Kerekes Katalin is hands down my favorite ancestor. Our lineage gets a little fuzzy in the 17th century so I’m not sure how many ‘greats’ apply. In the early 1600s Katalin was fighting by the side of her warrior husband, Édes Gergely, and his brothers. She received nobility in her own name because of her valor. This was no small accomplishment at a time when women were considered less than human. She was “a big strong armed woman who fought like an animal’ according to the patent of nobility. Her husband’s family was from Székelyföld. No word about her dad, but Katalin’s mother was a hajdú.
The hajdúk (plural for hajdú) had been peasant cattle drovers on the puszta, the eastern plains of Hungary. Driving herds of the big grey long-horned ‘Magyar szürkemarha‘ to market, they had to become fierce fighters to defend themselves on the vast treeless plains.
After World War I and the fall of the Hapsburg Empire parts of Eastern Europe were chopped up by the Treaty of Trianon. Prime cuts went to the winners and Hungary lost 2/3 of its territory and 1/3 of its population. This left substantial ethnic enclaves on the wrong side of borders. Some people migrated; others stayed and made the best of it.
The history of my father’s family goes back to the 17th century when the Édes family were noble warriors living north of the Danube in an area that was ceded to Czechoslovakia by Trianon. The Komarón/Nitra region today is part of Slovakia. Madár (Modrany in Slovakian) and nearby villages with majority of ethnic Hungarians still refer to their towns by their Hungarian names.
Thanks to our friends at Facebook, I have been able to find families in this village that share my surname. One of my FB friends sent me a link to this video that was recorded in Madár;
It shows the very old Hungarian tradition of Easter Monday sprinkling where the young men of the village ‘sprinkled’ water on the young women to make them grow like beautiful flowers. The interior of the house looks much as it would have a century ago or earlier. Margit Néni is telling about Easter traditions when she was a girl.
Even before understanding the song and conversations, the beautiful language delights me.
This summer I plan to visit the village with my brother and older sister. I look forward to walking the same dirt streets of this centuries old village where my ancestors lived so long ago.
Béla Édes, my grandfather, was 6 years old in 1897 when this map of Kolozsvár was published. His family lived on Nagy utca, shown by the red line drawn on the map.
You may notice the tracks along the street for the villamos (tram) that would have taken the family to the city center (now Unirii Square).
Kolozsvár is located in a wide valley on the bank of the Szamos river. It was described as “a pleasant, clean-looking town, with wide streets diverging from the principal Platz, in which is the Gothic Cathedral of St. Micheal” 1. Szent Mihály templom, as it is known in Hungarian, is at #17 on the map. The imposing cathedral was begun by King Sigismund in 1401 and named for the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of the city. Béla’s Catholic family would have gone there for mass on Sundays, then probably home for a big Sunday meal.
A big Köszönöm! (Thank You) to all our readers from 56 different countries. Today the view count reached 4000 since ÉdesOrbán.com launched last January.
The all time most popular post is ‘Kerekes Katalin and the Warrior Women of Hungary’. I’m glad you liked it. Katalin is one of my favorite ancestors. Watch for another story about her family coming soon.
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Fighting nobles, religious conflicts, deceit, treachery and shifting allegiances were all part of the landscape in the Kingdom of Hungary in the 17th century. Add in the story of a fearless Hajdu woman who fought at the side of her family, and you have the history of the origins of the Édes family.
Among Belá Édes’s documents are copies of the ‘Incunabulum’ the history of the family. István Édes documented the oral history as told by his father in the 17th century. He then hid the document in the lining of a book where it was discovered in the mid 1800s.
The story tells of the Édes clan who lived in the Székely land in the 1600s. They were brave and noble warriors who served Gábor Bethlen, the Prince of Transylvania. After Bethlen’s death they fell out of favor with the new Prince and fled to Royal Hungary in the area of Komárom Castle County.
Recently translated into English, the document retains the character of the ancient story. Click HERE to read the translation.
The original document is shown HERE. Emil Édes has a transcription in Hungarian on his website HERE. It includes additional notes from author Istvan Mate.
My great-grandmother, a shyly smiling little woman in a black babushka summer or winter, was Both Borbála (in English Barbara Both). She was born in Csíkkarcfalva, Erdély, Hungary in 1883. In 1921, after Trianon, it became part of Romania and was renamed Cârţa.
It is a little village high in the Hargita Mountains of Transylvania where the winters are long and harsh. It lies up the road about 20km from Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc) where Hockey is a religion. Continue reading →
Google Books is my new favorite bookshelf. Searching for accounts of life in 19th century Austro-Hungary to fill in the context of lives of our ancestors, I have added several dozen free volumes to my reading list that were all published in the 1800s or very early 1900s. There are more contemporary volumes available for download for a nominal price. I’ll look at those later when I finish with the current virtual tower of books.