|The Burgenland Bunch Genealogy Group|
Genealogists researching the multi-ethnic heritage of the Burgenland of Austria and adjoining areas of former West Hungary.
Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER] BB News Number 171 dtd JAnuary 31, 2008
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 06:55:30 EST
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS -No. 171
DEDICATED TO AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN BURGENLAND FAMILY HISTORY
January 31, 2008
(c) 2008 G. J. Berghold-all rights reserved
Our 13th Year- Newsletter issued monthly as email by G. J. Berghold, BB
Editor and also available from: http://www.the-burgenland-bunch.org
~DID YOU MISS BB NEWS NO. 170, OUR PICTORIAL SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION? SEE IT
~Win a Sound of Music Companion Book~
Current Status Of The BB: Members-1562*Surname Entries- 5155*Query Board
Entries-3845*Newsletters Archived-171*Number of Staff Members-15
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printed or copied from the BB Homepage. There is also an archive of previous
This first section of our 2 section newsletter concerns:
1. 1858 Village Householders-Help Wanted-Important BB Effort (Klaus Gerger)
2. BB President Tom Steichen Visits Bethlehem, PA-Burgenland Enclave
3. Greetings From Frank Teklits, Former BB Croatian Editor
4. New Burgenland Border-No Border (Hannes Graf)
5. Winter Comes To Burgenland (Hannes Graf)
6. Historical Burgenland Series-Teachers' Strike 1927 (Margaret Kaiser)
7. Historical Burgenland Series-Land Distribution 1929 (Margaret Kaiser)
1. 1858 VILLAGE HOUSEHOLDERS-HELP WANTED-IMPORTANT BB EFFORT!
BB Vice-president and Burgenland Editor Klaus Gerger writes:
I started to list Güssing district householders in the year 2000 and then
decided to list householders for every village, but I knew it would be a big job.
I have completed many (see BB Homepage "Burgenland Village Houses In Each
District) and I am now working on Eisenstadt. Why did I start this? In the early
days of the BB I had many questions like: "my name is X and I don't know my
ancestor's village". Then I stumbled over the Austrian 1858 Householder Archive,
finding that the lists give a very good overview of the family names in a
village at the generation of the parents of the mass migration of immigrants. I
started transcribing, then made expensive paper copies (Güssing district), and
finally was allowed to take digital pictures (the archive office hours are
from 8-12 am.)
I've thus been working on the "House List" series for the Eisenstadt and
Neusiedl districts. I have pictures of the lists from all villages of Eisenstadt
district and of several villages from Neusiedl. Since this worked very well for
Oberwart, I would be glad if I can again find volunteers to help. You can see
a sample page at http://www.the-burgenland-bunch.org/HouseList/DSEN7568.JPG
We started the first call for volunteers (for Oberwart district) at the
beginning of 2003 (see
http://www.the-burgenland-bunch.org/HouseList/help/Volunteers.htm). It was finally finished in October 2005.
There are 3 steps to get a House-list web page.
1. I take pictures of the original pages at the Österreichisches Bundesamt
für Eich- und Vermessungswesen, Katastralmappenarchiv, up to 4 villages at a
2. They need to be transcribed into MS Excel sheets - this most time
consuming part is for volunteers, since it would take me decades to do it myself.
3. I convert the Excel sheets into html pages. I have a set of tools that
mixes the tables into html templates.
Several BB members have been interested in single villages and did the
transcription work just for that village. The volunteers for the rest of Oberwart
villages have been
- Tamás & David Vértesi from Györ, Hungary,
- Rudy Wolf from NJ,
- Jürgen Brandtweiner from Fürstenfeld Austria and
- Carol from Chicago.
(see details on the project status page:
If somebody is willing to help me (after looking at the sample page and feel
able to read and decipher it), I can provide images and template excel sheets
and instructions for downloading or I can send a CD with the complete data on
it per surface mail. Once I receive the resulting Excel sheets I can publish
(not every single village immediately but in blocks) the results.
When a bigger block is finished (lets say a complete district) I also do an
update on the complete alphabetical indices and on the search page:
http://www.burgenland bunch.org/HouseList/SurnamesSearch.htm. I use this
page to get a very quick overview of which surname in what villages. (try
Groeller or Koepfer as surname or Berghold, or let the surname blank and search for
Hasendorf for village).
My plans are to complete Eisenstadt and Neusiedl next, followed by
Mattersburg, leaving Oberpullendorf as the last district since it is the biggest (78
villages). I'd also like to add lists of the neighboring Hungarian villages.
If you would like to help, please let me know:
2. BB PRESIDENT TOM STEICHEN VISITS BETHLEHEM, PA ENCLAVE
Tom writes: Wishing you a Merry Christmas! I will be on the road to DC on the
21st then up to Bethlehem, PA, to be with family in the audience for the live
broadcast of the "Prairie Home Companion" Christmas show from Lehigh
University on Saturday evening, the 22nd. We will do the Moravian church in Bethlehem
on Sunday morning, touring around the area that afternoon, then try to be back
in DC for the Minnesota/Washington football game broadcast at 8 pm (I'm
originally from Minnesota). We're doing Christmas Eve with my DC son and wife, then
Christmas Day with my sister (in Potomac, MD, just 20 minutes away) before
heading home on the 26th. It will be a busy trip!
(ED. Note: Bethlehem, PA along with Allentown and the rest of the Lehigh
Valley is an important Burgenland immigrant enclave. The Bethlehem Steel Works,
breweries and other industrial sites provided much needed work. Bethlehem was
founded by Moravians from the Austrian Empire, remained a religious commune
community until the Civil War and then became an important industrial steel
center. Many Burgenland immigrants settled there, arriving by train from the port of
New York, and taking homes on the south side. It is the site of Lehigh
University, attended by many immigrant descendants including your editor.)
3. GREETINGS FROM FRANK TEKLITS, FORMER BB CROATIAN EDITOR
Frank writes: Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. We hope that you are doing
well & often recall the most enjoyable meeting of the BB in Northampton last
year. It was the highlight of the year for us.
We are enjoying good health. My wife is active in her crafts & I'm in the
process of wrapping up the digitization of the Szent Katalin / Sanct Kathrein
Village church records. My estimate is that within the next 3 - 4 months these
records will be forwarded to the LDS. If granted continued good health (my hands
are now feeling the constant keyboard effort) I plan to digitize the church
records of Gaas -Kertes before "calling it a day".
I spoke earlier this year with the LDS "program manager" for the release of
all domestic church records to their on-line site. At that time he was
projecting release at the end of 2007, but that's now history. He made "no-bones"
about the intent of this release being domestic, & was quite candid about
international records being included ONLY if they do not interfere in any way with the
release of the domestic effort. I forwarded CD's of both Szentpeterfa &
Moschendorf Church records directly to him along with the regular submission route
to the LDS. Perhaps I'll see these records on-line in my lifetime.
4. NEW BURGENLAND BORDER-NO BORDER
Membership Editor Hannes Graf writes: From today (December 21), Europe (the
European Union) has new borders. The so called SCHENGEN-area gets new borders
and all are falling at Burgenland. That means, the checkpoints are taken off
and everybody can cross the invisible border without stopping. Also some small
and formerly closed roads, for instance between BILDEIN and PORNOAPATI or ANDAU
to ST. JOHANN are now open for traffic. New open borders:
Chechia - Lower Austria, Upper Austria
Slovakia - Lower Austria, Burgenland
Hungary - Burgenland
Slovenia - Carinthia, Styria, Burgenland
All others were opened some time ago.
For us (BB) it is very important, because, if someone travels to Austria to
search cemeteries or church records, with ancestors on both sides of the former
borders, it is now much easier to drive there.
(ED Note: These open borders are causing some consternation among local
business people. It appears they are concerned about lower prices from either side
causing a loss of customers, a personal down side of control relaxation. )
5. WINTER COMES TO BURGENLAND
Hannes Graf writes: Hello all, Yesterday Elfie and I were on the way to
Oberschützen and took some photos from the car of a snowy (foggy) Burgenland. Now I
can provide a self-made picture show of impressions from Christmas day 2007.
On the way back to Vienna, after a stormy afternoon, the trees were full of
snow, but it was too dark to take more pictures. Looks like some postcards with
6. HISTORICAL BURGENLAND SERIES-TEACHERS' STRIKE
In the past and in some respects still the rule today, the most important
individuals in a Burgenland village were the Priest (Pastor), Bürgermeister
(Richter), School teacher and village clerk (Notary). Margaret Kaiser sends us the
following from the:
San Antonio Express
San Antonio, Texas
Monday, October 24, 1927
TEACHERS TIRE OF VALETING PRIEST
Burgenland Pedagogues Seek Surcease from Menial Duties
(Associated Press) Vienna, Oct. 24 - Because of being required to shave the
parish priest; wash his vestments and his clothes; bury the dead; sweep out the
churches; and perform other similar services, school teachers of the
Burgenland district, who now are under the Vienna arch-episcopate, threaten a national
The teachers' grievances date from the times when Burgenland was part of
Hungary and the clergy were all-powerful. The teachers now seek the same
privileges and liberties enjoyed by their profession in the rest of Austria.
A deputation of parish pedagogues from Burgenland protested against their lot
today at a mass meeting of Viennese teachers. The deputation declared that
in Burgenland the teachers, although refined and highly educated, are regarded
still as menials. They petitioned their Viennese associates to have the
Austrian National Assembly accord them what they consider their proper status.
The petitioners stated they not only act as valets to the priests but they
lead the singing and collective prayers at high mass, play the organ, assist at
every funeral; attend the priest while changing vestments; wash the altar
linen; bake sacramental wafers; sweep the church, remove snow on walks between the
priests' house and the church; teach catechism, and Scripture in school;
shave, wash and attend to the personal wants of the priest.
Fritz Königshofer adds: This is a very interesting article. I hope we find
space for it in the newsletter. Both my paternal grandparents (teachers) had
many teachers in their ancestry. One line in Hungary (Foersatz) were teachers
back to 1715. My Koenigshofer line in Styria has teachers back to about 1760.
My father talked a lot about the menial duties of serving the town's parish
priest, especially the much despised shaving. The bad feelings in my family
piled up over centuries.
Well, the schoolmasters usually had the additional titles and duties of
sexton and organist. In this matter, Austria was earlier than Hungary in
abolishing the non-teaching duties. I think it happened in the 1870s and created much
havoc as priests had to find other sources of help (and had no money to pay
In this area, Hungary lagged behind. In others, it led Austria, such as in
moving to civil registration (ED. from which came the LDS microfilm records)
much opposed by the Hungarian catholic church. Austria had to wait till 1938,
after the Anschluss, for this.
7. HISTORICAL BURGENLAND SERIES -AUSTRIA COVETS ESTATE LANDS AS PEASANT FARMS
(courtesy Margaret Kaiser)
Waterloo Evening Courier
Monday, July 29, 1929
Project to Distribute Holdings in Burgoland (sic) Resented in Hungary
Vienna, July 29, (AP), In an effort to make self-supporting some 30,000
poverty-stricken peasant farmers in Burgenland, an Austrian parliamentary committee
is considering a scheme to distribute big estates in that border province
among the small land holders.
The project is drawing fire in Hungary for not only are the estates the
property of Hungarians, but also Burgenland was assigned to Austria after a
plebiscite in 1919 when Hungary unceasingly claims that the province was wrongfully
detached from that kingdom.
Would Redeem with Bonds
It has been suggested that all agricultural lands in excess of 14 acres held
by a single owner be confiscated, compensation being based upon the
productivity of the acres and made in Austrian government bonds redeemable in 50 years.
Small farmers who possess less than 15 acres would be given sufficient of the
confiscated land to make them self-supporting. There are 30,000 such peasant
owners in the province.
There are 55,000 small owners all told in Burgenland but about 25,000 can get
along with what they have. Fully 25 per cent of the land, however, is owned
by less than 1,000 Hungarian magnates led by Prince Paul Esterhazy, scion of
one of the wealthiest Hungarian families. He owns 200,000 acres of the finest
land in Burgenland and also practically the whole of the town of Eisenstadt.
Emigration is Excessive
The application of Austrian land laws to the Burgenland is not expected to
improve relations between Hungary and Austria. In a province where the economic
and cultural development of the ordinary people is so low, it is perhaps not
surprising that, with the ownership of the land goes, directly or indirectly,
control over the appointment of the clergy, teachers and local administrative
officials. For Austria, this is of great significance, seeing that many of
the landowners in Burgenland are pro-Magyar, and are thus in a position to
impair Austrian influence and prepare the way for return of the province to
Poverty-stricken Burgenland is sending her sons to the United States. More
than 80 per cent of all Austria's emigrants are said to be drawn from
Burgenland. Had it not been for relatives in the United States who sent money to their
folks at home, many a peasant family would have experienced starvation.
Newsletter continues as number 171A.
Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER] BB News Number 171A dtd JAnuary 31, 2008
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 06:56:03 EST
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS -No. 171A
DEDICATED TO AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN BURGENLAND FAMILY HISTORY
(Our 13th Year- Issued monthly as email by )
January 31, 2008
(c) 2008 G. J. Berghold-all rights reserved)
The BB is composed of "Genealogists researching the multi-ethnic heritage of
the Burgenland of Austria and adjoining areas of former Western Hungary"
The second section of this 2 section newsletter includes:
1. Alaskan BB Member Does It All
2. Visit To Village Of Purbach (Paul Sandhofer)
3. New Edition Of the Rudersdorf Bankerlsitzler (Peter Sattler)
4. Historical Burgenland Series-Farm Description-1962 (Margaret Kaiser)
5. Burgenland Immigrant Obit (Bob Strauch)
1. ALASKAN BB MEMBER DOES IT ALL
BB Member Paul Sandhofer from Anchorage, Alaska, recently sent us an email
containing more information than we could absorb at one reading. A relative
convinced him to join in a Grand Circle Travel riverboat trip from Vienna to
Amsterdam (your editor and co-editor Bob Unger have also reported on this trip in
previous newsletters.) Paul used this booking to spend some pre-trip time in
Burgenland visiting his ancestral village of Purbach. His report is published as
the next article. In addition Paul was able to link-up with his Burgenland
Internet mentor, meet distant relatives, copy church records and visit the RC
Diocesan Library in Eisenstadt, where he used a digital camera to copy early
records. Having previously searched the Ellis Island and other available records
he now has an excellent family history. He thoroughly enjoyed his experience,
with the river trip being his reward for a large amount of family research.
This is a good example of what is possible for any BB member. Our hats go off to
him for reporting his experiences to us, thus letting us know of another
family history helped via our BB website.
2. TRIP TO VILLAGE OF PURBACH (from Paul Sandhofer)
Member writes: We visited Purbach in October and November 2007, and it was
one of the best vacations we have ever had. I thought I would share a few of our
Early in 2007 my brother contacted us on the possibility of accompanying him
and his wife on a 14-day riverboat cruise from Vienna to Amsterdam. The
cruise was scheduled November 9-23, and we decided to arrive 14 days early, as we
wanted to visit Purbach, to walk where my ancestors had walked, and also to
research church records stored at the Eisenstadt Diocesan Archives. My
Great-great Grandfather, Stephan Sandhofer, left Purbach, in 1854, buying his way out
of the country by presenting the Austrian/Hungarian Government with 65 Silver
Florins for each of the five family members, thus allowing them to emigrate to
The Eisenstadt Diocese Archivist was contacted before we left Alaska to
determine if the records were open to the public for research. Hans-Peter Zelfel,
the archivist, indicated that we could use their facilities but due to the
small work area available, we would be required to schedule the time for
research. With everything falling in place we booked the cruise and scheduled our
flight to Vienna for October 24, allowing over two weeks for research and travel
prior to the cruise. We arrived in Vienna the evening of October 25, and the
next day was a national holiday. On the evening of October 28, we were driven
to Purbach by Hans Egermann, who had been assisting us with our Sandhofer
research in Purbach and in the Eisenstadt Archives.
Purbach is on the west side of Neusiedler Lake, a World Heritage Site,
located along the Austrian -Hungarian border. The shallow lake has a shoreline
lined with tall reeds that are cut and used as roofing on a number of houses in
the area. I had an opportunity to tour the lake, by boat, where numerous summer
cottages were sitting on pilings above the lake water. Some cabins were
hidden in fields of reeds as the reeds have migrated around them. The cabins
ranged from primitive to deluxe with some providing satellite TV powered by solar
cells or wind generators. Vineyards around the town occupy the majority of
open fields to support the numerous wineries in the area. The hills west of
town are forested with a number of deer stands erected for the sportsmen to test
Purbach is a walled town with numerous houses using the old wall as part of
their structure. The main entrance to the central portion of Purbach is
through the original gatehouse that had provisions to close a large wooden door
similar to a drawbridge. It was raised into place with ropes pulled up by the
strong defenders of the town. Outside the wall west of the original town were
numerous wine cellars with some converted to restaurants for both wine and food
consumption. During our stay in Purbach the wineries had open house for all
to taste their latest product. The wine was excellent.
The small church cemetery located just west of the town was not helpful in
researching the dates on old tomb stones as almost all the gravesites were
recycled. Two large bronze plaques located in a small grove to one side of the
cemetery contained the names of individuals whose gravesites were recycled. Each
plaque displayed a single date listing when the graves were recycled with no
indication of the dates of birth and death of the individuals.
We stayed in Purbach at the Fruhstuckspension Sandhofer, similar to a bed &
breakfast in the US, operated by Martin Sandhofer Sr, whose Sandhofer ancestor
does not appear at this time to be connected to my line. We also met with
several other Sandhofer people in my direct line during our stay in Purbach.
With the Sandhofer's living in Purbach for well over 500 years and the hand
written church records extending back 400 years, there was not enough time to
translate the German, Hungarian, and/or Latin into English in the time allotted to
the project in Eisenstadt. Using digital cameras we were able to take photos
of various records during our initial three days of research. I should
explain that due to church holidays, we could only do research on October 29, 30,
and 31. We were transported from Purbach to Eisenstadt by car and by bus.
After reviewing our notes and photos, we discovered that additional research was
required. This resulted in one more day of research, taking additional photos
of records; however, by that time we had returned to Vienna from Purbach, so
we took the underground to a bus station and then took the bus from Vienna to
Eisenstadt, and back to Vienna. We were fearless in our travels, as our German
was practically non-existent, but we had a translator with us and our "Rick
Steves' German dictionary. Fortunately, with a few exceptions, most young
people speak English, young as opposed to retired seniors such as ourselves.
While in Vienna we toured museums and churches; explored stores, but did not
buy much as the dollar was dropping daily. Instead we walked the lovely plazas
near our Pension. The National History Museum was similar to the Smithsonian
in Washington DC but was directed toward artifacts from Europe, Near East, and
Africa. The museum had many items from the Bronze and Iron Age found during
archeological digs throughout Europe and also locally from the Vienna area.
The river cruise was a vacation of a lifetime. Every day the M/S River
Harmony tied up at a new town along the rivers lined with castles that were built
to defend the land from either neighbors or invaders. All the towns had walls
for defense, with the castles, the last line of defense, located on the hills
above the towns. The River Harmony sailed up the Danube River to the
Main-Danube Canal constructed in 1992. This canal rose through a system of locks to
1,332 feet then down to the Main and Rhine Rivers. All the damage to the towns
and churches that occurred during the bombing of World War II has been
repaired and the buildings have returned to their original grandeur. After the
cruise there were two days to enjoy the activities in and around Amsterdam before
the flight home.
As a result of our research with my Sandhofer and collateral lines, my family
genealogical history has been extended to the 1700's and a requirement to
return to Purbach, as one of the cameras did not focus properly and some of the
photographs are not readable. In addition there are ties to the "Old Country"
that I would like to re-establish, maybe next year. Before we went to
Purbach, most of our research was accomplished utilizing FHL microfilm and was
enhanced by research that Hans had done in Eisenstadt where he did personal
research. Additionally, Hans had also discovered records in Hungary. We had
'stumbled' upon a record in one of the Burgenland Newsletters when we googled
'Sandhofer' and that 'stumble' took us from Illinois, and Wisconsin, to Purbach; and
if not for that data being published online, it is highly unlikely we would
have ever learned where my ancestors had emigrated from, because that information
was 'lost' as it was not handed down to my generation. That data was the
first step in breaking down my brick wall, thank you for publishing the data.
PO Box 1333, Anchorage AK 99509-1333 Email: akmac02(a)yahoo.com
Thought you might be interested in the following data.
Following data published in the BB News No. 115 dtd. February 28, 2003
Archives of the Burgenland Bunch Newsletters:
"Emigrants from Purbach, 1854: ......... ...... Stefan SANDHOFER, 44, his
wife Johanna, 41,
children Paul (19), Franz (4) and Maria (1)."
Sandhofer, Stephan and family passenger data
FHL# 0175509, NARA Roll #454
District of New York - Port of New York
Ship: Columbia, Sailed from: Bremen, Germany
Date: 4 June 1855
Passenger #167: Stephan Sandhofer age 44, male, Farmer
Passenger #168: Johanna Sandhofer, age 41, female
Passenger #169: Paul Sandhofer, age 19, male, Farmer
Passenger #170: Francis Sandhofer, age 4, male
Passenger #171: Anna Mary Sandhofer, age 9 months, female
Country to which they belong: Hungaria
The country to which they intend to become inhabitants: Wisconsin
The following is data Hans Egermann discovered and forwarded to us:
"Tue, 7 Jun 2005 18:11:29 +0200
3. NEW EDITION OF THE RUDERSDORF BANKERLSITZLER
Bankerlsitzler editor Peter Sattler sends "Merry Christmas, see new edition
ED. Note: Shortly after we began issuing the BB News, Peter Sattler of Ru
dersdorf (District of Jennersdorf) began his German language Rudersdorf village
website newsletter. Named after the gossip benches found in most villages, it
is full of local events and people. We visited Peter and his lovely wife some
years ago as he lives across the street form the Gasthaus (now closed) and
former Batthyany property, that belonged to one of my distant cousins. Rudersdorf
is an important village close to the border with Styria (near Fürstenfeld.)
It is also the ancestral village of westcoast BB editor Bob Unger. Even if you
have no family ties with this village, you will enjoy the pictures and news of
a typical southern Burgenland village.
4. HISTORICAL BURGENLAND SERIES-FARM DESCRIPTION-1962 (courtesy Margaret
Atchison Daily Globe
Sunday, l October 28, 1962, Page 17
>From column: "Farm Folks" by Charles Spencer
Larry Larson, Effingham, International Farm Youth Exchange representative in
Austria, writes about his experiences in that county. His letter to Arnold
Barber, county agent: 'I've been here with my fifth family for two weeks
already, and in a few days will be moving to my last family and last three weeks on
the farm. I'm glad to get to live in this province of Burgenland, as it is
completely different from the first two. We are out of the mountains here and the
land is flat and good. It's been cold here during the mornings and evenings,
but has been warming up during the days. It's interesting here as the farmers
live in villages and go out every morning to work the land.
When the people first got the land many, many years ago, they (the
governmental decree establishing a standard "holding") thought everybody should have
some good land, some bad land, some pasture and some timber. So we have three
patches of ground north of the village, two patches south of the village, some
timber east of here and a pasture which connects to our buildings here in the
village. There are about 24 acres in all, so our patches aren't very big. The
fields are mostly long and narrow. As an example, in front of the house is a
field 20 yards wide and straight back for a half mile. The barn is connected to
the house and is along the north edge of this strip. Behind is the pasture.
We have finished the potato harvest. After a few days of picking up potatoes
I wasn't sure if I'd ever be able to stand up straight again. We have planted
rye and will plant the wheat when we get the corn in the silo and the beets
harvested. We are harvesting beets now. They are large, used for cattle and hog
feed. Production per acre is high, but harvesting goes very slow. First, we
pull the beet out of the ground and scrape off the dirt. Then we cut off the
tops and put them in one pile, and the beets in an other. The tops are fed as
we would feed hay, but the beets are ground up and fed as we feed grain in the
5. BURGENLAND IMMIGRANT OBIT
Bertha Szoke (née Yost), 87, of Lehighton, died Friday, Jan. 11, 2008, at
Heritage Hills Senior Assisted Living Center, Weatherly. She was the wife of the
late Joseph S. Szoke. Born in Inzenhof, Burgenland, Austria, she was a
daughter of the late John and Bertha (Marx) Yost of Whitehall.
END OF NEWSLETTER
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