The German Letter, Budapest 1939

I have had Grandfather’s box of papers for a couple of years now. I’m still trying to understand what they all mean.

Along with a priceless collection of birth/death and marriage certificates for his family line, there are fragments of stories, transcriptions of historical documents, handwritten drafts, and carbon copies of typed letters. They often lack addresses or return addresses or dates so I’m not always sure if they were letters he was sending or receiving or someone else’s correspondence entirely. Most of these documents are written in Hungarian or Latin. But there is one German letter.Edes Bela German letter 1939.pct75

I can tell that it is a request for a copy of the marriage certificate of his parents in Pula, Austria (now Pola, Croatia) in 1885. But I didn’t know what the rest of the letter said.

I tried transcribing the document and feeding it to Google Translate. Unfortunately, Google gagged on the letter and returned digital barf.

Fortunately, there are Angels waiting on the Facebook Genealogy Translations Group. I posted the letter and minutes letter got a response.


Me:
 Can anyone translate this letter from German. It was written by my grandfather requesting a marriage certificate copy for his parents. Google translate mangles this. Can you tell what happened in December 1888? What is Aria Legemitierung? TIA!    …

Translating Angel 1:  I politely request the marriage certificate for my father, Father’s name Sigmund Eden, Roman Catholic, born in the year 1862, March 24, in Vukovar Slovakia. My mother: Anne Terk, Roman Catholic, born in the year 1864 in Bautisch. Muehren, now Germany. By my departure certificate listed as Polish on December 21, 1888.    …

Angel 1: Apparently wherever this town is, it was designated as Polish in 1888, but is now Germany.    …

Angel 1: I don’t know what Aria is, or WHO Aria is. It seems this person wants to legitimize their existence or ownership or citizenship.    …

Angel 1: And this was not written by a native German speaker, so the language is difficult because it is strewn with the grammar of another language.   …

Angel 2: Angel 1, the person needs this certificate to prove his Arian status for the Nazis. The letter is from 1939 when this part of Europe was part of the Gross Deutsches Reich.   …

Angel 1:  Gotcha! I didn’t pay attention to the date at the bottom. Of course!    …

Me: OMG! I thought that was part of the motivation for his genealogy research. Grandfather owned a typewriter store. So it would be especially important for him as a business owner. I can’t imagine living through that horrible time. Thanks to you both for your help!! 

So my grandfather with his poor German grammar wrote this letter requesting an urgent response shortly after the German invasion of Poland. He did get a copy of his parent’s marriage certificate. As far as I know the family still kept their store and home through the war. His properties were confiscated by the Communists after the 1956 Hungarian uprising.  My grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1957.

Simple documents, when you have the historical context, can reveal so much about the lives of our ancestors.  I think I will keep a special folder for the images of my grandfather’s correspondence. I will cite this letter to confirm his place of residence at the time, and then move on to the next mystery in his box of papers.

Hey it’s my Birthday!

2nd bdayHere’s some birthday music to listen to while I tell you about it.

It’s not really MY birthday, but the second  birthday of this blog. My first post was on 4JAN2012. Since then I have learned a lot more about the family history, about blogging, and genealogy research and all that. I hope you can tell.

The most popular posts have been the two I wrote about my Greatⁿ-Grandma Katalin, the Hajdú Warrior. I think she was pretty amazing. Last summer we got to visit Hajdúhadhaz, the town where she was born in eastern Hungary. 4 centuries later, we didn’t expect to find any trace of the Kerekes family in the graveyard, and we didn’t, but I had to check. There was nothing. We also visited the nearby Hajdú museum and danced with the 7 warrior guys.

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The 3rd ranking post is the Family Tree. Perhaps someday a distant relative may find me through that.

4th and 5th are Genealogy in Romania, and A Wolf in the Family (about my maternal 2nd Great-grandmother).

I plan to write more later about Genealogy in Romania, and my other Ancestor Countries. For that I started a new blog to talk about the research process.

I have lots more stories in the works for this blog, so please come back again.

Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate!

 

Note: The birthday balloons are from BackinSkinnyJeans

Then and Now: The Killer Lake

The Killer Lake, Gyilkostó in Hungarian, is high in the Hargita Mountains in the Székely region of eastern Transylvania. The name in Romanian is Lacul Roșu, or Red Lake. The ‘red’ color comes from the sediment of the Red Creek that feeds the lake, although it really is more of a murky brown. Of course the ‘bloody’ color is also the origin of the more creative Hungarian name.Gyillkos To Szekelyfold  about 1985-300px

A massive landslide in the 19th century caused the entire mountain side of trees land in the lake upside down. The tree stumps are easier to see in this picture of my parents in 1983. 31 years later the stumps are disappearing. I’m glad we got there before they were all gone.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my parents. They looked very happy. Dad was very hip in those flared leg pants and sideburns. It was Dad’s first time back to Hungary since he escaped in 1948, and Mom’s first time visiting her parents’ homeland.

A&D Gyillkosto 300pxWe were happy too. We spent the day driving the crazy mountain roads with my dear cousin and her amusing husband. And this picture is one of my favorites from the trip.

Dancing with my Ancestors

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The Seven Dancing Hajdú in the town square of Hajdúbosormény, with a couple of extras.

In Eastern Hungary close to the great plains, in the town square of Hajdúbosormény, the 7 Hajdú warriors are dancing. There is one for each of the original 7 villages built on the land donated by Bocskay István in the 1600s. The dancers are rugged and fierce and carry their weapons of war. They all wear big bushy very Hungarian looking moustaches.

These are the people of my oldest named grandmother, Kerekes Katalin who was born in nearby Hajdúhadhaz.

The beautiful baroque buildings on the square contrast with the shabbier businesses and homes elsewhere in town. Around the corner, the building that houses the Hajdúsag museum is in need of a paint job. It looked so sad we were surprised that it was really open. But, we were in luck.  We had the place to ourselves and were amazed at the quality of the exhibits in such an out of the way place.

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Artist’s conception of bronze age couple with tools and adornments found in archeological dig in Hajdú region.

A special exhibit told of excavations of the Bronze-age treasures being discovered in nearby ancient burial grounds. An animated video in Hungarian told the story of those ancient people.

There were many exhibits of life in the Hajdú towns.

Illustration of men's uniforms. The fur coat on display had a pest strip tucked inside for protection.

Illustration of men’s uniforms.

Beautifully embroidered ladies’ capes and men’s heavy fur coats helped keep them warm in winter. The massive fur coat on display had a pest strip tucked inside for protection.

Hajdú lady's embroidered fur cape. "kisbunda"

Hajdú lady’s embroidered fur cape. “kisbunda”

An exhibit of an old style hut and household equipment gave an idea of what life in the area would have been like.

Village life. Corn grinder and bee hives.

Village life. Corn grinder and bee hives.

I estimate my hajdú heritage to be about  0.1%. I’m proud of that little bit of these brave proud people.

Growing up in a Hungarian community we would go to parties where the grownups danced the csardás, dancing and stomping their feet as the gypsy fiddler played faster and faster. I can imagine the hajdú dancing to the music and keeping up just fine.

Note: The museum website had pictures of some of their exhibits but at the time of this post the site was infected with malware. 

Gérgely Édes and Éva György – November 26, 1724

1724 M Edes Gergely&Eva x gold-300290 years ago 25 year old Gérgely Édes and his bride, Éva György were married in her hometown, the port city of Komárom, on the Danube River.

Soon after they married they moved to the nearby town of Komáromszentpéter (now Svätý Peter, Slovakia). Continue reading

Then and Now: Székelykerestúr

My great-grandparents Tivadar Nagy and Borbala Both shown in front of their home in Székelykerestúr sometime in the 1960s. The woman standing is Tivadar’s niece.

Kerestur old tivador copy

This page from my parents photo album from 1983 showed that the place was showing its age.

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Csíkkarcfalva, great-grandmother’s hometown

There are many little Hungarian villages tucked away in the Hargita Mountains in the Székely region of Transylvania. My mother’s family is from there. Relatives still live there, including some that Mother never talked about. Perhaps she didn’t know them either. My great-grandmother Borbála Both was born in 1883 in the village of Csíkkarcfalva ( Cârța in Romanian).  A century later my parents travelled there for the first time. This summer my husband and I visited the village with my cousin and her husband as tour guides.

Church 1983

Csíkkarcfalva Church 1983For centuries the village market took place at the foot of the hill in the center of town below the fortified church.

The 15th century fortified church occupies the top of the hill in the center of town. For centuries the town market took place in the main street below.

In my parent’s photo from 1983 a soviet style flat-bed truck raises dust clouds as it rumbles through town. Now the roads are paved. My cousin told me about a local politician who was able to direct infrastructure improvement funds to the village for that purpose. Continue reading

Crying Place

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Sírhely/Gravesite/Crying Place

Sírhely  the Hungarian word for gravesite was new to me. Sír (sheer), I knew, means cry and hely (hay) is place. On a day trip from southern Hungary we visited two crying places, scenes of heartbreaking death and destruction that took place over 4 centuries apart.

Grave Posts

Grave Posts

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Great-grandpa’s house in Kolozsvár !

20140709-230032.jpgThis is the address where my great-grandparents lived in Kolozsvár, Hungary when my grandpa was born. Today the city is called Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

 

Some of the buildings on the street are run-down but this looks better and it has some nice details. It has lace curtains in the windows and a bit of a garden in the back. I bet great-grandmother would have loved that.20140709-233053.jpg

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Time for a little Redecorating

gallery wallInspired by a post on Family Tree Frog ( a great name for a genealogy blog!) I decided to join in on the Spring Cleaning your Blog day. A little late to the game, as I usually am with anything related to housecleaning, I am inviting fellow genealogy bloggers for feedback.

Please comment on something you like about my blog and something you think could improve the look.

Here’s a link to the Spring cleaning story.