THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS - No. 240
February 28, 2014, © 2014 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved
Editor: Thomas Steichen (email: email@example.com)
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: 2229 * Surname Entries: 7378 * Query Board Entries: 5268 * Staff Members: 17
This newsletter concerns:
1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER
2) IS THIS THE BURGENLAND NAVY? (by Richard Potetz)
3) ANCESTRY OF THE BURGENLÄNDER (by Wilhelm Schmidt)
4) HOW TO SEARCH PARISH AND CIVIL RECORDS
5) GROßGEMEINDE UNTERKOHLSTÄTTEN
6) HISTORICAL BB NEWSLETTER ARTICLES:
- NEW YEAR'S EXPRESSION "GUTEN RUTSCH"
7) ETHNIC EVENTS
8) BURGENLAND EMIGRANT OBITUARIES (courtesy of Bob Strauch)
1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER (by Tom Steichen)
Concerning this newsletter, we start off with an article, Is This the Burgenland Navy?, by Richard Potetz that was inspired, in part, by the English edition of Dr. Walter Dujmovits' book. I invite you, dear readers, to also consider writing about your favorite part(s) of the book or about the things you now better understand about your family's emigrant story due to reading the book.
We follow with an article by new BB staff member Wilhelm Schmidt, who writes an argument about the Ancestry of the (southern) Burgenländer, an argument structure that I've tendered in the past... but for northern Burgenland.
Following that are two articles by myself, the first being a response to a potential BB member who wondered how to use the BB's resources to assist in Searching Parish and Civil Records. As this search is a common task for many BB members, I offer my response as a newsletter article so it can have wider use. The second article was prompted by staff member Margaret Kaiser, who pointed out a website for Großgemeinde Unterkohlstätten. The (German language) website shows an interesting relationship among the communities in the municipality, which I share in this article, and provides a great basis for some village histories!
The remaining articles are our standard sections: Historical Newsletter Articles, and the Ethnic Events and Emigrant Obituaries sections.
Update on book "The Burgenländer Emigration to America": I'm pleased to report that the English issue of the 3rd edition of Dr. Walter Dujmovits' book “Die Amerika-Wanderung Der Burgenländer” continues to draw interest. As of February 28, 425 copies have been purchased. I've heard from many of you who found the ease of purchase, the speed of delivery and the quality of the book to be pleasing, as well as the contents being well-worth reading! The book is available for online purchase via Lulu Press, Inc. for a list price of $10.45, plus tax & shipping (see the BB homepage for a link to the information/ordering page and for any current discounts).
Lulu Press, Inc. is a "Print-On-Demand" (POD) operation, which is the current-day evolution of the "vanity press" of a few years ago. When you order the book, a copy is printed and bound just for you. This means there are no books sitting in a warehouse (or in my basement) and no wasted investment hoping someone will buy them.
This also means that many people can choose to create a book. While I do not know how many different books are available on Lulu, I do know that there is a ranking (based on sales dollars, not book copies) as part of each book's description and I've seen books ranked over 130,000 (which means at least 130,000 books currently ranked on Lulu took in more money than the ones ranked like this; I've also read that the are over a million active books on Lulu). Walter's book is currently ranked 773, which means only 772 other books on Lulu have sold more, despite the low, at-cost price we charge for Walter's book... and its ranking continues to improve as people buy copies.
On a related note: publisher and chief editor, Michael Mössmer of the "Österreich Journal," a German-language online and pdf monthly magazine based out of Vienna and which has a subsection called the "Burgenland Journal," requested permission to use the BB's announcement about the availability of the English Edition of Walter's book as the basis for a similar presentation in their magazine. We, of course, gave permission and their article was intended to appear in their Edition # 128, published February 27th, however, I could not find it during my quick perusal of the online edition (I suspect permission was given too close to deadline for this edition, so look next month instead).
If you are interested in seeing their magazine, downloadable pdf-based editions can be found at www.oesterreichjournal.at; The articles from the current edition are also available online in html-format at www.oe-journal.at. We thank the Journal for spreading the word!
Burgenländerin Wins Gold at the Olympics: Julia Dujmovits, of Sulz, Burgenland (a village of 400 in the district of Güssing), won the gold medal in the inaugural Snowboard Parallel Slalom competition at Sochi. Julia is 26 years old and the daughter of Erwin and Silvia Dujmovits. Her grandfather (who was a WW-II POW in Sochi) is a cousin of BG President Walter Dujmovits.
Julia also competed in the Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom competition. However, a bad first qualification run and a gate fault in her second run eliminated her from the knockout and finals competitions in that discipline.
Her medal is the first ever won by a Burgenländer in the Winter Olympics. Julia was surprised and honored to be chosen as the Austrian flag bearer in the Olympic closing ceremony.
A second Burgenländer was also involved in the Austrian snowboard medals. The head coach, Tom Weninger, is a Burgenländer from Forchtenstein who now lives with his family near Innsbruck.
Since 2001 he works for the ÖSV (Österreichischen Ski-Verband / Austrian Ski Federation) and has been responsible for the parallel snowboarders for three years.
BH&R Milestone Reached: Frank Paukowits writes:
In February, BH&R staff entered the name of the 15,000th deceased honoree onto its database. It surely is a milestone, and was a decade in the making.
To give some sort of perspective, the 15,000 honorees represents nearly 30 percent of Burgenländers who migrated, primarily to the United States and Canada during the “Auswanderung” and remained there for the duration of their lives. This emigration has been extensively documented in the recently-released English edition of Dr. Dujmovits’ book on this subject.
The 15,000th honoree was Johann Janisch, whose name was provided by his grandson, Kevin Janish. Johann came to the United States in the early 1900s from the town of Pamhagen in Bezirk Neusiedl am See in Burgenland. He settled in South Dakota, as did many of the Burgenländers who came from Neusiedl am See. While this was not a major Burgenland enclave in the United States, the Dakotas did have a significant number of Burgenländers who had settled in this area and who purchased cheap land and became farmers, as they were in Burgenland.
Johann was born in 1890 to Johann Janisch and Anna Wolkersdorfer in house #273. He came through Ellis Island on the Pallanza. He made his way to Parkston, SD, to live with his brother Rudolph and his Aunt Theresia. He married Clara Heirigs in 1916 and they had eight children. He farmed around the Parkston area until 1931 when he moved his family to Kimball, SD. He died of a heart attack in 1943.
An interesting family note… Kevin’s uncle still owns the farm that Kevin’s grandfather owned when he died. Moreover, the farm that Kevin was raised on was owned by Johann’s brother Rudolph. That farm is still in the family also and is run by Kevin’s brother, more than 100 years after the farm was originally purchased.
Kevin has been a BB member since 2011 and is an active participant on the BB Facebook page. He is also a participant in the Burgenland DNA Study Project. As recognition for providing the name of this milestone honoree, Kevin will receive a copy of Dr. Dujmovits’ book.
Much of the credit for assembling the database of names of our deceased ancestors goes to Bob Strauch and Margaret Kaiser. It was only through their tireless efforts that this milestone became a reality. Special thanks to John Issowits (BB member) for working with the BH&R team in promoting interest in our project as we got closer to our milestone.
Our efforts continue. Anyone who has ancestors who are not on the honoree listing should provide their names and relevant details to the BH&R team. You can use e-mail for this purpose. The e-mail address is NYBurgenlaenders@aol.com.
Amerikanerkreuze im Burgenland: Bob Strauch pointed out that ORF TV recently ran a story about the "American Crosses" in Burgenland (see burgenland.orf.at/tv/stories/2627096/). This is part of a series titled "Burgenland for Beginners," wherein the new ORF Burgenland editor, Alex Kofler, a native of South Tyrol, goes out on an expedition in Burgenland every Thursday to learn about his new area of responsibility.
Kofler, in writing about the Burgenländer Auswanderung, states that "there's not much left from this period. But looking today in more detail in so many Burgenland village, you can still see some evidence that recall the time of the great emigration. "As part of his article, he quotes Dr. Walter Dujmovits, who notes that there are 28 crosses or monuments in Burgenland, each paid for by emigrants to America so those emigrants might not be forgotten by their villages (see Walter's book for a list of all 28).
Karneval / Fasching / Fasent / Fasnacht in Burgenland: Nature gives us four seasons in the year, but the "fifth season," as Carnival time is called, is man's doing. The tradition is to celebrate one last time before the deprivations of Lent, those 40 days prior to Easter when meat was verboten and fasting was recommended.
In Burgenland, Güssing kicks of the season with their Carnival Cabaret, held this year from January 24 to February 22. First held in 1984, it offers colorful evenings of solo numbers, sketches and shows and has become a fixture among Burgenland cultural events.
A scene from the Güssinger Karneval Kabarett
Other towns celebrate the more traditional way: parades and parties, usually on Shrove Tuesday (this year, March 4th).
Mattersburg holds one of the largest parades in Austria. The theme this year is: Space - the final frontier. Several thousand visitors are expected on March 4th.
Oberpullendorf also holds a Carnival parade on the 4th. Organized by their Fasching guild, the parade is claimed to have the longest tenure of any by a Burgenland district capital city.
Eisenstadt plans a small parade on the 4th, with refreshments and music provided during the parade. They are still actively soliciting groups to participate.
Oggau holds their Carnival parade on Saturday, March 1st... and then throws a Gschnas (Austrian for fancy-dress carnival party) in the municipality parking lot until midnight.
Bad Tatzmannsdorf held their celebration this year in the form of a "Blochziehen" (wood block pulling)... sort of a "wedding party" where an unmarried lad (a spruce block), gets married to the "forest bride" and drives out winter, complete with decorated floats, marchers parading through the town and lots of visitors and people in crazy costumes. But enough of me explaining (badly)... just watch the video below to see if that makes more sense for you!
So... Zigge zagge zigge hoi hoi hoi zagge ...
Follow-up to "Can You Read It?": In the last newsletter, I presented an article concerning the transcription, interpretation and translation of a card provided by BB member Ginger McGurk, of Omaha, NE.
Emmerich Koller provided an initial transcription, interpretation and translation as follows:
In addition, Willi Schmidt added to the interpretation and translation as follows:
At the end of my article, I proposed that you readers contribute to the transcription, interpretation and
translation. Two readers took me up on the challenge. The first was via BB member Joe Jarfas, who convinced
friend and fellow researcher, Krisztián Skoumal, to take a shot at transcribing and interpreting the writing
(Joe's expertise is Hungarian, not German). Below is their/his work, with differences from Emmerich shown in red,
from Willi in blue, and from both in purple. Joe and Krisztián did not provide an English translation of the
interpreted German, so I will leave that to you readers "as an exercise" (as my college professors from my distant
past were wont to say!). Here is their work:
BB staff member Fritz Königshofer also provided a transcription, interpretation and translation, Parts he
was sure of are shown in black text. Blue text indicates words he was unsure of. Here is his work:
Fritz added a comment after his translation: "Could it be that the two men died? In an accident? In the USA?
My guess is that the text on the back of the photo was added to a letter. Paper was not cheap at those times. If the
letter could be found, it likely contains more about the circumstances that created the sorrow."
2) IS THIS THE BURGENLAND NAVY? (by Richard Potetz)
Many of us have a box of old photos left to us by Burgenländer emigrant ancestors. At the bottom of the box, some black and white photos often mystify. Lucky for me, my mother lived to be old. Mom explained those mysteries when I matured enough (at about age 60) to ask questions about those old photographs. Lucky for you, the Burgenland Bunch Newsletter lets us share what we’ve learned. The uniformed people in the photo below are not Navy members at all. They’re actually Burgenländer emigrants in prop clothing.
1935 Port of Bremen Photograph of Burgenland Emigrants
back row: Ida Jud 22; Franz Perschy 30; Aloisia Potetz 27
front row: Mary Sucher 22; Anna Sucher 17 (my Mom); Emma Zotter 29
The mass migration of people from Burgenland has been named and studied. The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups estimates that, in the peak years between 1880 and 1924, forty thousand people from the area that became Burgenland arrived in the US, with perhaps 25% returning. People who live in Burgenland call this historical event “Die Auswanderung” and learn about it in grade school. The German phrase “Die Auswanderung” translates to “the emigration” in English, but its meaning in Burgenland is specific to this mass migration, just as an American would use the phrase “The Depression” to refer to a specific historical event. Our Burgenländer ancestors were all part of the event named Die Auswanderung, but that alone tells us little of their experiences.
Walter Dujmovits’ newly-translated book, The Burgenländer Emigration to America, paints a picture of the wide spectrum of Burgenländer emigration. Details in that book give a comprehensive view of the emigration. Emigrants left Burgenland at different times, for different reasons, going to different places. The book includes the changing historical background: the agricultural age, the industrial age, the financial Panic of 1907, World War I, the end of Hungarian control with the creation of Burgenland, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Russian occupation.
The emigrants in the photograph above departed for the United States at the height of the Great Depression. Unemployment in the US exceeded 20%. US laws strictly limited immigration at that time, understandably. Exceptions were made for people with a family member already in the US who was willing to sponsor them by accepting full financial responsibility for them. Every one of the six emigrants in the photo was sponsored, coincidentally in each case, by an older sister.
When Aloisia Potetz left Burgenland. she went with two of her first cousins, Franz Perschy and Emma Zotter, all three born and raised in Neumarkt an der Raab. The first leg of their trip to America was by train from Jennersdorf. At the next train stop, in Fehring (in Styria), two sisters from Schiefer (today an Ort in the Fehring Gemeinde) boarded: Mary and Anna Sucher. These two groups had never met but discovered on the train that they were both going to the ship SS Europa in Bremerhaven, Germany. They met other people on that train headed for the same voyage, among them Ida Jud from nearby Mogersdorf. On May 6, 1935, those six people posed together for that tourist photo in prop clothing.
The photo session was part of the travel package provided by Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd), a German shipping company with a large emigration business. Norddeutscher Lloyd operated sister ships SS Europa and SS Bremen between Bremerhaven and New York. The train trip was scheduled to get the passengers to Bremen a couple of days before the ship’s departure. A hotel room, food and photos, too, were included in the price of the ticket.
Passengers received the photos in the form of a postcard, useful to let the family know the traveler had gotten as far as Bremen. The shipping company benefited from the photo postcard as a travel advertisement: a photo of smiling emigrants having a fun experience sent back to prospective customers.
Amazingly, this was the first time that any of those women wore trousers! On the other hand, any woman in Burgenland who remembers 1935 would not be amazed by that at all. In any case, for the women in the photo, wearing trousers was part of the fun.
Aloisia Potetz and her two first cousins were all headed to New Britain, Connecticut, but to different sponsoring relatives. Aloisia’s destination was the home of her sister Anna Potetz Krenos on East Street. Emma Zotter was going to the home of her sister Anna Brassl on Lyon Street. Franz Perschy was going to the home of his sister and brother-in-law on Winthrop Street. The Sucher sisters, Mary and Anna, were headed to the home of their sister Rosa Sucher Heyne in Forestville, Connecticut. Ira Jud’s destination was the home of her sister near the ship’s destination, New York City.
The emigration of our Burgenländer ancestors can be grouped and categorized, but they lived very individual experiences. My mother, Anna Sucher (1918-2013), later married my father, Michael Potetz (1912-1984). Aloisia Potetz (1908-1993) was my father’s sister, so Aloisia became my aunt Lucy. During a return visit to Neumarkt an der Raab, Aloisia married Frank Pint (1919-1993). Aunt Mary Sucher (1912-2004) married Joseph Huber (1917-1966). I loved them all. I don’t recall Franz Perschy (1905-1989), Ida Jud (1913-) or Emma Zotter (1906-) but I expect they too went on to live full lives in America.
If you want to better understand the context of your Burgenländer ancestors’ emigration experience, The Burgenländer Emigration to America is recommended reading. The different emigration reasons, different times and different destinations are described. Most of my grandparents’ siblings and children came to America, part of the vast assortment of immigrants with individual reasons for leaving, leading individual lives. Aspects of the lives of each of them are described in that book—return immigration, visits in both directions, post World War II packages sent to Burgenland, and much more.
3) ANCESTRY OF THE BURGENLÄNDER (by Wilhelm Schmidt)
It is generally assumed that the ancestors of the present-day Burgenländer migrated to the area in the early to mid-1700s, at the same time the central and southern parts of Hungary were colonized by Donauschwaben. My research into the history of my home village, Pernau (Pornóapáti), has led me to believe that there was no sizable immigration to southern Burgenland.
I base my conclusion on two factors: one is that the area was not devastated by the Turks retreating from the failed siege of Vienna in 1683; the other is that the names of the inhabitants of the area, other than Croatian and Hungarian, continued to be Hianzisch.
The Turks fled eastward from Vienna, Kara Mustafa directly to Buda [now Budapest, Hungary] and a large contingent of the army to Parkany [now Štúrovo, Slovakia], on the other (north) side of the Danube from Estergom. None of the chronologies of the villages in the Lower Pinka Valley—except Pernau—even have an entry for the year 1683. It alone was affected by the siege, and only indirectly. At that time, it was a grant to the Jesuits, to provide material support for the Gymnasium [high school] in Sopron. Imre Thököly's forces, which did not participate in the siege, secured the entire area south of Vienna for the Turks, and drove the (hated) Jesuits out of it. But they were reinstated immediately after the siege ended. There is no indication that any inhabitants of Pernau departed, nor that the village needed to be repopulated. The same can, in all probability, be said of all the other villages in the Lower Pinka Valley. The only known immigration occurred, in 1712, to a site a little more than a mile south of Köszeg. In that instance, an entirely new village was created for the newcomers. It was called Köszegfalva, “falva” meaning village; its German name—surprise!—is Schwabendorf.
Continuity of settlement can also be inferred from the names of the inhabitants. There was some turnover in population. Of the 36 tenants listed on the 1706 Urbarium of Pernau, 15 differ from those on the 1593 Urbarium. No Urbarium between these dates has come to my attention. Whether the new tenants came after 1683, or gradually over more than century, is therefore an open question. The majority of the new names disappear from later Urbaria, and are replaced in a few instances by other newcomers, and in other instances by progeny of the already established families. A core of the families remained the same from at least 1593 onward. The same can be said of other villages, due to the fact that certain names are prevalent in certain villages. It is often possible to guess the name of the village from which a person hails simply by hearing his or her name. These names are typical for the region. They differ from the names of the Swabians that came to Neudau in neighboring Styria in 1712 (see list in BB newsletter #34, April 30, 1998). They are identifiably Hianzisch, suggesting that they may date to the time when people first took family names in the Middle Ages.
Ed Note: In the January 2013 newsletter (No. 228), I made a similar surname argument when discussing the arrival of Connie Bernardy's Weinzetl ancestors into northern Burgenland.
Connie wrote (in part): I did learn that my Burgenländer ancestors were ethnically German. They emigrated from Germany to Burgenland but I don't know when.
I replied (in part): The 1856 house list for Apetlon and the 1828 census for Pamhagen shows the Weinzetl name but the 1715 census (for any village in the area) does not. The earliest date I find where the Weinzetl name appears is in Pamhagen and Wallern in 1785 as part of a marriage. This likely places the emigration of the Weinzetls into the Apetlon area in this 1715-1785 window. This could be part of the post-Turkish resettlement of Hungary, with your people stopping in westernmost Hungary rather than continuing deeper into Hungary.
But I went on to say: It has been argued that "It is generally thought that the German population of the ‘Seewinkel’ (Pamhagen and neighboring villages) descends from immigrants from southern Germany (Bodensee area), who arrived sometime after the second Turkish siege of Vienna (1683), during which most of the Seewinkel villages had been destroyed." However, I have done a comparison of surnames for Wallern from before and after 1683 and find that more than half the Wallern surnames present in the 1715 census were also present before 1683. Most certainly there was some fill-in with new names in the area (and your people seem to be among them) but, for at least Wallern, there was not a wholesale replacement. I would assume neighboring villages (like Apetlon) fared similarly, though some less protected village populations were largely erased and replaced.
My argument structure in the above paragraph (i.e., continuity of surnames) is identical to Willi's second argument: if the same names were present before and after the Turks then that human Burgenländer "stock" must have been introduced into Burgenland before, not after, the Turks. Although Willi notes that Pernau was only indirectly affected, Wallern was much nearer Vienna and was, in fact, devastated by the Turkish army and had to be rebuilt (or so the village chronicle says). It seems evident that many of the citizens fled and then returned to carry on their lives.
The mere fact that there were some new surnames after the passage of a century does not, in itself, suggest immigrant in-fill. These could be previously present but non-landowning families that improved their situation over three or more generations.
Regardless, it is part of the historical record that there were some destroyed villages in Burgenland (or nearby) that were never rebuilt and that new peoples repopulated their land after the Turks retreated (the Heidebauern are an example of this). However, like Willi, my belief is that the majority of the German human "stock" in Burgenland arrived before the Turkish wars and remains as the basis of the current German Burgenländer.
4) HOW TO SEARCH PARISH AND CIVIL RECORDS
New member Murray Leonard writes (in part): I'm just looking for the best way to get information from the parish records of towns like Holzschlag, Redlschlag and Bernstein for the surname Pratscher. Thanks, if you can help. Murray
I replied (in part): Hi Murray, I note that you also sent in a BB new member form -- Welcome!
As for your question, because Burgenland switched from Hungary to Austria in 1921, and because the Hungarians switched from church-based vital records to civil vital records in 1895, and because all the villages records are kept under the old Hungarian village names rather than the current Austrian names and, finally, because not every village had their own church (nor civil recording office) so records have to be found under the right parish or recording office, it can be and often is confusing. As you might expect, you are not the first to be baffled by all this. Nonetheless, I'll see if I can help you work through the process.
1) My starting point is page: http://www.the-burgenland-bunch.org/Map/Villages/AllMapNames2.htm, which gives all the village names under the various languages in Burgenland and tells you which district it is in. For example, for Holzschlag, you'll want to know its Hungarian name and district.
Go to this page, click 'H' and roll down (or 'I' and roll up) until you find Holzschlag in the second column. You'll see that its Hungarian name (in the 4th column) was Vágód and its district (first column) is OW=Oberwart (the district codes are spelled out at the bottom of the page). You should write this information down, as you'll often need it. While you are on this page, get the same info for your other 2 villages.
By the way, the other columns on the page are 2: the searched village name; 3: its German name; and 5: its Croatian or Slovenian name.
2) Now you want to go to the BB's LDS pages at: http://www.the-burgenland-bunch.org/LDS/LDS.htm. These pages are divided by district, which is why you needed the district name. For Holzschlag, click on Oberwart and roll down until you find Holzschlag in the first column. You will see that the Catholic records (2nd column) are part of the Bernstein parish, the Lutheran records (3rd column) are in the Holzschlag parish, and post-1895 civil records (4th column) were recorded in Unterkohlstätten. Again, write down all this information so you do not need to keep going back for it.
Now you need to know which religion your Pratscher folk practiced, as that will tell you whether you want Catholic or Lutheran records.
I'll assume Catholic (for explanatory purposes only), so you'll want to roll down into the second half of this page and find Bernstein. When you do that, you will see that the Hungarian name for Bernstein (found in parentheses beside Bernstein) is Borostyánkö (but you already know that from looking it up in step 1). However, had you been looking for civil records, this would be where you could find the Hungarian name for Unterkohlstätten (one you did not know you needed until now: Alsószénégeto).
The rest of the information found there is:
RC B-M-D 1828-1895 700656
LU B-M 1828-1895 700654
LU Death 1828-1895 700655
GV Birth 1895-1903 665240
GV Birth 1904-1920 665241
GV Marriage 1895-1920 665242
GV Death 1895-1920 665243
RC stands for Roman Catholic, LU for Lutheran, and GV for civil/government.
B-M-D is short for Birth - Marriage - Death.
We were looking for Catholic records, so we want the first line. It tells us that Catholic birth, marriage and death records for years 1828 to 1895 are found on LDS microfilm # 700656. Write down this info too (assuming you need the Catholic records; if not, do a similar thing for the LU records stored under Holzschlag and record that info instead). Likewise, if you want the post-1895 civil records, get that information from under Unterkohlstätten.
Repeat this for your other villages and record the appropriate information.
3) Now for the actual records. There are 3 possible ways to research them:
a) you can search among the indexed records on the FamilySearch.com site;
b) for post-1895 civil records only, you can view the page images online at FamilySearch.com; or
c) you can order the appropriate microfilms from LDS and view them at a Family History Center (I see there is one at "Cnr College Grammar Street", in Ballarat).
I do recommend starting with a) as this is quick, easy and free.
However, only Catholic records are extensively indexed (but even these are not complete; both the Lutheran and civil records are rarely indexed for Burgenland), there are a lot of transcription errors, and the actual records usually contain additional information.
To use this index, what you need from the information you copied in steps 1) or 2) is just the Hungarian name for the parish or civil recording location.
However, another useful piece of information, and one that I see is not listed on either of the pages I've already pointed out, is the old Hungarian county (Megye) name. Unfortunately, we do not provide an easy way to find this bit of information. Nonetheless, I'll note that district Neusiedl am See was in old Moson county, districts Eisenstadt and Mattersburg were in old Sopron county, and districts Oberwart, Güssing and Jennersdorf were in old Vas county. Only district Oberpullendorf was formed from territory in more than one old County. Even then, most of Oberpullendorf was in old Sopron county, with but a small slice along its south-western boundary coming from Vas county.
One way to determine which old county applies for villages in southwestern Oberpullendorf is to use FamilySearch's page: https://familysearch.org/catalog-search. Type in the Hungarian name for the village in the "Places" box and see what it tells you. For example, for Lockenhaus (Léka in Hungarian), it reports "Hungary, Vas, Léka", so we see the old county was Vas. This, of course, works for all recording locations in Burgenland, but just knowing the current district is usually sufficient to know the old County.
OK, to search the index for Catholic Pratschers from Holzschlag, go to page https://familysearch.org/search and put "Pratscher" in the "Last Names" box and "Vágód, Vas, Hungary" (it does not matter whether you use accented characters or their plain version) in the "Birthplace" box, then hit the blue Search button. If you do so, you will see only one reference to Vagod, and it is for a WW-I draft registration card. This strongly suggests that the Holzschlag Pratschers were not Catholic or that even these Catholic records are not indexed. One way to know why there are no records is to empty the "Last Names" box and search again. If you do so, you will see that there are no Holzschlag records in the index, regardless of surname. It is evident that these records are not yet indexed and that the index will not help you with Holzschlag records, but perhaps it will for some of your other villages, so do check them too.
This takes us to option b), if you have any interest in civil records. This is also free... but not quick!
The civil records for Burgenland have been digitized and the images can be viewed ("browsed" in FamilySearch terminology) at https://familysearch.org/search. Go to this page then roll down to the bottom where you will see a set of links titled "Browse all Published Collections." Select "Continental Europe" then "Hungary" under the list of Place names on the left side of that page. A new page with 6 records sets will pop up. Select "Hungary, Civil Registration, 1895-1980" and then "Browse through 5,914,035 images" at the bottom of that page. Now find "Vas" in the list of counties and then "Alsószénégeto" in the next list of towns. You will get a list of image sets:
Record Type and Date Range
Births (Születtek) 1818-1920
Births (Születtek) 1895-1903
Births (Születtek) 1895-1917
Deaths (Halottak) 1895-1917
Deaths (Halottak) 1918-1920
Marriages (Házasultak) 1896-1920
Marriages, deaths (Házasultak, halottak) 1907-1920
Click the one you want and the page images will appear.
However, I'll warn you that often these image sets are mislabeled; you will need to check the first few pages of the images to verify that you are actually seeing the set you wanted.
Now it is a matter of paging through the images looking for people of interest to you... it is slow, tedious and boring work until, that is, you find a record of interest... then it is rewarding.
I'll also warn you that the writing will be Hungarian and the hand-script challenging to read. Do not expect that anything will be obvious to you until you develop an eye for the writing and learn what the Hungarian words mean. We have explained how to read these records in the BB newsletter in the past. Also, FamilySearch explains them in their blog.
For option c) the microfilms, you'll need to shell out some cash.
Go to https://familysearch.org/catalog-search and put the Hungarian village name, say Vagod, in the "Places" box and click the Search button... now click through all the links displayed on each sequential page: "Hungary, Vas, Vágod - Church records (1)"; "Anyakönyvek, 1861-1895"; and "700740" until you get to the "Online Film Ordering" page. Choose the option you want then click "Sign In". If you have an account, fill that in; if not, there is a link on that page to let you create an account. When you complete that process, the requested film will be mailed to the Family History Center you specify and you will be notified when it is available. People at that Family History Center will show you the ropes on viewing the film.
Again, the writing will be Hungarian and the hand-script challenging to read. Do not expect that anything will be obvious to you until you develop an eye for the writing and learn what the Hungarian words mean.
There are, of course, other data on the BB website that you should review. Do look at the Houselists for your villages and the Surnames pages to see who else is interested in the Pratscher surname.
Good luck! Tom
5) GROßGEMEINDE UNTERKOHLSTÄTTEN
Margaret Kaiser recently pointed out to me the website for Großgemeinde Unterkohlstätten (www.unterkohlstaetten.at). Among Burgenland municipalities, this Gemeinde has a surprising internal consistency explaining why the involved villages were grouped together. Based on the information from the website, here is their story:
The Unterkohlstätten Gemeinde, with a total population of 1,030 residents, includes the following Orts [data in parentheses are Hungarian name, current population, and # of houses in 1857; the villages are listed, smallest to largest, by current population]:
- Glashütten bei Schlaining (Szalónakhuta, 119, 30)
- Oberkohlstätten (Felsöszénégetö, 189, 25)
- Günseck (Gyöngyösfö, 192, 32)
- Unterkohlstätten (Alsószénégetö, 223, 37)
- Holzschlag (Vágód, 307, 68)
Unterkohlstätten is the municipal seat and the rest are Ortsteiles (appendages, or literally, local parts). There are also two associated Rotten (hamlets), Weißenbachl and Langau.
The first documented mention of any of the villages in the community was in 1597. All of the villages were originally established as Rodungssiedlungen ("clearing settlements") on virgin forest land. Interestingly, in the 1857 houselists, the Batthyány are listed as property owners in Holzschlag, whereas the Esterházy are listed in Ober- and Unter-kohlstätten.
The community lies in the northeastern part of Oberwart district, along the district border with Oberpullendorf on its northeastern edge. It also lies between the Bernstein Mountains in the northwest and the Günser Mountains in the southeast. Its landscape is characterized by gentle hills and dense forests.
If we compare, in a relative sense, the number of houses in 1857 to the current population of the villages, the only change in size-ordering is that Oberkohlstätten and Glashütten swap places, with Oberkohlstätten being the smallest back then. Holzschlag was and remains the largest, though it, along with Glashütten, decreased in comparative relative size since 1857; all others relatively grew, with Oberkohlstätten having the largest relative growth. Nonetheless, the community, as a whole, has a current population that is less than two-thirds of its peak size before WW-II. Unterkohlstätten, the municipal seat, was and remains the second largest Ort in the Gemeinde.
The connections between the villages in the Gemeinde are reflected in their village names: all stem, in some way, from the commercial use of wood. The connections are also partially shown in the Gemeinde coat-of-arms, displayed to the left. Therein you see trees, which supplied wood, and also miners' tools, which supplied materials that needed lots of heat to process, the heat coming from the wood, of course.
I'll start with Holzschlag, which translates to "area where trees are to be felled" or, more simply, as "felling of trees" or just "felling." One would assume it started as a lumber camp, deep in the forest. The Hungarian name for the village also reflects its original nature: Vágód = "cutting."
Günseck is not so obvious: the word Günsel refers to a ground pine or field cypress, which, though resembling a small pine tree in appearance, is at most 16 inches tall and just a perennial ground cover. The more obvious relationship is its proximity to the Günser mountains and the Günsbach (Güns creek). However, the Hungarian name, Gyöngyösfö, may be more informative: gyöngyös = "pearly" or "pearled" and fö = "cooked." Günseck was home to a glassworks ...and I would guess they "cooked up" some pearled glass.
Given the description above, Glashütten should be obvious: it also was home to a glassworks, which is exactly what its German name translates to: glassworks. Likewise the Hungarian name, Szalónakhuta: huta = "foundry" or "glassworks" and Szalon = "saloon" or "parlor" ...of the showroom variety. Thus, "glassworks showroom."
Now we get to Ober- (Upper) and Unter- (Lower) Kohlstätten. The most obvious translation of Kohlstätten is "carbon sites." However, kohl can also be translated to "coal" or "carbonate," both of which are carbon-related forms. In fact, Oberkohlstätten was a location where “charburners” established charcoal silos, converting wood into a higher-energy form, charcoal. And in Unterkohlstätten, “limeburners” used lots of wood to convert calcium carbonate (limestone) into quicklime in their lime kilns. The Hungarian names, Felsö- (Upper) and Alsó- (Lower) Szénégetö, where szénégetö = "charcoal burners," are also descriptive of the local industry.
Of course, limestone was dug out of the earth, as was silica for glass, which explains the mining tools on the Gemeinde coat-of arms. In addition to providing the energy for the glassworks, charcoal silos and lime kilns, additional wood was felled in Holzschlag to supply the heating needs of the Herrschaft Bernstein and a small amount of select wood went to craftsmen in Günseck, who made wooden agricultural implements (rakes, pitchforks, flax breaks, wheelbarrows, plows and harrows) for use on the farms of West Hungary (a few current-day craftsmen still make the traditional wooden rakes in Günseck). In more recent times, timber was felled in the surrounding forest and then transported by forest train to Rechnitz for further distribution. Even today, Google Maps' "earth view" shows what appears to be a quite active limestone pit about 2 miles south of Unterkohlstätten. However, lime burning and charcoal burning, as cottage industries, died out in the 1950s.
Ober- and Unterkohlstätten first appear in written records in 1597; Holzschlag follows in 1634, Günseck in 1645 and Glashütten bei Schlaining in 1698. During 1747-1779, Unterkohlstätten was assigned to parish Oberkohlstätten; but it constructed its own church in 1858-1859. The first schools were built in Günseck in 1871 and in Unterkohlstätten in 1875. In 1896, Günseck established the first formal volunteer fire department, quickly followed by Holzschlag in 1897. Fire departments were established in Glashütten in 1907, Unterkohlstätten in 1910 and Oberkohlstätten in 1912.
1907 saw the establishment of a municipal office in Unterkohlstätten, with the Imperial Matriculation Office being
relocated there from Glashütten. The post office moved from Günseck to Unterkohlstätten in 1923. However, it would
not be until 1971 that the villages of Glashütten, Günseck, Holzschlag and Ober- and Unterkohlstätten merged into
today's Großgemeinde Unterkohlstätten.
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. This month, I reprint one from Newsletter No. 126B (February 29, 2004) concerning a German phrase I was not familiar with...
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS No. 126B
February 29, 2004
NEW YEAR'S EXPRESSION "GUTEN RUTSCH"
(by Gerry Berghold, as suggested by Inge Schuch)
The more German I learn, the more I realize that I don't know many idiomatic expressions. While I'm wishing my Austrian friends "Ein Glückliches Neu Jahr" they are telling each other to have a "Guten Rutsch." I know that rutsch in German means slide but how does this relate to New Year?
Viennese and Kleinpetersdorf BB-member, interpreter par excellence and my very good Burgenland guide and friend, Inge Schuch, tells me when she writes:
I will try to translate and make Inge smile: Auf Englisch:
In the same way that
English has incorporated many other foreign words and phrases, so too has German, and the German spoken in the
Burgenland has an even greater admixture of Slavic and Hungarian. Perhaps someday, as languages borrow from each
other, we will all speak a common language.
7) ETHNIC EVENTS
LEHIGH VALLEY, PA
Saturday, March 1: Fasching at the Fairgrounds Hotel in Allentown. Sponsored by the Lehigh Sängerbund. Info: www.lehighsaengerbund.org.
Saturday, March 1: Fasching at the Reading Liederkranz. Info: www.readingliederkranz.com.
Sunday, March 23: 36th Annual Schlachtfest at the Holy Family Club in Nazareth. Music by Josef Kroboth and Johnny Dee. Info: www.holyfamilyclub.com.
Saturday, March 29: Bockbierfest at the Reading Liederkranz. Info: www.readingliederkranz.com.
Sunday, March 30: German Spring Show at the Evergreen Heimatbund in Fleetwood. Info: www.evergreenclub.org.
Sunday, March 2, Noon - 5pm: Cabbage Hill Day. Lancaster Liederkranz. Pork & Sauerkraut Buffet served 12:30-2pm. Music by Immergrün Musikanten.
Saturday, March 15, 7:30 to 11:30 pm: Bockbierfest Club Dance. Lancaster Liederkranz. Music by Maria, John & Chip.
Saturday, March 29, 7:30 to 11:30 pm: Ein Abend in Wien Club Dance (Semi-Formal event). Lancaster Liederkranz. Music by Walt Groller.
8) BURGENLAND EMIGRANT OBITUARIES (courtesy of Bob Strauch)
Anna Korpics (née Doncsecz), 80, of Mullica Hill, New Jersey, passed away on Feb. 8, 2014, at home. She was the beloved wife of Stephen Korpics for 59 years.
A daughter of the late Frank and Anna (Gaspar) Doncsecz, Anna was born in Rábatótfalu (Slovenska ves/Windischdorf), Hungary, and came to the US in 1958 after living in London, England for 1 1/2 years.
She worked at Regina Corporation for 20 years.
Survivors: husband, Stephen; son, Frank (Diane) of Hamilton Twp.; grandchildren, Matthew and Lauren; siblings, Joseph Doncsecz of Lehighton, PA, Margaret and Eddie Doncsecz of Hungary.
Anna was also predeceased by a son, Stephen Korpics, and a brother, Frank Doncsecz.
Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing Wed., Feb. 12 from 10:30 - 11:45 AM at Holy Name of Jesus Church, 17 Earlington Ave., Mullica Hill, where Mass will be celebrated at 12 Noon. Interment St. Joseph's Cemetery, Swedesboro. Thoughts and prayers may be extended to the family at www.FERTIGFUNERALHOME.com
Published in South Jersey Times on Feb. 11, 2014
Eric Unger, 76, of Barnegat, New Jersey, passed away on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.
Born in Pornóapáti (Pernau), Hungary, he came to the United States in 1957 and lived in Clifton, Garfield, and Saddle Brook before moving to Barnegat 8 years ago.
He was a welder for the Falstrom Company in Passaic for over 45 years retiring in 1999. He was a parishioner of St. Stanislaus Kostka R.C. Church, Garfield, and was a former member of the Sports Friends Soccer Club in Passaic. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army serving in Europe.
Eric was the beloved husband of Anna (née Scheffler), devoted father of Robert Unger of Wayne, Stephen Unger, and his wife Megan, of Warwick, NY, and Kathy Dzwilewski, and her husband David, of Saddle Brook, loving grandfather of six grandchildren, dear brother of Mary Rokicki of Clifton, Helen Schmalzel in Hungary, and the late Emil Unger.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral Monday, 9:30 AM, from the Kamienski Funeral Home, 207 Ray Street, Garfield, and 10 AM at St. Stanislaus Kostka R.C. Church, Garfield. Interment St. Mary's Cemetery, Saddle Brook. Visiting Sunday 2-4 and 7-9 PM. Visit kamienskifuneralhomes.com.
Published in The Record/Herald News on Feb. 22, 2014
END OF NEWSLETTER
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