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.
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.
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 SzékelyHungarians.
Have you ever seen a tree in the clouds? Or a cloud of names in a tree?
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;
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.
Hungarians typically selected names for their children from a rather short list. In most families a son was named for his father and a daughter for her mother. Other children were often named for grandparents or aunts or uncles. Often when a child died very young, that child’s name was later given to another baby.
Saints names were popular, and for boys, names of famous Hungarians especially kings. Church and civil records were often recorded in Latin so the names were listed in the Latin version.
Among the 54 direct ancestors identified in our family tree, the most popular name for girls was 3 for variations of Rosalie, Rózsa and Rosina.
Other popular girls names, with 2 each were; Anna, Katalin (Catherine), Erzsébet (Elizabeth), Eva, Julianna, Maria and Theresa (Teréz, Terézia). Continue reading →
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 →
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 →