The News
Dedicated to Austrian-Hungarian Burgenland Family History

July 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: 2458 * Surname Entries: 7902 * Query Board Entries: 5554 * Staff Members: 16

This newsletter concerns:


2) CROATIAN ROOTS... A TRIP REPORT (by Joy Ostovitz Minns)

3) FAMILY SEARCH EXCURSION: 1 – 3 MAY 2016 (by Eszter Tóth)





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

Tom SteichenI thought it was time to update my BB mug shot, so that on the left is the 2016 me... and, yes, I have lost weight... 40 pounds plus since January with maybe another 10 pounds to go, that is, if I can manage it. So far, I'm doing it with only an intensive walking program (currently targeting a daily eight mile stroll in two hours or less) and some attention to what I eat... the goal being to burn more calories than I take in (regardless of exactly what I eat). Except at the tail end of my daily walk, I do feel better!

After the bits and pieces here in my "Corner," we continue with two trip reports. The first (Article 2), by Joy Minns, tells of her continuing search for her Croatian Roots, which for a third time has taken her to Croatia.

Article 3 is a trip report by Hungarian native Eszter Tóth and tells of a Family Search Excursion she took to Burgenland in May.

Article 4 reprints those sections of article "A Survey of Austrian Emigration to the United States" that pertain to Burgenland. It was originally published as part of a 1961 book and was written by Wilhelm Schlag.

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

Oberdorf project: BB member Patrick Kovacs has started a genealogical project based on the Burgenland Bunch's 1858 Houselist for Oberdorf im Burgenland. The project takes the list of 1858 property owners and ties genealogical data (dates of birth, death or marriage; names of spouse or children; places; etc.) to each record. So far, Patrick has added data to 28 of the 115 names on the list but is will add more. If you have an interest in Oberdorf, check it out. If you have data to add, do contact Patrick. The project can be found at:

Burgenland DNA StudyAutosomal Testing (from Frank Paukowits): In the last year, a significant effort has been made to increase the extent of autosomal testing results in the Burgenland DNA Project. As a result, the number of participants has increased significantly. There are now 110 people with autosomal results participating in the Project.

One of the key aspects of autosomal testing is the identification of “genetic” cousins. Each person tested receives a report listing their “genetic cousins.” These “cousins” can range from as close as parents and/or siblings to as distant as 5th-to-remote cousins. The 5th-to-remote category could mean the familial relationship was first formed hundreds of years ago.

The category with the highest number of participants was the 5th-to-remote category. Thirty-five percent of the matches was in that category. Twenty-four percent was in the 4th-to-remote cousin category. The remaining 41 percent represented matches where the relationship was 4th cousins or closer. These relatively close matches are those where the likelihood of confirming the relationship through analysis of written records is greatest.

What was particularly noteworthy was the number of matches between people in the Burgenland Project. On average, the number was more than four matches per person. Nine people had ten matches or more. Only 6 of the 110 people in the Project had no matches at all. The high incidence of the across-the-board matches suggests that the ancestors of the people in the Project and, by inference, our ancestors in Burgenland have lived in the area for hundreds of years.

The feedback that individual Project participants receive from Family Tree DNA, the sponsor of the Project, does not readily identify other people in the Project with Burgenland roots. In large measure, such information is available only to the Group Administrator of the Project, Frank Paukowits. If any of the Project’s participants would like to have this information, he or she should contact Frank at and he will send the relative and pertinent material.

A Request from Jabing, Burgenland: High school student, Sophie Saurer, of Jabing, Burgenland recently contacted BB Members Editor Johnny Santana because he had placed a message in the Jabinger Glocknhäusl newsletter looking for relatives. As you can see below, Sophie is not related to Johnny but had her own reason for replying to Johnny:

Sehr geehrter Herr Santana!

Ich habe ihren Beitrag im
Jabinger Glocknhäusl über ihre Familiengeschichte und ihren Aufruf zur Kontaktaufnahme mit ihnen gelesen.

Wir stehen zwar in keinem verwandtschaftlichen Verhältnis, doch sind auch meine Urgroßeltern mit meiner Großmutter und viele weitere Mitglieder aus meiner Familie nach Amerika ausgewandert.

Ich besuche das Gymnasium Güssing und schreibe momentan an meiner Vorwissenschaftlichen Arbeit mit dem Thema "
Auf nach Amerika! Die Auswanderung der Südburgenländer nach Amerika, im Speziellen aus Jabing."

Ich bin momentan auf der Suche nach Auswanderern und Zurückgekommenen für Interviews. Darum wollte ich sie fragen, ob sie mir eventuell Fragen beantworten würden oder für ein Interview bereit wären.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Sophie Saurer, Jabing

Dear Mr. Santana!

I read your article in the Jabinger Glocknhäusl about your family history and your request for others to establish contact with you.

Although we are not related, my great grandparents and my grandmother as well as many other family members emigrated to America.

I attend high school in Güssing and am currently writing my pre-dissertation entitled "To America! The Emigration of Southern Burgenländers to America, Specifically from Jabing."

I am currently searching for emigrants and emigrants who have returned to interview. Therefore, I wanted to ask you if you would possibly answer my questions or be willing to be interviewed.

Best regards,
Sophie Saurer, Jabing

Johnny is willing to answer questions so will cooperate with Sophie. Once Johnny has the list of questions, we will make them available to interested BB newsletter readers. Thus, if you or your ancestors are from Jabing and you are also willing to answer her questions, you may obtain the questions from Johnny or me and send your answers to Sophie at

A Request from Vienna: Ingeborg Sickinger, of the Alumni Association of the University of Vienna, asks that I spread the word that their Association has started an online effort to "map" the spread of Universität Wien graduates around the world. Webpage explains the project and provides an online form for graduates to provide the requested information. To date, over 7000 alumni have registered, with the "most distant" one residing in New Zealand. Registering is free and should take less than five minutes. Additions: GenTeam has announced the addition of 200,000 entries to their online collection of records. Of most interest to Burgenländers among the additions are the Churchbook Registry Indices for Großhöflein in Burgenland. Of some interest may be the additions to the Index of Catholic Baptisms in Vienna for the years 1584-1915 (~36,000 new entries) and the Index of Catholic Deaths in Vienna (~53,000 new entries). 

, with 33,400 registered users, has been in existence for 6 1/2 years now and has accumulated some 14.4 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.

BG 60th Anniversary: The festivities are over in Burgenland but our full report will wait for the next newsletter (BB Staff attendees Tom Glatz and Bob Strauch will fill us in).

Until then, here are a couple of German-language news articles about the events:

- Auslandsburgenländertreffen in Moschendorf
- Zu Gast in der alten Heimat Burgenland

Burgenland's Uhudler Wines: In March, I reported the resolution of a dispute concerning the Ripatella grape variety (a primary grape in modern Burgenland Uhudler wines). The final decision was that the variety was genetically identical to Europe's long-approved Concord variety and therefore the vines did not need to be removed. This decision was met with great relief by the southern Burgenland winegrowers, as an adverse decision would have been economically devastating for them. I concluded by saying, "It appears the crisis is now over, so enjoy a glass of Uhudler should you be in southern Burgenland!"

However, now the news is that "Uhudler becomes scarce!" as a late April frost damaged the Burgenland grapevines, be they Ripatella or not, with crop losses extended up to 90 percent in many areas. So the expectation by both winemakers and connoisseurs is that there will be a short supply of the 2016 Uhudler vintage. Thus my advice changes: if you are in southern Burgenland this fall during Uhudler season and see it is available, don't pass it up... you may not see it elsewhere!

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 1072 copies, as interested people purchased 8 more books during this past month.

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

Burgenland Recipes: My request last month that readers share favorite Burgenland recipes prompted two readers to reply. Joy Minns has her grandmother's "recipe" book, but it is written in the old Kurrent handscript, has numerous spelling errors, and is quite cryptic in its instructions... at best, the "recipes" (when we can translate them) are reminders on how to make a particular dish, but we are hard-pressed to call them real recipes, as key features such as units for quantities and time and temperature for cooking/baking are missing! Beyond that, some of the translated ingredients require extensive research to understand what that ingredient really is... apparently it no longer exists in that form and/or under that name!

Margaret Nicklas was the other reader who responded with a recipe. She says she is "...not sure there is anything unusual about it but we sure loved it our house. We called it 'Grandma Nicklas' Stuffing' and had it every year with our Thanksgiving turkey and usually with our Christmas dinner. Our Grandma Nicklas was Mary Sakasits from Tobaj. She was married to Charles Conrad Nicklas and they settled in Catasauqua, PA."

GRANDMA NICKLAS’ STUFFING  (from Mary Sakasits Nicklas via granddaughter Margaret Nicklas)

1 loaf (20 oz) white bread, cubed
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons parsley, fresh;
  or 3 tablespoons parsley, dried
2 eggs
1/4 cup of water
Pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon, or to taste
1/2 stick butter or margarine

Melt butter in a large, heavy pan over low heat. Sauté onion and celery in the butter, keeping the lid on the mixture so it steams, keeping heat low.

Add cubed bread and stir well. Steam with lid on over low heat about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add pepper and parsley to bread mixture and mix well.

Beat eggs until frothy. Add water. Beat again. Add egg and water to bread mixture and mix until moistened. Form balls and stuff chicken or turkey.

Please consider sharing your favorite Burgenland recipes or recipe books with me so I can share them with the readership. Thanks!

Cartoon of the Month: 

2) CROATIAN ROOTS... A TRIP REPORT (by Joy Ostovitz Minns)

Many of us whose ancestors emigrated from the Burgenland have Croatian roots. My grandparents never spoke of the area they came from. My dad told me we were Croatian and he assumed his parents came from the Zagreb area. My dad was the oldest child, born in America, and perhaps that’s why he knew a bit more than his siblings. When speaking to my last surviving uncle I learned that he thought his parents came over from Germany. He first learned of his Croatian roots when he was in his 80s!

In 2012, I had started doing some genealogy research about my mom’s family and decided it might be fun for my daughter and me to head to Croatia to learn about the Ostovitz side of the family. About a month before our trip I learned that my grandparents had lived in the Burgenland. Undeterred we went on our journey anyway and explored the cities of Zagreb and Zadar.

My daughter and I returned to Croatia in May. We went on a tour with Bob and Sue Jerin, who sponsor wonderful tours for Croatian-Americans. I don’t usually like group tours but these are similar to a large family reunion. Rather than going as tourists, we are people exploring our roots. My daughter and I were the only participants whose immediate ancestors came from the Burgenland. Our ancestors left Croatia in the late 1600s.

We started our journey in Dubrovnik and there we boarded a small cruise ship, the Splendid. The 25 or so of us were joined by 5 others and they, although being from Australia and Iceland, became part of our extended family. Cruising in Croatia is not for the unathletic. One ship docks and then others dock alongside, tied one to another, headed out to sea. I am, unfortunately, very un-athletic and managed to mangle my jump onto our ship from a taller one within 48 hours of my arrival in Croatia. I spent most of the trip in a cast and had the “pleasure” of visiting 4 different ERs.

Croatian medicine is a story in itself! You don't visit a doctor's office when something goes wrong, you go to an ER, which are extremely crowded. I went by ambulance to my first ER, which was on a small island. The doctor there didn't charge anything (and neither did the ambulance company) but the doctor also didn't do much of an exam and didn't bother to take x-rays. The second ER actually admitted me to the hospital, but then sent me back to the ship because they had no open beds. At another ER, which I went to only for a blood test, I waited 3 hours and then checked to see how much longer my wait would be. I was told it could be several more hours ...because they had a policy of "Americans last." The last ER I visited in Zagreb, to get my cast taken off, was quite efficient and I was in and out within an hour. One bonus of Croatian medicine, however, is the low cost: all of my ER visits, prescriptions, x-rays, crutches, and taxi rides to and from the hospitals totaled less than $400!

Despite all the ER visits, I was able to continue the tour, as everyone was very helpful. When the group walked to a restaurant at a port, Bob managed to find a ride for me. We spent one week on the ship and the next on land. Although I didn’t participate in any of the walking tours, I was able to do all of the wine tastings, meals, and parties. My favorite mode of transportation was a hotel luggage cart with a chair on it. That become what the Croatians called my “Popemobile” as I was wheeled through the streets of Zagreb.

I’ve actually taken two trips with Bob and Sue Jerin. Luckily, I remained uninjured on our first trip. Bob is always willing to stop at an ancestor’s hometown if it is anywhere near our planned route. On the 2014 trip we stopped at a village named Ličko Lešće, where the grandfather of John, one of our group, was born. The parish priest happened to be around and he told the man where to find some villagers with the same last name. We stopped briefly at this address and it turned out that the residents were John’s second cousins. John made arrangements to meet and chat with his cousins at a later time.

Part of the trip is always a stop at the Croatian National Archives in Zagreb. I went along with the others to do family research, not really expecting to find much since the records start after my family had left the country. And I was right... I found nothing of help to me... that is, until I heard John, again a fellow traveler, call me over. In researching his village of Ličko Lešće he kept coming across my surname: Ostovic. It seems that it is a very common name in the village but not elsewhere in Croatia. Thus it is highly likely that I’ve found the village of my Croatian ancestors!

We are very curious about our Burgenland roots... but do Croatians ever wonder what happened to those family members who left the country? A Croatian journalist in Zagreb learned that my family had emigrated to the Burgenland and requested an interview with me. Originally we were to meet at a restaurant in Zagreb, but that was out of the question after my accident. Not to be deterred, he came to my hotel room and conducted the interview with me propped up in bed with ice on my knee. His English was much better than my almost non-existent Croatian and his article was written in Croatian so who knows if he understood me well enough to write an accurate article. He did feel, however, that his readers would be very interested to learn about the family who left Croatia so very long ago.

Croatia is an absolutely gorgeous and interesting country to visit, although the remnants of the destruction during the Homeland War are still visible in many areas. Many people in the touristy areas speak English very well. I learned some basic Croatian with a free internet program and was able to shop, ask directions and, most importantly for this trip, how to yell “help, please!” Independent travel can be tricky for a first-timer, although my daughter and I managed fine on our first trip together. People offered help and directions wherever we were and many even went out of their way to assist us in our cluelessness. For any Burgenländer with Croatian roots, a visit to Croatia can be an opportunity to dig even deeper into those roots. Maybe someday I’ll visit with some very distant cousins in Ličko Lešće!

3) FAMILY SEARCH EXCURSION: 1 – 3 MAY 2016 (by Eszter Tóth)

Ed note: We were first introduced to Eszter Tóth, the author of this article, in Newsletter #259 (30 Sep 2015) when she helped me interpret the headers of the Hungarian version of the 1767 Urbárium. Therein I noted that she was a physics teacher at the George Boronkay Grammar School and College in Vac, Hungary. Eszter had joined the BB in April 2015, providing quite a bit of information about some ancestors that, in the late 1700s, had lived in the territory that became Burgenland. Part of her membership information noted that she wanted information about the church books for Loipersdorf and Buchschachen, so she could learn about these ancestors. We did our best to answer her questions, which eventually led to a trip to follow the trail through the available records... she documents that trip below:

Pressburg Old Evangelical Cemetery: 1 May, 11:00

There is a book about this cemetery in the center of Pressburg (Bratislava, Slovakia) that introduces the graves and provides a map to find them. The cemetery was open but no one was therejust a huge silence.

My grandfather from the 6th generation, Samuel Wölfel, died in Pressburg 1 Aug 1830. Now I have found his grave. He was born in Güns (Köszeg), Hungary.

Modor / Modra / Modern - small city 30 km north of Pressburg: 13:30

On the main square of this city is a well-preserved house. It was restored because the famous Slovakian poet and politician, Ludovit Stur, died in this house. But the house is called Emresz House.

This house was built by Johann Andreas Emres, senator of Modor. He was another of my grandfathers of the 6th generation. His father, Martin Emres, Lederer Meister (master leatherworker), lived in the house next-door from the time when he married with a girl of an ancient family of Modor. Martin was a migrant.

Eisenstadt, Roman Catholic Archive: 2 May

In the marriage record of Martin Emres in Modor (8 Feb 1779), it was stated that his father, Matthias Emres, lived in Buchschachen as a farmer, and his mother was Barbara Ritter. Martin’s religion was Lutheran. But in those times after the counter-reformation, it was not easy for the Lutherans… so, I found Matthias Emris’ death record in Puchschachten (=Buchschachen), 27 March 1775, in the Roman Catholic Church Book in Eisenstadt.

And I found the death record for his wife, Barbara Emris, in "Puchschach," 27 Dec 1778. (It is interestingbut common in other places as wellthat, in the Roman Catholic Church Books, they mentioned “Luth” (or evang., or Acath) only in the death records.)

I did not find the record of birth for Martin Emres, which was about 1749, because there are no Church Books for Buchschachen before 1750 (or I did not find them).

Martin Emres, as a good Lederer Meister, migrated from Buchschachen to Modor and made a good career and had some children. His son, mentioned before, Johann Andreas Emres, found a nice girl to marry. What a surprise! The father of the girl, namely Johann Michael Kraus, was also a Lederer Meister, and he had migrated from Loipersdorf to Modor. Buchschachen and Loipersdorf are just 6 km apart from each other.

Michael Kraus was born in Loipstorf, 25 Sept 1751.

His father, Georg Kraus died in Loipersdorf 13 Nov 1776.

The Way to Buchschachen: 3 May, morning

Buchschachen is a nice, small village. In the center of the village there is a small shop. I wanted to know where the oldest houses were in the village. I do not speak German and they did not speak English (or Hungarian). But somehow we understood each other – a little. There was a huge discussion, more and more loudly. And more and more people arrived in the shop. What I understood was Nein, Nein or Ja, Ja. When the shop was almost full with very helpful people who wanted to help me find the oldest house, a new man arrived who spoke English. Then I was able to tell the local audience that Matthias Emres and Barbara Ritter had lived here, and that they were my ancestors. Half an hour later, I have directions to the oldest house. I was really moved by their helpfulness. But, before I said goodbye, the question came: “From which state of the USA did you arrive?” And I answered honestly: “I am living in Hungary.” Unluckily, the man interpreted it to German. Their smiles turned to frowns. I tried not to worry, and went to make photos.

Markt Alhau: 3 May, noon

Here is a relatively large center of Lutherans. It was told to me that they have very old Church Books. When I arrived, the only man who works with the old Matrikels was not at home. I was able to find out that the oldest books started only in 1783, so they were too new for me. On the other hand, the price for finding one record is 10 Euros…

Güns / Köszeg: 3 May, afternoon

My family search tour started with Samuel Wölfel in Pressburg, so I wanted to finish with his birth place.

Samuel Wölfel was born in Güns (Köszeg), 24 June 1771. When he was 12, he went to the new Lutheran Church (see right). The church has no tower, as it was not allowed for Lutheran Churches at that time. The gate of the church opens to a fenced garden, not to the street (opening to the street also was not allowed at that time).

Samuel Wölfel’s son married Maria Elisabeth Emresz, and in the coming 5th generation, I am here. Thus, about 1/32nd of my ancestry came from Burgenland.


Dr. Wilhelm Schlag (1923-2011) was the Executive Secretary of the United States Educational Commission in Austria (the Fulbright scholar program) from its inception in 1950 until 1955. He was the founding director of the Austrian Institute in New York City (1956-67) and director of the Austrian Cultural Institute in London (1971-74), in addition to holding a series of important positions in the Austrian ministries of education and science where he concluded his career of public service as Director General responsible for university libraries, the Austrian National Library, the national museums, and the preservation of monuments (1978-84).

The following article contains excerpts from a chapter by Wilhelm Schlag, entitled "
A Survey of Austrian Emigration to the United States" and is from the 1961 book, "Österreich und die Angelsächsische Welt: Kulturbegegnungen und Vergleiche." ("Austria and the Anglo-Saxon World: Cultural Encounters and Comparisons," edited by Otto Hietsch; published by Wilhelm Braumüller, University Publishing Bookshop, Vienna-Stuttgart).

The full chapter covers the broader Austrian emigration; the excerpts I present (one long excerpt plus three short ones) address the Burgenländer emigration. Although this is ground that Walter Dujmovits has covered extensively in his book, another voice on the topic is always welcome.

Wilhelm Schlag writes: The "old" immigration, which commenced in strength in the 1820's, was primarily made up of Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians. Since, however, industrialization and improved methods of agriculture created new economic opportunities in western and northern Europe, the bulk of immigration, by the 1880's, was coming from eastern and southern Europe. This "new" influx was primarily made up of Italians, Jews, and Slavs, the latter two groups mostly stemming from Austria-Hungary and Russian Poland. These groups were very fertile. For all the backwardness of the areas the people came from, major epidemics had become rare. Better education, administration, and medical care resulted in improved hygienic conditions and a decline of the death rate, particularly of children under two. After the Napoleonic wars, no major war had drained the economies, manpower, and health of these areas. Famines could be prevented or mitigated with the help of an improved transportation system and more efficient government. The abolition of serfdom in Eastern Europe made the peasants free to marry without permission and to establish families. But it did not give them enough land to accommodate their numerous offspring and to pay the taxes and redemption for the ground that had been allotted to them. Military service often meant an absence from the farm of two or three years, and thus spelled additional hardship. Their emancipation gave the peasants also the right to leave the soil. Since there was little industry to absorb the surplus, an increasing number of peasants began to look to the "Land of Promise." Better communications, greater literacy, and "America letters" sent home by those who had ventured out first, spread the knowledge of America as a country where great opportunities were waiting. The publicity of steamship companies looking for the profitable immigrant cargo turned from northwestern to eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Improved transportation made emigration less hazardous and faster. The keen competition of the steamship companies made it cheaper. Where formerly poor immigrants had to trudge to the ports of embarkation they could now ride on trains. Not all of them came to stay. Rooted in their native soil, many peasants hoped to earn enough money to return soon to their villages, and to acquire land and found a family there.

It is no coincidence that the only large group of Austrians which participated in this new immigration came from Burgenland which, politically, if not ethnically, was a part of Hungary until 1919. Conditions in Deutsch-Westungarn were much more like those in the rest of Hungary than in the Alpine German-speaking crown lands which, together with Burgenland, constitute modern Austria.

The economy of this border province was, and still is, essentially agrarian. Its northern part contained large estates, whereas in the central and southern sections communities of small-holders and cottiers were predominant. As long as these could derive their livelihood from viniculture, which required much labor, big families were a boon. With the decline of viniculture and, about 1890, its destruction in the central and southern parts of Burgenland by phylloxera vastatrix, the over-population which had made itself felt as early as the 1820s became unbearable. The division of farms that were already small among heirs did not provide the latter with a sound economic basis. Few holdings fell vacant through want of heirs. There were not many Burgenländers who had enough land to part with some of it. Few were rich enough to set their younger sons up or give their daughters adequate dowries. Some found work on the estates of the great landlords or became tenants, but the majority of the young men and women for whom the village had become too small had to look elsewhere for work. They found it as hired hands, itinerant farm workers, and domestics, first in Hungary, later in Lower Austria and Styria. With the expansion of Vienna and the growth of industries in and around that city and Wiener Neustadt, many found seasonal employment as carpenters and bricklayers. Others went into the factories.

Although there are a few communities from which Burgenländers ventured forth already in the 1850's the emigration to the United States really got under way only around 1890, to reach its pre-World War I peak in 1905. The financial panic in the United States during the fall of 1907, with its resulting bankruptcies and unemployment, slowed down the immigration from Burgenland and other German-speaking areas of Austria-Hungary. After a brief revival it was brought to a temporary halt by the Great War. As a result of Austria's plight after the destruction of the Dual Monarchy the overseas emigration from Burgenland, which was now directed also to South America, reached an all-time high in 1923. America's restrictive immigration legislation of 1924 curtailed the migration from Austria's easternmost province to the United States and sent larger numbers to Canada and South America. The disastrous depression of the thirties brought the immigration from Burgenland down to a trickle, and the Anschluß of 1938 and World War II stopped it altogether. According to Graupner [Ludwig Graupner. Die Amerikaauswanderung im Güssinger Bezirk; Horn and Vienna, 1949.], 14,413 persons from the three Western Hungarian counties went overseas between 1899 and 1913, most of them to the United States. From 1921 to 1935, 22,466 persons left Burgenland.

The great majority of the Burgenländers who went to the United States were the children of peasants whose holdings seldom exceeded twenty acres. Often there were fewer acres than children. But not only the younger sons and daughters left. Sometimes even the Hoferbe [heir to the farm] would go overseas for a few years to earn the money with which to pay off his brothers and sisters for their share of the farm and thus keep his inheritance intact. There were mortgages to be paid, run-down farms to be improved, and there was, of course, the promise of greater opportunities even for those who had learned a trade. Sometimes the prospect of spending three years in the army was an added incentive to try one's luck over there. Now and then there was the legendary uncle in America who had made good and left an inheritance. Almost all of the earlier immigrants were single and in their twenties. The relationship between the sexes was approximately 7:3. Some of the young men married and let their wives follow or returned later to fetch a spouse. After World War I, and particularly after World War II, there were more families emigrating together. But they had it easier than those that went earlier and often had to face an uncertain future. Sometimes relatives in the United States sent them the ship tickets. Under present [1961] immigration laws somebody must vouch for the immigrants. If no job is waiting, the sponsor will tide them over until they can stand on their own feet.

Although chiefly of peasant stock, the overwhelming majority of the Burgenländers, like most of the new immigrants, became city-dwellers. What they had left after they had outfitted themselves in the Old Country, and after the passage had been paid, was usually not enough to buy land and the implements to work it. Many did not even have enough money to reach the cheaper land in the West: and if they did get there, they often discovered that their European ways could not tame the virgin soil or undo the damage a homesteader's reckless exploitation had caused before moving on.

So they settled down—in New York City, in Allentown, where there are more Burgenländers than in any community of their native province, in Northampton, Coplay, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, in Passaic, Paterson, and Clifton, in Buffalo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, in Detroit and South Bend, Milwaukee, Chicago, and St. Louis. A few went to San Francisco and Florida. Most of them had to find, at least initially, employment as unskilled laborers. All were, and are, hard-working and thrifty. Many returned to their native Burgenland. Few of these had spent more than ten years in the United States. With their savings, the majority of the returnees bought land, not only in Burgenland but also in neighboring Styria, where land was more plentiful and cheaper. "Die Amerikaner" also bought or built houses and modernized their farms. The tendency to return to the soil is demonstrated by the fact that, between 1881 and 1939, 409 of those coming back from America to the district of Güssing had been farmers and cottiers before emigrating. But after their return, 700 were classified as farmers. Between the two World Wars the money sent home by the "Amerikaner," or brought back by the immigrants, was so important that, until 1930, there were two currencies in the district of Güssing: the official one, namely Austrian Shillings, and the unofficial, but much more important, U.S. Dollar currency. Practically all substantial purchases, particularly of real estate, were negotiated in U.S. Dollars. Prices were often marked in Shillings and Dollars. Children learned to compute in American currency.

Whether an immigrant was, and is, successful depends not only on his intelligence, skill, enterprise, and diligence, but also on circumstances beyond his control, such as the fluctuations of the host country's economy. It is thus not surprising that the depressions of 1907-1908 and the early thirties caused many Burgenländers to return to Austria. Few have become prominent or very rich, but almost all have made good. Like the Donauschwaben from the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the Burgenländers have shown a high degree of solidarity. They have formed mutual-aid societies and social clubs, and also keep in touch with their relatives and friends in the Old Country. They send money home and often make it possible for others from their village to come to the United States. But their children are beginning to lose this contact: they are sensitive to the foreignness of their parents and aware of the handicap this foreignness imposes upon them. They want to get ahead, be more than their parents. They want to belong: they want to be "American."

... Among the first Austrian post-war [WW-II] immigrants were many Austrian refugees scattered in various parts of the world or Austrians liberated from concentration and internment camps who wanted to join their families or relatives already in the United States. Many of the latter had, in the meantime, become American citizens and could thus assume full responsibility for the new immigrants. Then there were the Burgenländers. Some of them had been born in the United States and tried to return, often with families. According to questionnaires returned to the writer by the mayors of communities in Burgenland, there are a number of places from which emigration, mostly of families to the United States, occurred for the first time after World War II.

... With regard to the Burgenländers the pattern does not seem to have changed much: there are still the sons and daughters of small-holders, the unskilled laborers, and the craftsmen. There are the old areas of concentration, the ship tickets paid by relatives, and the affidavits. It has perhaps become easier now: the distances have dwindled again, There are enough well-paid jobs. The able and willing—these the sturdy Burgenländers certainly are—can still make good.

... And so they came: The Salzburgers, the Dreißiger and Achtundvierziger, the Burgenländers, the Indian missionaries and pastors, the refugees from National Socialism and the ordnance experts of World War II, the devout peasants and the fiery revolutionaries, the unskilled workers and the Nobel Prize winners. They came eagerly or grieving over the loss of their country, hopefully seeking the good life or content to have found a haven. They received and they gave. Austria's loss was Americas gain.


Editor: This is part of our series designed to recycle interesting articles from the BB Newsletters of 10 years ago. In the July 2006 edition, Gerry gave a nice synopsis of the "push-pull" factors driving emigration from Burgenland in the decades surrounding 1900. We repeat it here, as it goes well with Dr. Schlag's article above (#4).

July 31, 2006


Correspondent writes: My name is Karen Mulitsch-Dickens. I came across your newsletter while researching for a college paper. I am of Burgenland resident descent and became very interested in information contained in your newsletters. My great-grandparents, Ignatius Mulitsch and Amelia Unger Mulitsch, immigrated to America about 1903-1904 and I would very much like you to share information on the events and issues in Austria concerning why so many immigrated to America in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Reply: The period from 1880 to 1924 was part of the scene of what has been called the "second migration" or the "new migration" to the Americas. Millions came, mostly from southern and eastern Europe. In general this is adequately covered in many books available from most libraries; however, very little is specific to the Burgenland. It is for this reason that I formed the Burgenland Bunch some 11 years ago.

Reasons for leaving the Burgenland ([which was most] of three counties of Hungary until 1921, when they were transferred to Austria by the Treaty of Trianon and became Austria's ninth province) were little different from those in other geographic areas. If you understand the "push-pull" factors of migration, they apply to all groups during the subject period.

The push factors involved mostly economic and political issues. There were long periods of drought around the turn of the century and the Burgenland is and was an agricultural economic unit. Swine flu then decimated the pork industry and phyloxera (the grape vine louse or Reblaus from America) devastated the wine industry. Both were prime cash crops, as was wheat and flour. Their loss to the Burgenland economy was devastating. While the large aristocratic estates were broken up after 1848 and tenants could buy farms from the aristocracy with governmental help, they were expensive for cash poor peasants and very small (average holding was less than 17 acres). Primogeniture reigned and only the first-born inherited; other children had to go elsewhere. Many opted to work as seasonal harvest workers, traveling here, there and everywhere to harvest crops. This included seasonal visits to the Americas as well after steamship fares dropped in price. Many Burgenländers thus knew of the opportunity to earn in America. They shared their experiences with others. There was little Burgenland industry, the large aristocratic holdings no longer provided much day work, and only in the larger cities was work available, requiring expensive weekly travel from village to city and poor lodging. Unemployment and low wages were prevalent. America beckoned - go there, earn and save money and return to buy land and improve status. (Once America was experienced, only about 25% returned.)

On the political side, military service was required and was detested. While most Burgenländers (84%) were of German origin and mostly supported the Habsburgs, many of Hungarian origin desired autonomy for Hungary (part of the Austro/Hungarian Empire after the revolution of 1848). Hungary was granted autonomy except for matters involving the military and foreign affairs. The Hungarian government then required that Hungarian be the official language of government and commerce - called Magyarization. This did not sit well with much of the German and Croatian population who preferred their own language and customs. There was also little governmental concern about emigration (Austrian or US) until numbers of immigrants reached very high levels, resulting in the 1921-22 US immigration quota laws and stiffer Austrian exit requirements. By 1924-25, it was all over and Burgenland emigration did not peak again until the early 1950s, following the devastation of WW-II, when quota restrictions were eased and political immigration allowed. Post-1925 and post-WW-II emigration saw many going to Canada and the South America.

On the pull side, modern steamships made the journey easy and cheap (average $14-25 in steerage, Hamburg-Bremen-Antwerp to New York). A ship carrying thousands of immigrants was a lucrative money source and the steamship companies (Hapag, German-American Lloyd, etc.) built more and larger vessels and opened booking offices in many villages. By 1910, most trans-Atlantic liners exceeded 15000 tons in size, capable of carrying upwards of 2000 passengers. The rise of railroads in both Europe and America made it easy to get to ports of embarkation and places of ultimate destination. Often steamship tickets included railroad fares. Cement, steel, brewery and railroad industries in the US provided work; cheap labor was in great demand and immigrants would work for low pay. Lehigh Valley cement company labor was mostly immigrant labor from Burgenland and their cement built the Panama Canal. Prior German immigrants (the so-called Pennsylvania-Dutch immigrants from the Palatinate and other earlier German immigrants) provided Germanic enclaves (Lehigh Valley of PA, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, etc.) where immigrants could feel at home with people who spoke their language and continued their customs and culture (again, over 80% of Burgenland immigrants spoke German - the balance being Croatian at 14% and the rest Hungarian). As emigration grew, much money was sent back to the Burgenland to pay for passage of relatives and friends. Many men emigrated first and then sent for wives and children. Letters home spoke of the many opportunities available. Immigration "fever" took over in many villages - some villages lost half of their population; in some southern Burgenland districts some villages lost all of their young men. Even today, most villages have populations much smaller than they were in 1883. During the period mentioned, over 40,000 came from the Burgenland (Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, Ternstrom, Harvard Univ Press). It is guessed that perhaps as many as 25% returned and invested their US savings locally (author Puskas).

Most documentation of this migration has been published in German or Hungarian. You may wish to read translated English articles in BB Newsletters 32, 46, 47A, 48 and 51. There is one book in English, which is out of print. Try to find a library copy of Burgenland. A Historical and Geographical Study of Burgenland, A. F. Burghardt, Univ. of Wisconsin Press, Madison: 1962.

I might mention that it's possible that your g-grandparents came from southern Burgenland - the districts of Güssing or Jennersdorf. That "Mulitsch" name was probably spelled "Malitsch" or "Malits." Perhaps you know otherwise. There are many Malits families in Güssing. The name is of Croatian origin dating from 1524 when Croatian refugees were brought to the Burgenland by Franz Batthyány, Ban of Croatia and Lord of Güssing, as they fled Turkish invasion. Unger (of German-Hungarian origin) in that region is as prevalent as Smith in the US. Good luck and let me know how you make out with your paper.



Sunday, August 7: Parish Picnic at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Coplay. Music by the Emil Schanta Band and Flirtin’ with the Mob. Polka Mass at 10:30 AM. Info:

Sunday, August 21: German-American Day at the Reading Liederkranz. Entertainment by the Maria & John Trio, the Reading Liederkranz Singers, the Edelweiss Schuhplattlers, and singers and dancers from other area German clubs. Info:

Sunday, August 21: Summer Dance at the Holy Family Club in Nazareth. Music by the Walt Groller Orchestra. Info:

Sunday, August 28: Coplay Community Days at Coplay Community Park. Music by the Walt Groller Orchestra. Info:


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

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


Rudolf Kedl

Rudolf Kedl, 82, of Clifton, New Jersey, passed away on June 29, 2016.

He was the beloved husband of the late Rolanda (Hanzl) Kedl, loving father of Peter Kedl and daughter-in-law Christine (Andruch) Kedl, dear brother of Maria Feibel-Barich, and devoted grandfather of Ottilia and Alexander Kedl.

Mr. Kedl was born in Moschendorf, Austria and came to the United States in 1963, settling in Passaic. He moved to Clifton in 1970.

He was a Custodian for 27 years at Fritzsche Brothers (BASF) in Clifton.  He was a parishioner of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Passaic and a member of the Burgenländer Sick and Benefit Society.

Funeral from the Marrocco Memorial Chapel 470 Colfax Avenue Clifton on Saturday at 9:15 AM followed by a Funeral Mass at Holy Trinity RC Church at 10 AM. Cremation Private. Visiting today 2-4 and 7-9 PM.

Published in The Record on July 1, 2016

Gisela Winkler (née Deutsch)

On June 30, 2016, Gisela Winkler quietly passed away in the comfort of her new home in Lexington, South Carolina, and in the loving care of her daughter Linda. She was 95 years old.

The first child of Maria (Mild) and Robert Deutsch, Gisela was born in Raabfidisch/Rábafüzes, Hungary in 1920, very near the border of Austria, and her family strongly identified with the German-speaking Burgenland community.

After being displaced from Hungary after WWII, Gisela worked in Germany as a silk weaver and nanny. In 1950, Gisela sailed to the United States aboard the Leerdam 2 via Rotterdam, Netherlands, accompanied by her sister Marie (Mitzi). Shortly after, she began her married and family life after meeting her husband Robert Winkler in Allentown. She continued her work in the textile industry until her retirement in 1985. Throughout her life, Gisela was known for her good nature and fun-loving spirit. She especially loved to sing and dance, and was a member of several Austrian/German social clubs in Allentown. She was also the life of many parties at the family vacation home at White Beauty View Resort, Lake Wallenpaupack, and was a tough competitor in many "bean bag" and "horseshoe" games at home picnics in Allentown. Gisela was the stereotypical "Sunday Driver", and bravely drove every Sunday to Mass at St. Catherine's of Sienna Church. Parking the car was not her strength, so the short walk to church from a large space provided by the Allentown Fairgrounds parking lot provided an acceptable solution. Family was the most important thing in Gisela's life. She remained very close to her brothers and sisters, and was a devoted and loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Gisela saw the goodness in all people, and endured many hardships with a positive and optimistic spirit. She loved all livings things and would delight in the beauty of flowers and her beloved pets.

Survivors: Gisela is preceded in death by her husband, Robert Winkler; parents, Maria (Mild) and Robert Deutsch; and her brother, Emil Deutsch. Gisela is survived by her daughter, Linda Moyer, of Lexington, South Carolina; her son, Robert Winkler, and daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, of Vernon, Connecticut; three granddaughters, Kristen (Michael) Madsen, Loryn (Christopher) Shealy, and Stacy (Marco) Aguiar; and four beautiful great-granddaughters, Edyn, Grace, Myla, and Emily. Gisela is also survived by sisters Berta Kiehstaller and Marie Heidenwolf, with husband Joseph, and her brother Robert Deutsch and wife Terry, all residing in Whitehall, Pennsylvania.

Special thanks to Palmetto Health Hospice for their excellent care to Gisela and her family.  Services: Visitation will be held on July 7, 2016 at Weber Funeral Home 1619 West Hamilton Street in Allentown from 10:00 -11:00 am. A brief service will begin at 11:00 am, immediately followed by burial at Laurel Cemetery in Whitehall, Pennsylvania. Contributions: As a memorial, Gisela would want us all to do some act of random kindness to brighten someone's day the way she did ours.

Published in Morning Call on July 5, 2016

Edmund Schlederer

Edmund Schlederer, 80, of Troy, New York, died Saturday, July 16, 2016 at Rosewood Gardens in East Greenbush. He was the husband of the late Gisela (Kuriatnik) Schlederer for 52 years.

Born on July 21, 1935 in Güssing, Burgenland, Austria, he was the son of the late John and Bertha (Dukovits) Schlederer.

Edmund came to the United States in 1958 at the age of 23, he worked for Paulsen Lumber in Green Island as a foreman, and after retiring he worked for himself, as a subcontractor. Edmund was a lifetime member of the Troy Germania Hall, he served on the board of directors and was also a lifetime member of Troy German American Rod and Gun Club. He was a Fahnenträger and dancer of the Schuhplattler Verein Alpenklang for 25 years. He was also a member of the Transfiguration Parish. Edmund was devoted to his family. He loved his children and grandchildren. He loved all the family gatherings, which were a deep joy to him. His favorite hobby was gardening and was a hardworking family man. He enjoyed many travels with his wife to Europe and the Caribbean.

Edmund is survived by his children, Monika E. Wiwczar, John Schlederer (D'Maria Klee), Edmund F. Schlederer (Karen) all of Troy; his three grandchildren, Peter M. Wiwczar, Senior Airman Jordan E. Correll (Colton), and Camden Rose Schlederer; his sister, Marie Clement (Warren); his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Kurjatnik; two sisters-in-law, Helen Wilkinson (Ronald) of Watervliet and Marianne Leinweber (Gregory) of Troy; also survived by several nieces and nephews. He also deeply loved his bird, "Herbie" and dog, "Willie".

Funeral services will be 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, July 21, 2016 from the McLoughlin & Mason Funeral Home, corner of 109th Street and Third Avenue, Lansingburgh, and at 10 a.m. at Transfiguration Parish, 50 Hillview Drive, Speigletown, with Rev. David Jones officiating. Burial will follow at St. John's Cemetery, Troy. Calling hours will be held Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Troy German American Rod and Gun Club, P.O. Box 212, Wynantskill, NY 12198. Please visit

Published in Albany Times Union on July 19, 2016

Frank Schmidt

Frank Schmidt, 84, of Chicago, Illinois, passed away on July 13, 2016.

Born in Alsórönök (Unterradling), Hungary, he was the beloved husband of Gisela (Preiss) Schmidt.

He was the fond father of Monika (Peter) Kiefer, Marianne (John) Ashton and the late Frank Jr.; proud grandfather of Melissa (Brad) Hull, Kim (Nate) Cummins, Cassie (Wes) Owen, Brian (Melissa) Wilhelm, Chris (Michelle) Wilhelm, stepgrandfather of John (Katie) Ashton and Jordan (Ashley) Ashton; great-grandfather of 12.

Funeral Mass Saturday, July 16, at noon at St. Pascal Church, 3935 N. Melvina Ave. and Irving Park Road, Chicago. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery. Visitation 11:30 a.m. until the time of Mass at St. Pascal Church. Information, Meiszner Funeral Home, 773-736-9000.

Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on July 13, 2016

Frieda Holzgethan

Born March 28, 1925, in Kohfidisch, Austria, passed away quietly in the early afternoon of July 5, 2016 at the Wexford in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She had been missing her husband Alex and her daughter Magrid over the last number of years and was looking forward to heaven.

Visitation will be held at the R.S. Kane Funeral Home (6150 Yonge St., at Goulding, south of Steeles) on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at 11 a.m. in the Chapel. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery.

Published in the Toronto Star on July 9, 2016

Anna H. Fiscella (née Horvath)

Anna H. Fiscella 97, a 4 year resident of Charlotte, North Carolina and a previous lifelong resident of Highland, New York, passed away on June 22, 2016 at the Regency Retirement Village in Charlotte North Carolina.

Mrs. Fiscella was a self employed fruit farmer for many years.

Born in Deutsch Tschantschendorf, Austria on May 23, 1919, she was the daughter of the late Michael and Gisela Horvath.

On April 5, 1959 in Astoria Long Island she married Angelo J. Fiscella. He predeceased her on December 23, 2004.

Survivors include her nieces and nephews, Stephanie Fiscella Cavano of North Carolina, Charles Fiscella, Jr., of Hopkinsville Kentucky, Anna Jesenovec of Alberta, Canada, her cousins, Eleanor Hoffman of Passaic, NJ and Alfred Cherra of PA. Additional survivors include several other nieces, nephews and cousins.

Calling hours will take place on Sunday July 10th from 3-7 pm at the Michael Torsone Memorial Funeral Home, Inc. 38 Main St. Highland, NY 12528. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Monday July 11th 10:00am at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Highland. Burial will follow in Highland Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Disease Foundation 2 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 103 Poughkeepsie, NY 12601-4060. For directions or to send the family an online condolence or sympathy card please visit our website at

Published in the Poughkeepsie Journal from July 8 to July 10, 2016

END OF NEWSLETTER (Even good things must end!)

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