Search billions of records on

Archives of the Burgenland Bunch Newsletters
© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 "The Burgenland Bunch"

Click for the Burgenland Bunch The Burgenland Bunch Genealogy Group

Genealogists researching the multi-ethnic heritage of the Burgenland of Austria and adjoining areas of former West Hungary.

From: Hannes Graf <>
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 23:49:40 +0100

December 24, 2009
(c) 2009 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved

Our 13th Year, Editor: Johannes Graf
Copy Editor Maureen Tighe-Brown

The Burgenland Bunch Newsletter, founded by Gerry Berghold
(who retired in Summer, 2008, and died in August, 2008), is issued monthly
as email and available online at

Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 1767 * Surname Entries: 5649 * Query Board Entries: 4266
* Newsletters Archived: 193* Number of Staff Members: 15

EMAIL RECIPIENTS, PLEASE READ: You are receiving this email newsletter
because you are a BB member or have asked to be added to our distribution
list. To subscribe or unsubscribe, use the change form available from our
Home page at You cannot send
email to this newsletter. If you have problems receiving the newsletter as
email, it may be read, downloaded, printed or copied from the BB Home page.
There is also an archive of previous newsletters.

This Newsletter is also available, including pictures, tables and maps under

This first section of our 2-section newsletter concerns:

4) HOLIDAY GREETINGS (by Tom Steichen)
5) ETL CHRISTMAS LETTER, 2009 (by Kathy Middendorf)


In 2010 something will change: the Newsletter archive is no longer
supported by Rootsweb. So from NL 195 on, all will be sampled only at
our Homepage.

Charles Wardell retires from this work, which was so important from
the start until now.

The Staff-page has a new member included, Ron Markland join as St.
Louis, Missouri Regional Coordinator. It is available at:


Ron Markland became St. Louis, Missouri Regional Coordinator.

Ron provides the following biographical sketch:

I have most of my life lived in the St. Louis, MO area, with the
exception of about a 10-year block of time when my wife and I lived on
the East Coast.
My brother and I worked in the family's electrical contacting business
until the mid-1990's, when we closed the business and went on to other
In 2006, while attending a Memorial Service for a cousin's husband, a
discussion began regarding family history. My father's side of the
family had an aunt who did a great amount of research regarding that
side of the family; however, my mother's side lay dormant. Several
family members gathered after the Memorial Service, and we quickly
discovered that our family had failed to leave us with hardly any
history of the family, and unfortunately, those that could have helped
us had passed on. I happened to discover an envelope with my Mother's
handwriting, indicating that my Grandmother Louise (Alosia)
Aufner-Guenther had come from Eltendorf, in the Burgenland. Having
been forcibly retired due to an accident, I decided to make the best
of my situation and see what I could discover using the internet. Very
quickly, I discovered the Burgenland Bunch website, and used it to its
fullest. Reaching an impasse, I passed several emails to Gerry
Berghold, who also had family from the Eltendorf area. One of my
craziest moves was to send a letter in 2006 to the address listed in
the 1858 census as the possible address of my grandmother's parents.
Two months later I received a response providing data verifying my
Grandmother's birth date and location. I managed to put all the data
in a book format and circulate to family members. In November 2008, I
received an email from a woman in Modling, Austria, asking if there
might be some family tie. It turned out that she and I were cousins.
Brigitte's grandfather and my grandmother were sibling. I had
absolutely no knowledge of any family members who remained in the
Burgenland. This resulted, in response from an offer from Brigitte, to
make a visit to Vienna, Modling, and the Burgenland in May of 2009. A
most wonderful experience, meeting family members that I had
previously not known existed. This has resulted in a tie between us
that still results in a weekly email or Skype session. As a result of
this trip, I started a discussion with Hannes Graf, and upon his
challenge to develop the group of Burgenland members in the Missouri
area, I had no choice but to accept the challenge. I have found that
there are many ancestors of people who immigrated from the Burgenland,
in the early 1900's, and to my surprise a large percentage of them
came from an area close to each other. There must have been a large
support group that developed on both sides of the Atlantic. We hope to
make as many family members aware of their heritage, and look forward
to continuing to develop the Burgenland Bunch, both internationally,
and here in the St. Louis Missouri area.

3) SMALL 2009 REVIEW [from Co-Editor Hannes Graf]

2009 was a special Year for me. It started with many new meetings and
new connections. In June - July, I made my first plane trip ever and
also my first visit in USA. 2000 miles in 15 days. I remember every
house and every tree everywhere. . . .
At the end of this year, my health become very bad. The diabetes'
blood level makes big jumps over the day; sometime it's 500, next
moment 45. So I am/was very tired all the day, cannot concentrate very
well. Now I get a new medication and I hope, I come to a new "life" in
January or February. Also my second love, the museum-railway, F rOWOS
will gone. We don't get any support from government; in July, they
promised the help, when press and TV was around; but now, nobody is
remembering it. So it will close December 31, and we will see what
So my Christmas is not very nice in 2009, but life continues. . . .

Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

4) HOLIDAY GREETINGS (by Tom Steichen)

Holiday Greetings to each and all!

Now I know why Gerry so seldom issued a December BB Newsletter: there
is simply too much to be done at this time of year to construct a
single intelligent article, much less a full newsletter! This year, an
anything-but-normal situation-my pending retirement after 32 years
with a single employer-compounds the usual "much too busy" situation.
These last months I have been spending long and late hours at work
trying to complete all the tasks I want done (and, maybe, a few tasks
my boss wants me to complete). Recently, I have totally ignored my
Christmas shopping (sorry, Mom, my gift will be late again) and I
constantly tell my wife, "I'll do it next year when I'm retired." As
of the date of this message, I am now down to two working days left
before unused vacation carries me to my official retirement on the

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Hannes Graf, our dutiful
Newsletter Editor, greeted me this morning with a phone call from
Austria asking when my annual holiday greeting would be ready; I could
only stammer, "Oh, I suppose I should do that." (As you might guess,
it had not even crossed my mind!) Hannes phoned because I have been
highly negligent in answering e-mail messages these last few months
(I'll get to them next year when I'm retired!) and he wanted assurance
that I would answer!

Hannes reminded me that I usually summarize the year, updating you on
changes in membership, telling you what the BB has been up to and what
new accomplishments or website additions I'm most proud of; but not
this year (honestly, I promise I will do so next month!).

Instead, I will close with the most important parts of the annual
"Greeting" message, that being, my personal thanks to the BB staff and
editors and my wish of a joyous holiday season and a productive 2010
for them and you alike!

I'm looking forward to a less stressful, less demanding 2010, one
where I get enough sleep, exercise and sunshine for my continued
well-being. May your New Year be equally beneficial!

Tom Steichen
Winston-Salem, NC
December 19, 2009

5) ETL CHRISTMAS LETTER, 2009 (by Kathy Middendorf)

THE ETL ANNALS (Including the Bolster and Vogel families)

Newsletter of an Austro-Hungarian family in America Christmas Edition, 2009

Reunion wrap-up: our bi-annual reunion in August of this past year was
lightly attended. Those of us that did make it, however, had a grand
time visiting and the weather was perfect. The site in Clearwater,
(recommended by the George Ettl group), was a wonderful facility,
spacious, with excellence kitchen space.. Thank you for recommending
this site. The oldest in attendance was Clarence Ettel. Thank you and
your family for coming and bringing your Dad.. And a big "thank you"
to Marlys (Ettl) Kuperschmidt for bringing a video and book on
Halbturn, the village of our ancestors.

My own quickie trip to Rapid City found Sister Elaine in good spirits
and well adjusted to their new monastery. It is a beautiful building
and if any of you are in the Rapid City area, they do have guest rooms
available, but only if you reserve in advance. Their guest rooms do
fill up fast.

On the way home, I had an opportunity to visit with Clara Kieffer in
White Lake, SD. I want to thank the family members who took time from
their busy schedule to come during the time I was there. It does
saddens me that as family, we do not know each other as we should and
are actually strangers to each other. So if any of you are scooting up
or down I-90, White Lake is just off the freeway, stop in. I am sure
Clara and family would appreciate it.

As I was touching base with family members, it seems to have been a
quiet six months (since the last newsletter). However, some events
have occurred on the Western Front: Once again, we have a Rodeo Queen
in our relationship: Courtney Hauge, daughter of Jody Mathey Hauge,
granddaughter of Delores Kieffer Mathey, and great-granddaughter of
Clara Vogel Kieffer, was crowned South Dakota Rodeo Queen in July,
2009, for the second year in a row. She and her parents went to New
Mexico to the National Rodeo Queen Contest in August, where she was
7th runner up. They all live in White Lake, SD Congratulations,

Ann Kieffer, daughter of Larry Kieffer, Howard, SD, and granddaughter
of Clara Vogel Kieffer married Mark Ogle on August 15, 2009 in Kansas.

Back in the state of Minnesota, Anna (Ettl) Tschida, informed me that
her husband Herbert, had triple by-pass surgery on September 24th and
then a pacemaker inserted shortly thereafter. He has recovered well
according to Anna and whether he is now chasing her around the kitchen
table, she did not divulge. But I will let you in on a secret: they
will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this coming summer!
Hang in there, Herb and Anna; our prayers are with you.

BURGENLAND BUNCH UPDATE: The next Burgenland Bunch meeting will be on
January 24th 2010 at the German-American Institute, 301 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN Join us if you can.

This group now has their own Web site: Burgenland Bunch Midwest. Check
it out. I myself am working on this site with several other members
attempting to list all immigrants from the Burgenland area who came to
the Upper Midwest. My assignment on this project is specifically
Stearns County, as a large number of immigrants came to this county.
Are you familiar with any of the following names: Haider, Tschida
(hum), Wegleitner, Pilles, Pitzl (believe it or not, I am also related
to this family, but on my mother's side!), Fleischhacker, Gangl (hum),
Salzer, Thell, Unger and Deutsch? Yes, the former Abbot of St. John's
in Collegeville was a Burgenlander: Abbot Alcuin Deutsch! There are
more, and if any of you can help with me with this project or know of
any more names, please get in touch with me.

Finally, I want to leave you with this thought: "None of us can boast
about the morality of our ancestors. The record does not show that
Adam and Eve were ever married." (Edgar Watson Howe)


Kathy (Ettel) Middendorf, vintage, 1945

Newsletter continues as number 194A.

From: Hannes Graf <>
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 23:51:27 +0100

December 24, 2009
(c) 2009 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved

The second section of this 2-section newsletter includes:

1) THE BEST MEMORIES (by Emmerich Koller)
2) CHRISTMAS GREETINGS (by several people)

1) THE BEST MEMORIES (by Emmerich Koller)

An excerpt from Emmerich Koller's book, "Good Dogs Do Stray: Memoir of
an Immigrant from Hungary."

Christmas was the most joyful family celebration of the year. It was a
feast that brought high expectations into a life that was defined by
low expectations; it brought bright light into a normally drab
surrounding; it brought joy into an otherwise serious existence; it
brought harmony and goodwill into a family that often experienced
stress and sometimes disharmony; and it brought food, rarely available
at any other time of the year, to our table. Unlike today, presents
definitely did not dominate the Christmases of my childhood. We
expected very few gifts, and we received very few. Our parents' true
gifts to us were the wonderful anticipation and the actual celebration
of Christmas itself. We all loved Christmas because it was a very
special time in the embrace of a family that celebrated together, ate
together, prayed, and sang together. It was a magical time, impossible
to import, export, or reproduce at any other time or place. And as we
grew older, Christmas became an anchor to a time and childhood long
gone. Santa Claus played no role in our celebrations.. Hungary's
atheist Communists tried to introduce a secular substitute to
Christkindl, but there was no room in our house for Télapó or Father
Winter, as they called him. We waited with great anticipation for
Christkindl to bring us the Christmas tree and our modest presents.
People didn't run themselves ragged trying to buy presents, as is
often the case today. There was no Christmas rush. No matter how big a
family was, a brief trip to the local store or perhaps a few hours in
Steinamanger sufficed to obtain the necessary presents. Secular
Christmas carols, so common in America from November to the end of
December, were unknown.. All songs had a religious content and were
sung in church or at home. Before we even arrived at Christmas, there
was Advent that lasted four weeks. It was the spiritual preparation
for the great event. In practical terms that meant several things.
First, we went to an extra early 5:30 AM Mass during the week,
fortunately not on a daily basis, unless one of us boys was scheduled
to serve. At home we placed a wreath, made with evergreen branches, on
the bedroom table. Four candles were arranged on the wreath, one for
each Sunday of Advent. Every evening we gathered around this wreath,
prayed and sang religious hymns after lighting one, two, three, or
four candles, depending on how close to Christmas we were. Into the
center of the wreath, Mother placed the Kripperl with a supply of
straw stems next to it, cut to the exact length of the crib. When in
the course of Advent we performed a good deed, we were allowed to
place a piece of straw into the crib. The goal, of course, was to fill
the crib by Christmas Eve so Baby Jesus would rest all the more
comfortably. Anna and Franz, the two oldest children, were secretly
busy making decorations for the Christmas tree. During the war we
gathered up and saved the pieces of aluminum foil thrown out of Allied
bombers to scramble radar signals. They came in various colors. Now
these articles of the war were being recycled to create symbols of
peace. Using Father's sewing machine, Franz sewed several pieces
together, mixing the colors.. Anna then cut out half shapes of stars,
pears, or other fruits. Unfolded, they became shiny, three-dimensional
shapes, perfect decorations for a Christmas tree. When the little ones
were already in bed, cookies were baked and tied with string so they
too could be hung from the tree. The same was done to apples and
walnuts that were saved just for this purpose. Szaloncukor, an
especially delicious candy made in Hungary and already wrapped in
shiny, decorative paper, was to be hung as well. These items were all
hidden somewhere until Christmas Eve. Unbeknownst to itself, the state
made a yearly gift of a Christmas tree to the Koller family and
probably to every other family in the village. There were no trees for
sale in the village, yet every family had a tree on that night. One
day during the week before Christmas Eve, as darkness approached,
Seppl, my older brother, and I set out with saw and flashlight in hand
to cut down our pre-selected tree. Then in the evening of the
twenty-fourth, all clean and dressed up, we waited anxiously in the
kitchen with Grandmother for the tinkling of the bell that would
announce the arrival of the Christkindl. We were on our best holiday
behavior and had stopped playing or bickering hours ago. We just sat
on the kitchen bench quietly, straining our ears, barely breathing.
One of us would whisper, "Did you hear that? I think I heard the
bell." "Quiet! Quiet! Listen!" came a reply. "I think that was at the
Fixls," said another. "Any time now." Then we heard Bodri bark
outside. A new concern. Would Bodri scare the Christkindl away? What a
silly thought. No one can scare the Christkindl away. Even as a child,
He was already all-powerful. We tried to imagine His majestic
appearance, surrounded by a blinding light, like an angel, only much
brighter. There! The bell! No sweeter sound was ever heard! Anna and
Franz came into the kitchen. Where have they been all this time?
Shortly thereafter, Mother and Father arrived too. "Das Christkindl
ist gekommen," Mother announced, as if we didn't know already. "We can
now go into the Stube." With that, Mother opened the door to the
bedroom. A most wondrous sight greeted us. There on the far side of
the room on top of the dresser rose a magnificent Christmas tree. The
smell of the pine tree, cut only recently, filled the air. Real
candles, perched on nearly every branch, gave the room a heavenly
glow. And the decorations! The angel hair! There was candy, wrapped in
shiny paper, hanging in pairs from branches, and red apples and
walnuts closer to the stem. Fruit and star-shaped cookies! A most
beautiful sight! We just stared wide-eyed and admired every delicious
detail. We didn't even notice that Father had started a fire in the
Kachelofen. Now there was warmth in the air to match the warmth in our
hearts. Father began to read the story of Bethlehem. We all listened
intently. In our imagination we visited that stable with the
shepherds. It looked just like ours. We knew Baby Jesus was warm
because our stable was nice and warm too. With the story finished, we
said the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Next, Father intoned Stille
Nacht, Heilige Nacht. Everyone joined in, and with full voices, we
sang out the joy and happiness of this special night. An angels' choir
couldn't have sounded better. Many more songs followed, in German,
Hungarian, and even in Latin. We all knew the Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Sparklers appeared from somewhere. Each one of us children was allowed
to light one and hang it on a branch. This was the ultimate joy of our
childhood. Life just didn't get any better than that. On this evening
our cups were filled to overflowing. Only after we had exhausted all
the Christmas hymns did we turn our attention to the presents laid out
on the table. Seven little unwrapped piles. Each pile containing the
same items: two pencils, an eraser, and a notebook. Not much. But we
pretended they were the greatest of presents and thanked Mother and
Father. All too soon, the candles, clipped to individual branches,
were burning low and had to be extinguished. The first part of our
Christmas celebration was over. Everybody filed into the kitchen to
have a little snack of plain cake and linden tea. At 11:30 PM, it was
time to go to church. Everybody was dressed in their winter best:
overcoat, gloves, hat, shoes polished to a high shine. The entire
family walked to church together in the dark through the falling snow.
Along the way we admired other people's Christmas trees. The church
was filled to capacity. Women and little children occupied the left
pews, men the right pews, the choir loft, and the rear of the church.
School children were up front by the sanctuary, girls on the left,
boys on the right. Literally, everyone in the village went to Midnight
Mass. Well, almost everyone. The teacher and his wife, the soldiers,
the doctor, the pharmacist, and a few others, all non-Catholics,
weren't expected to come. Exactly at twelve midnight, the church bells
began to ring, announcing the start of the Mass. All candles were lit,
all electric lights turned on. Having pulled out all the stops and
playing furiously with all his extremities, the organist, Taschler
Bernhard, an ex-seminarian, gave musical expression to the importance
of this special night. The Mass itself was more festive than usual.
The tone was set with a hymn everyone loved to sing: Hier liegt vor
Deinem Angesicht, im Staub, die Christenschar. . . Verstoß uns Sünder
nicht. Monsignor Illés, aware that his entire flock was in attendance
and equally aware of the late hour, made his sermon shorter, and thus,
more effective. The faithful sang all the louder in gratitude. Instead
of the usual two altar boys, there were four in the sanctuary. They
rang the Mass bells extra vigorously to the envy of the other boys
like me who were not scheduled for this important Mass. By the time
the congregation sang the Heilig, heilig, heilig, the exquisitely
beautiful Sanctus from Franz Schubert's Deutsche Messe, all rancor,
jealousy and ill-will among the faithful had melted away for the time
being, and the villagers were ready as Catholics could ever be for the
consecration and communion. A heartfelt rendition of Stille Nacht,
heilige Nacht at the end of Mass made everyone aware that this was
indeed a holy night. As we left the church, the promise of a delicious
snack upon our return home heightened our mood and quickened our
steps. Just as soon as we took our places around the kitchen table, we
were treated to the grand finale of our Christmas Eve celebration: an
open-faced sandwich made with our bread and our homemade Presswurst
that had been saved for this meal in our smoke chamber since one of
our pigs had been butchered in the fall. It was a delicacy of such
quality that upon eating a slice or two, we all went to bed with a
smile on our faces. On Christmas Day we went to High Mass at ten in
the morning and ate dinner at noon: soup with homemade noodles, baked
pork chops with horseradish sauce, roasted potatoes and preserved
plums. No vegetables. For a while now, we had no fresh fruits and
vegetables, nor would there be any till next spring. An occasional
serving of sauerkraut, red beets, or pickles had to suffice.
Gugelhupf, our dessert made by Mother, was served in the afternoon.
With that, our Christmas celebrations were over. Twelve days after
Christmas on Three Kings' Day, it was time to take down the tree and
divide the goodies. Cookies, szaloncukor, apples, and nuts were
divided equally among the seven children. Appearances, however, were
deceptive. In the previous days, we had all entered the bedroom
secretly and helped ourselves to the candy inside the wrappers. Now
each of us had some wrappers minus the candy. No one complained much
because we were all guilty.

2) CHRISTMAS GREETINGS (by several people)
Includes pictures and is only available online at


NOTICE (Terms and Conditions): The Burgenland Bunch (BB) was formed and
exists to assist Burgenland descendants in their research into their
heritage and, toward that end, reserves the right to use any communication
you have with us (email, letter, phone conversation, etc.) as part of our
information exchange and educational research efforts.
. If you do not want
your communication to be used for this purpose,
indicate that it is "confidential" and we will
abide by that request.
. Correspondents who
communicate with the BB without requesting
confidentiality retain their copyright but give a
non-exclusive license to
the BB allowing us to forward to BB members, publish in our
newsletter or on our website, and/or subsequently and
permanently archive
all or parts of such communications.

The Burgenland Bunch homepage (website) can be found at:

Use our website to access our lists and web pages.


BB NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES INDEX and threaded search facility
(enter number of newsletter) available from:
(also reached via Home Page hyperlinks.)

Burgenland Bunch Newsletter (c) 2009
Archived courtesy of, Inc.
P.O. Box 6798, Frazier Park, CA 93222-6798.
Newsletter published monthly by the Burgenland Bunch.
Newsletter and List Rights Reserved.
Permission to Copy Granted; You Must Provide Credit and
Mention Source.

To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
with the word
'unsubscribe' without the quotes in the subject and the body of the

[ Return to Full Archive List ]

[ Burgenland Bunch Home ]     [ Burgenland Query Board ]     [ Mailing List ]     [ Archive Search ]     [ Top ]