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.
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.
International Women’s Day seems like a good day to write about the courage of warrior women of Hungary. This painting by Bertalan Székely is titled The Women of Eger. It commemorates the 1552 Siege of Eger during the Ottoman Wars in Europe. The citizens of Eger, outnumbered by about 35,000 to 2,200, fought to defend the Castle of Eger from the Turks. The women joined the battle pouring down cauldrons of boiling water and tar on the oncoming enemy. Together they managed to claim victory that day. The story is well known by every Hungarian student. Unfortunately, later the Turks returned and occupied Hungary for 150 years. Continue reading →
This is quite exciting to a genealogy-geek. This morning I picked up the parchment manuscript from the conservator. She did a fine job of humidifying the two sheets so that they would lie, well almost flat. They are now enclosed in … Continue reading →
On March 20 1638 Gergely Édes along with his wife, Katalin Kerekes and his brothers; Vince, Mátyás, György and Ferenc were granted nobility by Ferdinand III Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire for their valor in battle. This document commemorates that event. The title in … Continue reading →