The News
Dedicated to Austrian-Hungarian Burgenland Family History


June 30, 2011, © 2011 by The Burgenland Bunch
All rights reserved. Permission to copy excerpts granted if credit is provided.

Our 15th Year, Interim Editor: Thomas Steichen

The Burgenland Bunch Newsletter is issued monthly online.
It was founded by Gerald Berghold (who retired in Summer 2008 and died in August 2008).

Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 1946 * Surname Entries: 6678 * Query Board Entries: 4630 * Number of Staff Members: 17


This newsletter concerns:









9) ETHNIC EVENTS (courtesy of Bob Strauch, Kay Weber & Margaret Kaiser)

10) BURGENLAND EMIGRANT OBITUARIES (courtesy of Bob Strauch)

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

The theme of this month's newsletter is member interactions. The Burgenland Bunch was established as a mechanism to allow interaction among researchers interested in the genealogy and history of the Western Hungarian region that is now mostly known as the Austrian province of Burgenland. Although our website stores extensive information of value about this region, I believe that our greatest benefit is providing the opportunity for interaction among members and with our knowlegeable staff. This newsletter features such interactions.

Articles 2 through 7 all discuss either member research or their comments on recent articles. All cover some aspect of genealogical or historical research that should prove useful to the membership at large. If nothing else, many of them point out that the staff remains quite capable of jump-starting stalled or new research. So, if your Burgenland-related research efforts are floundering, please consider contacting the staff with as much detail as you have. Perhaps we can get you restarted again!


he remaining articles are our standard sections, though this month's Historical Newsletter Article, not so coincidentally, is one written by a member 10 years ago. In addition we have the Ethnic Events and Emigrant Obituaries sections.


No July Newsletter -- As indicated elsewhere, there will not be an end-of-July newsletter. I will be away on various vacations for over half the month and, so far, my creative muse has not conjured up anything worth writing about for July's edition... it evidently needs a vacation too! However, look for Newsletter 212 at the end of August.


Robert (Bob) Paulson, a BB member from St. Paul, Minnesota, recently donated a Burgenländischen Landesarchiv publication to the BB. While I have privately thanked him for the contribution, this article is a public "thank you" on behalf of the BB... so Bob, thank you from all of us!

Bob wrote: Greetings from the North Star State. Am I correct in saying that you also have your roots in the beautiful state of Minnesota? Stearns County, I believe. It's a different world up in "Stearns"! There are also several Steichen families here in St. Paul. Are you related?

I have an offer that you can't refuse! Some years ago, my wife, my mother and I were in Burgenland tracing my wife's family, Fangel (Fangl), in the village of Andau in northern Burgenland. While on our pilgrimage we also were in Eisenstadt and had the opportunity to visit the Landesarchiv. I was able to purchase a copy of "Allgemeine Landestopographie Des Burgenlandes," Volume #1, "Der Verwaltungsbezirk Neusiedl Am See." This 500 page book is a virtual encyclopedia of the history and culture of northern Burgenland, containing, among other things, a wealth of information on every village in the area.

The book is in German, and seeing that my German is very limited, I am not able to get the full value from the book. I am, therefore, offering to donate it to Burgenland Bunch to be used as a reference for the Newsletter.

If you are interested, I would be happy to mail it to you. What is your mailing address?

[Ed. Note: My German is also limited, though my reading of it is much better than either my writing or speaking capabilities. I've already noted a number of little nuggets in the text... for example, in writing about Wallern in the 1650s, the authors say:

"Um diese Zeite schickte Graf Paul Esterházy Stäbe in die Gemeinde mit die Aufforderung, katholisch zu werden oder den Wanderstab zu ergreifen. Auf diese Weise wurde die Siedlung wieder katholisch."

My translation is:

"About this time, Count Paul Esterházy sent sticks into the town with the call to become Catholic or to take the walking stick. In this way, the settlement was once again Catholic."

I'm not sure who found the most humor in that approach, Esterházy or the book's authors, but it does show both enjoyed silly stuff now and then... however, the authors go on to note that Wallern's priest of 1734 complained, even yet then, "that the Catholic faithful know no songs; they have to sing the old Lutheran songs... if you want to sing at all!" So perhaps the villagers had the last laugh on Esterházy!]

Bob goes on: Now I have a few questions: The Fangl family left Andau in 1889. I have not been able to find their passenger list. A large group also left Andau a year earlier and arrived in the port of New York on 16 April 1888 aboard the "Leerdam" from Amsterdam. I also heard the folks fro this area of Burgenland left from the port of LeHavre. Can you help with this?

I have done a great deal of research into my mother's family who originated from the boarder area of Bohemia. They were German speakers who immigrated to the New Ulm area of Minnesota. I have found a wealth of material in various archives in the Czech Republic. In addition to church records and census records, I have found marriage contracts, probate records, land transfers and abstracts, cadastral maps and tax records. Is this type of record also available for the area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that later became Burgenland? Where would one look to find these records.

Maybe some of your staff can enlighten me!


I replied: Hi Bob, roots are definitely in Stearns County, though my immediate vine re-rooted down in Meeker County (Litchfield). I'm the bit of pollen that started new roots in North Carolina (and now in DC and NYC).

As for Steichens in St. Paul, yes, for those families we can track back far enough, we all come from the couple who apparently created the current spelling of the name in the late 1500s in Luxembourg. I've tied in most of the St. Paul branches (though we are often distant cousins... 8th, 9th or more!).

You are right... I can't refuse! Mailing address is: [redacted].

Given your ancestral location and interest in Neusiedl, you'll like next month's newsletter... We have articles on Neusiedlersee and the Heideboden... Andau is, of course, influenced by both! Now I'm worried that this book will contradict what we wrote!

[Ed. Note: given the typical publishing lag, those articles actually appeared two months ago in Newsletter 209; while I haven't searched this book carefully yet, I've not stumbled on any contradictions so far!]

As far as ports and ship lists, I've never really worked that route much so don't know a lot. Obviously, your people were pre-Ellis Island, and the Castle Garden site shows nothing for Fangl or Fangel... but spelling errors and lost/damaged records could be at fault. Of course, they could have come in via another port (my mother's paternal side came in via New Orleans, for example). By the way, in your BB Surname listing, we have 1887 as year of immigration... do we need to fix this?

The cadastral maps and tax records are the basis for the BB houselist project run by Klaus Gerger. The houselist for Andau, a recent online addition, shows Michael and Ignatz Fangl as property owners in 1856 Andau. These records come from the Katastralmapenarchiv in Eisenstadt. Whether the other types of records (marriage contracts, probate records, land transfers and abstracts) are available, I'll leave to Klaus to answer (I copied him on this reply), though I suspect some of those might be in the Eszterházy family archives. If Klaus can't give a clear answer, I'll inquire further among the BB staff.

Thanks for writing, Bob, and for the offer of the book. I'll look forward to examining it. Perhaps Klaus or others can provide you with more information on your Fangl search!


Klaus replied, saying: These are the sources I know of:

Cadastral maps and detailed lists are available at the Cadastral Archive in Vienna. (I'm a frequent visitor to this archive, so here I can help you). Records for land transfers are kept at the Local district courts (Grundbuch) and at the Landesarchiv in Eisenstadt.

There are several Tax records in the Landesarchiv (see here) but not for Andau.

In this list (, you can see (grouped by villages) what is available in the Landesarchiv for Andau.

The Urbare (tax records) are kept in the "Herrschaftsarchiv" of the family, but I do not know where this is for the Habsburg-owned villages (Erzherrzog Albrecht). On the Arcanum site you can find the 1715 Urbar of Andau:

[Ed Note: there are 1715 Hungarian Urbare on the Arcanum site for other villages too. Use link then click on the folder icon beside text "Az 1715. évi országos összeírás." You'll get a list of Megye (Counties). Click on the folder icon for the County of interest and you'll get a list of villages (listed by their Hungarian names)... click a village page icon and you'll get a page showing the transcribed Urbar and links (page numbers) to digital images of the original pages.]

The conscription of 1828 is available via LDS microfilm (e.g. 0623007 for VAS).

I hope this is at least a little bit of help for you. Best regards from Austria.


Bob sent a follow-up message to me: The Neusiedl book is in the mail. Let me know when you receive it.

I have the Chronik Andau and did learn that the Fangl family was very poor. They were a listed as "Kleinhäusler" with only one pig for animals. They emigrated with several of their relatives in 1889.

That is basically all that I know of their economic situation. I certainly would like to "flesh-out" the bones of their genealogy.


I replied: Hi Bob, the book arrived a few days ago but I’ve been tied up in transferring all my computer stuff from my old XP desktop to a new, much faster and larger, Windows 7 laptop. I have so many (old) programs and customizations that it is a multi-day job to get everything functioning... I think I’m about 90% done now and will be able to continue functioning in my new configuration (I was concerned about compatibility of a lot of my tools!).

This book appears to be either the source, or written from the sources, the BB used for village histories. I haven’t checked (yet) whether it is our source, but I know the material is highly similar. It does have a nice history of the local nobility as well as many pictures that might come in handy. Thanks for contributing it.

What were the ages of your family at the time they were Kleinhäuslers? If they were retirement age, this would not be an unusual status. Likewise, if they were quite young and just starting out, it would not imply a lot; one needs to consider the status of the parents (or children) too. We all pretty much start our adult lives not owning a business and also end up that way... being a farmer was a high-status business in the 1800s and farms were passed from generation to generation... where in that cycle an individual was also affected his status title. So, do look at the whole family status before concluding too much about one generation at a particular time.

[Ed Note: the above is an argument Gerry Berghold put forth in a 2001 article, reprinted last month as part of article #9.]


In a separate thread, Bob replied to Klaus: Hi Klaus, thank you very much for your information. When you are at the Cadastral Archive in Vienna, I would very much appreciate it if you could obtain a cadastral map of the village of Andau and the detailed list of inhabitants. I would be happy to reimburse you for any costs involved.

Do you know of any researcher that I could hire to look into the records contained in the Landesarchiv in Eisenstadt for information about my Fangl family? I have attached an copy of the information that I have accumulated thus far.

Thank you again for your help.


Klaus replied: Hi Bob, I got the map today, you can download it from here: [redacted]. I added some legends and, to be sure, the house list. To use the list as a reference is the only way to find house numbers on the map. Please let me know when I can delete the file on the server. Please note that the license I purchased for you does not allow publishing (Internet or print).


Like so many of the interactions of BB staff with members, lots of information, potentially useful to other members, was revealed. Do investigate the sources Klaus has shared!


A recent new member application resulted in more information for the B&HR (Burgenlanders Honored and Remembered) project, a new house list transcriber for Klaus Gerger's Houselist project, and a successful ancestor search! What more could we want?

Jennifer Murphy of Oceanside, CA, wrote to say:

I'm looking for more information on the family of Emerich Stotz and his sister Leopoldina. He was born in Kismarton (now Eisenstadt) in 1872 and came to the United States [Solon Mills, IL] in 1907. Leopoldina was born probably around 1868 and later moved to Mistelbach, Austria. I would love to be able to find out more about him and who his parents were.


Barbara Raabe, Member Research editor, replied:

Jennifer, welcome to the Burgenland Bunch. Looking at the information you already have and not knowing where you got it, I will attempt to make a couple of suggestions and hope I am not redundant.

1) If Emerich came through Ellis Island in 1907 then hopefully he is listed at The ship's manifest sometimes give the names of parents if the immigrant was single.

2) The next step would be to order a copy of the church record for the year including his birth in Kismarton and find his parents names listed there. That is a great way to work your way back through the generations if they were from the same village. However, since Kismarton is now part of Eisenstadt that is a lot of records to go through.

Perhaps someone else on the research team knows which of these Eisenstadt tapes include Kismarton??? If you would like me to assist you in finding the Eisenstadt church record numbers on the Burgenland Bunch homepage or with anything else, please feel free to ask.


Apparently there was also a message from Margaret Kaiser that I was not copied on but wherein Margaret noted information about where the Stotz' were buried and spoke about church records.

I was copied (indirectly) on Jennifer's reply:

Hello Margaret, thank you so much for your help. I am interested in checking the Roman Catholic church records. Can you tell me who I would contact to that or to look at the films you mentioned? Would it be the diocese in Eisenstadt?

I do know where Emerich and Wilhelmina are buried, actually. Emerich is interred at the Irving Park Cemetery, Irving Park, IL; section Lakeside; block 87; lot 10; grave 3. Wilhelmina is next to him in grave 2. Her maiden name was Schöhauer and she came from Waidhofen an der Ybbs.

By the way, if you could use a volunteer to help with transcription of records, I do speak German and would be happy to help.


Margaret forwarded the above note to Klaus Gerger to follow-up on the transcription volunteer aspect and to ask Klaus about why the years 1860-1880 were not included for Eisenstadt Roman Catholic records.

Klaus replied to Jennifer:

Hello Jennifer, I'll check the whereabout of the (original) Eisenstadt r.c. church records.
Microfilm can be found on the LDS site.

I appreciate every help with trancribing I can get ;) I have pictures from the house lists of Eisenstadt waiting for transcription. I have uploaded the Eisenstadt Oberberg pics first.
Attached you can find an Excel template (is Excel OK?) for the data. Using the template makes it easier for me to bring it into a database and to do the publishing on a website. Give it a try. Let me kow if you need any help. Danke und liebe Grüße aus Wien/Güssing.


Meanwhile, I looked on the Ellis Island site and found the family:

Hi Jennifer, Ellis Island also shows the family coming over in 1907 (however, Ellis Island’s site has a temporary server problem so one can’t look at the original image right now). Emerich recorded himself as Imre Stotz (but that’s the same name).

The text information is as follows:

Ship: Slavonia, Arrival date: Jul 12, 1907, Departure Port: Fiume, Page #: 0497

Stotz, Imre      M 35 M Hungary, Magyar Kis Marton
Stotz, Vilhelmin F 36 M Hungary, Magyar Kis Marton
Stotz, Anna      F  8 S Hungary, Magyar Kis Marton
Stotz, Karoly    M  4 S Hungary, Magyar Kis Marton
Stotz, Leopoldin F  3 S Hungary, Magyar Kis Marton
Stotz, Alfred    M  2 S Hungary, Magyar Kis Marton
Stotz, Olga      F 6m S Hungary, Magyar Kis Marton

Later, I wrote again: Ellis Island is back up, Jennifer, and the Stotz family is on this page.

Interestingly, they were going to Imre’s brother-in-law Peter Molter on Berlin St. in Chicago. My first reaction was that this must be wrong, as you say Wihelmina’s maiden name was Schöhauer, but Peter could be the husband of a sister to Imre rather than a brother to Wihelmina. Does this make sense from what you know? Or was Wilhemina or Imre married before?


Jennifer replied: Wonderful, thanks! Peter Molter is a mystery to me. I don't know of a previous marriage, but I also don't know if Imre had any sisters other than one sister who stayed in Austria. I'll have to look into that further.


Klaus followed up on his earlier message:

Hi Jennifer, I talked to the guys at the diocesan archive in Eisenstadt. There are 4 parishes in (greater) Eisenstadt city:

Röm. Kath. Pfarramt Eisenstadt - Dom- und Stadtpfarre
Tel: +43 2682 62717
Fax: +43 2682 62717 18
Pfarrgasse 32, 7000 Eisenstadt
records in the parish

Röm. Kath. Pfarramt Eisenstadt - Oberberg
Tel: +43 2682 62638
Fax: +43 2682 62638 4,
Joseph Haydn-Platz 1, 7000 Eisenstadt
records in the parish

Röm. Kath. Pfarramt Eisenstadt - St. Georgen
Tel: +43 664 1612209
Fax: +43 2682 62717 18
Hauptstraße 2, 7000 Eisenstadt
records in the parish

Röm. Kath. Pfarramt Eisenstadt - Kleinhöflein
Tel: +43 2682 62766
Fax: +43 2682 62717 18
Wiener Straße 31, 7000 Eisenstadt
records up to 1895 in the diocesan archive; records from 1895 in the parish

There is nothing known about missing records (1860-1880), maybe this gap is only in the Hungarian duplicate records (the source of the LDS films).


Fritz Königshofer added a belated message and, after a reply from Jennifer, a follow-up and correction message (I have edited the corrections into this first message):

These are my much delayed comments on Jennifer's search for info about Emerich Stotz and family from Kismarton (Eisenstadt). In the time since April 23, much of what I will write has likely already been discovered. Kismarton is the Hungarian name for Eisenstadt. It's not part of Eisenstadt. The two are the same town.

I am sure that Jennifer has already found the Ellis Island arrival record of Imre Stotz. The first name Emerich is often used as the German equivalent for Imre. Here is my reading of the Ellis Island arrival record, just in case. Accordingly, Imre Stotz, a locksmith, age 35, arrived on July 12, 1907 with his family comprising: wife Vilhelmin (Wilhelmine), 36, and children Anna, 8, Karoly (Charles), 4, Leopoldin (Leopoldine), 3, Alfred, 2, and Olga, 6 months old. The family hailed from Kis Marton which was also listed as place of birth for all family members in the party.

The family was heading to Chicago, to meet a brother-in-law whose name I read as Peter Molter.

The question which immediately comes up is the rarity of the surnames Stotz and Moller (including possible spelling variations such as Stocz, Möller, Molter, Mölter) in Burgenland in general, and Eisenstadt in particular. There are no telephone listings for these names. My only find was a Walter Moller in Bad Sauerbrunn (which is not far from Eisenstadt). The names existed in the Bacska, Banate, Transylvania and around Lake Balaton, but virtually not in the area of today's Burgenland. I was on the verge to recommend extending the search to possible Kis Marton's in other regions of old Hungary.

At this point I took a look at the books called Burgenländische Landestopologie, i.e., the three volumes covering the district of Mattersburg and the two volumes covering the district of Eisenstadt and the free cities of Eisenstadt and Rust. To my surprise, there was a lot of info about a parish priest with the name Karl Stotz who, the book said, was born around 1830 in Eisenstadt, studied for the priesthood in Graz, and worked as chaplain in various places in Styria and Eisenstadt. After an assignment in Stotzing (near Eisenstadt) from 1870-74, Karl Stotz became the parish priest ("Pfarrer") in Krensdorf (in the district of Mattersburg) where he worked from 1874 till 1890. In 1890, Stotz took over the parish of Grosshöflein (also near Eisenstadt), and ended his career in Ödenburg (the city of Sopron), where he died at age 83 on July 1913.

The mother of Karl Stotz was a noble woman from the family "von Reinprecht." She died on May 13, 1884 [in Krensdorf or Eisenstadt ... the book is not clear]. Her husband, Karl's father, died on October 14, 1885.

Maybe this priest was an uncle of Imre. Jennifer would need to search through the baptismal (and marriage and death) records of Eisenstadt, and the death records of Sopron city, to find and sort out the Stotzes and von Reinprechts.


Jennifer replied, telling us of her success in finding the family:

Hello, Thank you for all the information. I will definitely follow up on Karl Stotz and the von Reinprechts. That looks like a promising lead.

I was also able to get the LDS files one of you had mentioned in an earlier email, and they turned out to be a great source of information. I've found Emerich's baptism record, so I now know who his parents were (Michael Stotz and Rosina Nuss). Michael is listed in the baptism record as a clerk under the direction of the house of Esterhazy. I was also able to find death records for both of Emerich's parents and three of his siblings, and numerous other records for people I believe to be related to Michael. Emerich's godmother was Leopoldina Stotz Sedlmayr, and I believe her to be Michael's sister. Going back a generation, I've found a Joseph Stütz, which may be a misspelling of Stotz. And I've found an antique bookseller in Vienna carrying books printed in the early 1800s in the "Hochfürstl. Hofbuchdruckerey" in Eisenstadt by Johann Leopold Stotz, a printer who moved to Eisenstadt from Vienna in 1800. Apparently, he was given the title Hochfürstlicher Esterházyscher Hofbuchdrucker and served in that position from 1801 to 1823. I don't know if Joseph and Johann are related to my Stotzes, but I plan to keep investigating.

I also learned that Emerich's parents died while all of the children were quite young. It looks like the oldest of the five children was only 11 years old at the time. I'm wondering if they might have gone to live with a relative after their parents died, and if so, might there be a record of that?

Thanks again. You've all been tremendously helpful.


And here is Fritz Königshofer's follow-up (less the corrections):

As you already found out, the printer Johann Leopold Stotz is a historic figure, as he is mentioned in the www, where references can be found to, what look to me like, scholarly works about early printers of the Esterházy court. Besides "Johann Leopold" there are also mentionings of just Johann Stotz or Leopold Stotz. Chances are that all three name variations describe one and the same person.

Johann Leopold Stotz ran a printing shop in Vienna from about 1789-1795. He seems to have had a second calling, which was acting. His traveling theater apparently had a stop at Eisenstadt around 1800 or before, which seems to have provided the opportunity to speak with Prince Paul II Esterházy. The Prince must have asked him to become a printer for his court. While working as a printer for the Court, Stotz attempted at least once to establish a children theater. This attempt was not received well by more conservative people at the Court and the Church and had to be abandoned. Johann Leopold Stotz died on September 16, 1823 in Eisenstadt. Apparently, there is a grave plate (an epitaph) of him in the courtyard of the cathedral of Eisenstadt.

Since the last name Stotz is so very rare in Eisenstadt and Burgenland, could it not be that Johann Leopold was first in bringing his surname to Eisenstadt? The fact that Emerich's father was a clerk at the princely Court suggests a distinguished family or clan. Isn't it highly suggestive of a connection, that Emerich's godmother, a neé Stotz, had the first name Leopoldine, as had a sister of Emerich (at least according to a family story), and a daughter of Emerich. Otherwise, Leopoldine is not a frequent first name.

In your search, please bear in mind that the records filmed by LDS are the duplicates that, since 1826/28, went to the diocesan office. The original records extend back in time much longer. They are either at the parish of Eisenstadt or at the Diocesan Archive (which is also in Eisenstadt). The original records often contain marginal notes made later, such as on marriage or death of the person in its baptismal record.

Keep the BB updated from time to time on your further findings. Regards, Fritz Königshofer


New member, Ernst William (Bill) Fiedler of Frederick, MD, reported that his surnames of interest were FIEDLER from Zahling, ERNST from Kukmirn, WIRTH from Inzenhof and PREININGER from Minihof-Liebau. All settled in Allentown, PA. Beyond that, Bill noted that "my father's parents came to the U.S. roughly around 1905. My mother and her parents came to the U.S. in 1926."


The challenge of such a bare-bones membership entry got me curious, so I did a little digging. But, the truth is, I fell into the trap of presuming I could fill in more of the missing data gaps by guesswork than was reasonable. While it is reasonable to presume that Fiedler from Zahling was Bill's paternal grandfather's surname, it is simple conjecture to assign one of the remaining surnames to his paternal grandmother and the others to his maternal grandfather and grandmother... likewise, how big a time window should one put on "around 1905"? As you'll see below, I initially put 5 years, which was way too wide!

I replied to Bill: Was your grandfather’s given name Joseph? There is a Joseph Fiedler, age 18, a shoemaker from Zahling, who arrived Jul 20, 1910, at Ellis Island on the SS Kroonland from Antwerp, heading to West Coplay, PA to join brother-in-law Joseph Weinhofer. It notes he is blind in the right eye. His father is listed as Johan Fiedler of Eltendorf.

If you provide more detail (first names, approx. year of birth, etc.) for your other ancestors, we can likely be of more help.


Bill replied: "I don't know if he would be related. My grandfather's name was Rudolph Fiedler. He was born in 1887."

And I replied: "
OK, found him: He arrived at Ellis Island on April 15, 1906 from Bremen aboard the SS Gneisenau, age 19, a Butler from Kortvelyes (a Hungarian name for Zahling) going to Allentown, PA, to join friend Cecelia Gaal (I think, but it is hard to read). Unfortunately, this manifest does not provide a relative’s name from the old country.

Then I stepped off the deep end and made a totally wrong conjecture: "So, was his future wife named Cacelia Ernst? There is a Cacelia, age 20, that arrived Sept 21, 1903 from Kukmer on the SS Kroonland, going to join her brother John in Stiles, PA. Alternatively, Maria Ernst, age 17, arrived Oct 2, 1906 from Kukmirn on the SS Zeeland, going to join her brother-in-law Georg Ruis in Allentown, PA. Again, if you provide a name, this would be easier."

Lastly, I made a foolish statement: "If your maternal grandparents came in 1926, then Ellis records won’t help with them."

Why is this statement foolish? Well, mainly because Ellis Island remained an active immigrant in-processing station until 1954. And my statement is especially foolish since this is the second time I fell into the trap of presuming Ellis became inactive as an in-processing station after 1923! If you go to the Ellis Island website, you can read the following words in its history section:

"The Immigration Act of 1924 further restricted immigration, changing the quota basis from the census of 1910 to that of 1890, and reducing the annual quota to some 164,000. This marked the end of mass immigration to America. The Immigration Act also provided for the examination and qualification of immigrants at U.S. consulates overseas. The main function of Ellis Island changed from that of an immigrant processing station, to a center of the assembly, detention, and deportation of aliens who had entered the U.S. illegally or had violated the terms of admittance."

Although the "main function" changed, the fact remains that some regular immigrants were still being in-processed at Ellis Island (and continued to be until 1954!). However, in my mind, I incorrectly read the statement to mean all in-processing stopped in 1924 ...and, even though I found out otherwise over a year ago, I continued to block that knowledge. Luckily, BB Contributing Editor Margaret Kaiser has no such brain block and, as you will see below, she found the family in the Ellis records.


So Bill sent me a reply, in which the foolishness of my presumptions about surnames were revealed...

He said: Rudolf might be my grandfather. However, in some records I've seen for Burgenlanders who died in Eastern PA, he may have originally been a butler. At one time he operated the Sterling Hotel in Allentown, roughly from the 1920s to 1930s. His first name was Rudolph, not Rudolf. Of course his name may have been Americanized. Like my maternal grandfather "Frank," who was originally "Franz." I have no idea who Cacelia Gaal is.

My paternal grandfather met my paternal grandmother in Allentown. Before she married, her name was Mary Wirth. According to death records, she came from Inzenhof in Burgenland.
I have no idea who the Maria Ernst is, which you point out. I do have a great-great grandmother who's name was Maria Ernst after she married. She was a Neubauer before getting married. I never heard of George Ruis.


This prompted another reply from me and a return reply from Bill...

I said: "Rudolph and Rudolf were quite exchangeable, even in the old country, so I would not be much concerned about that. Sorry about the Maria Ernst thing… I presumed (based on no evidence) that you listed paternal surnames first… obviously, I was wrong. However, there is a record for a Mary Wirth, age 17 from Borosgodor (Inzenhof) arriving Aug 15, 1905 at Ellis on the SS Kroonland from Antwerp (a busy ship!), and going to join sister-in-law Karolina Heilmann at 344 3rd St in Allentown."

And Bill replied: "Thanks for checking into that. Maria might be my grandmother. The only thing is, in August of 1905, my grandmother was still 16. She turned 17 on Nov. 14th. However, maybe they made a mistake. They might of also changed her first name to Mary. There can't be that many women named Maria Wirth, that are that close in age to my grandmother, from such a small town."

As it turns out, Bill was right to be cautious about this Mary Wirth entry, as it proves not to be his grandmother!

This is where Margaret Kaiser steps in and, using a BB data source I had not thought to consult (the BH&R lists), provides critical background data that eventually leads to solid evidence tying Bill's surnames to their villages in Burgenland. In the process, she also adds information from other sources.


Margaret Kaiser writes:

Hello fellow Burgenland Bunch Member, have you seen the following persons honored on the Burgenlanders Honored and Remembered (BH&R) website (

Ernst, Frank from Kukmirn, 1899-1983, Laurel Cemetery, Allentown
  Ernst, Johanna (Preininger) from Minihof-Liebau, 1900-1988, Laurel Cemetery, Allentown
Fiedler, Rudolph from Zahling, 1887-1950, Laurel Cemetery, Allentown
  Fiedler, Mary (Wirth) from Inzenhof, 1888-1978, Laurel Cemetery, Allentown

1930 US census, 395 Hamilton Street, Allentown

Rudolph, age 43, immig 1906, proprietor hotel
Mary, age 42, immig. 1905
Rudolph, Jr., age 20
Emma, age 19
Lilian, age 16
William, age 13
Edward, age 11
plus 10 boarders

Rudolph O. Fiedler, Jr. enlisted in Army 15 Sep 1942, Allentown.

There is a Rudolf Fiedler, butcher, who arrived at age 19 on April 17, 1906 on the Gneisenau; he was going to a friend Gaal on Railroad Street. [Ed note: This is the record I also found but I read "butler" rather than "butcher" as occupation. Reading Ellis Island manifests is often a challenge, so Margaret and I differing on this reading is not surprising.]

1930 US census, 148 East Walnut Street, Allentown

Frank, age 30 from Burgenland, immig. 1926, meat cutter, slaughter house
Jennie, age 29 from Steirmark, immig. 1926
Stella, age 3-11/12s
Julius, age 2-7/12s

Frank and Johanna Ernst arrived with Gisela (3) and Pauline (3) December 21, 1926 on the Olympic. Pauline is listed as niece. All are listed as born in Kukmirn except Jennie who is listed as from Trag ???? The children's grandmother is Theresa Ernst, who is also Frank's mother. They were going to Frank's brother, John, in Allentown at 430 Liberty Street.

The Morning Call: Dec 31, 1988:

Lehigh County Coroner Wayne Snyder ruled as homicide the death of 88-year-old Johanna Ernst, who was attacked by a man who broke into her Allentown home on Christmas Eve. Allentown Police Capt. John Stefanik said yesterday that the woman was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital on Christmas Eve but said they are unsure of the exact time the assault took place.

If the above is your ancestor, be aware that there is a series of articles on this event and the court process of the culprit.

Were you planning to research further back in time? If you would like parish microfilm numbers, please advise.


Bill replies: Most of the information you have sounds accurate with some exceptions. In late 1926, my mother [Ed note: Gisella/Stella] was less than a year old. I have no idea who Jennie [Ed note: the listed wife of frank Ernst in the 1930 census] was. From my understanding, my mother's father, Frank Ernst, was a bricklayer when in Burgenland. He later worked for the Tru-Blue Brewery in Northampton. I'm pretty sure he was never a butcher. I don't know who Joseph Fiedler is [Ed note: Bill has me confused here since Margaret did not mention a Joseph Fielder.]. My grandfather's first name was either Rudolf or Rudolph. I don't know what his siblings names were. The rest of the information given sounds, like it could be accurate. I wouldn't know what records to look at to go back farther. I do know that Theresa Ernst's maiden name was either Hafner or Haffner. Frank's father's name was Johann, his father's name was Josef. Josef's wife's name was Maria Neubauer. I don't know the names of any other of my Great Grandparents. I'm pretty impressed with the information you have revealed so far. I would like to find out more. If you could tell me where to look, I'll look. Thanks, Bill Fiedler


Margaret replied: Hello Bill, The 1940 census will be made available beginning April 2, 2012 and this further information should help you find your family members.

Do not focus on seeing a possible given name error, such as Jennie, listed on the 1930 census; census-takers made errors. If the children seem correct to your knowledge, parents ages seem correct, place, etc., this is likely them. If not correct, then further searching is necessary.

I re-checked the 1926 passenger manifest, you are right-on, Gisela was 3 months, not 3 years of age on US arrival. By the way, they traveled with a family from Kukmirn named Duld, Josef (56), Karoline (35), Josef, Jr. (16), Rudolf (14). The father of Josef is listed as Franz of Kumirn #109. They were going to an Uncle Samuel Deutsch in Emaus. Theresia Ernst, mother of Frank was living at Kukmirn #96.

Might your Mary Wirth have had a brother Josef in Allentown? If so, she arrived with sister Anna (16) on May 14, 1907 and is listed as born in Rabafuzes.

Before I recommend parish film records, please let me know what religion you believe these persons may have been (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, other).

My plan is to visit my local Family History Center on Thursday. I have some films retained in the permanent collection for Inzenhof area persons (Mary Wirth). If you know Mary's birth month/day this would be helpful, or her parents names, this would also help finding them. If not, I will do my best. I may also have some records for Kukmirn and Zahling, so if you can supply birth dates and religion, I will seek them also. From there we should have a better picture.


Bill replies: Dear Margaret: Thanks for checking into this information. I have no idea who the Duld family was. My guess is that they were probably friends of the family, rather than relatives. It is true that my grandfather's mother's name was Theresa. Both of my grandparents on my mom's side of the family were Lutheran. My father's mother "Mary Wirth" was Catholic. Her birthday is on November 14th. My father's father "Rudolph" was Lutheran. One thing I would like to check out, is to see if I have any Jewish ancestry. According to some information I found on the internet, all of the surnames I know that my ancestors had, are also shared with some Jews. In fact, on Wikipedia, the last name "Fiedler" was one of only 12 surnames beginning with "F," that are common with Jews.

Here is what I know about the other birthdays. My mom's birthday "Gisella" was born on April 30, 1926. Her mother, Johanna was born on December 17, 1900. Her father, Frank (previously "Franz" before coming to the U.S.), was born on May 8, 1899. I don't know the birthday of my grandfather Rudolph.

I don't know the names of any of the siblings of either of my grandmothers. I'm almost certain she had at least one sibling that had a farm in Schnecksville, PA.

If you have any more questions, please let me know. Thanks for what you have done so far. I was also wondering if I have any relatives in the U.S., that are also members of the Burgenland Bunch. Sincerely, Ernst William (Bill) Fiedler


Margaret replies: Hi Bill, based on the 1942 Old Man's Registration here is Rudolph Fiedler with his birth date:

1942 WW-2 Draft
Rudolf Fiedler, 110 N. 2nd Street, Allentown, Lehigh Co., PA
age 55, born June 1, 1886 in Zahling, Austria; phone Allentown 20850
contact: Mrs. Mary Fiedler, same address
Employer: John Fiedler, 2nd & Gordon Streets, Allentown, PA
Occupation: Barkeeper at 2nd & Gordon Streets, Allentown, PA

Also of possible interest from 1930 US census, 617 Whitehall Street, Allentown, PA:
Joseph, homeowner, value $4K, no radio, age 65, married at age 32, b. Austria, immig. 1890, first papers/declaration, laborer, railroad
Anna, wife, age 57, married at age 24, b. Austria, immig. 1896, alien
George, son, age 20, b. PA, laborer, contractor
Edward, son, age 18, laborer, b. PA, quarry
Roy, son, age 15, laborer, b. PA, farm
PUMMER, Joseph, grandson, b. PA, age 13

or more likely
WIRTH, 735-1/2 North Fourth Street, Allentown
Joseph, homeowner, value $7K, no radio, age 54, married at 26, born Hungary Koningsdorf, immig. 1897, naturalized, fireman, silk mill
Julia, wife, age 47, married at 19, born Hungary Kukmirn, immig 1898, naturalized
Emma T., daughter, age 24, b. PA
Emily A., daughter, age 22, b. PA
Rose M., daughter, age 20, b. PA
Otto J., son, age 18, b. PA
Theodore R., son, age 3-?/12s, b. PA

I'll let you know what I can find on Thursday. Thanks for forwarding the requested info.


Bill replies: Hi Margaret, One thing I don't understand is the my grandfather being listed with the WW2 draft. How could of he been drafted at age 55? My father and his two brothers were both in the army. The rest of the information for the Fiedlers sounds about right. I don't know if the Wirths you list are related to me or not. Maybe there are distant cousins.


Margaret first explains the "1942 Old Man's Registration": In 1942, since most young men were off to war, it was decided to survey older men to see how many could be used to free up even more younger men for war duties. These older men might have been asked to serve on draft boards, the home guard walking neighborhoods to be sure that black out curtains were in place, and other duties, etc. It was never intended to actually draft these older men. Here is a more extensive explanation: There are more articles on this, just google "1942 old man's draft."

And then she follows up with the results from examining microfilm: This is the information found in Film no. 060193, which is a copy from the Ronok Roman Catholic church records. Attached is a copy of the Mary Wirth's birth record in jpeg format [Ed: not shown here]. There are several birth records on these pages. The record consists of a left hand side page and a right hand side page. In brief the record records Maria, born and baptized on Nov 15 1888, female, legitimate child of Janos Wirth from Rabafuzes/Raabfidisch and his wife, Maria Weidinger of Borosgador/Inzenhof, currently all living at Borosgador/Inzenhof house #37.

Other children of Janos Würth/Wirth/ and Maria Weidinger are (all living at Borosgador / Inzenhof #37 for this period):
1881 born August 30, baptized August 31, Terez (Theresa)
1883 born July 15, baptized July 15, Janos (John)
1884 born Josef (will have to re-look for his birth record) (Also this makes the Josef in 1930 census the second one - the one married to Julia)
1886 born & baptized August 28, Augustin (August) (Note: There is a notation that August married in 19XX and gives wife's name - this part of entry is difficult to read.)
1892 born August 19 and baptized August 20, Roza (accompanied Maria on ship)
1894 born & baptized November 17, Gergely (Gregory)

Joannes/Janos Würch, age 28 of Borosgador/Inzenhof #37 married Maria Weidinger, age 20 of ? #106 on 1878 Feb 4. (MW's town name difficult to read). Joannes parents are Georgius Würch and Maria Weidinger. Maria's parents are Stephen Weidinger and Anna Szulverits?

G. Würth, age 28, married Maria Weidinger, age 25 on 1848 June 20. (Towns they are from require some study - difficult records for tho read.) Looks like they came from other places.

Istvan (Stephan) Weidinger, age 20 married Anna Szulverits, age 19 on 1850 January 8.

Marriage records were found on Films no. 601492 (1789-1860) and 601494 (1861-1895).

Concerning Rudof/Rudolph Fielder, born June 1, 1888: I anticipated he would be included on Film #700738 (Lutheran-Eltendorf), but he was not listed there. If you have not already obtained his naturalization records from the Allentown court house, you may wish to do so. If you need contact information, please advise. Perhaps he listed another place or ???

Records for the Ernst family should be found on Film no. 700325 Kukmirn.

Records for Johanna Preininger from Minihof-Liebau do not appear to be available for the year of her birth (1900).

If you have any questions, concerns, please advise.


I also sent a short note to Bill:

In the 1910 census, the Fiedler family is at 643 Front St in Allentown (6th Ward) under name Rudolf Fehler.

In the 1920 census, they are at 216 Ohio Ave, Allentown (1st Ward, 2nd District) under name Rudolph Fidler.

And he replied: Thanks for the info. The census workers back then, had some lousy spellers.


Ed. Comment: I think there are some key research points that the above efforts point out...

First, be careful what you assume. I made an assumption that Bill had presented surnames in a particular order and was wrong. As a result, I wasted effort. Likewise, my reading of the Ellis Island history caused me to make another false assumption.

Second, consider all the various sources of information. Ellis Island records, census records, BB / BH&R records, church records, draft records, etc., all offer hints that help solve genealogical puzzles.

Third, don't assume surnames will be spelled consistently or correctly or that nicknames and first name variations will not exist. If fact, the available record sources are full of inconsistencies and errors. As Margaret noted, you need to consider the weight of the complete evidence in a record to decide if it is your family. The reality is that family members were fairly loose in what they called themselves, where they once lived, and even how old they were at a given time. When you then add in the recording errors and our ability to read those old records, you will not get an absolutely consistent story... yet that is no reason to reject all of what you learn... but do see if you can confirm via other records!

Fourth, if you want our help, help us first by providing sufficient detail. Bill eventually provided much detail but we had to pull it out of him!


A recent new member form arrived from Kim Gagne of Midland, MI, that also gave a bare minimum of information: surname TSCHIDA, village Pamhagen, settled South Bend, IN. That little bit of information is sufficient as a member entry... but the kicker was that she then said: "as far back as I can go is my grandfather's father. If you could give me his father and mother's names or point me in the right direction?" Well that kind of left us baffled! I'm sure Kim did not really expect us to know her personal ancestry well enough to connect her to a particular family in Pamhagen, but her words do imply such. Now, pointing her in the right direction, that we can do... and did.


I replied: Hi Kim, there were 14 houses in Pamhagen owned by Csida’s (Tschida – same name) in the 1858 owners survey, implying there were many people there by that name! Quite a few of them emigrated (but mostly to St. Paul, MN). Thus you need to provide additional detail for anyone to be able to help you.

What was your grandfather’s first name? When was he born? When did he emigrate and where to? (i.e., was South Bend his initial destination?) Do you know names of any siblings? What was his wife’s and/or children’s names? (so we can find him in census records) Plus anything else that you may think will help.

Our BB staff can be quite helpful but only if you give us something to work with.


And Member Research Editor, Barbara Raabe, replied: Kim, a few years back, I was in contact with a Tschida whose ancestors had come from Pamhagen. She lived in New York but some of her Tschidas had come to Tacoma, WA, and my mother remembered them. She had an elderly uncle still living in Tacoma. I will look up her contact information in case there is a connection.

However, another way you could find your grandfather's parents' names is to order the church records that are on microfilm from the LDS library. This takes about 3 weeks and they keep the microfilm there for about 6 weeks and you read it on their machine. If you are interested in this process, let me know and I'll get you the microfilm numbers to order and help you find the LDS library nearest you.

[Ed. Note: Barbara's second paragraph directly addresses "pointing her in the right direction." Almost always, the very best thing to do if you know the village in Burgenland is to obtain any church and/or civil records available on microfilm. As you will see, this is where we end up below, but we provide enough information to make it clear that he Pamhagen records are, indeed, the ones to look at.]


Kim replied: I was so excited to find your site and this is all the info I have right now. This is what I know so far:

Mother: Pamela Sue Tschida; Grandfather: Lawrence E Tschida, 3/20/1911-12/1983, born in South Bend (one brother, for sure, Louis, who died in WW-II, maybe an older brother, Stephen, who may have died early, and 2 sisters Pauline and Elnore); Great-grandfather Stephen M Tschida, born in Pamhagen, 11/20/1886-1956, wife Katherine Engel, born in Indiana; Now here is where I am not too sure: Great-great-grandfather George Tschida, wife Julianna Strantz? As far as I know they always lived in South Bend, Indiana.

I came to this conclusion from the 1930 census. It shows a George Tschida, no wife listed, and your list shows Julianna Strantz died in 1930, so that would make sense, right?

[Ed Note: actually, our BH&R Remembrance List for Indiana (South Bend) shows a Julianna Strantz, wife of a George Tschida, who died in 1933... so this actually does not make sense! If our list is correct, Julianna was alive in 1930.]

And the reason I think this is the right census is because I have an old photo from my grandfather of a single man and on the back is says Uncle Andy. So my conclusion is this Stephen's brother with no wife. And on the census is listed an Andy Tschida with no wife and an older man with no wife, all of South Bend? George’s name, along with Stephen, who was married to Kate Engle, is also on your list too. Hope this makes a little sense to you.

[Ed Note: actually, I remain fairly baffled... but some of this probably has to do with the fact that almost nothing can be verified via online census records due to the poor condition of some of the South Bend census records. I presume that this led to the speculative comments about census entries by Contributing Editor, Margaret Kaiser, in the first paragraph of her message below. However, Margaret's second paragraph points Kim to the Pamhagen church/civil records, which, as noted above, is the best possible course of action!]


Margaret Kaiser, BB & BH&R Contributing Editor writes: 1920 census, West Wayne Street. Borocyk family (Joseph and Goldie with children). Living with them are his in-laws, Julia and George Pukane?, ages 66 and 67 respectively. Both listed as being from Sophron, Hungary. He is a laborer in a rubber factory. These two families were moved from another page in the census where the surname is indexed as Thickard/Stockard).

You probably need to look at the records for Pamhagen to research these Tschida families. When you are ready to pursue we can direct you to these films which may be rented, viewed and copied at your local Family History Center. Just go to, type in Michigan where the block says Find a Family History Center, and you will be shown many. Any questions, please reply.


[Ed Note: There is another source of information on Burgenländers who went to South Bend that deserves mentioning (as we have done in past newsletters). That resource is Chris Kovach’s South Bend website at ( I pulled a number of confirming records from there then added one more recommendation to obtain church/civil records from Pamhagen.]

I wrote: A marriage record on Chris Kovach’s South Bend site shows:

Groom: Stephan Tschida
B'Place: Hungary
B'Date: 20 Nov 1886
Father-Birthplace-Residence: George Tschida-Hungary-South Bend
Mother-Birthplace-Residence: Julia A. Strantz-Hungary-South Bend
1st Marr? Yes

Bride: Kate Engle
B'Place: Volinia, Michigan
B'Date: 12 Jun 1889
Father-Birthplace-Residence: Christ Engle-Germany-Volinia
Mother-Birthplace-Residence: Polina Gnoth-Germany-Volinia
1st Marr? Yes

Lic date: 3-Jul-09

So this indicates Julia A. Strantz of Hungary was George’s wife and mother of Stephan.


More from the Chris Kovach site:

1930 Census, St. Joseph County, Indiana
Address    LName   FName    Relation Age Mar Age Emigration  EnumDist Sheet City
919 Monroe Tschida Stephen   Head     43  22     1887        71-39 8B south bend
919 Monroe Tschida Katherine Wife     40  20     b. michigan 71-39 8B south bend
919 Monroe Tschida Louis     Son      20  single b. indiana  71-39 8B south bend
919 Monroe Tschida Lawrence  Son      19  single b. indiana  71-39 8B south bend
919 Monroe Tschida Pauline   Daughter 17  single b. indiana  71-39 8B south bend
919 Monroe Tschida Elenore   Daughter  5  single b. indiana  71-39 8B south bend


It seems there is now plenty of evidence that your Tschida/Strantz family came from Pamhagen, Austria (Pomogy, Hungary). Your next step is to get the church records and explore. You should be able to track multiple generations on both sides. The relevant FHC films are [I’ve thrown in a few translations in square brackets]:

Anyakönyvek [Registers]
authors: Római Katólikus Egyház [Roman Catholic Church], Pomogy, (Main Author)
format: Manuscript/On Film
language: Latin, Hungarian
publications: Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmre vette a Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966
physical: 3 mikrofilmtekercs, 35 mm.

Notes: Az eredeti iratok mikrofilm revétele Budapesten a Magyar Országos Levéltárban történt. / Roman Catholic Church register of births, marriages and deaths for Pomogy, Moson, Hungary, now Pamhagen, Burgenland, Austria. Text in Latin and Hungarian.

Subjects: Hungary, Moson, Pomogy - Church records / Austria, Burgenland, Pamhagen - Church records

Film Notes: Note, Location, Film
Kereszteltek, házasultak, halottak [baptisms, marriages, deaths] 1826-1864 FHL INTL Film 700897
Kereszteltek 1865-1891 FHL INTL Film 700898
Kereszteltek 1891-1895 Házasultak 1867-1895 Halottak 1865-1895 FHL INTL Film 700899

It looks like you need to start with film 700898 and then track into films 700897 and 700899. Let us know what you learn!


Kim replied: Tom, yes all the help has been awesome and so speedy! I plugged the information given onto my chart at, which helped to confirm with the census. I agree the next step will be the go to the church records. I will let you all know what I find out! Thanks, Kim.


Concerning the Heideboden articles:

Arlene Huss, of Lancaster, PA, wrote to say:
Consider me a novice re: Burgenland history, thus the dilemna which follows. I found the articles on the Heidenboden extremely interesting because my grandparents came from St. Johann and St. Peter, respectively, but what is the significance of the term Heidenboden and/or Seewinkel, Hansag, Klein Schutt etc.? Am I correct that they are merely regional designations like the "Tennessee Valley" or "Rhine Valley" rather than official monarchical, political or geographical designations?  Thanks so much for adding to my understanding of this interesting part of the world.

My reply:
Yes, they are (small) regional designators that are geographically descriptive. Heideboden (heath land), Seewinkel (lake corner), Klein Schutt (small debris), Hansag (don’t know… but it is a Hungarian word for a large swampy area that was quite geographically different from the other areas).

Heideboden is sociological significant because it was the area wherein the first Germanic people (the Heidebaueren) settled in the region; they maintained a societal integrity there for nearly a thousand years and marked the area with a distinct dialect and customs.

Hansag (mostly drained now and gone) and the Neusiedlsee went through cycles of expansion that threatened and even wiped out villages. At least once, Hansag expanded right to the St. Johann/St. Peter village limits. From the maps at the time, I would assume they built dikes around the south side of the villages to hold the water back. Harvesting reeds and peat from it were economic boons to the nearby towns.

Seewinkel is still full of small lakes and ponds, and much wetter than the Heideboden. It is the area that was threatened when Neusiedlsee expanded and much of it was underwater at the worst times… you could launch your boat from Illmitz, Apetlon or even Pamhagen!

I’m pleased you found value in these articles!


Concerning the article on resettlement of Hungary in the 1700s: The key topic that drew comments from a number of correspondents was my statement that "Burgenland, as a whole, was never extensively occupied nor largely depopulated..." due to the Turkish incursions. I'll share a few of the comments and my replies.


Anna Kresh, retired ex-BB-VP, wrote to say: Way back when the BB received permission to publish the translations of the Migration of the Croats (Volk an der Grenze), I was so interested I read the entire document. I remember how appalled I was at the description of the desolation of the settlements in Burgenland after the Turkish campaign of 1532. Chapter XVII has a pretty good description of the invasion's effects on Burgenland. Though much of the desolation had other causes (e.g., plagues and other wars), the Turkish campaign surely must have caused much of it. [She then listed some numbers from the book.]

I replied: Hi Anna, thanks for writing! Interestingly, it is the statement you quote that gets the most interest (concern / disagreement, etc.) by readers (including the staff!).

However, everyone’s supporting evidence leads me to believe my original statement is fairly accurate. You list 32 villages (all effectively in the stripe from the retreat march into Styria after the 1532 siege) and show that these village farms suffered a 40% abandonment rate. Only one village is listed as totally depopulated (Woppendorf). I don’t remember the exact number of villages in Burgenland, but I know it is over 500, so 32 villages is far less than 10%.

Clearly, there were areas that were temporarily occupied and/or highly damaged and depopulated. But, on the scale of what took place behind the 150-year Turkish front (where 90%+ of the people and farms were destroyed and abandoned for many years), I think saying “Burgenland, as a whole, was never extensively occupied nor largely depopulated...” is pretty accurate.

More to the point of the article’s original question, what took place in 1532 in Burgenland had little to do with the government resettlements in the 1700s. This area of Burgenland was resettled in the 15 and 1600s, largely by the Croats that Dobrovich writes about. Even the Heideboden (affected by the second siege of Vienna) was repopulated in the very late 1600s.


Richard Potetz also wrote: Your article, Resettlement of West Hungary, Post-1700, gives those of us with Burgenland roots insight into the movement of people there. I had puzzled at information that seemed to be contradictory. On the one hand I read that the population had not decreased much. On the other hand I read about immigration to a depopulated Burgenland.

I agree with your conclusion there was no general depopulation in that 150-year period (1550–1700). The Wikipedia article on Ádám Graf Batthyány (1609-1659) claims that due to the plague, ongoing wars, and periodic famine, Batthyány-controlled lands (which then included a big slice of southern Burgenland) lost one-fifth of its population between 1643 and 1666. A loss of one fifth is far from depopulation. (The referenced source for the “one-fifth” number given in that Wikipedia article is: Tabelle Bevölkerung der Herrschaft Güssing 1643-1691 in Vera Zimányi: Der Bauernstand der Herrschaft Güssing im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert in Burgenländische Forschungen, Hrsg. Burgenländisches Landesarchiv, Eisenstadt 1962, S. 53). Historians also classify the southern Burgenland population loss due to the 1683 war as a small impact.

I also read about empty farms. Empty farm data, before and after the 1683 war, nearby the villages of my southern Burgenland ancestors, is for Grieselstein. The Urbar of 1677 for Grieselstein lists 61 occupied homes. Thirty-nine years later the Urbar of 1716 lists 32 deserted homes and 37 occupied homes. There were 33 different surnames in the village of Grieselstein in 1677; of those 33 surnames, 16 were still there in 1716, with 13 new surnames coming to the village (source: Burgenländische Heimatblätter, 1966, page 72-73).

That number of empty farms disagreed with the fact of a loss of population of only one-fifth, with both facts substantiated by believable references. Your explanation of emigration from Burgenland to other Hungarian lands settles my mind.

By the way, I had on my own discovered how it was possible that plague, wars and famine could cause just a one-fifth decline in population. From reading Burgenland church birth records, it’s clear our Burgenland ancestors multiplied like rabbits!

Thank you, Tom, and thank you to all those who help with the Burgenland Bunch.

I replied:
Hi Richard, thanks for your comments. This question of depopulation has caused a number of readers to reply… most arguing that the impact was greater than I report. Typically, they cite a few villages that were wiped out to support their position, forgetting that there are 500+ villages in Burgenland.

Without doubt, there were whole villages (and even a number of regional areas) that were wiped out or nearly so. But I think the plague and famine were as least as great a cause as the Turks, if not more so, in most areas. Both plague and famine would tend to be localized to a particular farm or village, with plague being a good reason to leave a farm and then not resettle it for a long, long time. Likewise, famine suggests poor farmland, again reason not to resettle it. So, even if a “lot” of farms were deserted, the people probably just moved to better, safer places within Burgenland.

I don’t think that the out-flux of Burgenlanders to areas in once-occupied Hungary was ever great enough to depopulate (even one-fifth of) a village (though people were inclined to join friends in such an adventure, creating greater localized depopulation). I’d argue that the younger people would be most likely to emigrate, thus causing a longer-term decrease in population in their home village too (given that the “breeding” age folk had moved away). But again, we are talking about the 1700s for resettling East-Hungarian lands and there is little evidence that the Burgenland depopulated during that time… if anything, it grew.

And Richard replied: Your thoughts on emigration from Burgenland make sense. Certainly the effects on population caused by conflicts with the Turks were local, but I don’t know how widespread those conflicts were. Except for the major wars, like the 1663-1664 war that included the Battle of Mogersdorf (which included both Esterházy and Batthyány regiments), there has not been much written in the BB Newsletter. And what has been written does not focus much on individual villages.

Oral stories passed down in my family don’t help much. What I learned from my mother is that, in the 1920s, church bells in Burgenland were called “Turk bells” because they had been used to warn of raids. My grandmother, Rosina Sucher, told my mother that the soldiers fighting in the religious wars were more brutal than the Turks.

The German language edition of Wikipedia has a short history of Neumarkt an der Raab (found at that describes the 7 March 1646 raid that laid waste to that village. If you would like a description of that raid in English for the BB Newsletter I would be willing to write one that goes beyond what is written in that site.

[Ed Note: I accepted Richard's offer to write about the 1646 Turkish raid on Neumarkt an der Raab, so we have that to look forward to in a subsequent newsletter!]


As I write the opening words to this article, BB member Jack Tonk is in Europe with a plan to spend a few days (of a bigger trip) in Vienna at the Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv (Municipal and Provincial Archives of Vienna) and the Diözesanarchiv Wien ([Catholic] Diocese Archives Vienna) to see if he can solve the riddle of his grandfather's birth. Hopefully, by the time this article is published, Jack will have returned from Europe and can report a successful result... but we will see.

His grandfather, Ferencz “Francis” Tonk, was raised and later married in Kroatisch Minihofbut there is no birth record for him there. Actually, we first heard of Jack's research nine years ago (see Newsletter 106B, April 2002) when Jack reported that:

"My father [Donatus / Anton] was born in Kroatisch Minihof in 1910. He emigrated to the US in 1913 with his mother and siblings. Grandfather [Ferencz] came earlier. There are no records at Ellis Island of anyone with the name Franz Tonk emigrating. He had to come in 1912 or early 1913 because grandmother had a child not yet a year old when she came."

Ellis Island records show the Tonkh family from Maloukaza, Austria (mother Franziska, age 33, and children Franziska 9, Robert 7, Katherina 6, Gertruda 4yr 6mth, Donat 3, Maria 1yr 6 mth, Julia 5 mth, with Peresznya, Austria listed as birth place for all) arriving September 4, 1913 aboard the La Touraine from Harve and going to South Bend, IN, to join husband / father Franz Tonk at 1114 Frankl. St. (Franklin Street?). The European relative listed was Matyas Nemeth of Maloukaza, Francisca's father. (Maloukasa, of course, being a "variation" on Malomháza, the Hungarian name for Kroatisch Minihof.)

Likewise, the Ellis Island record index shows Ferencs Sonk (an obviously erroneous transcription of Tonk to my eyes) of Malomhacsu, Hungaria (another "variation) arriving November 28, 1912 aboard the Niagara from Harve. He is listed as age 33 going to South Bend to join friend Isador Strommer at 1225 W Wasington St. (Washington Street?). The European relative listed was wife Franciska Tonz, also of Malomhacsu. Ferencz is listed as born in Malomhacu (yet another "variation and, by all subsequent evidence, wrong).

As Jack reports in a recent message (see below), he also wrote in Dec 2003 (Newsletter 124) telling of a June 2002 trip to Kroatisch Minihof, wherein he learned via Grandfather Ferencz's marriage record that he was born in Vienna in 1879 to Gertrude Tonk, with no father listed! He also learned, via local lore from a lady who remembered his father Donatus, that Ferencz was "the son of the priest" in Minihof (Father Isadore Blazovich). (This lady, daughter of Bardol Bucolich, was born in South Bend but went back to Burgenland in 1921. She said she believed that Ferencz and her father traveled to South Bend together. However, Ellis Island records show only a Johann Buchecker of Malomhaza on the same ship with Ferencz, going to the same address, that of his brother-in-law Isador Strommeir. A Francz Buczolics of Malomhaza arrived at Ellis Island in Dec 1912 on the way to South Bend.)

So that leads us to the current message, wherein Jack wants information to track down the original orphan records of Vienna...


Jack writes: Dear Tom, Frank, Fritz, Gary, and any others that can help;

Previous research on our family name of “Tonk” (see Burgenland Bunch archived newsletter #124, Dec 31, 2003) brought about the discovery of the family name. Subsequent research at the Family Search Center in Salt Lake City, UT, did not add any further information but did identify a possible source for more information on the lineage of my grandfather, Ferencz “Francis” Tonk.

From grandfather’s marriage records we know that he was born in Wien, on April 20, 1879, to Gertrude Tonk, and the father was never identified. My efforts in Salt Lake revealed the existence of micro-fiche records of orphans born in Wien. I’m not exactly certain of the accuracy of these fiche numbers, but do know that fiche #1442958 contained records of births from 2/11/1879 to 2/20/1879, and micro-fiche #1442959 goes from 2/21/1879 and ends at 4/15/1879. However, micro-fiche 1442960 begins at June 26, 1879, thus somehow not having information for the date of grandfather’s birthday. Assistants at the help desk were unable to explain this gap, nor where to look for further info.

I will be in Vienna on May 16 & 17, 2011, and would like to attempt to find the original “Orphans of Vienna” records. Could you guide me to the possible buildings where I might find such records?


Gary Gabrich, BB member from South Bend, was first to respond: Dear Jack, Gary here in South Bend. Read your article #124 for the first time and was moved by your endeavors and what info you finally found in discovering your heritage and even been so lucky to walk the streets of your ancestral village and speak with those who knew your family. I would guess the only 15% of the B.B. er's have achieved as much info as you have.

What I find interesting is the focus on "Orphans" records. Wouldn't these records cover only those infants that were abandoned or those officially given up by a parent (or parents) because of economic reasons? I would have assumed that Gertrude might have been sent to a special home where she was able to conceive the child in seclusion and then return home back into her community. I know Catholic Churches in the U.S. had such a network to take care of women who bore children out of wedlock, I would assume the great cultured city of Vienna would be no different. If the home would be a small private home, that would make things hard to find but if it was a group home supported by the church, perhaps records might be found. Good luck in your search!

Perhaps our members living in or near Vienna could address the existence of such homes in that culture faster then we who are Stateside.

By the way I see that your family originally made their way to the South Bend area. I did a quick find on our GENWEB St. Joseph Co. IN website and found Tonks all over the place. Chris Kovach has amassed a great database on Hungarians here in our area. Go to: search the immigration records and Vital Records Extractions to see what I mean. If you need anything specific here in South Bend I'm available to help you. P.S. are there any Magyars left in Gary? I know my uncle Ted Gabric moved out to Crown Point.


I then followed up: Hi Jack, I think Gary is correct; you are not looking for an orphan birth record. Rather, you want an unmarried mother birth record (which would normally be a baptism record and handled like any other church record). Given your evidence, one would assume Gertrude was Catholic and that Franz’ baptism would be recorded in the parish Franz was baptized in.

Unfortunately, I’d guess there were quite a few parishes in the Vienna area at that time. Vienna is outside the BB’s area of research, so I’m not aware of how one would find parishes for the area. But I’d also bet that Vienna is a Diocese and that its Diocese Archives would have copies of the parish records… meaning you could search many parish records from a single location. This could still mean, though, that you would need to go through hundreds of parish books looking at the date range of interest. Sounds like days of work!

Civil records were not required in Vienna until 1938, but civil records, if recorded, are likely stored in the city archives.

But my bet is church records, not civil records, and the church will have those.

BB VP Klaus Gerger is familiar with some of the archives in Vienna. I have copied him on this reply in the hope that he can give you more advice and detail on the necessary archives and how to get an appointment (which you will likely need).


So Klaus Gerger followed up: Hello Jack, I have 3 different approaches to do your search depending on how urgent it is.

1. very high: travel to Vienna and visit every single parish of the parishes in question.

2. medium: write an email to (Ing. Kurt Dörfler) and send the
the detailed query (complete Name and birth date or at least birth month and parish - for you, whole Vienna) and ask for a query. The "Matrikenreferat" sends every 3 months a (paper) letter to all Viennese parishes with Genealogical requests. The parishes can search the requests and answer, but they are not required to do so. I was told that the next request will get published in June and that there is a good chance that during the summer some of the parishes will check the list.

3. very low: The Viennese diocese plans to digitize all old records (in 5 years).
As a pioneer in Austria the diocese of Lower Austria is already online with many parishes.
(I did not find border villages to Burgenland so far ;) See; absolutely fantastic what you can see here. But be aware that there is a danger that they will remove access from internet because of legal problems (I was told).


Meanwhile, Jack had responded: Tom, Thanks for the insightful information. I now see the difference between orphan records and unmarried mother birth record. I will see what I can do with Vienna Diocese Archives.

I think a translation of some of the records I have may also help me.


And Klaus followed up with a second message: Hello Jack, I fully agree to Gary and Tom's approach. And he is also right that there were many parishes at that time in Vienna. This is a site with an online address book ("The Lehmann") of old Vienna. It is German only but easy to use. From the home page click ' Wiener Adressbüchern", then on the little icon, then you can select a decade and then a specific year. Following this link "[Namenverzeichnis] 3. Nachweis. Einwohner von Wien und Umgebung (mit Ausschluß der Gewerbegehülfen, Tagelöhner und Dienstboten)" and then a letter and a letter range you can browse through the address book.

I did so for 1879 and 1880 and found no Tonk. Which did not came as a surprise since the title translates as "Directory of names of inhabitants of Vienna and surrounding, excluding
subsidiary, day-taler and servants". Most likely Gertrude worked as a servant in Vienna and will not show up in the directory.

But the directory also shows all churches from that time:
This is a list of the current parishes of Vienna (districts or 1 - 10 are relevant for your).

In the diocese I found 2 organizations which might have some info:
Adresse: Wollzeile 2/2/202+203, 1010 Wien
Tel.: ++43 1 515 52-3419
Fax: ++43 1 515 52-2419

Leiter: Dipl.-Ing. Robert Zeller DW /3418
Assistent: Mag. Iosif Bortos DW /3237
DKD-Pfarrvernetzung: Ing. Kurt Dörfler, Diakon
DKD-Pfarrvernetzung: Janusz Furmanek
DKD-Pfarrvernetzung: Elisabeth Lafnitzegger
Schematismus und Statistik: Mag. Robert Huka DW /3236, Fax: /2420

and the
Diözesanarchiv Wien
A-1010 Wien, Wollzeile 2
(Erzbischöfliches Palais)
Tel.: 0043 / 1 / 51552-3239
Fax: 0043 / 1 / 51552-3240

Dr. Annemarie Fenzl

Mag. Dr. Johann Weißensteiner

Gabriele Lisak

I'll contact both of them after the Easter holidays and get back to you with the info I get.
best regards from Vienna / Güssing.


And I followed up on that: Hi Jack, I see Klaus has come up with some useful detail for you (thanks Klaus!). My arithmetic shows 67 parishes in the first 10 districts of Vienna in the 1870s and 57 now, suggesting some have been consolidated. Not as bad as I thought, but still daunting! If only you could come up with some hint of where in Vienna Gertrude went, it would help reduce your search a lot.

Klaus appears to indicate that the old (core) Districts of Vienna remain the same now as in the 1870s. However, I wonder if “born in Vienna” included being in a nearby village that later was included into Vienna; if so, it makes your research more difficult.

Good luck on your search and be sure to keep us updated as you proceed.


Which prompted Jack to reply again: Klaus, Tom, and Gary, thank you to each of you. The info provided is wonderful. I have been playing around on some of the sites suggested, but of course am greatly hampered by not being able to translate much of it. I have a couple of questions.

First, I wonder if Gertrude Tonk, if she indeed was the housekeeper for the priest as family oral history stated, and as some of the old folks I spoke with in Minihof mentioned, would she return to Minihof with the child? Would she not give it up for adoption? Some of my relatives have said that grandfather mentioned being an orphan, being in foster homes, but always trying to return to his mother. Family oral history again says he was partially successful at this, staying with her & the priest, off and on. So might I not still find a record of his birth in the orphans of Vienna records?

Second, on the marriage certificate, in a section labeled "szuletesenek", on a line marked "helye" is written "Wien, Olso' - Duszd...." This last word I cannot make out as it is in script. Could this be a clue as to where records in Vienna may be found? Could it be a name of a parish, or district?

Lastly, I hate to impose on any of you, but I am willing to mail to any you a copy of the marriage document in the hope that you may be able to translate some of the information.

And though finding some evidence of the birth/baptism of grandfather is a goal, the real mystery is Gertrude Tonk. Was she indeed the house keeper for Father Blazovich? Did she come with him from Hungary? Some people in Minihof said my grandmother, Francziska Nemeth, came from the same village in Hungary as Gertrude Tonk. Or, was she one of the adoptive parents of grandfather?

I appreciate all of your help. Hopefully I can find the sources that will help answer my questions.


Which led to yet another reply from me: Jack, The Hungarian words are those for Birth and Place (location, district, etc.) but “Olso” does not seem to be a word associated with Vienna. Perhaps you are misinterpreting it also. I’d be glad to look at the document if you want. However, it might be simpler, faster and cheaper to scan it and send copies to each of us via email. If you don’t have a scanner, you can likely get it scanned at an office store.

As to your other comments/speculations, I think they are reasonable but very difficult to investigate in any way. The orphan/foster thing remains a possibility but, if so, I would speculate that orphanage or foster residence records (rather than birth) might be more useful. City archives are the likely place for those.


So Jack followed up with a scan of the marriage certificate: This was also sent to Klaus. This is part of page 1 of the marriage record, enlarged for clarity. And the records I was perusing in Salt Lake I think were Vienna city records of orphans. Any idea where I would go in Vienna to look at the originals?


Both Klaus and I responded on the location question but Klaus' response was a bit more complete: Hello Jack, The phrase in question is "Wien, Alsó-Ausztria", which is Wien, Niederösterreich or Vienna, Lower Austria. At that time Vienna was considered as the capitol not only of Austria but also of the province of Lower Austria.


And then I followed up with a translation of the full (partial) certificate and a response to his question about the orphan records location: Jack, Below is my transcription (followed by my translation) of your (partial) certificate [reformatted side-by-side for the web].

Transcription: Translation:
Kelt: Malomházán
1903 (ezer kilenczszáz harmadik)
Februar hó 9 (kilenczedik) napj.

Megjelentek alulirott Jandrok Victor anyakönyvvezetö elött házasságkötés czéljából:

1. mint völegény: Tonk Ferencz
a kinek vallása: Roman Katholikus
állása (foglalkozása): napszámos
lakóhelye: Malomház

születésének -
helye: Wien, Alsó-Ausztria
ideje: 1879 (ezer nyolcz száz hetven kilencz)
Aprilis hó 20 (huszadik) napj.
és a kit az alulirott anyakönyvvezetö személyesen ismer

atyjának -
családi és utóneve:
állása (foglalkozása):

anyjának -
családi és utóneve: Tonk Gertrud
állása (foglalkozása): háztartásbeli
lakóhelye: Malomház

2. mint menyasszony: Nemeth Francziska
a kinek vallása: Roman Katholikus
állása (foglalkozása): háztartásban segitö csaladtag
lakóhelye: Gyiróth 4. szám

születésének -
helye: Peresznye
ideje: 1880 (ezer nyolcz száz nyolcz van) Marczius hó 9 (kilenczedik) napj.
és a kit az alulirott anyakönyvvezetö

(image cut off here)
Date: Malomházá
1903 (nineteen hundred and three)
February month 9 (ninth) day

have appeared before the undersigned Victor Jandrok, a civil registrar, to enter into marriage:

1. as a groom: Frank Tonk
whose religion: Roman Catholic
job (occupation): day laborer
residing: Malomház

birth -
Location: Wien, Lower Austria
Time: 1879 (eighteen hundred seventy nine)
April month 20 (twenty) day
and the registrar, who is personally known to the undersigned

father -
Name and surname:
job (occupation):

mother -
Family and first name: Gertrude Tonk
job (occupation): Homemaker
residing: Malomház

2. as a bride: Nemeth Francziska
whose religion: Roman Catholic
job (occupation): assisting family households
residing: Gyirót No 4.

birth -
Location: Peresznye
Time: 1880 (eighteen hundred and eighty)
March month 9 (ninth) day
and for whom the undersigned registrar

(image cut off here)

The Mormon website lists only one entry for orphans:
Title: Findelbücher 1784-1905
Authors: Wien (Niederösterreich). Waisenamt (Main Author)
Notes: Mikrofilme aufgenommen von Manuskripten im Österreichischen Stadt und Landesarchiv Wien. Birth records of foundlings.
Subjects: Austria, Niederösterreich, Wien - Orphans and orphanages
Format: Manuscript (On Film)
Language: German
Publication: Salt Lake City, Utah: Gefilmt durch The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1980, 1986
Physical: 318 Mikrofilmrollen; 35 mm.

The “notes” translate to “Microfilms of manuscripts included in the Austrian city and state archives in Vienna.”

The address for the Österreichisches Staatsarchiv (State Archives) is: Nottendorfer Gasse 2, A-1030 Wien (Tel.: +43-1-79540-0, E-Mail:

The Vienna Municipal and Provincial Archives are at: Guglgasse 14, A-1110 Vienna (Tel : +43/1/4000 / 84 808, Fax: +43/1/4000 / 84 809, E-mail :


And Klaus clarified which archive was indicated: Hello Jack, the film has the note: "aufgenommen von Manuskripten im Österreichischen Stadt und Landesarchiv Wien". So the originating archive is the municipal and not the state archive. Vienna is both a city and a province of Austria and therefore the archive title is Stadt und Landesarchiv (city and province).


Fritz Königshofer, just returned from vacation, then provided some advice: Jack, Here are my belated comments on your questions.

Are the dates of birth in these films 100% sequential? I find it strange that one film (1442958) should cover only a time span of 10 days when the average of these films appears to be longer than 2 months per microfilm. If, however, you have firmly established that some entries are missing, please do try to clarify the situation by a visit to the Stadt und Landesarchiv Wien (which holds the original paper records).

When you are there, please inquire about the "Pflegschaftsakt" (file of child support) of your grandfather. Unfortunately, two days may not be enough time for the archive to locate the file.

There is another avenue for you. This are the duplicates of male birth records which were made in support of the obligatory military draft 17 years later. You find the LDS film numbers under Wien/Austria, Civil Registration, Militär Stammrollen. Finding your grandfather's birth entry there will also reveal his religion and parish (for your search of the original birth record). The record may also point to the hometown of his mother. The original Militär Stammrollen (as filmed by LDS) are kept in the same archive as mentioned above.

How certain are you about the birth date of your grandfather? Was the data in the marriage record based on a birth certificate? Have you considered the possibility that his real birth date was different? Without a birth certificate, it was possible to mix up the date, especially the year of birth.

Since Vienna had so many parishes, rendering searches very difficult, have you considered hiring a professional firm like IHFF? As far as I remember, IHFF charges a fixed price for locating a Viennese birth record.

In summary, if I were you, I would fine comb the films around 1879 with the births of the "Vienna orphans" and would do the same with the birth records listed in the "Militär Stammrollen."

Have a good trip to, and time in, Vienna.


I provided one last comment: Jack, I just stumbled across this website: You should review it.


And we permit Jack the final words as he leaves on his trip (with expectations that we will add more comments upon his return!): Tom, once again, thanks for thinking of me. I have not had much time to do any searching, but when I return from our trip down the Danube, I intend to spend a few hours each day searching. I did look at the recommended site and it does seem to have potential. Thanks again


Jack returned home and sent a number of messages with information and requests for translations. Rather than quote each of these, I'll summarize relevant details and intersperse the more informative replies.

First, Jack did go to the Vienna Municipal and Provincial Archives, viewed a microfiche giving an alpha list of births in Vienna, but found no registration for Gertrud Tonk and son Franz. Strangely, however, he did discover another microfiche record recording the birth of Franz and the name of the Vienna-area parish church with the birth record, Gumpendorf! Although he visited the church, he was unable to locate the office nor talk with anyone knowledgeable about their birth records.

Jack copied and shared that record with us, commenting that there were some notes he could not read. It turns out that these notes held the clue for the next step in Jack's research...


Fritz Königshofer provided the interpretation: Jack, in my interpretation, the birth record you saw and scanned is from the duplicates of male births in Vienna, which were written to support the military draft. Besides the April 20, 1879, birth date, the entries on the record seem to have been made in years 1897 and 1898, when, at age 18 to 19, Franz would have been subject to the obligatory draft. The second note is very difficult to read due to the many bureaucratic abbreviations used. My (partly) guess is that, in 1897, the military sent an inquiry to Oberpullendorf asking about the whereabouts of Franz. The town hall of Oberpullendorf then reported that Franz Tonk was "zuständig nach" (meaning he had home rights at) the town of Ligvánd (today Nebersdorf in Burgenland).

Without the benefit of Franz's baptismal record from the Viennese parish of Gumpendorf, we only know that his home rights in 1897 were at Nebersdorf, but not whether the same had been the case at his birth. The birth entry notes provide an act (file) number which points to an act that may still be kept at an archive (Vienna's War Archive?).

Having home rights was the old version of citizenship in Middle Europe. Typically, people received the home rights of father or mother at birth, but it was also possible to be accepted by another place during your life. For instance, my great-grandfather had home rights in Neudau, Styria. However, when he sought employment as a freshly graduated teacher, the town of Olbendorf provided him with new home rights as a pre-condition for getting the job there.

Nevertheless, I recommend that you order the LDS films with the baptismal records of the r-c parish of Nebersdorf and search for the birth record of Gertrude Tonk, starting with the years around 1855. Look also for an entry of Franz's birth (on April 20, 1879), because such an entry may well have been made as the parish of Gumpendorf may have notified the parish of Franz's home rights.

I think we were on a wrong track with the idea that Franz's birth could have taken place at the hospital of orphan births, because that hospital was for mothers who could not take care of their babies, such as maids or prostitutes. As for Franz, it is likely that the father felt great responsibility despite his difficult situation (as a celibate r-c priest).

If the family could afford it, the pregnant woman was sent to a large city (like Vienna or Graz) to give birth in the anonymity provided by the city. This measure was also intended to cut the gossip that would likely have thrived had the parish priest's cook given birth out of wedlock in a small town like Kroatisch Minihof or Nebersdorf.

I am running out of time tonight. Will continue tomorrow.


Klaus jumped back in with two messages: Hello Jack, today I called the parish of Gumpendorf, got the open hours of the office and will copy the entry in the next days. I'll get back to you then.

Which he did: Hello Jack, attached you can find the birth entry of Franz Tonk. The entry just states the address, Wallgasse 40, which does not exist now. I can check in the Cadastral Archive what type of building had been there. The entry has the note "angeblich," which shows that the mother had no documents proving her identity. As Godmother, an "Elisabeth Kollany, Hebamme" (midwife) is noted. I can not decipher the note (I'm sure Fritz can).

Klaus also threw in a comment to Fritz: Fritz, you are absolutely right with the hint to check the Nebersdorf parish records. But you must be aware of the fact that the LDS just copied the "duplicates" of the records, not the original books. Often the notes where not transcribed into the duplicates. So I'd suggest to check both.


Fritz replied concerning the note in the birth record: The entry made under "Anmerkung" (note) again lists the name of the midwife as Elis.(abeth) Kolany and then adds the address, Bürgerspitalg.(asse) 27. I think that this means that the midwife not only served as godparent, but also reported the birth at the parish office. The address (Bürgerspitalgasse 27) is perhaps where Gertrud delivered the baby. Could this have been the Bürgerspital (citizens' hospital) itself?

The birth entry does not say anything on the Zuständigkeit (belonging to) of Gertrud. This could mean that she actually belonged to Wien. However, I rather believe that she did not volunteer this information, or the midwife cooperated in getting only the minimum of info into the records. As Klaus noted, the column with the mother's name contains the word "angeblich" (meaning: "according to what the mother, or someone in her party, said").

This puts Jack back to searching the records of Nebersdorf. The BB house list has not yet been transcribed for this town to see whether Tonks lived there in the 1850/60s, but Klaus may have the raw material for it.

[Ed note: Indeed, Klaus did have the houselist raw material and it revealed that a Mathias Tonk owned house # 61 in Nebersdorf in 1857.]

Separately, Fritz replied to Klaus' comment and then continued  an earlier message: Let me first say that I fully agree with Klaus's recommendation to search the original birth records of the parish Nebersdorf. To search the duplicates (as are nearly all Burgenland microfilms of LDS), however, is a practical alternative when one cannot visit the parish or the Diocesan Archive at Eisenstadt.

Klaus, when you visit the parish office of Gumpendorf, please pass my regards to Mr. Nowak, whom I approached by e-mail about the birth entry of Franz Tonk. Since you will scan the record, there is no need anymore for the parish to reply to me.

I am now continuing and hopefully completing the e-mail I sent earlier, see below.

When I looked up the LDS website about whether the parish records of Nebersdorf are available on microfilm (which, indeed, is the case), I noted a new link that takes one to an on-line index of Hungarian baptismal records of Roman-catholic parishes. Have a look yourself. When you enter Gertrude as first name and Tonk as last name, the baptism of a baby girl, Joanna, comes up. There is likely something wrong with the transcription of the entry (done by volunteers), as Gertrudis can hardly be a father's first name. However, all info is there for locating the original record. Apparently, the baptism of Joanna took place at the Szent Mihály parish in the city of Sopron on May 24, 1884. The entry should be on roll 630874.

Since Gertrude was not among the most frequent first names, I wonder whether Joanna was a half sister, or even a sister, of Franz. Sopron was a county capital (of Sopron county). The same argumentation of seeking anonymity for the birth applies as for giving birth in Vienna.

Now some comments on further search for the presumed father of Franz, according to Tonk family lore, Isidor or Izidor Blazovits, the parish priest of Kroatisch Minihof since creation of the parish in 1870. There is a book on all Catholic priests of the diocese of Szombathely written by (I believe) Gyula Balogh. The book is available on microfiche or film from LDS. However, Izidor Blazovits may well not be mentioned there because the district of Pullendorf belonged to the diocese of Győr. On the other hand, if Izidor worked in the diocese of Szombathely at least for one stint, his bio could most likely be found in Balogh's book. In any case, it may be worth writing to the Diocese Győr, asking for data about the career of Izidor Blazovits. If it ever came known to church authorities that Izidor had produced offspring, his career would likely include a demotion (such as from parish priest to chaplain), or time spent in a convent.

One of my books mentions a Markus Blazovits, parish priest in Schützen am Gebirge from 1862 until 1890. This priest was born 1828 in Frankenau (Frankó), district of Pullendorf. He was ordained as priest in 1853 in Győr. Could Markus have been a brother or other close relative of Izidor? If so, Izidor may have been the younger of the two. I recommend that you check the birth records of Frankenau for both the births of Markus and Izidor. In this case, the original records (in contrast to the duplicates filmed by LDS) of Frankenau might confirm (in the last column of the birth records) the subsequent ordinations, and may clarify whether Markus and Isidor were the first names adopted at ordination or were still the original baptismal first names.


All this got me curious as to where the various places were in Vienna.

In the map to the right, "A" is Bürgerspitalgasse 27 (the probable birth location), "B" is the location of Wallgasse 40 (the mother's address), and "C" is the location of the Gumpendorf church (where the baptism took place). Note that the northern two blocks of Wallgasse no longer exist, having been replaced by the Gürtel roads; I've marked (in orange lines) the location of Wallgasse at that time.

So, all of these locations are just blocks apart, which holds together quite well.

A citizen's hospital did not exist at Bürgerspitalgasse 27 at the time (nor is there a hospital at that location currently).

As Fritz commented, Jack has a number of investigational options available to him. He can (and should) explore the Nebersdorf church records to see what can be found about Franz and Gertrude Tonk. He also has the birth of Joanna Tonk in Sopron that may provide useful information about Gertrude Tonk. And, he may have a trail that will lead to information about the presumed father of Franz, Izidor Blazovits. While the mystery of Franz Tonk's ancestry is not yet unraveled, it appears useful threads remain to be pulled. Good luck, Jack!


Editor: This is part of our occasional series designed to recycle interesting articles from the BB Newsletters of 10 years ago.

This month, we provide a 2001 submission from Earl Barret. You may recall that Earl is the author of "Eden Was on a Hollywood Hill," a funny and touching family memoir published in 2010 describing the struggles and triumphs of his immigrant parents as they strove to make a better life in American. During his Hollywood career, Earl was known primarily as a writer/producer of television comedies, although he also wrote both plays and screenplays.

Earl joined the BB in Oct 2000. The article below appears to be his first submission to the BB newsletter. It presages the humor of his book as well as echoes the style of his Hollywood writings. Enjoy!

June 30, 2001

(from Earl Barret)

There's no way you could have known it at the time, but one of the things you the set in motion when you created the BB was me.

Although I didn't join your group until a few years after it was born, I'm still holding you partly responsible. One day I innocently inquired on the Web if anyone might have heard of my grandfather and I was steered to the BB. My life hasn't quite been the same since.

BB member John Lavendoski not only found my grandfather's place of birth, Szentpéterfa, Vas, Aus-Hun (Prostrum in German), he provided me with 8 generations of ancestors who came from the same village. (I immediately started worrying about the size of the gene pool) I knew I had to go there someday soon. A natural caution prevented me from sharing this happy thought with my wife.

There was a kicker in this flood of information, however. It seems my grandfather was not legitimate. At first I took this pretty hard. But then I realized there was nothing I could do about it. And there was nothing my grandfather could've done about it. And probably not my ggrandmother, either. I like to think she was spotted by some passing stranger from a far distant place and they were swept away by their passions. (It increases the gene pool.)

Also in studying the LDS records I noticed that an entire column was devoted to illegitimacy so it must not have been such a rare occurrence.

Now you don't just hop on a plane and find yourself in Szentpéterfa, Hungary. You have to want to go to Szentpéterfa. You have to desperately want to go to Szentpéterfa. I finally broke the news to my wife. "Oh, wonderful! I've always wanted to go to ST. PETERSBURG!!!"

When I explained it was the other Szt. place and threw in Budapest and Prague, she really took it quite well. Not so our travel agent. She felt we'd be far better off going to Hawaii. I told her that, as far as I knew, none of my ancestors had ever been near a surfboard.

Our trip got off to a non-flying start with a 5 hour delay at LAX. Lufthansa pilots were not sure they wanted to fly. I didn't mind the wait. When I get on a plane, I want it to be with a pilot who really wants to fly.

We arrived in Budapest many, many hours later where I amused the natives with my own special brand of Hungarian. I'd been studying the language for some months and even my teacher was beginning to get discouraged. She did, however, write a very nice letter to Fr. Schneller warning him I was on my way. I was hoping to find some sort of record of my mother's birth which occurred years after the LDS records for Szentpéterfa stop.

Budapest was in bloom. Every tree and flower was offering its best. So was the Hungarian State Opera where we saw a shattering production of "Madame Butterfly." Barbara started crying at about the second note and I held out until at least the fifth.

But lurking behind all this pleasure was the knowledge that we would soon be on a train to Vienna and a Hertz car rental office. John Lavendoski had advised me that the best way to get to Szentpeterfa was to drive there from Vienna since the highways in Austria are much better than those in Hungary.

I was apprehensive because I speak no German but John didn't think that was a problem. So I got an international license at the Auto Club where the only qualification was $18 and I got nervous again at the thought of a lot of people like me on the road.

I had nothing but fond memories of Vienna where Barbara and I had stayed at the Imperial Hotel some 20 years ago. But the cab ride from the train station to Hertz revealed it's a far different place today. It's been ruined by the automobile as have so many other cities of the world. Logic would dictate that with more cars on the road every year we should be making them smaller. Instead were making them larger. We're making tanks to better express our road rage.

We finally arrived at the Hertz office and it seemed a very good omen when I spotted the Imperial Hotel across a small street not more than half a block away.

Tomas stood behind the counter wearing shoulder-length hair and a smirk. I had requested a Mercedes. No chance. We were getting an Opel and we'd better like it. (As it turns out we did. Although at one border crossing I couldn't unlock the trunk for inspection.) I told him we were headed for Oberwart and asked for a map. He produced one and quickly drew too many arrows on it. Then he pointed. All we needed was A23 over the canal.

We loaded the car and were off. The first thing I realized was that it was impossible to go in the direction Tomas had pointed. No left turn was permitted there. At the next corner no right turn was permitted, and I discovered that was the pattern for all of Vienna. Every direction I wanted to turn was not permitted. I was only allowed to go the way I didn't want to go. Barbara had the map with all the arrows but couldn't find her glasses. And Barbara without her glasses is like touring with Ray Charles.

She kept urging me to stop and ask directions. I resisted. What was the point? Unless we lucked onto someone who spoke English, what good would it do? Eventually she wore me down and I pulled over to a hotel doorman standing on the sidewalk. While Barbara was speaking to him, I was showing my map to the hotel's limo driver. Then I happened to glance up and saw the Hertz rental office. We were parked in front of the Imperial Hotel. After 35 minutes of hard driving I'd gone half a block.

The limo driver gave me a second map, drew some more arrows, and pointed. A23. Over the canal. I felt better. So did Barbara. The doorman thought she looked the same as 20 years ago. We were off again and within 15 minutes I was willing to concede that I might not know where I was. This time I pulled over to a policeman and Barbara looked so distraught that he said, "Follow me." We were given a police escort out of Vienna!

The Burgenland is astonishingly beautiful. It's surely how the world was meant to be. For our ancestors ever to have left it, their need must have been very great.

"From America?" Fr. Schneller asked as he approached us. We had arrived after the last mass at St. Peter and St. Paul's church in Szentpéterfa. I nodded. Clearly he had been expecting us. He indicated a handsome looking woman who introduced herself as Vernoica Teklits and said she'd be happy to act as interpreter. Fr. Schneller wanted us to follow him to the rectory.

The large book containing birth records lay open on a table and Fr. Schneller pointed to an entry. A chill ran through me as I saw my mother's name and the date: "8 Aug. 1902".

I either read or somebody told me not to expect too much of a first genealogical trip. That I'd be very lucky to find anything. As you can see, I'm one lucky guy.

P.S. We were given a wonderful lunch by Veronica's sister, Agnes, and later taken to see the house where my mother was born. The Pinka river is at the foot of the property.


(courtesy of Bob Strauch)

Monday, July 4: Lancaster Liederkranz 131st Anniversary. In Lancaster. Info:

Sunday, July 17: Reading Liederkranz Singers' Volksfest. Reading Liederkranz in Reading. Music by the Joe Weber Orchestra. Info:

Saturday, July 23: Reading Liederkranz 126th Anniversary. In Reading. Info:

Friday-Sunday, August 5-7: St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Parish Festival. In Allentown. Music by the Walt Groller Orchestra (Fri.), the Emil Schanta Band (Sat.), and ??? (Sun.). Polka Mass, 4:30 PM, Saturday.

Friday-Sunday, August 5-14: Musikfest in Bethlehem ( Guest European performers: "Die Fahrenbacher" from Steiermark/Austria (

Sunday, August 7: St. Peter's Catholic Church Parish Picnic. In Coplay. Music by the J&J Orchestra and the Emil Schanta Band.

Saturday, August 13: European Union Day. Reading Liederkranz in Reading. Info:

Sunday, August 21: German-American Day. Evergreen Heimatbund in Fleetwood. Music by the Walt Groller Orchestra. Info:


First Tuesdays Jul 5 and Aug 2, 5:30-7:30 pm: Buffet. Entertainment by Carl Heidlauf on Piano. ~ Open to the Public ~ $10 pp members ($12 guests). Lancaster Liederkranz, 722 S. Chiques Rd, Manheim, PA., 717-898-8451.

Friday, August 19, 1:00 pm shotgun start: Hobby Chor 11th Annual Golf Outing & Dinner. Open to the Public, men & women invited. Four Seasons Golf Course; Dinner at the Liederkranz Pavilion immediately following play. Hole Sponsor, $50; Early Team Registration (per person), $70; Single Golfer, $75. Sponsorship and Entry forms available at the club or on the Liederkanz website.

(courtesy of Margaret Kaiser)

Tuesdays at 7 pm:
Men's and Women's Singing Societies meet. Austrian Donau Club.
Thursdays at 7 pm: Alpenland Tänzer (Alpine Country Dancers) meet. Austrian Donau Club.

ST. LOUIS, MO (courtesy of Kay Weber)

Saturday, July 30: Clues to the Past in Family Photos. St. Louis Genealogical Society Summer Speaker Series, featuring Maureen Taylor, author of Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs and other books. At Orlando Gardens, 8352 Watson Road, Webster Groves, MO. For additional information and to register, visit or call 314-647-8547.

TORONTO, CANADA (courtesy of Margaret Kaiser)

Sunday July 24: Burgenlaender Picnic. Burgenlaender Club, Toronto, Canada. Held at Evening Bell Park.

10) BURGENLAND EMIGRANT OBITUARIES (courtesy of Bob Strauch)

John Fandl

John S. "Sam" Fandl, 92, of Northampton died Memorial Day in Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, Bethlehem, surrounded by his loving family. Sam and his wife Susanna Sue (Seier) Fandl would have been married 68 years on September 9th.

Born December 16, 1918 in Szentpéterfa, Hungary (aka Petrovo Selo/Prostrum), Sam was the son of the late John and Rose (Yurasits) Fandl. He was a carpenter all of his life and was a very proud member of the Lehigh Valley Carpenters Union # 600 of Bethlehem. Sam also worked at the Hess's Department Store for 10 years. He honorably served his country in the United States Army Medical Corp during WW-II. Sam was a life member of the Catholic War Veterans Post #454 in Northampton and was a member of the dart league and he was very active with the Minstrels. He was a life member of the Ss. Peter and Paul Sick and Beneficial Society, Northampton. He was a member of Queenship of Mary church, Northampton. Sam was an avid tennis player and played until he was 85 years of age.

Survivors: wife Sue; forever loving family member, Bryan Beal, of Northampton; beloved niece, Christine Orowitz, of Kentucky; sister in laws, Catherine Tausz, of Bethlehem, and Helen Klucharich, of Coplay, many more loving nieces and nephews. Sam was predeceased by a sister, Mary Keschel.

Services: A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 3rd at 10:30 a.m. in the Queenship of Mary Church, 1324 Newport Ave, Northampton. Family and friends may call Friday 8:30 -10 a.m. in the Reichel Funeral Home, 326 E. 21st St, Northampton. Burial with Military Honors will follow in the Our Lady of Hungary Parish Cemetery.

Contributions: Memorials may be presented to the church c/o funeral home.

Published in Morning Call on June 1, 2011


Sister Rose Lechner

Sister Rose Lechner, formerly known as Sister Deodata, age 103, a Missionary Sister of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, of Sacred Heart Villa, Reading, passed away on Monday, June 13, 2011 in the 85th year of her religious life.

Born in Inzenhof, Burgenland, Austria, she was the daughter of the late Frank and Agnes (Wolf) Lechner.

She made her First Profession of Vows on February 3, 1927. She was engaged in a variety of ministries in the Columbus, Ohio and Allentown Dioceses. For 18 years she worked in the food service at the pontifical Josephinum Seminary in Columbus. She was the cafeteria supervisor at Sacred Heart Hospital, Allentown, from 1946 to 1971. She then served for five years as the receptionist at the former St. Michael Convent, Reading, now Sacred Heart Villa. In 1976 she returned to the Sacred Heart Hospital, Allentown, where she served in Pastoral Ministry until she retired in 2005.

Survivors: She is survived by nieces and nephews. She was pre-deceased by her brother Frank and sisters, Hattie Lechner and Ella Lechner Steltzman.

Services: A Wake service will be held at Sacred Heart Villa on Sunday, June 19 at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 11 a.m. in the chapel of Sacred Heart Villa. Burial will follow in the convent cemetery.

Contributions: In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, 51 Seminary Avenue, Reading, PA 19605. Gallman-Sonoski Funeral home, Inc., Reading has charge of arrangements.

Published in Morning Call on June 15, 2011


Julia Dobitsch

Julianna Dobitsch (née Hafner), 104 years of Bergenfield, New Jersey. Departed on Mar. 14, 2011. Born in Gerersdorf, Burgenland, Austria on Aug. 9, 1906.

Wife of the late Frank Dobitsch. Devoted mother of William (Mary Ann) Dobitsch, and the late Frank Dobitsch, Jr., Anna (William) Hughes and Elizabeth (Robert Hughes). Cherished grandmother of Richard, John, Phillip, Leonard, Patricia, William Jr., Christine, Philip, Donna and the late Linda and John. Loving great grandmother of 21 and great, great grandmother of 5.

All will gather at Riewerts Memorial Home, 187 So. Washington Ave. Bergenfield on Thursday at 9 AM for the Funeral Mass at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church, Bergenfield at 10 AM. Interment Sacred Heart Cemetery, Whitehall, PA.

Visiting Wednesday 2-4 and 7-9 PM. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Holy Name Hospice, 725 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, New Jersey 07666.


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