Dancing with my Ancestors

dancers 300

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.

Bronze age couple 300

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. 

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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

Greatⁿ-Grandma Katalin, Hajdú Warrior

kato egri copyKerekes 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.

Continue reading

Béla’s Hometown – Growing up in Kolozsvár

Cluj 1897 cropBéla 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 villamos

Kolozsvár villamos

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.

Continue reading

The Story of the Origins of the Édes family

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.Ede clan on the move - no cows

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.

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

Continue reading

September Birthdays

In our family September was a good month for girls. Three of the cousins were born that month within a few years of each other. They all have lovely Hungarian names.september girls heart 2 small

Julianna was a popular name on both sides of our family tree. 3rd Great-grandmother of the September cousins, Julianna Szálteleki was born in Jobbágyfalva, Maros-Torda in Erdély. Her mother-in-law was 4th Great-grandmother Julianna Szasz. Another 3rd Great-grandmother Julianna Vill was born in Apatin, Bács-Bodrog, now in Serbia. Continue reading

Names in the Clouds

Have you ever seen a tree in the clouds? Or a cloud of names in a tree?

Direct Line Ancestors

Direct Line Ancestors

A friend posted a link to a list of the most popular Hungarian surnames (2006). In the top spot is Nagy, the ‘Smiths’ of Hungary. Although, to be accurate,while Smith is the most common English language surname in Hungarian it translates to Kovács, which ranks #2 in Hungarian popularity.

In our direct ancestry line these surnames were ranked in the top 100;

Nagy #1     Tóth #3     Kis #7     Mólnar #8

Pintér#28     Vőrős #62     Orbán #82

This tree word-cloud shows all the known surnames in our direct line.

And that’s the Big (Nagy)  and Small (Kis) of it.

New Family Tree Page: Családfa Oldal

The Family Tree/Családfa  menu option at the top of the page now links to a new page with descendant and ancestor charts for the four branches of the family. The link to the interactive family tree is there as well. brigitte picture tree

I like this family tree format from Legends software but it is limited to just 3 generations. Last month I taped together all the ancestor and descendant charts and it was about 12 feet long. Hope the links on this new page make it easier to see the big picture.

Brigitte is our little sister that left us too soon. I love this photo of her but it makes me sad.