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.

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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.

Hungary 1983036

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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

The Szekely Land in Winter (Székelyföld télen)

My great-grandmother, a shyly smiling little woman in a black babushka summer or winter, was Both Bórbala (in English Barbara Both). both borbala 1 b75pct  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

Grandmother’s Photos

Since our retirement my husband and I have been doing a lot of road trips mixing sightseeing and family visits because all of our family is at least two days drive in one direction or another.

When we got to Cousin Barb’s house Tuesday evening, she brought out a fantastic photo album that had been our Grandmother’s.1961 Erzsebet Borbala in SzK A Continue reading

A Wolf in the Family

Bórbala (Barbara) Both was mother’s mother’s mother. She grew up in the little town of Csik Karcfalva in the Hargita mountains of Transylvania. According to Wikipedia it is still a small town. In 2011 it had a population of 2,688, of which (99.67%) are Székely Hungarians

Csik Karcfalva fortified church

Csik Karcfalva fortified church

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János Varga Nagy and Julianna Szálteleki

szekelykeresturJános Varga Nagy and Julianna Szalteleki were married in Székelykeresztúr parish on November 27, 1876. Janos was a 26 year old bachelor, son of Roman Catholic parents Joseph Varga Nagy and Julianna Szasz. The bride was a 23 year old single woman, daughter of Zsigmond Szalteleki and Susanna Mezei, both Unitarians. Julianna was born in Jobbagyfalva, 50 miles north of Szekelykerestur. Continue reading

Good News for Genealogy Research in Romania

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1767-1848 Székelykeresztúr

Several months ago I ran across an article titled: Genealogy Research in Romania is not Impossible. The article then went on to explain why it is close to impossible. For decades the Mormon Church has been copying vital records from countries all over the world. The older records are on microfilm, but they have many ongoing projects to convert to digital images, index the records with the help of volunteers and make the records available online. This service is free, and priceless. I spend many hours looking through records for many parts of Hungary and surrounding areas.

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Ancestors of Balázs Orbán

Ancestors of Balázs Orbán

Ancestors of Balázs Orbán