The News
Dedicated to Austrian-Hungarian Burgenland Family History

January 31, 2016, © 2016 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved

Editor: Thomas Steichen (email:
Archives at: BB Newsletter Index

Our 20th 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).

Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 2401 * Surname Entries: 7753 * Query Board Entries: 5488 * Staff Members: 17

This newsletter concerns:








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

Tom SteichenSorry, but I thought it was time for a new mug shot of me; the prior one was from 2012 whereas the current one is from Thanksgiving weekend, 2015. I trust you'll all survive it!

Perhaps better news is that we have a new Members Editor, Johnny Santana of Brentwood, NY. Johnny will introduce himself in the first piece below. Suffice it to say that I'm quite pleased to welcome Johnny aboard!

Concerning this newsletter, after the bits and pieces here in my "Corner," we start out with a second round from the book, "Proper Peasants." This time I extract information on the Social Structures that organized life in the pre-WW-I Hungarian village of Átány. Hopefully, it serves as a parallel to what life was like in Burgenland at that time.

Article 3 is about yet another BH&R milestone: the 20,000th honoree. Read the article to learn who the honoree is and also a bit of history for the site!

Article 4 concerns a series of books about circa 1900 Vienna; a who-done-it Mystery series that also imparts a lot about the underpinnings of the time and place. Although not Burgenland, the series gives a glimpse at the Austrian big-city ways of the time.

The remaining articles are our standard sections: Historical Newsletter Articles, and the Ethnic Events and Emigrant Obituaries sections.

New Members Editor, John ("Johnny") Santana, Mini Bio: I was born and raised in Queens, NYC, NY, living most of my childhood in Whitestone and Flushing. I graduated from St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows in 1986 (polka accordionist Johnny Koenig is a fellow SFP alum). In 1994, a year after being debilitated and then diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, I moved out to East Brentwood, Suffolk County (Long Island, NY) to live, once again, with my mother, sister and twin nephews. I hold a B.A. in Psychology (2003) and am currently about 6 credits shy of a Master's in Public Management, both from Dowling College in Oakdale, NY.

While attending as an undergraduate, I took an elective class in genealogy, which gave me the family tree "bug." Having already had extensive information about my mother's maternal Irish roots, and my father's family (who hailed from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico), the lingering question that I sought to answer was my mother's paternal roots in Austria. Having found transcriptions of the Ellis Island ship manifests for my great-grandparents, Ignatz and Anna (née Baliko) Tomiser (1910 and 1912, respectively), my quest took off in earnest. These past 15 years have revealed many answers... and even more questions.

A student of history, cultures, traditional down-home comfort food (both eating and cooking) from around the world, and the history of Rock 'n' Roll and its roots, for my fiftieth birthday (2018), I hope to be the first in my family to return to our ancestral hometown of Jabing (Vasjobbágyi), in the Oberwart District, in over 100 years.

Ed. Note: Johnny does not mention it but he joined the BB in 2002. He also has contributed the occasional item to the BB effort, most recently for the Church Names project. Although he has past web experience, he admits he needed to first "knock the rust off" his skills and reacquire some tools for the job ...but, as the current BB Members Pages show, he was quite able to do that! Please welcome Johnny to the BB team!

An Old Football: BB Member Gary Gabrich, of South Bend, IN, recently shared a newspaper article ("Gift from long ago a lovely gesture," by Bill Moor of the that tells about the 1946 "begrudging" gift of a football to relatives in Hungary by then five-year-old Gary. As the article says, "It was received on the other side with … well, befuddlement."

The football was part of a care package sent by Gary's grandparents and their children and grandchildren to their relatives in war-torn Hungary. Gary wanted to send a "collection of discarded toys” as his contribution, but his dad had other ideas. He thought that kids over there might enjoy a football—Gary’s football, “After all, football was universal, right?

The problem was that this football had been rather special to Gary, given to him by Steve Bagarus, a former South Bend native and Notre Dame star halfback who was then playing for the Washington Redskins. "That was one of my earliest childhood memories," says Gary, "a gift from a famous person. I still remember that I was sky-high.”

But that is not quite the end of this story. In 2003, Gary and his wife, JoAnn, were visiting his ancestral village of Fertőszentmiklós, Sopron County, Hungary, when a relative told them that she had a son in Florida. When Gary returned home, he made contact with the son, Arpad, and stayed in touch. But Gary and JoAnn didn’t get a chance to visit him in Florida until this last November. That is when Gary finally found out what had happened to his football: Arpad was the one who received the football in the family care package almost 70 years earlier.

Apad said he didn’t really know what it was but took it out to the soccer field anyway to show his friends. “They thought it was a trick soccer ball sent by their American family to make them laugh, like a big joke,” Gary says. “Needless to say, they tried playing soccer with it with obvious results. Thus my famous gift was retired permanently in Hungary.”

What were we thinking when we sent them a football?” Gary wonders. “But then we didn’t know much about soccer.” And his Hungarian relatives apparently knew even less about football. That football is long gone... but at least it made his Hungarian relative laugh back then, and it still is making Gary and Arpad laugh now, almost 70 years later.

Unemployment In Austria & Burgenland: The Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs recently released the 2015 Austrian unemployment numbers, reporting an overall increase of 6.1% in the number of unemployed, thus raising the total to 475,435 unemployed prospective workers and the national unemployment rate to 10.6 percent. Included in the total count of unemployed were 57,921 people in employment training offered by the Austrian Labor Market Service. Of special note was that the number of long-term unemployed had risen significantly.
When broken out by age of potential employee, unemployment among “elderly” (age 50+) increased the most (9.9%) during 2015 while that among “teenagers” (age 15 to 24) actually decreased (1.1%). Unemployment among women in 2015 increased more (7.6%) than among men (5.2%). The unemployment increases were also significantly worse for people with health impairment (10.5%) and among non-Austrians (12.6%). According to the Minister of Social Affairs, Rudolf Hundstorfer, the greater increase among women versus men is due largely to industry-specific trends.

When broken out by the Austrian Lands (States), unemployment in Vienna increased by 12.5% in 2015 (over twice the national average increase of 6.1%). Vorarlberg was at the other extreme, showing a 2% decrease in unemployment in 2015. Burgenland experienced a 2.6% increase in unemployment, reporting 13,374 total registered unemployed plus 1,487 Labor Market Service training participants, which is an increase of 338 unemployed during 2015.

Unfortunately the unemployment forecast for 2016 is not particularly rosy for either Austria overall or Burgenland in particular: the Labor Market Service forecasts a further rise in unemployment even while expecting a slight improvement in the overall economic situation.

Medieval Land Footprint to be Removed from Burgenland? It certainly seems true! You may recall that, in the peasant-based days before 1848, land was allocated to individual farms in what has been called a reid structure (where reid is a German word for "reed"). That is, larger plots of land having common agricultural characteristics were divided into narrow stripes, with individual stripes being assigned to individual farms. This was done so that every farmer would receive "equal" quality land. A side effect was that the land assigned to each farm might be in many different areas of the Gemeinde Hotter, far from each other, and that many field roads had to be allocated so farmers could get to their land. Given that the typical shape of those parcels was a thin stripe, reid was attached to describe their reed-shaped nature. After 1848, when the peasant farmers were allowed to purchase land, they tended to buy the parcels they already farmed so this medieval reid footprint has been carried into the present day. In the above GoogleMaps image, the striped colorations of the cultivated plots reflect this reid structure.

The problem with this type of land allocation, as you might expect, is that it is terribly inefficient for cultivation by large, modern-day farming machinery. For example, the parcel outlined in blue in the image above is less than five acres in size... I'll exaggerate a little, but that is barely enough room to turn around some of the bigger equipment in use on the Kansas plains!

I mention the blue-outlined parcel because I have spoken about it before in the BB newsletters. It was first mentioned in Newsletter #242 (April 2014) and then again in the following newsletter, #243. It came to my attention back then because Joy Minns was looking for contact information for descendants of some of the seven individuals who jointly owned that parcel, only one of whom lived in Burgenland then and all of whom may be related to Joy.

Just this month, Joy shared additional information about that piece of land. The daughter of one of the seven named co-owners of the parcel received a letter addressed to her long-deceased father... and she likely received it only because she now lives in the family home. That letter, written in German, listed the co-owners and said they were being notified that their parcel was included in the "amalgamation process" for Neumarkt im Tauchental farm land under Directive 4a/A.460-10000-8-2015.

As you might expect, it was a baffling notification!

The daughter contacted Joy and Joy contacted another cousin, Walter, who responded saying "I can easily translate the letter – but I am not sure if I understand it." That prompted Walter to look up the cited regulation, which he found on the internet and he translated it loosely as follows:

In accordance with the law about the constitution of field and farmland, a process for the merging of the following lots of farmland in Neumarkt im Tauchental is being started. Then there is a long list of lots, the one of [your cousin] is probably among them.

The directive also says on the last page that owners of all the lots that are part of the process will be united in a public corporation (I hope that is the correct translation), an organisation that represents their interests. The founding meeting of this organisation took place on July 30th in Altschlaining. The spokespersons were elected there.

With that knowledge he then reported that the letter was "a note by the Bezirksgericht (the county court) saying that a certain piece of land (they name it “Grundstück 2099” – property lot 2099) will be merged with some other pieces of land. They do that in rural areas to get coherent properties for the farms. Usually it’s the case when there are a number of farms which have fields that are far apart and it makes more sense if they mutually switch the fields they own so each of them has all its fields close together."

So there you are: the disconnected reid parcels of the medieval peasant-based land allocation system (or at least its remaining footprint), still so prevalent in Burgenland, is finally being dismantled and is giving way to the contiguous-plots system like in the US! From a farming-efficiency viewpoint, this clearly is the right thing to do, but it will change the picturesque reid- and quilt-like nature of Burgenland’s rural landscape, so it is sad too.

If you or your family own a parcel of land in Burgenland, it may be a good thing to explore whether such amalgamation is underway in its area... you may be in for a surprise! Announces End of Family Tree Maker Software: announced in December that it will discontinue sales of its Family Tree Maker software as of Dec. 31, 2015, but will continue to provide support and fix bugs "at least through Jan. 1, 2017." During that time, Tree Sync, the feature that syncs an online Ancestry Member Tree with Family Tree Maker software, will continue to work.

In explaining why Ancestry is retiring such a popular program, Senior Vice President of Product Management Kendall Hulet said, "We’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide product enhancements and support that our users need."

The implied argument is that software in other fields is moving to versions available only via the cloud and by subscription, and that has advantages such as the ability to automatically roll out updates, access from multiple devices, and online data storage (it also gives the vendor a continuous source of income).

But switching is always a pain, and if you are forced to keep the information in the cloud, you have less control over it and, should you ever let your subscription lapse, you'll lose access to it.

In response, several genealogy software companies have set up special pricing and information for Family Tree Maker users looking to find another desktop program. Those who have done so include: RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Ancestral Quest, MyHeritage Family Tree Builder (free), and Reunion for Mac.

I, myself, use Family Tree Maker, but it is Version 8.0, copyright 2000, and has none of the features that require direct web access. For a 15-year-old, Windows 98 program, it continues to work very nicely for me... support or not! Announces Move to the "New" Ancestry: Given I wrote above about the demise of the Family Tree Maker software, it seems appropriate to also speak of the corresponding changes at itself. For some time, Ancestry members have had the choice of using a "New" Ancestry website or staying on the "Old" version... that choice, however, went away in December, as all members have been migrated to the New version. Not being an Ancestry member myself, I do not have personal knowledge of how different the versions are... but based on the numerous comments I read on some Ancestry blogs, it appears that seasoned users are generally not happy about the change. Rather than try to summarize those myself, I'll ask that BB members who use Ancestry send me a note about their feelings about the change and I'll share the comments in our next newsletter, as you can tell us first-hand much better than I can do second-hand. So please do write in!

However, I will speak of two earlier Ancestry events, both in July 2015.

First, Ancestry announced an AncestryHealth tool... a portal to store health-related information about your family members, track your own personal health and wellness, and tie that information with any associated genetic data and family trees.

Some writers have taken the combination of the new AncestryHealth tool, plus the closing of some 500 relatively-unused Ancestry databases, the apparently slowed pace of adding new databases, the demise of the offline Family Tree Maker software and the changes apparent in the "New" Ancestry website, to suggest that Ancestry is moving away from being a genealogical research site to being a genealogical data storage site... that way they can keep customers paying for life, or so the pundits argue.

Second, AncestryDNA sold access to the DNA sequences of over one million customers plus the extensive, detailed genealogical data of its two million paying subscribers and some seven million historical family trees. In theory, these are customers who gave permission for their DNA to be used for research; however, I have no idea of what rights to their family-tree and/or health data subscribers gave to Ancestry. The partnering company is Calico, the medical research company "born to extend human life" that Google started in 2013. With its new Ancestry-supplied data—properly anonymized we hope—Calico will "look for genetic patterns in people who have lived exceptionally long lives, then make drugs to help more of us do that." There is also some indication that Calico may also have purchased access to the underlying raw DNA material, so they can completely sequence the samples... something I doubt most subscribers thought might be possible (note: a typical autosomal test evaluates well less than 0.1% of your autosomal DNA; the largest currently-available Y-DNA test evaluates less than 25% of your Y-DNA; the largest currently-available mtDNA test evaluates all of your mtDNA).

Cousins Found via Burgenland DNA Study: We now have our first instance of confirmed cousins being found via autosomal DNA matches through the Burgenland DNA Study project.

Rachael Dobsovicova and Amy Ernharth (admin for Bernard A Ernharth) have a found a paper trail between putative DNA "second to fourth" cousins Rachael and Bernard. Their common ancestor is Johann/Janos Hüll (ca. 1800-1867) of house nr. 39 Rönök, Vas, Hungary.

Bernard is a great grandson of Johann and his first wife Katalin Pfeiffer (d. 1847), through their son Franz (b. 1841), and his daughter Cecelia (b. 1885).

Rachael is descended from Johann and his second wife Maria Jost (1820-1877), through their daughter Maria (1859-1894), her daughter Maria (1876-1952), her daughter Justina (1902-1982), Rachel's grandmother Anna and her mom Annette.

Their relationship calculates out as a half second cousin 3-times-removed, which is fairly consistent with what the DNA suggested.

Amy and Rachael developed their lines using the baptism, marriage, and death records for Rönök/Inzenhof (St. Emmerich's Church), available on LDS Microfilm numbers FHL INTL 601492-494.

You can, of course, learn more about the Burgenland DNA Project and/or DNA in general on the BB's DNA webpages here.

Burgenland DNA Study Rebate Program: Get money back when you participate in the Burgenland DNA Study project! A $30 rebate will be provided to all people who join the project and purchase an autosomal test from FamilyTreeDNA. The only stipulation is that both the paternal and maternal sides of the family must come from Burgenland. The cost off the test is $99. With the $30 rebate, the net cost would be only $69. If you are interested, contact Frank Paukowits (Burgenland DNA Study Group Administrator) at, and he will provide details. Additions: GenTeam has announced the addition of 186,000 entries to their online collection of records. Of most interest to Burgenländers among the additions are the approximately 67,000 new entries in the Index of Catholic Baptisms in Vienna for the Years 1584-1915 and the approximately 26,000 new entries in the Index of Catholic Deaths in Vienna. GenTeam has been in existence for 6 years now and has accumulated some 12.8 million entries in their online searchable databases so far. As I have mentioned before, access to the records is totally free but you must establish a user name and password. GenTeam can be found at and you may select English as the language for the website.

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 971 copies, as interested people purchased 13 more books 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: Another recipe from cookbook "Recipes for the New Millennium" (© 2000, Morris Press), subtitled "A Collection of Recipes from Former and Present Parishioners of Holy Ghost Church, Bethlehem, PA."

Everyone loves carrot cake, right? ...but the frosting is an integral part of the experience and this recipe did not mention frosting! Thus, I'll throw in my favorite: a simple and smooth cream cheese frosting! Yummm! The abundant flavors of the cake wrapped by the sweet creaminess of the frosting... lovely!

(from Bernie Knoblick)

4 eggs                   2 tsp. baking soda
1˝ c. sugar              1 tsp. salt
1˝ c. vegetable oil      3 c. grated carrots
2 c. flour               1 c. raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon          1˝ c. chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tsp. baking powder        

Beat eggs until frothy. Gradually add sugar, a little at a time, until light. Gradually beat in vegetable oil. In a bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually blend flour mixture into egg mixture, then fold in carrots, raisins and nuts. Divide batter into 3 well-buttered and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, rotating pans in oven as needed for uniform cooking. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces (˝ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (3ľ cups) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract until well-combined.

To assemble cake, stack the layers, spreading a generous amount of frosting between layers and then cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Garnish lightly with a bit more chopped nuts and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cartoon of the Month: 


In Newsletter #237 (30 Nov 2013), Article 5, I introduced the book "Proper Peasants: Traditional Life in a Hungarian Village" and promised more articles drawn from the insights it presents. The authors were Edit Fél and Tamás Hofer and it is their thoughts on peasant social stratas defined by property and the means of subsistence that I'll try to distill into a manageable size in this article.

As I stated in the initial article about the book, my intention is to describe those details that might enlighten us on how our Burgenland ancestors lived and interacted with their fellow citizens. Even though the subject Hungarian village is far from Burgenland, both Fritz Königshofer, who recommended the book to me, and I believe it has sufficient universal nature to make it applicable to Burgenland during its Hungarian time. The particular topic of this article speaks to the period after the end of feudal serfdom in Hungary in 1848 and prior to Burgenland becoming part of Austria in 1921.

Most of the material in this article will come from Chapter 12, titled "Varieties and Levels of Subsistence" by authors Fél and Hofer. Although the social situation covered in the chapter is based largely that of the pre-WW-I era of the 20th century, it still retains the flavor and character of much earlier times. As I said in my first article based on this book:

Átány was chosen for study, in large part, because it was insular and had retained the traditional way of life more so than most Hungarian villages. In fact, the book title, "Proper Peasants," was chosen because it was the phrase by which Átány people proudly referred to themselves, and indicated that Átány people had "properly" retained traditional peasant characteristics in their way of life. As such, the community allowed the ethnographers to reach "further into the past" than they could do elsewhere. The researchers explicitly chose the village because they believed it would allow examination of social institutions and patterns of interpersonal relationships closer to that of ancient peasant culture and they chose to concentrate and report mostly on the "more antiquated" features.

When describing the village social structure, one must first note that the majority of the people in Átány village are peasants who work the land, or "people of the soil" as they call themselves. The first great social divide is whether a person is of this class or not.

Among people "not of the soil," there are the Ur's (lords), a social stratum deemed superior to the peasants and consisting of large landowners and, by extension, "learned men" and administrative officials such as the village secretary, the minister and the teacher. The large landowners usually lived far from the village but often hired workers from the village to work on their nearby manorial estates.

While the village secretary, minister and teacher lived in the village, they were not of the village. Their ancestors did not live here nor were buried here and their descendants would not settle here. They were merely elected or appointed into a term of service in the village and could be similarly removed. Although they were respected, their relationship with the peasants differed from relationships within the "people of the soil" class.

Fél and Hofer tell us that the "position of the craftsmen is more or less the same"... they lived in the village but were not of the village. While they had special knowledge and equipment, many were from other places and did not work nor live like the people of the soil.

However, artisans often came from local families and had ties to the peasants, doing some agricultural work along with their specialized crafts. While considered not so different from "real" Átány people, they still belonged to an intermediate category. Railway workers were another intermediate group, working much of the year far from the village but returning home to assist in the harvest.

The Gypsies of the village, however, were considered "no Hungarians, being created different." They were consider people of a lower class, allowed homes only outside, on the edge of the village, with a way of life dissimilar to the "real" people of the village.

Even among the "people of the soil" who were joined together as tillers of the land, be it their own or others, there were well-recognized social strata. The most significant split was between "team owners" and "teamless farmers."

Team owners were peasant landowners who owned a team plus a plow, cart and other equipment used with draft animals. Their families were able to do all the tasks needed to run a farm.

Teamless farmers were those villagers whose landholdings were too small to support or justify a team of horses or who were landless and worked solely for others in the village as hired agricultural workers paid in cash or a share of the crop.

There was a third, smaller group of agricultural workers too: those farm hands and tobacco growers who lived full time on nearby manorial farms but had ties of descent, kinship and friendship to those in the village. They endeavored to someday return to the village with their families.

Within Team Owners, some own valuable, well-trained horse teams, others raise and train colts, using them to work their own land until fully trained and valuable enough to sell, and others have oxen teams. The richest may have multiple teams of horses and/or oxen. It usually takes 6-8 cadastral holds of land (8-12 acres) to justify owning a team, and then only if they can do additional work on other farms with the team. The largest peasant holdings are around 80 holds, and these farms can support and utilize two oxen and one or two horse teams. Ultimately though, it is the size of the land holding, not number of teams, that gives the best comparative measure of value of a farm, as hired manpower and/or teams can be used in place of owned teams.

The smaller team owners (under 10-12 holds of tillable land), justify their team by doing farm work for others for cash or a share of the crop, by cartage for hire with a wagon, or by horse dealing, buying late in the fall when prices were down and selling in the spring when demand was up. Other dealers traveled south to buy horses where they were abundant and cheaper and brought them back to Átány where a profit could be made when sold. Demonstrating the team's capabilities by using them until sold was a form of advertising.

A carter would let the community know that he and his team could be hired to move produce from a field, goods to or from a market or railroad, or even to transport people. When not used for field work, carters try to keep their teams working every day, as cartage is said to yield only enough to maintain a family and farm but not to expand it. Some carters join together under a leader who contracts hauling for large projects such as road construction, moving merchandise for merchants, or farm materials for estates.

A few team owners justify team ownership by entering into a half-and-half métayage arrangement on sufficient additional land, wherein they provide the team and some labor to supplement the labor of the land owner (often old people or families without male children). However, it was rare to lease land only for cash, as owners who would not direct and control the farming of their own land were considered lazy. Generally, it was only the land of teamless farmers who worked in big cities and the property of the community, church, pastor, teachers and village secretary that was available for lease, usually under three to six-year contracts (as land sections tended to be farmed under a three-crop rotation system: one year in winter crops [wheat and/or rye for bread], one year in barley, oats or maize [for animal feed and fodder], and one year as pasturage for livestock grazing and to be manured, thereby to restore it). Leasing land was not as profitable to the owner as métayage but no labor had to be performed and rent yield was unaffected by a poor harvest.

However, the ultimate goal in the Átány agricultural social structure is to be able to make one's living solely by tilling one's own soil. In Átány, that takes a minimum of 15-20 holds of land and a family numerous enough to provide the labor to work it. Such a family can work the land and keep a brood sow, a few pigs and cows, some chickens and a team of horses. It is only when you can use a team solely for your own land that you become known as a gazda (although you may make an exception and plow for a teamless farmer friend who repays you by helping with your harvest). Those team owners with insufficient land are not gazdas, rather, they are known as "medium holders" or "middle class."

Generally, harvesting work on a property of 20+ holds is done by sharecroppers, as the gazda family is fully occupied by directing the labor, plowing, caring for livestock and their fodder, and working in one's vineyard. 20+ holds allows one to store up surpluses and sell at markets, plus to take up stock breeding. Stock breeding is another mark of difference from the poorer peasants, as they must sell animals soon after birth at a disadvantage. The gazda keeps his colts and calves and later sells them as mature or trained animals at a good profit.

Teamless Farmers generally own a house and yard in the village (though some rent) and they keep pigsties and chicken coops in the yard; a few also have small cowsheds. [The term zsellér was one used to describe similar farmers during the serfdom era in Hungary.] Some also have a few holds of land (a dwarf holding) but their common attribute is that they earn their living by work "on the soil of another." Generally, teamless farmers hoe and harvest crops, being sure to schedule harvesting of wheat for a share of the crop, as this assures sufficient bread for his family. A harvester usually supplies a swath-layer, a woman, girl or boy from his family or a paid helper who gathers and stacks the reaped crop into sheaves for eventual threshing. Payment for the reaper is usually a tenth of the reaped sheaves or threshed grain and straw; a paid swath-layer earns a fixed amount of grain for a season's work, plus meals and, if a girl, money for a head shawl.

Reapers may join together to contract harvest work on large estates (some 120-140 Átány men and women typically do so each year) but working for gazdas is preferred, especially for men who work in large cities but return only for the harvest season. Harvesting on manorial estates means spending the work-week on the estate for up to two months, only returning home on the weekends, and the wives must trudge to the estate each day (often a 1 to 2 hour hike) to bring warm meals to their reaper husbands and their swath-layers.

Reaping for a gazda means you can be home each night, but a gazda has work only for two or three harvesters and expects faster yet more meticulous and thorough work (in fact, a local insult is for someone to claim that "you are reaping like on an estate!"). However, gazdas generally plant on better ground with more intense sowing so the yield is better, resulting in larger share yields, and the harvest is done within two weeks.

For those that work the estates in contracted bands, additional, year-round work is often available, be it mowing, pruning, hauling, spreading manure, gathering turnips or digging out tree stumps in winter. Many sharecropper band members work solely for a single estate in a given year.

Additionally their wives and children can find work on estates clearing weeds and thistles from fields in the spring, and hoeing and weeding all summer, especially in the sugar beet fields.

However, there is often need for additional labor on the estates, usually supplied by Day-Workers for a Wage. Estates advertise for the labor they need, often retaining a representative in town to recruit needed labor. So day-wage men meet on the edge of the village at sunrise and travel to estates in groups of often 80-100 people, each carrying the tools called for that day. Gazdas also employ day-workers, paying the same wage as estates but also supplying meals and requiring less travel time; the downside is the gazda leads the labor himself, setting a faster pace and requiring more thorough work.

However, the need for day-workers is lower in the winter so many teamless farmers went to Budapest or elsewhere in search of seasonal, winter work (in iron works, sugar factories, construction, etc.) or even traveled across Europe or overseas. Over time, many of those jobs became permanent and full-time, only allowing, at best, a return home for the harvest season. For women, the 1908 Balkan crisis led to recruitment into cartridge factories in Budapest, and WW-I only increased the demand for female war-related jobs. They too, however, insisted on the need to return home for the harvest season. The downside of these employment opportunities was that families became used to this added income, changing lifestyles to where they could no longer exist with only the husband working. Too often, when even one family job was lost, financial ruin and indigence were threatened.

Herdsmen have an agricultural lifestyle that differs significantly from other teamless farmers, although they still work on the lands of others. Being a herdsman was once an esteemed and profitable profession in Átány, with separate specialists handling horses, cattle, swine and sheep.

Some herds were driven out to pasture at dawn and returned to their sheds at dusk; others were kept out in permanent "summer" pasturage from early spring until late fall, with the herdsmen living in reed huts for the duration. The herdsman (and his herd dogs and helpers, often his children) had to be expert at driving and controlling animals, at curing their ills, and keeping them safe from harm or theft.

Átány also had a common pasturage, and herdsmen were hired by the village to manage it and move animals to and from it. The need for manuring fields (in the three-crop rotation system) kept the demand up for quality herdsmen who could keep animals where they belonged and not roaming into crop fields where they could do much damage.

Payment was proportional to the number of animals managed, with a large herd of 300 animals earning around 300 bushels of grain and 150 loaves of bread for a full grazing season (bread loaves in Átány were massive, weighing 6-8 kg [13-18 lbs] per loaf, so this was sufficient bread to feed a good-sized family for a year!). It was also substantially more "pay" than a worker on an estate earned, although the estate also provided low-end housing and other amenities for full time workers.

Herdsmen also tended to be winter-time leatherworkers, creating whips for herders, sandals for harvesters, and satchels for all, and they frequently led the butchering of pigs during the winter "pig-sticking."

In more recent times, herding, like field and vineyard custodians, has become a job only for the poorest day workers or old people.

Farm Hands and Tobacco Growers on estates also comprised a rung on the Átány agricultural social ladder. True "manual labor" on estates, the weeding, reaping, etc., was done mostly by day-workers, but work requiring animals was performed by estate-owned teams and the full time personnel they employed to drive and care for them. Although the estates had many types of employeesgardeners, mechanics, herdsmen, cooks and domestic staffthe "characteristic" manorial employee was the farm hand who tended oxen or horse teams. The liveried coachman was the highest ranking, with horse handlers next and oxen men last. A new hired man was expected to handle a team of four oxen for plowing or transport, with hardly an idle day. Even a snowy winter day required that manure be hauled and spread on fields. When plowing, a lead farm hand, the "farm hand gazda," made the first furrow and the other farm hands followed in his path with their teams. At night, the animals had to be fed and cared for and at least one hand had to overnight in the stable to assure their safety. In addition, their wives were obliged to assist on the washing day at the manorial house once each month.

For this, they were paid around 75 bushels of grain and given any needed salt, kerosene, straw (for heating fuel) and housing. The provided housing consisted of an two-room apartment (a "family" room and a kitchen) that was shared with another family. A quarterly cash payment was also given. Only when children were old enough to earn wages from the estate could a family begin to prosper. By age 12, a boy could contract as a young farm hand, earning half of what a full hired hand was paid and, by 14 or 15, be making three-fourths of an adult wage. Younger children could work herding piglets or sheep, or in beet or potato fields (at half a day-workers wage) or work as swath-layers for reapers.

Nonetheless, Átány people would work on estates as hired farm hands only if they had to do so to survive. Estate work was usually monotonous... the same oxen and dung heap all year around and you were always at the beck and call of others. It was considered far better to be a teamless farmer living the varied life of an independent zsellér if you could.

Gazdas also employed farm hands and servants, but the work was more varied and one had a home and family life within the village to return to each night. Gazdas also employed "winter farm hands" who cared for livestock brought back from summer pasturages. This care consisted of evening and mornings feedings, keeping the stable neat, and overnighting with the animals to protect them. During the day, the hand was allowed to go home and do what he wished.

Tobacco Growers also lived in shared quarters on an estate but otherwise led a very different life from farm hands. They contracted on a half-and-half basis with the estate, with the grower managing all aspects of the tobacco-growing process, from starting seedlings to maintaining the fields and then harvesting, drying and classifying the leaves. The estate provided 4-5 holds of twice-plowed and well-fertilized land (or even twice this acreage if the grower had a large family who could help with the finicky and hand-labor-intensive crop) and the estate provide transport of the cured leaves to the state-monopoly market. The resulting earnings were equally split.

Good tobacco growers, for which Átány was known, could earn much for an estate, so their services were in high demand. Thus estates were quick to provide other income-earning opportunities for growers during the down times in the tobacco season. Many contracted as reapers (usually of last year's tobacco fields, which always yielded a good grain crop) or as mowers, and were given half-and-half opportunities in corn fields, as corn's seasonal demands differed from tobacco. It was quite possible for a competent grower to eventually raise his family to the gazda rank by his efforts.

Craftsmen and Shopkeepers: Átány had historically supported two community smithies and a butcher shop, renting them out to smiths and butchers. In the 1828 census, four smiths, two millers, one butcher and one kosher butcher were listed, as well as two shopkeepers. Prior to 1892, there were many shopkeepers (from elsewhere) selling salt, matches, spices, dress material, ironware, tools, kitchen utensils and other items in Átány, and accepting cash, grain and eggs in payment. Some also bought bulk grain to resell in bigger markets and most also kept a tavern connected with their shop.

However, the establishment of a community "consumers' cooperative" store and tavern in 1892 soon led to the demise of most of these outsider shops. The cooperative began with about 150 shareholders who each bought 4 or more shares valued at 10 or 50 koronas. This enabled the purchase of an old peasant house and the stock needed to open the store and tavern. As shareholders were paid an annual dividend tied to profit, this ensured good business for the cooperative and soon a much bigger building was completed to house the store and tavern. In 1898, Hungary established the National Hangya Cooperative Society, which was subsidized by the state and provided assistance to member cooperatives in purchasing merchandise. Átány joined, of course, and their somewhat discounted prices soon drove away most of the remaining independent shopkeepers.

As for craftsman, in the early 1950s Átány had six smiths, six wheelwrights, a carpenter, a mason (as well as four unlicensed masons / "house binders" aka, roof thatchers), three joiners (cabinetmakers), three tailors, five shoemakers, two butchers, and three barbers. However, only the smiths, one wheelwright, the joiners, the carpenter and the licensed mason make their living solely from their craft. The remainder had to do harvesting or other agricultural labor, like teamless farmers, to make ends meet. While the full time craftsmen see themselves as superior to the teamless farmers, the gazdas see them as inferior, as they own no land.

Gypsies: The local Gypsy community was in a settlement just outside the official boundaries of the village and within one of the village's common areas. Gypsies kept no animals and lived in small, low structures, very different from village houses, often with multiple families in each. They did not work in the fields and few had "real jobs" by Átány standards. They were musicians, oven builders and brick makers or collected garbage and removed dead animals or did small daubing repair jobs. As Fél and Hofer say when speaking of 1930 and before, "They are outside of the spiritual community of the village... the men find no place in the tavern, nor their children in the school."

Landlords: I'll conclude the body of this article with a few words about the landed gentry who owned land within Átány's boundaries before 1945 (which is when the Soviets dispossessed them). Such gentry were entitled to a seat in the body of village representatives and, if Calvinist, were a member of the village church. Given that, there was an official yet only incidental relationship with them. Since the mid to late 1800s, landed gentry seldom entered seriously into the thoughts of the village and were not considered a part of the social fabric of the community. They were merely more-local employers, similar to the distant businessmen in far away Budapest.

Postscript: As I stated in the introduction to this article, my intention was to describe some of the aspects of Átány that might enlighten us on how our Burgenland ancestors lived and interacted with their fellow citizens. Even though Átány is far from Burgenland, both this village and our Burgenland villages were under Hungarian rule (and rules) during the time of interest and both experienced the same great upheavals of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the social changes of those times. While I believe part of the social/economic fabric described in the book is unique to Átány and its people, I also believe much of it is universal to the larger time and place that is applicable to our ancestors in Burgenland during its Hungarian time.


After more than a decade in the making, the Burgenländers Honored and Remembered (BH&R) website reached a milestone of 20,000 deceased honorees in its database. The accumulation of such a magnitude of information is nothing short of phenomenal. The inspiration for this undertaking was Anton Traupman, now a deceased Burgenländer himself (from Sumetendorf), who loved his native land and had an extensive knowledge of the immigrants who came from Burgenland as part of the Auswanderung to the New York City area, the place where the project began.

The people behind the development of the database are Frank Paukowits, Bob Strauch and Margaret Kaiser, all Burgenland Bunch members. Frank had the idea for the project, while Bob is the key player in the implementation process, pouring over reams of data to identify deceased Burgenländers and their grave locations. BH&R formally became affiliated with the BB in 2008.

Interestingly, the 20,000th entry was himself a notable figure in the Burgenland community. His name was Stefan Stampf (1931-2001), the accordionist of the Knickerbockers Band, which played in the New York City area for Austrian and German functions, mainly from the 1950s to the 1980s. While Stefan was born in New York City, like many other Burgenland children during this period, he was sent back to his grandparents in Burgenland so both of his parents could work to make ends meet during the Depression years. The parents came from Glasing, a small town in the Güssing Bezirk. Stefan stayed there until 1938, returning to America when economic conditions had improved.

The submission of Stefan Stampf’s name was made by John Issowits who, over the years, has submitted scores of names of Burgenländers for inclusion in the BH&R site. John is a first-generation Burgenländer, whose parents were John Issowits (Gerersdorf) and Theresia Jandrisevits Issowits (Hasendorf). For submitting the 20,000th name, John will be provided with a DNA test kit for the Burgenland DNA Project study.

While the BH&R database was initially conceived as a way to honor our ancestors who made the trek from Burgenland to North America as part of the Auswanderung from the late 1800s through the 1950s, as documented by Dr. Walter Dujmovits in his book entitled, “The Burgenländer Emigration to America,” it has become a valuable tool for people researching their family roots and Austrian heritage. We are overjoyed that our research has resulted in a useful historical document for the Burgenland community.


Last February, I included a short article in the newsletter about a novel, The Little Book, by Selden Edwards, set (predominantly) in 1897 Vienna. At that time, I reported that "I am a voracious reader of novels... however, it is seldom that I find one that ties into the world of our ancestors during the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire."

That was true... at least until I ran into a recent suite of novels written by J. Sydney Jones known as the Viennese Mystery series or the Karl Werthen novels. Again, however, I must acknowledge that cosmopolitan Vienna was seldom the reality of our Burgenland ancestors. I argued my way around that by saying "...but the world-view and policies emanating from there had profound impact on them and on the world that would follow in the 20th century," so I'll repeat myself here!

J. Sydney Jones is more explicit on his website when talking of why he set his novels in that time and place:

Vienna 1900 was the capital of a far-flung empire encompassing over a dozen nationalities. The centrifugal national pull of these subject peoples would ultimately pull the empire apart. But at the turn of the century the Habsburg emperor, Franz Josef, already an old man who had been at the helm since 1848, still had his hand firmly on the rudder of the ship of state. But that grip was slipping more each year.

The city itself was a study in façades: the new Ringstrasse with its monumental array of public buildings diverted the attention of the populace from the fact of a loss of military power in the advent of the rise of Germany, and from the fact that poverty and homelessness were rampant. The population of the city had increased twenty times in two centuries, reaching two million by the end of the nineteenth century. Between the Ringstrasse and the Vienna Woods lay many districts of slums, where occupants lived ten to a room, and some bettgehers rented only a bed to sleep in the hours their rightful occupants were working. Others, not so fortunate, made do with an underground cell in the city’s labyrinthine sewers.

In many ways, the artists and intellectuals of Vienna 1900 were reacting to the Habsburg façade, to the pomposity of empire and its dark underbelly of poverty. But there were political animals at work in Vienna 1900, as well. Bertha von Suttner devoted herself to the cause of peace and was the first female recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize; as Alfred Nobel’s secretary for a time, she was the one to convince the inventor of dynamite to endow the Nobel Prize. Theodor Herzl turned a romantic dream of a Jewish homeland into the reality of Zionism. Viktor Adler was shaping a new brand of evolutionary socialism. Meanwhile, the mayor of Vienna from 1897 to 1910, Karl Lueger, was appealing to the masses, founding a form of municipal socialism, but also laying the groundwork for twentieth-century demagoguery with his anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Men of the deed were also gathered in the Austrian capital at the turn of the twentieth century. Leon Trotsky, in exile from Russia, played chess at the Café Central and dreamed of revolution; Stalin came to Vienna to study the nationalities question. And for six down-and-out years, young Adolf Hitler lived a bohemian existence, a hungry artist, but also an avid student of Lueger’s mass movement.

For me, the real point is that it was a time and place rich in intrigue and contrasts, and having great influence on the 20th century (and our west Hungary). Jones takes full advantage of this, weaving his story lines between the classes and commenting on the social influences flowing around his characters.

The hero of the series is Karl Werthen, an Advokat (lawyer) and a private inquiries agent (a 'sort of' private detective). Assisting him at various times in his cases is his wife, Berthe, who is busy with the domestic side of life yet always contributes to the successful resolution of the cases. Another recurring character is his (fictional) former mentor (but real-life) renowned criminologist Doktor Hans Gross.

As Jones tells us on his website, Hans Gross was "the real-life 'father of criminology.' Methods of modern crime detection, including crime-scene preservation, the gathering and examination of footprints and fingerprints, the study of blood traces and weapons, handwriting analysis, and the vetting and interviewing of witnesses and suspects, were established by Gross in his decades as an investigative magistrate (at once an investigating officer and circuit court judge). Later, as the first professor of criminology in the Habsburg realms, Gross codified his principles in hundreds of articles and in the classic texts 'Criminal Investigation' and 'Criminal Psychology.' In many ways, Gross was the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes."

Along with Gross, additional real-life characters, such as Gustav Klimt, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler and many other seminal artists, writers, and thinkers that helped to created the modern Viennese sensibility, color and enliven the pages. And there is always a sub-plot or two. All in all, it makes for both enjoyable and educational reading!

To date, there are six novels in the Viennese Mystery series: The Empty Mirror (2008); Requiem in Vienna (2010); The Silence (2011); The Keeper of Hands (2013); A Matter of Breeding (2014); and The Third Place (2015). I've given you the publication dates in case you are like my wife, a "serial" reader who much prefers to read books in the order of their writing. I'm more inclined to jump about and/or intersperse other novels in between. Thus I started with the third one and have now, a few months later (and quite coincidentally), completed reading the fourth and fifth books, though there were unrelated books read in the interims. However, my wife, after I pointed out the series, eschewed reading the one I had in hand and went and found the first book... she has now completed the fifth one and has the sixth reserved at our local library! From having read just three books, I see there may be some logic in reading the series in order, as those three follow chronologically (and my wife confirms that chronologic order is the case between all five she has read).

Being set in the immediate few years before and after 1900, the books give a flavor of a time now long past... but it is quite pleasant to see that past reborn in these pages. However, my wife pointed out to me that the main characters in book two of the series enjoyed a good "Burgenland" wine with a meal... even though the term "Burgenland" would not be coined until some twenty years later! So if you harbor an inner pedant like me, looking for anachronisms or other slips can be a minor added joy! (I also noted that the author placed Eisenstadt east of Vienna, rather than the correct south... had to wag my finger at that!

J. Sydney Jones was born in 1948 in a small town along the Oregon coast but went to study abroad in Vienna in 1968. He later returned to Austria to live there for nearly two decades, writing travel books, thrillers and the occasional serious nonfiction. Most of his books have a tie to Vienna, though the time periods vary. One of his nonfiction books that may interest you is "Hitler in Vienna: 1907-1913; Clues to the Future." He now lives with his wife and son in California.

I'll end with a quote about the series:

"What Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did for Victorian London and Caleb Carr did for old New York, J. Sydney Jones does for historic Vienna."

      —Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author


Editor: This is part of our series designed to recycle interesting articles from the BB Newsletters of 10 years ago, however, this month I'm taking you back even further, as nothing from ten years ago tweaked my interest. This article is a mind-dump by Gerry Berghold on the Batthyány, something every good southern Burgenländer should read!

June 15, 1999


Ed. [Gerry] Note: Having received two Batthyány family contacts back-to-back (see Newsletter No. 58), I felt it was time to tell our members about this historically important, aristocratic, southern Burgenland family.

The following was recently received from Robert Bathiany: I just came across the Burgenland Bunch website. I am researching the Hungarian family BATTYANY, which had a castle in Güssing. I would be very interested in exchanging information with any other Burgenland Bunch members interested in this family. I have done extensive research in this area, but have a few missing links which I am trying to close. Robert Bathiany.

My [Gerry] reply: While your spellings of the Batthyány name have changed, your mention of Castle Güssing links you to the southern Burgenland family. I have no information concerning modern Batthyány family history, but can tell you a little of their origins, which you may already know. I have also copied Ladislaus Batthyány (Vienna) if you wish to correspond.

Franz Batthyány (1497-1566, at the time, Ban of Croatia) and his nephew Christoph were given the Güssing Herrschaft (translates domain or fief) in 1524 (in effect southern Burgenland below the Pinka river, less a few other minor Herrschafts) by Hungarian King Lajos (Ludwig) II. The Herrschaft was vacant at the time, the Ujlaky line, the previous owners, having died out. The gift was predicated on Batthyány help in resisting the Turkish invasion of Hungary. King Lajos and most of the Hungarian (Magyar) nobility subsequently died at the battle of Mohacs (1526). Hungary was then shared between the Turks and the Habsburgs, gaining partial independence only after the revolution of 1848, full in 1918. While I have read that Franz Batthyány and his followers (3000 cavalry and 1000 foot soldiers) were late arriving at the battle of Mohacs, I'm not sure of the facts. What is certain is that Franz and his followers survived and Castle Güssing remained a bulwark against Turkish incursions for almost 200 years. The family consolidated their holdings over the years and absorbed most of the other south Burgenland Herrschafts. While many villages were destroyed, I understand the castle was never taken, even during the Bocskay rebellion when Güssing itself was burned. It ceased to be of military significance during the reign of Maria Theresia.

Although the Batthyány are Croatian nobility in origin (I am not sure if they are of Slav or Magyar descent), they've been considered Hungarian since arriving in the Burgenland in 1524 and Austrian since 1921. I have little knowledge of the family prior to or after those dates, except that they had "a noble holding in Batthyány, a court in Enying, a castle at Torony, holdings in Ugal, and Szabas (Komitat Somogy), castle Gereben by Varazdin, castle Kristaloc, Garnica, Mogor and Ujudvar" plus others (data taken from "Stadterhebung Güssing 1973"). These places are in southern Hungary and northern Croatia. It's possible they were part of earlier Hungarian (Magyar) holdings in Croatia. (see also Volk an der Grenze [People on the Border], Johann Dobrovich).

They brought many Croatian followers fleeing Turkish invasion, including minor Croatian nobility, with them, both in 1524 and in subsequent years. This is the reason for the Croatian presence in the Burgenland today (about 12%) in a region predominantly German (85%). For a brief period the Batthyány were also Lutheran, which encouraged a large movement of German speaking colonists to migrate into southern Burgenland. The area became a sort of Protestant refuge during the Counter Reformation. There is still a large group of Lutherans in the Eltendorf, Kukmirn and Stegersbach areas. I descend from one such group. Upon reverting to Catholicism, the family (Graf Adam, abt 1638) built the present Franciscan Cloister and "Maria Heimsuchung" church in Güssing. There is a family crypt in the church. Later the family married into the Popel-Lobkowitz, Strattman and Draskovich families and these names will also be encountered.

I understand there are private family archives in the Batthyány Palace (kastély) in Kormend, Hungary, but have no knowledge of what they contain or whether the Hungarian government has appropriated or returned family property and historical documents. A book (in German), "Die Kroaten der Herrschaft Güssing," by Robert Hajszan contains translations of some family papers (concerning Croatian settlement) from that archive. Perhaps the archive is available to scholars. From facsimiles of the documents Hajszan translated, it appears these archives are written in medieval Latin, Serbo-Croatian, German and Hungarian script. Not something for even the most advanced genealogist.

Castle Güssing is the focal point of southern Burgenland historical treasures. It can be seen for miles in every direction. It is among the oldest in the Burgenland if not in Austria (dating from the 12th Century) and may even have some Roman antecedents. "Mons Güssing" (mountain) was probably always used as a watch or signal base. There are better preserved castles, but none that have more history or significance than Güssing. It is deserving of special treatment and preservation. It is part of the Batthyány (their "sitz" for centuries) and Burgenland stories.

While I've dwelt on Franz Batthyány as the first of the line to hold the Güssing Herrschaft, he is not the only notable. There were many notable individuals in this family. If I was to pick one it would be Balthasar (1543-1590), under whose guidance Güssing became a cultural center and a center of religious tolerance. He was also a scourge of the Turk. I understand his library is in the Franciscan Cloister and makes up a good portion of their valuable collection of early books and incunabula. His son Franz II (1570-1625) who received the Herrschaft of Kormend in 1604 is also of note as is Adam (1609-1659) for his involvement in religious matters.

I've seen Batthyány genealogical records in the LDS Ancestral File. I don't know who placed them there. We've had one family contact as stated. I'm not aware of Batthyány emigration to the US, but you may well be a case in point. I'd appreciate being brought up to date if you have knowledge of family emigration and history post WW-I. I'd also like to see an ahnentafel of the main Batthyány line, if such is available.

At the present time, our newsletters are running installments of an English translation by one of our members, of "Volk an der Grenze" (People on the Border), the history of the Croatians in Burgenland, written by Johann Dobrovich. May be of interest to you. I'm also sending you an invitation to join the Burgenland Bunch via separate email.

G. Berghold, Editor, Burgenland Bunch Newsletter



Saturday, February 6: Fasching at the Reading Liederkranz. Music by the Josef Kroboth Orchestra. Info:

Saturday, February 6: Lumpenball at the Lancaster Liederkranz. Music by the Joe Weber Orchestra. Info:

Friday, February 12: Fasching at the Evergreen Heimatbund in Fleetwood. Music by Maria & John. Info:

Sunday, February 14: St. Valentine’s Dance at the Coplay Sängerbund. Music by the Josef Kroboth Orchestra. Info:

Sunday, February 14: Schnitzel Dinner & Schneeball at the Lancaster Liederkranz. Music by Maria & John. Info:

Saturday, February 27: Schnitzelfest at the Reading Liederkranz. (post-poned from January 23). Info:

Sunday, February 28: Cabbage Hill Day at the Lancaster Liederkranz. Music and entertainment by Die Immergrün Musikanten and club singers and folk dancers. Info:


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

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


Margaret Bauer

Margaret Bauer, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, passed away on December 24, 2015.

She was born in Mosonszolnok (Zanegg), Hungary on July 16, 1928.

She was predeceased by her loving husband Fritz on October 13, 2015 and is survived by her daughter, Shirley Bauer, grandson, Christopher Bauer and many extended family and friends.

Margaret and Fritz immigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia from Germany on July 11, 1952 on the USN General Taylor. They moved to Victoria where they were married on January 31, 1953. In 1963, they opened The Fernwood Bakery, which they owned and operated together for many years. As a couple, they enjoyed socializing with their friends every Saturday, playing ping pong and pool and enjoying food and beverages. One of Mom's favourite hobbies was hooking rugs, she completed three.

A Memorial Reception to celebrate Margaret's life will be held at 1:30 pm at Sequoia Gardens Memorial, 4665 Falaise Drive on Monday, January 11, 2016. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of choice. Condolences may be offered to the family at

Published in Victoria Times Colonist from Jan. 2 to Jan. 3, 2016

Cecilia Ficko (née Stanko)

Cecilia Ficko, 92, of Trumbull, Connecticut, passed away on January 7, 2016.

Born in Rábafüzes (Raabfidisch), Hungary, on October 30, 1923, she was the daughter of the late Josef and Gisela (Gollinger) Stanko.

She was the wife of the late Frank Ficko.

After her retirement from Fairfield University, Cecilia volunteered at Operation Hope in Fairfield. Following the death of her beloved husband, she moved to the Teresian Towers in Trumbull, CT.

Survivors: son, Frank, Jr., and daughter-in-law, Jennifer and grandchildren, Jonathan and Paige; son-in-law, Rudy Nagy and children, Lynda Nagy of Deerfield Beach, FL, Eric Nagy and his wife Jeannie and their two children, Erika and Stephen of Trumbull, Nelson and his wife, Lisa and their daughter, Shayla, of Petersborough, CN, Joan and her two daughters, Nicole and Stephanie; sister, Paula Nagy, in Hungary.

Besides her husband Frank, she was also predeceased by her daughter, Ingrid; sisters, Anna, Bertha, Gisela, and Frieda; brothers, Joseph, Albert, Eduard, and Frank.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 11, 2016 at 11 AM directly at Holy Cross Church 750 Tahmore Drive in Fairfield. Interment will follow at Lawncroft Cemetery. Friends may greet the family on Sunday, January 10, 2016 from 2 to 5 PM in the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home 1209 Post Road in Fairfield Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Holy Cross Church RC, 750 Tahmore Drive, Fairfield, CT 06825. To order flowers online, for travel directions, or to sign her guest register, please visit

Published in Connecticut Post from Jan. 9 to Jan. 10, 2016

Hermina Kopfer-Poheim

Hermina Kopfer-Poheim, 95, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 7, 2016.

She was the wife of the late Walter Poheim.

Born in Stadtschlaining, Austria, she was a daughter of the late Karl and Mary (Winkler) Kopfer. She came to Milwaukee with her family at the age of 3.

Hermina was the caring and loving older sister of Mary (late Arthur) George and the late Hedwig (Hattie) Kopfer; sister-in-law of Josephine (the late Joseph) Fuys; dear aunt of Mary George (Gary) Beaumier, Sally (Alan) Kastelic, Dana (Gary) Mracek, David (Carol) Fuys. She is also survived by 11 grandnieces and nephews and 11 great grandnieces and nephews.

She was a kind, dedicated, enthusiastic teacher for over 40 years in four MPS elementary schools: 9th Street School, Philipp School, Maryland Avenue School and, from 1964 to her retirement in 1982, Hartford Avenue School. Hermina was a lector and leader of the Rosary Society at St. Florian's Church and led the rosary with the rosary group at St. Camillus Assisted Living just three weeks before she passed.

Special thanks to the staff at St. Camillus Assisted Living and to Allay Hospice Care for their concern, kindness, and support. Visitation at St. Camillus Guardian Angel Chapel (10100 W Wisconsin Ave), Monday January 11, 2016 10:30AM until Mass of Christian Burial at 11am. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery.

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 10, 2016

Frank Niedermayer

Frank Joseph Niedermayer, 93, of East Berlin, Connecticut, passed away on Thursday, January 14, 2016, at the State Veterans' Hospital in Rocky Hill.

He was the husband of Grace (Nesta) Niedermayer for 72 years.

Born in Wallendorf, Austria to the late Joseph F. and Mary (Lang) Niedermayer, Frank immigrated to the United States at age five and lived in New Britain for twenty-five years before moving to East Berlin, where he resided for almost sixty years.

Frank was a 1941 graduate of New Britain High School and E.C. Goodwin Technical School and became a Master Electrician. He was formerly employed at Landers Frary and Clark in New Britain and also at Kaman Aircraft in Bloomfield. He proudly served his country in WW-II with the Fifth Army and saw a good deal of action in the European Theater. Frank was a charter member of VFW Post 10732 in Berlin. In his earlier years, Frank enjoyed bowling, fishing and gardening, and loved to visit the Connecticut shoreline.

In addition to his wife Grace, Frank is survived by his children, Frances (Arthur) Boyle of Newington, Nancy (Louis) Urso of Southington, and Joseph Niedermayer and his partner, Rhonda Cassin of Bristol. He also leaves eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, (whom he cherished), a brother-in-law, Alfonso Nesta of Kensington, and several nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, Frank was pre-deceased by his daughter and son-in-law, Maryann and Lincoln Schafer and his sister, Josephine Charamut.

The family wishes to thank the entire nursing staff of the B-Lower Unit at the Veterans' Hospital in Rocky Hill for their excellent care and compassion. Funeral Services will be held at The Berlin Memorial Funeral Home, 96 Main Street, Kensington, on Tuesday January 19, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Friends and family are invited to call one hour prior to service. Burial with military honors at Wilcox Cemetery in East Berlin will immediately follow the services. To share memories of Frank with his family, please visit

Published in The Hartford Courant on Jan. 16, 2016

Maria Bedek (née Mohapp)

Maria Bedek, 92, of Souderton, Pennsylvania, formerly of Whiting, New Jersey, died peacefully on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at Souderton Mennonite Homes.

She was the loving wife of the late Stephen Bedek for 58 years.

Maria was born in Alsószölnök (Unterzemming/Dolnji Senik), Hungary to the late Karoly and Alojzia (Perschy) Mohapp.

She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Maria loved baking, cooking, gardening and growing plants. She also loved entertaining her family and friends at her house anytime, especially during the holidays. Maria enjoyed watching movies and listening to Polka & Hungarian Czardas Music. She loved her miniature poodle, Sally. Maria was a friendly, outgoing, caring mom who would do anything for her family.

She is survived by three sons, Stephen J. Bedek & wife, Patricia of Macungie, PA, Larry M. Bedek of Scottsdale, AZ, Joseph Bedek & fiancé, Theresa D. Ferguson of Sellersville, PA; a daughter, Maria Kohout & husband, Mike of Scottsdale, AZ; two granddaughters, Kristyna L. Bedek & fiancée, Jeffrey Z. Gingerich, Jr. of Philadelphia, PA, Michele Campbell & husband, Jake of Rockwall, TX; a great-granddaughter, Alexandra Campbell of Rockwall, TX; a brother, Stephen Mohapp & wife, Renate of Langhorne, PA and a sister-in-law, Irma Mohapp of McClure, PA.

In addition to her parents and husband, Maria was preceded in death by a brother, Frank Mohapp.

A private family gathering will be held at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Living Branches Foundation, Souderton Mennonite Agape Fund, 275 Dock Drive, Lansdale, PA 19446. arrangements by: Anders-Detweiler Funeral Home & Crematory, 130 East Broad Street, Souderton, Pennsylvania 18964. To send online condolences to the family, visit

Rudolph Milisits Sr.

Rudolph Milisits Sr., 81, of Northampton, Pennsylvania, passed away at home Saturday, January 23, 2016 surrounded by his loving family.

He was the husband of Stella (Teklits) Milisits. Together they observed their 54th wedding anniversary on May 6th.

Born August 29, 1934 in Szentpéterfa (Petrovo Selo/Prostrum), Hungary, he was the son of the late George and Maria (Geosits) Milisits.

Rudolph retired from Lehigh University in 2000. Prior to that he worked at the Penn Dixie Cement Company and he was also a butcher working in New York. He was a member of Queenship of Mary Roman Catholic Church, Northampton, and a member of the Ss. Peter and Paul Hungarian Society. He loved spending time with his family and friends and very much enjoyed gardening. Rudolph was a devoted father, husband, grandfather, brother and friend.

Survivors: His wife, Stella, sons, Rudolph Milisits Jr. and his wife Susan of Northampton, John Milisits and his wife Kelly of Northampton, 4 grandchildren, Rudolph III, Steven, Andrew and Jennifer, a brother, Stephen Milisits and his wife Elizabeth of Naples, FL, sisters, Rose, wife of John Kozarits of Yorktown Heights, NY and Maria Hajmasi in Hungary. Rudolph was predeceased by a sister and a brother.

Services: A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, January 29th at 11:00 a.m. in Queenship of Mary Church, 1324 Newport Ave., Northampton. Family and friends may call Friday 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. in the Reichel Funeral Home, 326 E. 21st St., Northampton. Burial will follow in the Our Lady of Hungary Parish Cemetery. Online condolences may be submitted to Contributions: Those wishing to memorialize Rudolph can donate in his name to the Queenship of Mary Church c/o funeral home.

Published in Morning Call on Jan. 26, 2016

Maria Kozo (née Fartek)

Maria F. Kozo, 89, of New Milford, Connecticut, formerly of Danbury, passed away peacefully on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 at Danbury Hospital.

She was the wife of the late Ferenz Kozo.

Born in Felsoszölnök (Gornji Senik/Oberzemming), Hungary, she was a daughter of the late Josef and Maria (Pinter) Fartek. Maria immigrated to the US in 1961, settling in Danbury.

A longtime employee with American Radionics, she retired in 1981. Maria was a loving grandmother and great-grandmother. She loved to cook, bake and work in her garden. She enjoyed her trips to the casinos with Kathi and Eva and spending time with her family.

Survivors include her children: Elizabeth Schimmer of California, Kathi Kozo of New Milford, CT, Theresa Larkin and her husband, Owen, of Danbury, CT, Hilda Parks and her husband, William, of Benningtn, VT, Ferenz Kozo, Jr. of N. Bennington, VT, Eva Inness of New Milford, CT, Helga Rajcok and her husband, Gary, of Lehigh Acres, Fla and Andrew Kozo and his wife, Donna, of New Milford, CT. Her siblings:
Karcsi Fartek and Magdi Rogan, both of Hungary. 18 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews also survive.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10am on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 at St. Peter's Church, Danbury. Burial will follow in St. Peter Cemetery. Friends will be received from 4pm-7pm on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 at the Green Funeral Home, 57 Main St., Danbury. Contributions in Maria's memory may be made to the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association, 68 Park Lane Road, New Milford, CT 06776. For further information or to express your condolences on line, go to

Published in News Times from Jan. 24 to Jan. 25, 2016

END OF NEWSLETTER (All good things must end!)

NOTICE (Terms and Conditions)
: The Burgenland Bunch (BB) was formed and exists to assist Burgenland descendants in their research into their heritage and, toward that end, reserves the right to use any communication you have with us (email, letter, phone conversation, etc.) as part of our information exchange and educational research efforts.
• If you do not want your communication to be used for this purpose, indicate that it is "confidential" and we will abide by that request.
• Correspondents who communicate with the BB without requesting confidentiality retain their copyright but give a non-exclusive license to the BB allowing us to forward to BB members, publish in our monthly newsletter or on our website, and/or subsequently and permanently archive all or parts of such communications.

The Burgenland Bunch homepage (website) can be found at:

Burgenland Bunch Newsletter, copyright © 2016, The Burgenland Bunch, all rights reserved