: 17
This newsletter concerns:
1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER
2) BURGENLAND'S STONEHENGE?
3) AN AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN MILITARY PHOTO (from Claudia Bader)
4) GERMAN LANGUAGE HOUSE LISTS IN HUNGARY ARE THE RESULT OF THE FAILED HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION OF 1848/1849 (by Richard Potetz)
5) A DOUBLE BLAST FROM THE PAST (by Bob Fahringer)
6) HISTORICAL BB NEWSLETTER ARTICLES:
- PAMHAGEN - A WW-II COMBAT STORY AND VILLAGE SEARCH (from Jim Hewitt, Margaret Kaiser, Bob Strauch)
7) ETHNIC EVENTS
8) BURGENLAND EMIGRANT OBITUARIES (courtesy of Bob Strauch)
1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER (by Tom Steichen)
Concerning this newsletter, after the bits and pieces here in my "Corner," our first article gives us a glimpse of Burgenland's deep past, as the remnants of Stonehenge-like structures have been found.
Article 3 concerns an old photo of what are believed to be Austro-Hungarian Military Men. BB Member Claudia Bader is looking for help in identifying the unit(s) involved. Perhaps you can help.
In Article 4, Richard Potetz notes an oddity about the BB Houselists and proposes that it may be related to the Failed Hungarian Revolution of 1848/9.
Article 5 is also based around some old photos. A true [Double] Blast From the Past that may hit home with some of you in the Allentown area. BB Member Bob Fahringer writes about his great-grandfather, John Fiedler.
The remaining articles are our standard sections: Historical Newsletter Articles, and the Ethnic Events and Emigrant Obituaries sections. Do note that the Historical Newsletter Article is quite long by the standard I usually impose on such selections, but I found this article to be quite interesting in that it forced me to learn some new things as I worked through its details... so then I made it even longer by adding my own (extended) comments! But I hope that you find it interesting too!
*New* Edlitz Burgenland Book: At the end of June, I received an email from BB member Rudi Wolf, who told me he had "just got back from a four-week Südburgenland trip to Edlitz and Güssing." Among other things, Rudi says he "was able to coordinate the printing as well as a presentation of my book [see image below], which ... pertains to my place of birth, which is Edlitz im Burgenland. It contains a collection of history, traditions, trans-Atlantic migration, photographic images from the 20th century of various village occasions ranging from about 1920-2000, as well as genealogical records back to the late 1600s and family successions of each household."
Per Walter Dujmovits' suggestion, Rudi requested my help in getting his book printed and distributed in the US via Lulu (the printer we used for Walter's book). In Austria, it cost €39.50 (~$53) per copy to produce the book. As his goal was not to make a profit but to leave behind a legacy, he thought it would be easier and less costly to have the book printed and disseminated in the US, as he already had US and Canadian requests for the book.
Edlitz: Dorf und Leute im Wandel der Zeit [Edlitz: Village and Its People Through the Ages] is the title and it is now available from Lulu for $18.07 via link Edlitz Book.
Edlitz is a small village of about 30 houses, with a history that dates back to the year 1228. Rudi's aim was to portray the changes over the years, from a once strictly agrarian community into what is now a modern bedroom community, especially the loss of the close-knit communal living of bygone days. The book is 301 pages, with 154 supporting images, and is written in German. The first half documents the history of Edlitz, including its traditions and its way of life. The second half is largely tables and lists, including data on each house and the people who lived there, now and in the past, and complete lists of births, marriages and deaths. It also includes information on the 130 emigrants who left Edlitz, providing (as documented in ship manifests) surname, first name, occupation, date of birth, time of departure, port of departure, ship, arrival and destination in America.
I found the text in the first half to be a comprehensive description of historical Burgenland life. Although written specifically about Edlitz, most of it applies equally well to every other Burgenland village. For this reason, I recommend the book to each of you. Of course, if Edlitz is one of your emigrant villages, you have even more cause to obtain a copy. As I believe the universal nature of the Burgenland life he describes deserves wider dissemination, I've also encouraged Rudi to consider an English translation.
Rudi was born in Edlitz in 1948 and emigrated to America on June 7, 1969; he now lives in Flanders, New Jersey.
[The above picture and some of the background information is from the Burgenländische Gemeinschaft newsletter #431, Jul/Sep 2014.]
Information Request from Walter Dujmovits, Jr.: There is a popular campground at Lake Tschida in North Dakota, which is named after Mr. Michael Tschida. According to the homepage www.laketschida.com, this remarkable man was born in Vienna in 1866, moved to the village of Glen Ullin, ND, in 1900 and was elected its first mayor in 1906. Promoting the construction of the Heart Butte Dam he saw its completion in 1949 and died at the age of 90 in 1956.
There is no doubt that Mr. Tschida´s family roots lay in the Seewinkel in Burgenland, maybe in Apetlon or Illmitz. In an originally German-written book concerning the “History of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Glen Ullin between 1884 and 1909” many German names occur, among them Gartner, Schneider and Hess, which are also very common in the Seewinkel.
Does anyone know more about Michael Tschida and the settlement of Burgenländers in North Dakota in the 19th century?
With sincere thanks and best regards!
Walter Dujmovits, Jr.
A bit of background: Glen Ullin is in Morton Co, ND, a few miles south of I-95 and about 50 miles west of Bismarck, ND. It has a population of about 800 residents and was founded along the transcontinental route of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883. The name was created by the Northern Pacific land agent at that time.
We list only one Ullin-er in our BH&R database, Frances (Renner) Mueller from Bernstein. We also have only one member who lists Morton Co, ND, as emigrant destination: "Sarah Graner; Colorado Springs, CO. GRANER, TSCHIDA, PLATZER, WEISZ, NUEBERGER; Halbturn. Emigrated to Morton Co, ND in 1890-1907." It is notable that she lists surname Tschida from Halbturn, which is in the Seewinkel quite near Apetlon and Illmitz.
Also, I note that there is a city website with a town history and a link to the Morton County GIS real estate mapping program, wherein names and addresses of property owners can be found... a number of Tschidas are listed.
If you can assist Walter with his questions, please do (and copy me). His email address is here (and mine is in the newsletter header).
WW-II Relics: Website http://burgenland.orf.at/ recently reported that 54 WW-II high-explosive shells were found on August 28th along the rail line between St. Andrä and Frauenkirchen in the Neusiedler district. This follows a relatively recent discovery of 5 tank rounds in the same area. The shells are presumed to have come from the April 1945 explosion in that area of two rail cars full of military supplies. Relics have been found periodically in the area, so this find is no surprise, other than the magnitude of it. The discovery was handed over to the de-mining service for disposal, as a risk of explosion still exists, and the rail company has initiated an extensive search, expected to last a few weeks, to find and remove any remaining material.
What is interesting is that the Google satellite views of the tracks in the area indicate that, with a few small exceptions, the surrounding farmland has been tilled to within a few yards of the track along its full length. I find it simply amazing that nearly 60 years of plowing and other activities near the tracks have not resulted in tragedy... just one more small thing to feel thankful for!
Update on book "The Burgenländer Emigration to America": As I will do for a while, 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.”
As of August 30, 621 copies had been purchased. I'm not sure why, but the book's ranking disappeared for a while... and then returned... but it also seems to have bottomed out at rank 565 (it is currently at 571). This may be because the rate of purchases of our book has slowed and competing books are selling faster. Regardless, I am very pleased that well over 600 copies are now out in the world!
In addition, I'm pleased to announce that Lulu reduced its production charge for the book, allowing us to drop its price. The new production cost is $7.41, thus the book is now offered for online purchase at the new list price of $7.41, plus tax & shipping. See the BB homepage for a link to the information / ordering page and for any current discounts (the current discount—until Sept 3—is 20%, reducing the actual price to $5.93; however, because the price of the book is so low with the reduced list price, free shipping is still a far better deal).
The Master Genealogist (TMG) Computer Program to be Discontinued: Bob Velke, the author and chief developer announced in July that program development and support for TMG was being terminated. The following are excerpts from his announcement:
I am sad to report that the decision has been made to discontinue The Master Genealogist. While thousands of TMG users appreciate the program’s many powerful features, the market for those advanced features has proved to be insufficient to support it and continue development. A variety of my own health issues have also contributed to this decision.
There is every reason to believe that TMG will continue to work for existing users for the foreseeable future but official support will end at the end of 2014. [W]e will continue to sell the full product and updates through September with the understanding that product development has been discontinued.
In the interest of preserving users’ data, I have released a document that details TMG’s internal file structure and I will make GenBridge available for free to developers who wish to produce a direct import from TMG.
It goes without saying that this has been a painful decision and is a significant milestone for me. TMG has been a major part of my life for more than 25 years and it is not easy to let it go. I recognize too and regret the degree to which it may leave researchers uneasy about the future of their data.
So, If you are a TMG user, you should begin to consider what you will do when TMG stops working on some future computer system you purchase. However, I doubt you need to rush this decision. As an example, I use Family Tree Maker (FTM) for my genealogical data. However, it is Version 8, published in year 2000... and it still works fine. And this newsletter is being prepared for the web using MS/Frontpage... a version from 2002. So if TMG remains functional as long as FTM (V8) and Frontpage (2002) have, you have nothing to worry about soon!
Living to Age 100: I recently stumbled across a web article that asked, "How Many People Live to 100?" (see here for full article). The story states that the number reported in the 2010 US census was 53,364 people, which was ~0.0173% of Americans living in 2010 (or 1 in every 5780).
Of course, these last two numbers are somewhat misleading... a more reasonable thing would be to compare the count to the number born ~100 years ago... after all, the US population in 1910 was ~92 million (as opposed to 2010's ~309 million) and some 20 million of them were under age 10 (it was a young country!). [My 1910 data come from website https://www.nhgis.org/, which is the website of the "National Historical Geographic Information System," provided by the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota.] If we ratio the number of 2010 centenarians to the count of 1910 under-10-year-olds, we get about 0.2617% or 1 in 382 are still living, which are pretty large numbers to me! However, one must assume that some of these 2010 centenarians were born elsewhere (perhaps Burgenland?) and were not counted in our US under-10-year-old group, causing our percentage to be high. Regardless, there is no truly accurate way to estimate these base numbers, so we are stuck with approximations.
I thought it would be interesting to compare these US numbers to Burgenland numbers (you can get census population and demographic data from Burgenland's government website: www.burgenland.at). However, the highest age-grouping they report is 95+... pure centenarians are not to be had! The census numbers show 234 people over age 95 among a 2013 population of 286,691. That works out to 0.0816% or 1 in every 1225 citizens... so Burgenland's percentage of 95+ citizens is nearly five times greater than the US percentage of 100+ citizens... but that is no surprise. So I went back and pulled the 2010 US count of 95+ citizens and computed the numbers... 0.1375% or 1 in 727. Thus, on an equal footing, the percentage of 95+ citizens is ~1.7 times higher in the US than Burgenland.
As an aside, to the right is the 2013 population distribution of Burgenland, with each bar representing a 5-year age group (only the larger number for each age range is shown, except for the 95+ group). Clearly, the largest age groups are the 45-50 and 50-55 year-olds. I suspect that the fact that the younger age groups being smaller than their consecutively older groups is of concern to the government in that it indicates a declining / aging population (in comparison, a US chart like this would have essentially equal bars up to age 55, indicating a stable population). Another noteworthy feature is the dip for the 65-70 year-old group. These would be the people born between 1943 and 1948... the dip, therefore, being a remnant of the birth decline due to WW-II.
Recipes from the German/Austrian cookbook of the Austria Donau Club: We are still waiting for Frank Paukowits to resume sending materials; while he has his computer room back, he now can't find the recipe book! ...but recipes will return (we hope!).
Deep Thoughts for the Month (at least for us guys): The following 'guide' appeared on the blog of Birgit Platschka on May 21, 2014.
When you get done reading it, you should surmise at least one thing: it was produced by a distributor of wine and Birgit merely reposted it! If you are sharp, you might also surmise that she enjoys a good glass of wine (and, perhaps, some female 'power' games).
Still, you might ask why I repost anything from Birgit; my answer is that her blog is about her daily life in Eisenberg, Burgenland, to where she and husband Bob moved in July 2011, coming from South Africa. As she says: "This blog is about the little everyday things, that I think about in general or see here in Burgenland, that are special, sometimes funny but hopefully enjoyable to you. My aim is to make you forget your stresses for just a few minutes each day." So, if you'd like to see an outsider's view of Burgenland village life, check in on her musings every so often. She is quick to note the little things an outsider sees that makes life special and satisfying... those things that the natives accept without comment... including Burgenland's wines, thus this choice of material on her blog!
2) BURGENLAND'S STONEHENGE?
An email message from BB member Bob Schatz provided a link to a 17 July 2014 English-language article (burgenlands-stonehenge-discovery) about the recent detection of the remnants of two circular trench systems in fields just southeast of Rechnitz. Bob thought the article might be of interest to me and/or the BB readership... indeed, I found it to be quite interesting and this article is evidence that I think it may be of interest to you too.
[A little web research revealed that the English-article text appears on at least a half dozen websites... but all appear to be translations of an original German-language news story that appeared July 16th at burgenland.orf.at.]
Below is a Google Earth historical image (c. 2000) showing the area of the two trench systems (the one marked Ring 1 is slightly visible in this image; Ring 2, which is somewhat smaller, is not apparent in this view; newer Google Earth images show neither ring, likely due to additional cultivation or vegetation smoothing and/or hiding the remaining marks). In the upper left corner of the image is the southeastern outskirts of Rechnitz (geographic North is up in this image).
The rings are about 520 meters (560 yards) apart, with the smaller ring (2) being ~110 meters in diameter and the larger ring (1) having a diameter of about 150 meters.
The ORF article contains apparently-enhanced aerial images of each site, taken two years ago (note the rotated views):
Additional imaging is planned using magnetic measuring techniques.
The trenches are believed to date back to the Neolithic Period (circa 5000 BC); experts conjecture that the sites once served both as giant calendars and places for rituals. Archaeologist Franz Sauer says, "That is roughly equivalent to Stonehenge, only about 2,000 years older."
The concentric circular trenches are likely up to 4 meters (13 feet) deep in places and an inner wooden-pole defensive palisade, with multiple entrances, probably lined the inner trench.
There are similar trench systems in Austria's Weinviertel (the region in Lower Austria north of the Danube above Vienna) and in Bavaria, but the two discovered at Rechnitz are the first in Burgenland. Those earlier-discovered systems have been excavated and both digital and physical reconstructions have been developed. [The structural pictures shown in the articles cited above are almost certainly of one of these earlier physical reconstructions.] To the right is a digital effort, again of a previously-discovered site.
Archaeologist Sauer notes that the logic behind the original choices for site locations are a complete mystery. However, he also says that: "Such circular trenches are always positioned on a gentle slope, in order to give a clear view of the sky for the observation of the heavenly bodies."
Although descriptions of Rechnitz's history usually claim that the area was settled around 500 BC, it now appears evident there was, in fact, a human settlement in the local area over 5,000 years before Christ. "This is quite unique in Burgenland," said Rechnitz Mayor Engelbert Kenyeri. [Actually not, as the Celts of the Hallstatt era were well-established in the Burgenland area in 5000 BC and the La Téne Celts were still present when the Romans appeared in the first century BC. However, the presence of not just one but two trench systems near Rechnitz is totally unique for Burgenland!]
It was in Newsletter 241 that we reported on a digital recreation of the Gladiator School At Carnuntum. That recreation was based largely on images generated from ground-penetrating radar after the site was discovered by aerial archaeology. The advent of aerial photography and radar and other high-tech surveying techniques for archaeology in the 1970s has given the detection and study of ancient sites a whole new dimension. It will be interesting to see what additional sites or details are discovered.
3) AN AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN MILITARY PHOTO
BB Member Claudia Bader wrote to say: Hi Tom, I'm not sure if you are the right person to send this to, so please pass it on to someone else if not. I am hoping that someone within the BB can help identify when and what type of armed services this photo displays. I have a picture of my Great Grandfather, Louis Ponstingl, and was hoping for some information about this picture. On the back of the picture it lists the names of the men in the picture. Louis is identified as Corporal Pohstingl. Louis emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio, May 10, 1905, from Jennersdorf so I know it had to be taken before then. I also have a picture of just him in uniform too. Thank you so much. [Ed: Below is the mentioned picture.]
I replied: Hi Claudia, the uniforms appear to be those of Hungarian Cavalry (Hussars, in particular). See [Wiki] page Military_coats_of_Austria-Hungary_(Cavalry) for color examples and note the second (private) and third (corporal). You can see the two collar medallions for a corporal, as in the image you have. I doubt there is any way to know what regiment from the picture, as the regimental banner is not shown. However, there were only a few potential regiments and I can probably come up with the designation if I dig a little. Most men from a given area went into the primary regiment for that area, so it might be helpful to know the names of the other men in the picture. If the names are common to the Jennersdorf area then we can be fairly certain he joined that primary regiment.
Claudia replied: Wow, thank you so much for such a quick reply. I will study the link you sent. Would it help if I scanned the back of the picture for the names? I don't think I would be able to transcribe them.
She then sent the image of the names on the back of the photo, which prompted me to reply: Those names are consistent with southern Burgenland, making it quite likely that Louis was in the Honvéd Huszár Regt. Nr 18, headquartered at Ödenburg / Sopron (= Hungarian Light Cavalry Regiment Number 18 – Sopron), as it was the regiment with recruiting rights for Vas County, Hungary. There is no way to prove that without some official documentation, but it seems reasonable given the surnames of the men in the picture and those recruiting rights.
Claudia the offered to share the picture with the BB membership, so I replied: An excellent idea, Claudia! To help clarify timing of the picture, it would be useful to know what year Louis was born (as age for military service was fairly standardized). Given his year of birth and year of emigration, we should be able to pin down the year for the picture fairly close. Also, you say he emigrated from Jennersdorf… is that where he was born also?
She replied [in part]: Louis was born 15 March 1878 in Jennersdorf. He arrived 10 May 1905, sponsored by his brother Frank who had settled in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. My Grandma (Mary Ponstingl Bader) was born here but they all must have gone back to the Old Country a few years later (after Sept 1906). (I haven't been able to document their return trip home). Louis then returned to the US permanently [on] 14 Dec 1912 and the rest of the family followed in the spring of 1913 and lived in the Cleveland area.
I then chose to involve Joe Jarfas: Hi Joe, Want a different challenge? Attached is a photo (from Claudia Bader) of a group of Austro-Hungarian military men. Also attached is a list of names along with the military ranks… spelling seems to be German and phonetic, so the challenge is a little greater. The image was taken some time before 1905, as that is when one of them, Louis Ponstingl, born 15 March 1878 in Jennersdorf, emigrated from Jennersdorf to the US. Given conscription age was 17, Ponstingl would not have been in the military before 1895, so that completes a window on the time of the photograph and the military ranks (1895-1905).
I then inserted the messages to Claudia, shown above, which I won't repeat here, before continuing:
Claudia then offered to let me run the photo and names in the BB newsletter… I thought that would be a nice thing to do but I wanted to do a proper transcription of the ranks and names, which is where you come in! ;~)
Here is my take on the ranks and names (with probable corrected spellings in parentheses):
Oberaftner? Neineth (Németh)
Zugsffürer Horvaht (Zugsführer Horvath)
" Szitois (?)
Corporal Pohnstingl (Ponstingl)
" Joht (Jost)
" Wereritsch (Werderitsch)
" Bedö (?)
" Némeht (Németh)
" ?? Janak (Janek)
My speculation is that the military ranks are given highest to lowest, but that still does not help me guess what the first two are.
Also, if you have any more insight into what type of troops these are and what their regiment might be, or on my logic, I’d appreciate that too.
And Joe replied: Not so simple, Tom, to derive the first two 'ranks' (if they are indeed), but I see much less trouble with the names: h-t exchange is typical by many foreign speakers.
So, the senior officer - in the middle of the picture - is Németh, no question about it (and with the Viennese Military Archives we might even find this regimental unit). Keep in mind though the picture was taken in town Moson, county Moson at the time.
I read the 2nd name as Hovan Kurschmit, often given for Schmidt (Serb-Croat name maybe).
Zugsfeldfürer are Horváth and Szitás.
And Corporals Pohnstingl, Tóth, Werterits, Bedo, Németh, Janak. And a few more missing since there are 14 guys in the picture.
Considering there are no first names listed for anybody the second line 'Hovan' has to be some kind of rank also.
If anything the first line rank could be Obersten or simply colonel.
If I were Claudia I would definitely send a copy to the Military Archives in Vienna. With enough names there and location information they could come up with all the names, regimental unit #'s and even dates: http://www.oesta.gv.at/site/6157/default.aspx
I replied back to Joe: Thanks Joe, I had noted the “Moson” thing and was slightly troubled by it… but does it mean that the picture was taken there or that the photographer was based there? The guy could have had some sort of deal to do military photos and went around to different bases to shoot images. Or this could have been just a bunch of guys in town for a day and decided to have a group photo done… I note all are part of the leadership of the regiment (no privates included).
Down that same line, why was a regimental flag not included if it was an official military photo? And likewise, why no troops?
I agree with you that we are dealing with ranks and surnames, so the ‘Hovan’ has me confused… even as an abbreviation, I can’t make anything meaningful with it.
The Obersten title seems possible… but would a colonel have been photographed with corporals without some majors or captains included also? Seems unlikely to me for an “official” photograph.
Lastly, I’ve never done anything with the Military Archives; how does that work? Is it a paid service?
And Joe replied: That's a good question, Tom, why would a colonel sit in with corporals, and no other higher rank guys? If this was an informal get-together that might explain it, since other officers might have had other visits to make.
The Kriegarchive in Wien became a bit more accessible in the last couple of years, and I heard of data release, which was unimaginable just a few years ago.
Basically all she has to do is write to email@example.com, give her [great-grandfather's] data and ask for his military record. With the enclosed pictures, they might get intrigued and dig into the unit history a bit deeper. And, if they find his register, a great detail of his military life will be revealed.
Final notes: Examination of the Kriegarchive website reveals that the staff will do research, when time is available, but for a charge of 37 euros (= ~$50) per half hour... with, of course, no assurance that they will find anything useful.
It should be noted that the Archive has about 180,000 boxes of files and 60,000 account books spread over 50 kilometers (30 miles) of shelves. Although there are 22 different record groups, the ones likely most relevant are the personnel files of officers, petty officers, soldiers and public servants of the armed forces from around 1740 to 1918... but even this is a huge collection.
As paying the Archive staff to do the research is likely an expensive endeavor, I'll open this up to you newsletter readers... can you help Claudia? Both corrections and additions to what Joe and I said about type of unit, meaning of uniform markings, and a specific unit designation are all useful. Do write if you can contribute of recognize any of the people in the photograph.
4) GERMAN LANGUAGE HOUSE LISTS IN HUNGARY ARE THE RESULT OF THE FAILED HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION OF 1848/1849 (by Richard Potetz)
Many genealogy hobbyists in the Burgenland Bunch have built family trees from pre-Burgenland church records. Hungarian and Latin given names fill those trees, taken from baptism, marriage and death records. The 1857/1858 house lists are an exception among pre-Burgenland records. Those house lists show German-language given names, like Johann, Paul, and Franz, equivalents to the Hungarian/Latin names János/Joannes, Pál/Paulus, and Ferencz/Franciscus.
The house lists of 1857/1858 are a prominent part of the Burgenland Bunch website. Thanks to Klaus Gerger, we have this powerful tool to help us research our family trees. A look at history explains why those house lists came to be written in German.
Searching Wikipedia for “Kingdom of Hungary” gives a quick answer to the question of which language was used by government in Hungary: “The official language remained Latin until 1844. Then, between 1844 and 1849, and from 1867, Hungarian became the official language.” Those sentences are tough to follow but they’re true. From 1849 to 1867 there was no law making Hungarian the official language. It is in that time span that our house lists were written, a time when German-speaking Austrians were running Hungary, the result of a failed revolution.
Many revolutions began in 1848; the Hungarian Revolution of 1848/1849 was just one of them. Hungary’s army was doing well against Austria at the start of 1849, prompting the Hungarian Parliament to declare Hungary a republic. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, reacting to the danger of yet another country operating without a monarch, sent an army to suppress the revolution. By the end of 1849, the Hungarian Army had been forced to surrender and an Austrian military governor in Budapest was heading Hungary. Alexander von Bach, the Minister of the Interior for the Austrian/Hungarian Empire, enforced the same regulations in Hungary and Austria. A large contingent of German-speaking civil servants, working for the Ministry of the Interior, came from Austria to implement new regulations.
The spelling of some surnames provides evidence that the civil servants who filled in the house lists forms were German-speaking outsiders. Germanic surnames were not a problem for them. But consider the name “Bodetz” seen in the Welten house list, appearing in houses 15, 33 and 80. Those families attended the church in Sankt Martin an der Raab, where their name in the records was always spelled “Potetz,” not “Bodetz.” The LDS index finds no one named “Bodetz” in that parish, but there are many entries with the surname “Potetz.”
In defense of the outsiders, it has to be admitted that the pronunciation of the name “Potetz” in the dialect used in the Sankt Martin parish did sound exactly like “Bodetz.” The strong local dialects, that made that sort of spelling error possible in 1858, were caused by language isolation. Years later, radio plus education in German instead of Hungarian diminished those dialects to just an accent.
Example page from the Welten House Lists (see below for header translations)
The first names on this page include Andreas, Josef, Johann, Franz, Michael, Mathias, Anton, Theresia, and Georg—all German spellings.
Your German-speaking ancestors would likely have used the German versions of their first names. In the civil records that began in 1895, the first names of the people involved are entered in Hungarian. At the bottom of the form, the informant’s signature usually shows the German spelling. When my aunt was born in 1896, her father’s name listed in the form was “Sucher János,” but his name in the signature block at the bottom of the form was “Johann Sucher.”
For the Hungarian civil records in the years 1895 to 1906, there are two signatures at the bottom of those pages, one labeled “anyakönyvvezeto” (the registrar, the official responsible for keeping the register), and a second signature labeled “bejelentö” (the informant). The signature of the registrar starts with the surname followed by the Hungarian version of the given name. The name of the informant, on the other hand, begins with the Germanic version of the given name followed by the surname.
The Hungarian naming convention, placing the surname before the given name, was used by the registrar. Clearly, by this point in time, Magyars had again taken the civil service positions. That Hungarian name order convention is why our ancestors’ church records placed the surname first when the record was entered in Hungarian. When the Latin language was used, the given name came first, followed by the surname. For example, Holtzman Borbálya entered in a Hungarian-language record became Barbara Holtzman in a Latin-language record. The language chosen changed other spellings too. For example, my Magyar ggg-grandfather Forján György in a Hungarian-language record was Georgius Forian in a Latin-language record, because Latin did not use a lower case j in Hungary.
The records genealogists use to establish Burgenland family trees contain evidence of the changes brought about by the Hungarian Revolution of 1848/1849. A future article in the BB Newsletter will cover more of the changes that came about because of that revolution.
Ed Comments: In his example house list, Richard shows only the left half of what was a two-page form. Below is the top of a full form from Lackenbach (click to see an enlarged version). Beneath that is a transcription of the column headers and a translation to English.
There are interesting things in both Richard's example page and the one I show.
5) A DOUBLE BLAST FROM THE PAST
BB Member Bob Fahringer writes: Hello Tom, attached [see below] is a photo of my great-grandfather, John Fiedler, with the Moonshine Brothers Double Quartet, most likely from his days at the Allentown Liederkranz [John is on the lower right, turned profile].
John (Johann) was born in Neustift bei Güssing (Újtelep) and emigrated in 1902, after working near Graz in the village of St. Stefan am Gratkorn with my great-grandmother, Cecelia Zettl, also a Burgenländer from Rábafüzes (Raabfidisch). My grandmother, Anna Fiedler, was Austrian-born and emigrated through Ellis Island with Cecelia.
John stayed in Allentown, aided other "Auswanderers," and eventually ran Fiedler's Cafe on 2nd & Gordon Sts. in Allentown. His son, Ed, eventually took over the place and his grandson, Forrest Fiedler, was the best man at BB founder Gerry Berghold's wedding, and vice-versa. Second picture is at the cafe, John on the far left, other children and spouse at bar, and son, Ed, behind the bar.
The last picture is of Cecelia (Zettl) Fiedler and John Fiedler, with my grandmother, Anna (b. 1895), and little brother, Franz, who did emigrate but was not long-lived.
My paternal grandma, Theresa (Fuchs) Fahringer, was also Neustift bei Güssing-born and came to the US as an infant, then was sent back to Neustift to be raised there by her maternal grandparents (Steiners), returning in 1922.
Thanks to the BB for all the help and info that you provide and share.
In a separate message, Bob also wrote: I have an old Morning Call clipping, re: the closing of the cafe, and an interview with my great-uncle Ed Fiedler's widow, Pauline (Eder) Fiedler, who has relatives in the BB (Bob Eder, I believe). I still use the goulash recipe from her when I am hankering for it or sharing with relatives.
The bar was cited in a few old BB newsletters, one about "Dracula eggs" on the bar. It was only a half a block from the old Horlacher Brewery and a few blocks from the Neuweiler Brewery in Allentown. (Too bad micro-brewing hadn't caught on back in the day!) They were both fine beers that were no longer produced after the late 1970's/80's.
Regards, Bob Fahringer
We thank Bob for sharing this story and these pictures. Due to curiosity alone, I did a little digging in online records for some of the people mentioned. The emigration of Cecelia Zettl Fielder and children Anna and Franz (see last photo above) is easy to find. It shows that they came over via Antwerp on the SS Zeeland, departing 13 Sep 1902 and arriving NYC on 22 Sep 1902, with intent to join husband and father in Allentown. It is a nice memento, I'm sure. Likewise, various census records track the family and Anna's 1915 marriage record to William Abbott reports that her mother was already dead at that time.
Searching for John Fielder's emigration record leads to some questions that Bob apparently resolved for himself. There is a Johann Fielder, age 31 with last residence Graz (which match other data), who departed Bremen on 6 May 1902 on the SS Kaiser Wilhelm de Grosse and arrived NYC on 12 May 1902. However, he is listed as single and as what appears to be shoemaker (the writing is difficult). He is going to Allentown to join a stepbrother, Jos ???. No other John Fielder can be found that matches sufficiently so I suspect this is his record... the "single" status could be a clerical error (such errors are not uncommon) and perhaps shoemaker was his occupation at the time.
I did not dig deeper but it appears that Bob has done so quite successfully. My only question for Bob is why does the "doppel" quartet (in the first picture) has ten rather than eight members?
6) HISTORICAL BB NEWSLETTER ARTICLES
Editor: This is part of our series designed to recycle interesting articles from the BB Newsletters of 10 years ago. The article below, from August 2004, has nothing to do with genealogy or emigrant history but is an interesting story and lets me speak a bit about some of the Hungarian maps we have on our website. As you'll see, it is about a US Air Force crewman who bailed out south of Pamhagen, Burgenland, and was taken captive.
I'll reprint the original story [with a few editorial inserts like this] then provide some maps and some comments about those maps.
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS No. 131B
Aug 31, 2004
PAMHAGEN - A WW-II COMBAT STORY AND VILLAGE SEARCH
(from Jim Hewitt, Margaret Kaiser, Bob Strauch)
Jim Hewitt wrote: I am new to the list and just starting my search. I have an uncle who was shot down during WW-II south of Pamhagen, Austria/Hungary, in 1944. He is getting very old and health is starting to fail. While he was in custody in Pamhagen from June 26 to June 29, 1944, there was a newspaper article in the local paper about him. My uncle would like very much to find the article. How can I go about locating a copy of this article?
Margaret Kaiser replied: I googled "Pamhagen" and came across the homepage of Konrad Unger of Wallern (next to Pamhagen). His site is also available in English: http://home.pages.at/kunger/. [Ed: the English-language version was dropped some years ago; Konrad also changed his main web address to http://members.aon.at/konrad.unger/.] He has a collection of about 180 old photos of Pamhagen, including one that looks like a plane wreck. [Ed: I could not find that image on the current site.] Seems they were part of a historical exhibit in Pamhagen in 1992. Try contacting Konrad, who obviously is interested in history. He also has an essay about the emigration to America on his site.
Or try the town hall: Gemeindeamt Pamhagen
A- 7152 Pamhagen, Austria
Mayor: Johann Kotzenmacher
Jim, I also asked a pal (Bob Strauch) if he could help with your question (and Bob contacted Jim.)
Jim responds: Thank you so much for your information. I obtained the lost air crew report from the US Air Force and from there I was able to get the grid coordinates of where my uncle was shot down. From that I was able to use a GPS to pinpoint where he was shot down. It is about 22 km southwest of Pamhagen. From the map there are five small communities surrounding the location and they are all connected by a series of railroad tracks forming a triangle. To the northeast there are the towns of Kauvar [Kapuvár?] and Cecroa [Csorna?]. To the southeast there are the towns of Belen [Beled?] and Keyer [Kenyeri?] and to the southwest the town of Bukk [Bük?]. I sent my copies of the photos of Pamhagen to my uncle and he stated that it was a larger town then where he was held. He says that is was a very small community of farmers and peasants. Today I received two newspaper articles about downed bomber crewman from the Vienna National Library out of the "Ödenburger Zeitung" dated 27 June 1944, which is from Ödenburg (Sopron), Hungary. However, I cannot read German so I do not know what they say and I am looking for a translator (any suggestions?). Can you tell me where Ödenburg or Sopron is located in relationship to Pamhagen?
Also I am sending you a condensed version of my uncle's description of the circumstances and area where he was captured:
The article of June 28th:
Message from Austrian National Library accompanying the newspaper articles:
7) ETHNIC EVENTS
LEHIGH VALLEY, PA
Saturday, September 6: Sister City Picnic (Northampton-Stegersbach) at Municipal Park in Northampton. Music from 1-5 PM by the Joe Weber Orchestra.
Friday-Sunday, September 12-14: Oktoberfest at the Lancaster Liederkranz. Info:
Sunday, September 14: Oktoberfest at the Coplay Sängerbund. Music by the Josef Kroboth Orchestra. Info: www.coplaysaengerbund.com
Sunday, September 28: Oktoberfest at the Holy Family Club in Nazareth. Music by the J&J Orchestra. Info: www.holyfamilyclub.com
8) BURGENLAND EMIGRANT OBITUARIES
We have another month wherein we did not detect a single obituary of a Burgenland-born emigrant. This is not to say that there were no such deaths, rather, it simply says we did not find any.
Thus, instead, I present a related commentary, one based on a 2012 article in the online Vienna newspaper, DiePress.com, as reported in article: Tim Bullamore: Geschichten über das Leben (Tim Bullamore: Stories About Life). The article was written by Felix Lill and its subtitle translates to "In Anglo-American newspapers, the obituary is, unlike for us, a great tradition. A conversation with one of the obituary journalists for the Times."
That "obituary journalist" is the well-known British obituary writer, Tim Bullamore, who freelances obituaries for major British newspapers, including The Times and the Daily Telegraph, and is a sub-editor for The Times. Tim is well-known largely because he often speaks on the art of obituary writing, traveling the world to do so [he is also publisher of the specialty niche magazine "Jane Austen’s Regency World"].
The first thing you should note, from the sub-title translated above, is that the obituary (Nachruf, in German) is not a traditional feature of Austrian papers (so if you think you might find current or old obituaries, either online or in archives, for people who died in Burgenland, you are wrong. It takes the death of a rather famous person to make the newspapers there, and you won't find it in an "obituary" section, it will be on the front page.)
The thrust of the questions put to Bullamore in the article also reflect how odd Austrian journalists find the concept of writing obituaries to be:
"Do you find it oppressive to depend upon the death of other people to write an article?"
"What makes the 'genre' (obituaries) so popular?"
"Why is the author's name not on the obituary dateline? Is it about decency?"
The article goes on to ask other somewhat difficult questions, such as, why British newspaper obituaries are mostly about Oxford-educated white males and isn't it embarrassing when an obituary is printed about someone who isn't yet dead (Alfred Nobel being the example given). It also discusses less-controversial subjects, such as the pre-writing of obituaries for prominent persons.
However, the important take-a-way for us should be that obits are rare in Burgenland newspapers... and it is largely a waste of time to search for such.
END OF NEWSLETTER
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