Dedicated to Austrian-Hungarian Burgenland Family History

(Our 11th Year - Issued monthly as email by G. J. Berghold
June 30, 2006
(c) 2006 G. J. Berghold - all rights reserved


Current Status Of The BB:
Members: 1306; Surname Entries: 4512; Query Board Entries: 3541; Newsletter Subscribers: 1039; Newsletters Archived: 152; Staff Members: 16

EMAIL RECIPIENTS PLEASE READ: You are receiving this email newsletter because you are a BB member or have asked to be added to our distribution list. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send email to G. J. Berghold with message "subscribe" or "remove". ("Cancel" will cancel membership, website listings and newsletter.) You cannot send email to this newsletter. If you have problems receiving the newsletter as email, it may be read, downloaded, printed or copied from the BB Homepage. There is also an archive of previous newsletters.

This first section of our 3-section newsletter concerns:

1. 50th Anniversary Burgenländische Gemeinschaft
2. How To Join The Burgenland Bunch - Anna Kresh
3. 1300 Members & Some Remembrance - Hannes Graf
4. A Much Better Method For Searching Immigration Records - Bob Unger


In 1956, Dr. Toni Lantos, a Burgenland educator, established the Gemeinschaft (BG) in order to provide a link with the many Burgenland emigrants and their descendants throughout the world. Through the use of trans-Atlantic visits, a surface mail newsletter and various social affairs, the organization has grown and prospered. It sponsors an annual picnic and links with Burgenland ethnic clubs. A few years ago, it established an internet website and both the website and the newsletter have articles in both German and English. In 1985, Dr. Walter Dujmovits, educator and author, became president and moved the BG headquarters to Güssing. Under his leadership, the organization has become a premier Burgenland link between the old and new worlds. In 1993, I met with Dr. Dujmovits and the seeds of the Burgenland Bunch (BB) were sown. Since that time, both organizations have worked in tandem to provide information and data concerning Burgenland ethnicity. In 2001, a meeting between the leaders of the two organizations established ways to further the goals of both organizations. BB Burgenland editor Klaus Gerger (also a member of the BG Board of Directors with the responsibility for the BG website) was appointed as liaison between the two organizations.

On July 2, the BG will hold its 50th Anniversary picnic in Moschendorf, Burgenland. Representatives from Burgenland groups throughout the world will attend including members of the BB. The BB will be officially represented by Chicago BB editor Tom Glatz (also vice-president of the Chicago BG), who will present Dr. Dujmovits with a plaque supporting the following proclamation:


On this day of July 2, 2006, the Staff and 1300 Worldwide Members of the Burgenland Bunch wish to honor and congratulate the Staff and Members of the Burgenländische Gemeinschaft on the occasion of their 50th Anniversary. We view the Gemeinschaft as the senior organization forging ties with Burgenland immigrants and descendants throughout the world. Through your efforts, you have kept the spirit of the Heimat alive in all those who have  roots in the Burgenland.

We especially wish to honor  Hofrat Dr. Walter Dujmovits for his lengthy and diligent service to this organization as well  his contributions to and support of the work of the Burgenland Bunch. This plaque is given as a token of our great esteem and hope that both organizations may continue to pursue their worthwhile work for many years to come.

Given under my hand and with the best wishes of our organization.

Gerald J. Berghold
Founder &  President
Burgenland Bunch Staff & Members

Auf Deutsch:

Grussbotschaft anlässlich des Jubiläums
"Fünfzig Jahre Burgenländische Gemeinschaft"

An diesem heutigen Tag, dem zweiten Juli zweitausendundsechs, möchten die Mitarbeiter und eintausend-dreihundert Mitglieder des Burgenland Bunch dem Vorstand und den Mitgliedern der Burgenländischen Gemeinschaft anlässlich des fünfzig-jährigen Jubiläums ihre Ehrengrüsse und Gratulationen übermitteln. Wir sehen die Burgenländische Gemeinschaft als die anerkannteste Organisation für das Bilden und Erhalten von engen Beziehungen zu burgenländischen Auswanderern und Nachfahren überall in der Welt. Durch Ihre Anstrengungen haben Sie den Geist der Heimat in allen jenen am Leben erhalten, die ihre Wurzeln im Burgenland haben.

Insbesondere ist es uns auch ein Anliegen, Hofrat Dr. Walter Dujmovits für sein langes und pflichtbewusstes Wirken im Dienste dieser Vereinigung zu ehren, sowie für seine Beiträge zur, und seine Unterstützung der, Arbeit des Burgenland Bunch. Wir überreichen die Plakette als ein Zeichen unserer übergrossen Wertschätzung und sprechen die Hoffnung aus, dass beide Organisationen ihre wertvollen Aktivitäten noch viele Jahre lang werden fortsetzen können.

Diese Grussbotschaft kommt von meiner eigenen Hand, zusammen mit den besten Wünschen von uns allen.

Gerald J. Berghold
Gründer und Präsident,
für die Mitarbeiter und Mitglieder des Burgenland Bunch

   - from Anna Kresh

Anna responds to a friend's question: At the AACS Board meeting you asked me how to join the Burgenland Bunch. The Burgenland Bunch has reached a great milestone. Gerry Berghold (founder) has just released the 150th issue of our BB newsletter. Since this was a special issue (#150), many of the BB staff members wrote special articles for it. There were so many that Gerry had to put it into five email sections, instead of the usual two per month. They are sent on the last day of each month.

You can read/print  the current newsletter (150th) from our BB Home Page, at:  Each month the new current issue will be available there on the Home Page, even to non-members.

On that home page are the following links:
~ Read the 150th Anniversary Newsletter here . . .

~ Burgenland Bunch Invitation Letter
    Anyone proposing to join the BB should read this invitation letter.

~ Join the Bunch using the New Member Information Form
     You simply click on "Send" to submit your data.

~All of our past newsletters are available online at
    There is a wealth of information here.

    - from Hannes Graf

Hannes writes: Hello all, this should have been sent for the 150th Newsletter, but better now then never.

Today I reworked the member list and added the 1300th Member! I checked it a second time and it is exactly 1300! I then remembered how it all began for me and I searched my old hard disk, because I am like a squirrel with Alzheimer's. I don't delete anything, all is saved, but sometimes I don't remember where.

It all began with the BG Moschendorf Picnic in 2001. After coming home on July 8, I was euphoric about the BB and considered what I could do. I had no idea about how to do other programs, except AutoCad, Microsoft Works and Word by using WIN95. So I begin to learn Frontpage and the first thing I did, was to download  the BB members' file from Hap Anderson's web site and sort it alphabetically. There were 717 members in the file. I worked for some days and sent it as an attachment to Hap on July 17th. He answered me and asked if I would like to become the Members Page Editor, but I had no idea about FTP or Webspace or other technical software. I only knew how to sort a member-list. (:-))))))

But I learned and the NEXT day the members' list was online at the lagraf account. So at this time I wasn't "learning by doing," I was "doing by learning!" After some rework, the members' page was online July 20 and the first version of Gerry Berghold's award page was online on the 21st.

So you can see, that only 3 days is necessary to go from being a BB fan and an absolute internet idiot to a full-time BB working page editor.

This is what I remembered with a smile and some melancholy thoughts. The following emails (edited) are from the hidden squirrel's nest.

This is the original of my very first email in July 2001:
Dear Hap, Puuuh!! This was a hard work. You know what I mean? No, you don't. My name is Johannes Graf and I live in Vienna. I do some research for finding relatives, but yesterday and today I do something else. I have reworked your member list of the BB. I have sorted the names in alphabetic order. I have put Gerry in first place, then all others alphabetically. I deleted some duplicates. I don't know how to correct the "Umlaut" problem, so I let it go for now.

I hope you enjoy my work with Frontpage. I renamed it in BURGENNEW.HTML. If you need more help, let me know.

PS: Best wishes for your picnic 2001. Last week, I was in Moschendorf by BG PICNIC 2001 and met GERRY BERGHOLD (ED. Note - and an auspicious meeting it was, from which the BB has benefited enormously!)

And this is 32 hours later: 18 July 19:30
Dear Hap, Some things we can do yesterday, some things take a week, some things one day. I have used the whole day to find out about MY webspace. If you want to see what I mean go to: (links are now broken)

And this at 20 July 2001 11:13
Dear Hap, The final address is as follows:

    -from Bob Unger

When the Ellis Island records became available via the Internet I was so excited— at last, immigration records were available on line—at least that's what I thought at the time. I immediately searched for my relatives, found some, but couldn't find others. So I came to the conclusion that the ancestors that I couldn't find searching the Ellis Island records must have arrived via some other port of entry. A day of enlightenment arrived when I recently attended a local meeting of the German Research Association here in the San Diego area, and heard a presentation by Joan Lowrey about web site This web site greatly enhances the search capabilities offered by Ellis Island. I thought that I had found something new, but when I checked the BB internet links, there it was, Anna Kresh had written:

"Ellis Island - Stephen P Morse - One of the best sources for accessing Ellis Island records; use portal site developed by Steve Morse; especially use his white or gray form to search for arrival manifests; may need to establish an account with password (no charge) when you click to the Ellis Island site; many other genealogy links."

The lesson learned here is that there is so much information available within the BB Web Site that we often are not fully aware of all the resources available. One purpose of this article is to enlighten our members regarding the wealth of information to be found on the BB web site and to take this opportunity to commend our BB web site internet links editor, Anna Kresh, for doing a fantastic job.   

Dr. Morse is an amateur genealogist who has been researching his Russian-Jewish origins for the past few years. His web sites on searching the Ellis Island database and the 1930 census have attracted worldwide attention. In his other life, he is a computer professional who has made a career doing research, development, teaching, consulting, and writing. He is best known as the designer of the Intel 8086 microprocessor (grandfather of today's Pentium processors), which sparked the PC revolution twenty years ago. He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from MIT and enjoys tinkering with electronics.

Dr. Morse first tried using the Ellis Island search engines and found them to be inadequate, saying that he could do better. Since that time, Dr. Morse has created many unique search techniques, and today includes over 100 web-based tools divided into eleven separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations and Israeli phone-book lookups. Dr. Morse provides this service free with the aid of several of his colleagues. In addition, links are provided for searching the USA census records. 

A few of the valuable tools offered by this web site are:
**Search filters making it now possible to enter only part of a persons' surname.  We are reminded that those who recorded the immigration records often made many errors in spelling - so by entering two or three letters of the surname, the results can be very revealing. 
**Another search filter provides an option to the normal male/female searches. It has been found that at times the recorder did not make a check mark for either male or female. In that case, if you were searching for a male ancestor, and male was not checked on the immigration record, an unsuccessful search would result.
**Search techniques and links are provided so one can search the Family History records and the US census records. To obtain copies of the census records, a link is provided to  (membership may be required) or one can go to their local Family History Center and use their computer system which often includes free access to the files. 
**The web site provides references and cross references to various genealogical film numbers.
**Finding the census district for your ancestor is also made easier using this web site. 
**The census takers used coded letters - Dr. Morse provides meaning to those codes, allowing us to decipher them.

Take the time to explore this fascinating web site; it could be most helpful. 

To accurately assess the benefits of this web site, I filled in the information about my Grandfather on Dr. Morse's search form - bingo - there appeared the response that I had spent years looking for. I next logged onto the Ellis Island web site, inserting into their search form the same data about my Grandfather - no match - no useful info. To me, that proved that Dr. Morse had indeed found better techniques for searching the Ellis Island records. 

I next tried to find information about my Grandmother's immigration records.  Again, I had previously tried using the Ellis Island records with no success. But, using Dr. Morse's search form, I inserted my Grandmother's first name Marie, and only the first three letters of her surname, plus the approximate years of arrival, age, etc. and got two responses, one of which I consider to have a 95% probability of being my Grandmother's immigration record. 
This proved to me that Dr. Morse's web site  is far superior to that offered by the Ellis Island web site. Dr. Morse and his colleagues have developed tools, that can find Ellis Island information that cannot be obtained by using the Ellis Island search engines. If you want more thorough information about your ancestor's Ellis Island immigration records, try this exciting web site.

Newsletter continues as number 152A.

(Our 11th Year - issued monthly as email by G. J. Berghold
June 30, 2006
(c) 2006 G. J. Berghold - all rights reserved

This second section of our 3-section newsletter concerns:

1. Take Your Research To New Heights - With A Burgenland Tour
2. More Use Of The Steven Morse Website (from Bob Unger)
3. Burgenland Keppel Descendant Pitching In The Big Leagues
4. Austrian Student Prepares Immigrant Questionnaire
5. Surnames Ending In "its" Again
6. Burgenland Immigrant Rail Trips To Embarkation Ports
7. Taste Of The Burgenland - Baked Buckwheat Sterz

by Tara Loftus

You've done the research. Now make the journey.

Greetings Burgenland Bunch members and friends. My name is Tara Loftus and I have been a member of the BB since 2001. I discovered the BB while researching my Bavarian German ancestors from Illmitz, a small village located in the Northern Burgenland near the Neusiedler See. My ancestors were Schwarzbauers and Grafs and they immigrated to St. Paul, Minnesota through Ellis Island in the late 19th century. I am indebted many times over to Gerry Berghold and his "team" of compilers for their extensive and diverse resources on this area. My research truly came alive with the help of the BB!

When I'm not doing genealogy, I organize international group tours for Group Travel Directors, a travel company based in Minneapolis. Thus, I find myself in the delightful position to marry two of my lifelong loves: genealogy and travel.

I've proposed to Gerry Berghold the idea of a BB-sponsored tour to the Burgenland, highlighting a specific district, be it Gussing, Jennersdorf or Neusiedl am See or one of the other four districts. With BB members researching hundreds of surnames in 425 villages, we agreed such an ancestral tour would be of interest to many. In addition to villages, churches, cemeteries, local wineries, and the Burgenland Immigrants Museum in Gussing, the nearby capital cities of Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest would also offer spectacular sightseeing opportunities. There's no doubt the sunny Burgenland and its vicinity have much to offer visitors!

I am seeking feedback on this idea. Would you be interested in a group tour to the Burgenland? Perhaps you have area expertise and would like to lead a tour to a certain district? If this is the case, please contact me by phone (800-747-2255, ext. 109) or e-mail (tloftus(a) Personally, I can't think of a better way to celebrate the sense of community the BB has fostered over the last ten years.

Group Travel Directors has been enriching lives through travel since 1982 and would be thrilled to organize a tour for the BB. After taking 22 members of my own family back to Illmitz in 2004, I cannot return to the beautiful Burgenland soon enough!

In the spirit of Gemütlichkeit,

Tara Loftus, Group Tour Specialist
Group Travel Directors
Minneapolis, MN
800-747-2255 or 952-881-7811, ext. 109

(Note from Gerry Berghold: I often thought about taking a group of BB members to the Burgenland. It would require some expertise not ordinarily found in tour concerns. Members will want to see their villages of origin and sights known to their immigrant ancestors. In order to meet expectations, it may be necessary to limit attendees to a particular district (one of seven). It would be difficult (but not impossible) to visit many villages in the north, middle and south of Burgenland on the same tour. Likewise it would be hard to guarantee visits to record archives, but the tour could guarantee that you would see the places familiar to your ancestors, walk where they walked, worship where they worshipped, visit historical sites they saw and experience what is left of their culture. My age and health precludes my leading a tour. If any of you would like to lead one or have Group Travel Directors lead one, please contact Tara Loftus. I will be glad to advise any group contemplating such a tour. Capital cities should be included.

The BB has no commercial connection with Group Travel Directors or any other firm and cannot be held accountable or responsible for their actions. The above offer is published only as a courtesy and an item of interest to members. You take part in such a group tour at your own risk. If interested, we suggest you contact Tara soon.)

    - from Bob Unger

The following is a bit of personal family data concerning the use of the website.  The search revealed, from the ship manifest, that my Grandfather, Johann Unger, was one of a group of five men coming from and going to the same location:

Bauer, Sameul                  age 32
Kogelmann, Joseph           age 29
Vollmann, Joseph              age 18
Unger, Johann                   age 20
Wagner, Josepf                 age 39

I checked the Burgenland Bunch surname list and found that a member was researching the surname Vollmann. I emailed this member, Craig Vollmann, and learned from him that the Joseph Vollmann listed was his Grandfather and that he was a resident of Rudersdorf - the exact same village as Grandfather Johann Unger. So, it appears that these five men knew each other and left the Rudersdorf area at the same time to come to the USA. Grandfather Unger journeyed on from Allentown and ultimately settled in the Pittsburgh area.

Joseph Kogelmann (above) raises another interesting question. My research shows that one of my Grandfather's sister's grandchildren married a Kogelmann from Rudersdorf. I'm now checking to determine the relationship between the Joseph Kogelmann listed above with the Kogelmann's I know are my relatives.

Genealogy sure is interesting - there is always something new to learn.

(ED. Note - Bob and Alice Unger will soon be celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary on a Grand Circle Travel barge touring Alsace-Lorraine.)


BB member writes: Robert Keppel, who is descended from Keppels who came from Strem, has made his debut in the majors. See the following link to the Kansas City Star:
This Robert Keppel has no known close ties to my family but Strem is very close to where my Köppel antecedents came from, namely Inzenhof. However, his family lives in our neighborhood and they go to our church.


Dear member of the Austrian community in the US. My name is Stefan Lerch, PhD student at the Department of History and Political Science at the University of Salzburg. One part of my PhD thesis in History is a study on Immigration, Integration and Identity of Austrian Immigrants in Traditional Immigration Societies such as the US, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand, etc. during the Second Half of the 20th Century. Since it is not possible to go to every single one of the above mentioned countries, I decided to base one big part of my study on a questionnaire sent by email. The idea is to get personal life stories of Austrian emigrants who found their way to the States in the last 55 years and I am sure that every single story is worthy of being told (so don't think yours is not). Your life before you left Austria, the motivation to do so, difficulties with integration in the US, etc.; all these stories of your life as an immigrant are of interest. Therefore I created a questionnaire that is mainly based on questions which are open ended; so write as much as you like.

The idea of the project is not to get filled-out forms from every single
Austrian immigrant to the States (the analysis puts the emphasis on the personal life stories and not on statistics and numbers), but for sure that does not mean that a huge number of response letters would not make me happy (so if you know other Austrian-American friends or acquaintances, fell free to forward this letter and the questionnaire by mail or printed). Finally I want to say THANKS to all those who help me to get the project realized.

Yours sincerely, Stefan Lerch
Surface mail: Stefan Lerch, Oberkrimml 4, 5743 Krimml, Austria

P.S. The questionnaire is attached to the email (in German and English).

(ED. Note: The questionnaire is too large to be included in the BB  newsletter as it would take up more than a full section. If you are an immigrant and would like to take part in this study, please contact Stefan Lerch and request an email copy of the questionnaire, available in both German & English.)


Correspondent writes: Do you know anything about the surname Zarahovits? Is that usually Jewish? Are all surnames that end in "vits" Jewish?

Reply: No. Some surnames ending in "its" are Jewish but not all. To understand this you must know something about how surnames have developed. Hebrew surnames are Hebraic in scope-biblical (the name given at birth). In the 14th & 15th centuries, when surnames were required for common people, the Jews were not interested in giving up their Hebraic names (e.g., David ben Israel). They were forced to do so, many taking names of places they resided (e.g., Rosenberg), items in nature (e.g., Stern or Star), etc. Those who didn't assume a name were given one by the authorities. Some also took names similar to the non-Jews where they lived. In Slavic regions, they used the "son of - child of" method, with "its", "vits", "ovich", "ovits" endings meaning "child of." Thus Zarahovits means descendant of Zarah. Many orthodox Jews in Christian countries still recognize two names-biblical and common.

Most Burgenland Croatian names end in "its" but I have not encountered Zarahovits; thus it may well be Jewish. If Jewish, the Zaraovits may have come from the Balkans (Croatia) but they also may have come from Eastern Europe-Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc. - so-called Ashkenazi as opposed to the Spanish and Balkan Sephardin Jews. The only way to know for sure is to trace your family. If Jewish, you should certainly check out a Jewish website, getting back to us if you find your family also resided in the Burgenland area or in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On the other hand, if your family is Roman Catholic, you should check a Croatian website.

   - suggested by Anna Kresh

Anna asks about the rail routes used by immigrants...

Reply: Anna, after looking at some old Baedeckers, I'd ignore Innsbruck as a stop on your immigrants' journey; it looks more like Vienna-Linz-Salzburg-Munich-Cologne-Brussels-Antwerp. My German Baedecker is from 1883; an Austrian one from 1900. The 1883 shows some proposed lines which may have been used connecting to Innsbruck, but I doubt it as they swung too far south connecting Zurich-Strasbourg-Paris-Le Havre-Brest. Dujmovits evades this issue - his book shows only broad arrows connecting Vienna with the major ports. There were three major routes; north to Bremen-Hamburg ports via Passau, the western one I show above to Antwerp and later LeHavre-Brest and even later a southern one Zagreb-Graz-Trieste to Genoa. Some ships stopped at Southhampton as well. I'm sure the steamship agents supplied the route as well as the tickets, using the cheapest available. It would be nice to find some exact itineraries. Most of our immigrants knew little geography and most probably had only the foggiest notion of their route other than village of origin-Budapest-Vienna-port of embarkation-New York-Allentown, etc.

In earlier days the river routes: Danube-Passau-to Ulm, then overland to the Main and the Rhine were also used but not economical or fast enough after 1890.

    - Berghold & Strauch

Correspondent writes: I was reading your Burgenland Bunch archives and noticed a mention of buckwheat sterz - the baked dish - all my aunts remember it but noone has the recipe. I would greatly appreciate your sending it to me.

Reply: Sterz is about as plain a food as you can prepare. Flour (buckwheat, corn, wheat) and water (milk) fat and salt cooked different ways. See Schmidl recipes following this article. None of my books carry this baked version. Nonetheless, my grandmother (in Allentown, who was from the Güssing area) made a baked version like you describe, her recipe follows:

4 slices bacon (or equivalent amount of lard)
2 cups Buckwheat flour
1 quart regular milk (water may also have been used)
1 or 2 tsp salt

Fry bacon until crisp (reserve 1 tbsp of bacon fat for batter). Mix flour, milk, salt and 1 tbsp fat into a batter (note - the batter should pour but not be too runny). Heat remaining fat in baking pan (11x17). Pour batter in hot pan (fat should sizzle) and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. Sterz should be browned and crisp on top, bottom and edges. Remove pan and cut Sterz in squares; lift out with spatula. Eat immediately. We never used jelly on Sterz, but why not. We also added bacon bits from above to batter, but not necessary. It is my experience that amount of fat is critical - too much and it's too greasy - too little and it doesn't brown. Lard may be best. Bacon gives nice flavor. We ate this with soup.

Alois Schmidl in his cookbook "The Cooking of Burgenland" has the following (not baked):

Buckwheat "Sterz" - "Hoadnsterz"

1 pound buckwheat flour
1/2 pound pork fat
1 1/4 cups water
1 tbsp salt

Add salt to water and bring to boil. Add flour all at once - big dumpling. Cook for ten minutes - turn over and cook for another ten minutes. Drain leaving 1/2 cup water in pot. Using two forks, tear dumpling apart into small lumps. Heat fat until hot and pour over sterz, stir and fry until hot. Serve immediately.

(ED Note: I ate this version on a trip to Jennersdorf. It was served in a bowl with the soup course I ordered. I was told to spoon it into the soup as an "einladen.")

Variations; cook poppy seeds in butter and sprinkle over Sterz; serve Sterz with milk; make Weinsterz by pouring hot wine over Sterz cooked as above and steam in oven until wine has evaporated.

See BB news numbers 81B, 82B, 126 and 127C for more Sterz recipes.

Lehigh Valley Editor Bob Strauch then sent me the following:

A Sterz which consists of a batter baked in the oven is generally called an Ofensterz. In the Steiermark they are called a Tommerl or a Nigl, depending on region, and can be made with or without yeast.

The following recipe is from "Vom Essen auf dem Lande" by Franz Maier-Bruck, the bible of Austrian regional cooking and culinary lore.


250 grams buckwheat flour or cornmeal
1/2 liter liquid (milk, water, buttermilk, mineral water)
pinch of salt
1 egg (optional)
100 grams fat

Mix all the ingredients except the fat to form a thin batter. Pour into a greased pan to a 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness. Bake.

Yeast is often added, especially if the flour used is fine-textured. For the yeast variety, add to the above ingredients: 20 grams yeast, dissolved in lukewarm milk and a little sugar. Leave rise in pan for 1/2 hour before baking.

Newsletter continues as number 152B.

(Our 11th Year - issued monthly as email by G. J. Berghold
June 30, 2006
(c) 2006 G. J. Berghold - all rights reserved

This third section of our 3-section newsletter concerns:

1. Second Trip To Burgenland & Vicinity - A Good Itinerary
2. More On Hannersdorf & Croatian Migration
3. Recent Obituaries Concerning Ethnic Burgenland Families
4. Meixner Ethnic Music Site Refurbished

Member Barbara Groh sends the following (edited)

Our European Trip May 3 - 14, 2006
This was our second trip to Burgenland, having visited in September 2001. During that first visit we visited all the churches and cemeteries of my ancestors. All four of my grandparents were born in Burgenland. We revisited many of our relatives again during this trip.

Wednesday, May 3rd
We had departed the previous evening at 6:15 p.m. from JFK on an Austrian Air flight to Vienna. My cousin (through a second marriage of my great aunt) Rainer was there to meet us at the Vienna airport. We stopped to see St. Laurent Roman Catholic Church in the Simmering district where my great grandparents, Franz and Marie Ertl, were married in 1897. We drove to a mountain on the north side of the city where we could see the entire area; however it was a little hazy.  After driving around the Ring section of Vienna, we returned to Rainer's apartment where we had a snack and prepared for the following day.

Thursday, May 4th
Left Vienna about 7:30 a.m. and drove to Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland.  We viewed the Esterhazy Castle and walked around the village. It was very quaint and clean. We drove through the village of Rust and saw the storks on the chimneys. We visited the Neusiedler See where we observed the little cabins used by vacationers. Many of these cabins are accessible only by small wooden walkways. We crossed into Hungary and first visited Fertod. We toured the Esterhazy summer palace, built in the 1700's. It had been abandoned by the Esterhazy family many years ago but it is now being restored. It also was used during World War II. We then drove to Sopron and walked around the old town section. We then visited Koszeg. This was another old historical city that had many beautiful buildings. It had a Heroes Gate and Jurisica Castle. We then headed back to Austria where we were to have supper in Bocksdorf (village of my maternal grandmother) with Luise, Oma (who is actually my great aunt) and Rainer's parents, Rosa and Hans. After a nice visit, Luise and Rainer drove us to Luise and Franz's chalet where Ron and I would sleep for the next four nights.  The chalet was located in their orchards.

Friday, May 5th
Rainer picked us up at the Chalet and we had breakfast with Luise and Franz.  We toured Frelichtmuseum Ensemble in Gerersdorf, which is an open air museum that features many old buildings. The buildings were transported there from various villages in the area. Many had thatched roofs which were common in Burgenland (my grandmother said their house had a thatched roof). There were barns, typical period houses, pigsty, wine cellars, winepress house, smith and joiner workshops and other buildings. After this tour we went to lunch in a nearby village. After being here several days. we realized many Austrians have their big meal at noon. We tried to visit the Emigration museum but it was closed. We tried to visit the Burg, however the elevator to the top was not working and we decided it would be too strenuous to walk up. We then drove to Mogersdorf and visited the site of a huge battle with the Turks in 1664. The Turks were on one side of the Raab River and the Imperial troops were on the other side during this battle. The Turks lost this battle along with 12,000 men. The Christians only lost 2,000.  There is a huge cross on this site. Afterwards we visited the wine trail in Heiligenbrunn. Here there were many grape orchards and small wine houses.  Many of the buildings had thatched roofs. We stopped at one and we had a couple of wine spritzers and snacks. Ron and I had Topfenaufstrichbrot, which was a buttery cream cheese and chives on a large slice of delicious bread. We then returned to Franz and Luise's and shortly afterward went to the chalet for the night. Franz had put wood in the big ceramic stove so it was nice and warm.

Saturday, May 6, 2006
We visited the Stubits family in St. Kathrein (village of my maternal grandfather).  Rainer and Daniela Stubits, did a great job translating. We had also visited them in 2001 at which time we visited the cemetery and church. Eduard and Josephina Stubits then took us to lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards we headed to Gussing. We visited the Emigration Museum, which had pictures and artifacts of Burgenlanders who emigrated to America. The person who gave us the tour turned out to be a schoolmate of my cousin, Luise. We then drove to Tobaj to visit the Richters (Julia Dergosits Richter is related through my father's mother's side).  Afterwards we went to Rainer's parent's house and visited with them.

Sunday, May 7th
We visited the cemetery and walked to the church in Bocksdorf. (This was the church of my grandmother, Mary Ertl.) A special mass was said for the volunteer firemen. Afterwards, we went to the firehouse for frankfurters and beverages. There was a big family gathering in Bocksdorf. Later in the afternoon, several of us went for a walk by the woods. They showed us their plots where they get the wood for their stoves. Many families have wood plots outside the village.

Monday, May 8th
We left the chalet at 6:30 a.m. and stopped to say our goodbyes. We then headed to the Danube Bend. Riding through Hungary was not particularly scenic.  What we thought would take four hours took 6 1/2 hours since there was a lot of traffic near Budapest and we mistakenly took the wrong road at one point. We finally arrived in Szentendre, Hungary. I checked out some shops and bought a table cover and paprika. We drove to Visegrad where we toured the castle. The view from the castle was beautiful. We stopped briefly in Esztergom. We visited the cathedral (the largest in Hungary). We couldn't find a restaurant so we decided to head towards Gyor. We stayed at the Hotel Kalvaria where we had a very delicious meal.

Tuesday, May 9th
We headed for Bratislava (Slovakia). The inner city was beautiful and dates back to 907. Many buildings were over a thousand years old. We took a half-hour bus tour where we saw many of the back streets and the buildings' histories were explained. We then walked up to the Bratislava Castle, built around the 9th century. It is very large and overlooks the town. Afterwards, we returned to Old Town and had lunch at an outdoor café (there were many). We then stopped at a few shops and left Bratislava. After crossing the border into Austria, we stopped at Carnuntum, site of a Roman winter camp dating back to 6 AD. The site developed into a metropolis and at one time had 50,000 inhabitants. There we saw ancient foundation ruins of some of the buildings erected by the Romans. We also saw the Heidentor, which was once the southwest entrance to the Roman city. This is also a popular spa area.

Wednesday, May 10th
After breakfast, we left for the Wachau region of the Danube Valley. Our first stop was Krems. We toured the historic district, although there were a lot of modern stores in the old buildings. We saw the Steinertor (gate). We then drove to Durnstein. We walked around this village and saw many beautiful buildings, including a blue church. There was a castle on the mountain above the town but it would have been too strenuous to hike the trail. Richard the Lionheart was once imprisoned in this castle. We passed many impressive grape orchards while driving to our next stop - Spitz. Again, we toured this village, which has been occupied since Celtic times and first mentioned in records in 830. The local church, St. Maurice, contained beautiful statues of the Apostles from 1380. We crossed the Danube near Melk to visit Burg Aggstein, a 12th century castle. This was a very interesting self-guided tour. There was also a magnificent view of the Danube valley. We then drove to Melk to visit the Benedictine Abbey. This palace was built in the late 900's and was the residence of the Babenberg's, Austria's first ruling family. It was given to the Benedectine monks in 1089. We drove to Friestadt where we thought we would spend the night, but we could not find a room (there was some sort of legal convention). So we drove to Rainbach, several miles north, and found a gasthof.

Thursday, May 11th
We headed to Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic, where we spent some time before heading back to Rainbach again - this time at the Gasthof Greul. 

Friday, May 12th
Drove to Linz and visited Postlingberg outside the city. We visited a large baroque church from the 18th century. We then drove to Mauthausen, east of Linz. There is a quarry in this area and, because of this, the Germans had a concentration camp nearby during the years of World War II. Over 100,000 prisoners died or were executed at this facility. We returned to Rainer's apartment in Vienna after which we took the streetcar downtown to see a concert at Rathausplatz, located between the City Hall and Burg Theatre. I finally tasted a Sachertorte.

Saturday, May 13th
After breakfast, we took the streetcar to the Nachtsmarket and Flohmarket. It was very crowded. I bought pumpkin oil, a couple of table covers, and a small bottle of wine. We then took a streetcar to the area around St. Stephen's. We stopped for ice cream across from the cathedral and enjoyed watching the people and gazing at the cathedral.

Sunday, May 14th
Had breakfast with Rainer and headed for the airport. I purchased three boxes of candy at the duty free shop. The check-in lines were long and once you went through the security line you were not allowed to leave the area.

The trip was very enjoyable. We had good weather every day except for the first Sunday when it was a bit cool and drizzled for the first half of the day. Austria has so many small quaint villages. We noticed that many farmhouses, especially in Upper Austria, are built in a square with courtyards in the center. Many of the buildings were quite large, but the animals were also housed in sections. We were very fortunate to have a family member with us during our tour. Rainer did all of the driving and was our translator. We will indeed have many good memories of this trip.

It always amazes my husband that most Europeans do not use ice in their beverages. Some restaurants did give ice if you requested it. Bottled water is very popular and comes with various degrees of carbonation. When shopping in grocery stores most people bring their own bags as they aren't provided unless you pay for them. You place your groceries into your bag while the cashier is ringing up your order. They don't have the super size grocery stores we have here in the U.S. as most people buy enough only for several days. The rolls we had throughout Austria were FANTASTIC. One more tip - don't forget to bring washcloths if staying at pensions or at a gasthof as they generally are not provided.

(ED Comment: What is most interesting about this trip is that the Grohs were not only able to visit the Burgenland but the surrounding area as well. This is a good itinerary for anyone capable of driving a car overseas. It would be well to know a little German. The Grohs were fortunate in having a relative as chauffer and interpreter.)


John Kornfeind writes: Thank you again and again for you very fine newsletters. I anxiously await your comments and the other contributors work, even if it does not pertain directly to the research I am doing. My understanding grows each and every time I view these writings.

I appreciate your answer to the gentleman from Georgia on Hannersdorf, where my Burgenland ancestors originate. I knew some of this, but not the whole story as you related it. Thanks!

In relation to your piece on Croatian Migration, I just finished reading a translation of "Die Deutschen in Syrmien, Slavonien, Kroatien und Bosnien" by Dr. Valentin Oberkersch, translated by Henry A. Fischer.

This is off the DVHH - Danube Swabian Heritage site - for the village of Hrastovac -Eichendorf. The site is maintained by village coordinator Rosina T. Schmidt.

This comes from researching Marie Hockl - my grandmother's ancestors in the Banat.

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    - from Bob Strauch

Anna T. Walakovits, 82 of Allentown, formerly of Catasauqua and Whitehall, died Saturday May 27, 2006 in Cedarbrook, South Whitehall Township. She was the wife of the late Joseph Walakovits Sr. Born in Mogersdorf, Burgenland, Austria she was the daughter of the late Edward and Ida (Kloiber) Schrey.

Elsa K. Farr, 92, of Allentown, died June 17, 2006 in her home. She was the wife of the late Harvey L. Farr, who was the owner and operator of the former Farr Brothers shoe store, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Reading. Born in New York, she was the daughter of the late Josef and Theresa (Czar) Berghold.

    - from Al Meixner

It took quite a bit of work but I finally got the new 2006 #2 catalog online. The bright blue color on the home page should really open your eyes. By the way, that's how you can tell a new catalog season has begun... new background color on my home page  

I'm sure you'll find something to your liking in the catalog. We have new releases by Tom Brusky & Dick Tady and we even have a 2 CD set of tamburitza music.  Be sure to check out the news & reviews page in the Al Meixner Trio section of our site. I'm trying to keep up to date with comments about our tour travels around the country.


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