The Banat-L a great list
the members feel like family in a very short time.
Submitted by Cath Deschu
This info is for people new to the list and for those who are looking for more info...
They will all gladly help any way they can. Let me start out with saying if you have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. that are still with you .... sit down with a tape recorder and just let them start talking.
Ask for dates. Have them spell family names and village names as close as they can. They are remarkable resources for any genealogical research. Also keep in mind that just because their immigration papers say they came from Hungary, does not necessarily mean you are Hungarian .. although the chance remains you are.
The Donauschwaben colonies in the Banat were founded during the years 1748-1835. Before that, it was part of the Turkish Empire. In 1779 the Banat was transferred to Hungarian rule. From 1848 to 1860 the Banat and the Batschka were ruled directly by the Hungarian crown. From 1860 until 1919 the Banat was formally a part of Hungary. Then after the World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was torn apart. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes became Yugoslavia. They stayed one nation until their leader Tito died in 1980, but the multiethnic nature of the population had never blended.
The the ancient and extreme ethnic tensions in the area resulted in the violent ethnic based conflicts we still have in the region today. What I'm trying to show is that each time a new government came into power ... they often changed the names of the villages to make them more "theirs." Many of these villages have three or more names. So, that word Hungarian on the paper may mean is that the area was under Hungarian control at the time of their birth or emmigration. I can put this migration in a time line to help you get a feeling for the era. Just think of all you've read of the American Revolution. It was at this same time that these ancestors of yours were leaving heir homes to settle in a foreign land ... unaware of what a true frontier it was.
As early as 1777, in the 11,000 square miles area of Banat, the total population was 319,739; of which 181,639 were Romanian, 78,780 Serbs, 43,201 Germans; the remander (about 16,000) belonging to other nationalities such as French, Austrians, Swiss, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Jews, gypies etc. Truly an ethnic mosaic. Yet you may be able to trace your roots to their true source through some of the amazing records from within the Banat.
German colonists (Kolonisten) had migrated in the 1600s already, but mostly at the invitation of large landholders who needed farmers to work the land and also some craftsmen. Most of these new citizens came out of SW Germany after a devastating war with France and to escape starvation. Other motives for the migration of these survivors of a 30 year war are the devastation of the area and over-population. A local German ruler, Johann Philipp Franz, expressed the hope that "emigration of the local poor would relieve the burden for those who stayed behind.
Since most of those emigrating to Hungary were dissolute ... people burdened with many debts and children, their departure would ...allow the better sort to improve their lot by the purchase of the real estate left behind...." To discourage the emmigrants from returning, they were told they "would be considered vagabonds and no longer tolerated within the state." Then there were those were individuals like soldiers and the craftsmen needed to win the war. They eventually settlerd in almost all areas of Hungary. After the Austrian Empire made peace with the Turks in 1718 the Hapsburgs wanted a way to keep the Turkish from regaining this area so recently reconquered from that Ottoman Empire. They came up with a plan to build a buffer zone between their more populated areas and the ever threatening Turks. They would build some villages and recruit families to live in them. It was hoped just their presence in the region would help ... or maybe it was the people's fervor to protect what was their own. And so, colonists were actively recruited by the Empire to settle the some 800 villages built in an empty, often swampy part of the Hapsburg's Empire to create a loyal population as a buffer against the Turks who ruled the territory south of the Danube (from Begrade to the Black Sea).
"As early as 1719 count Mercy was encouraged by Vienna to entice settlers by offering a royal degree of freedom, 3 years of no taxes, cheap material for building, permission to construct their own mills, erect distilleries. Each settler was also to receive a bed with straw sack, one carpet, one dough box, one ax, one spinning wheel, one butter churn, one wagon, one plow, one harrow, one cythe, one sichel; and the ones from Gutenbrunn a horse and four cows. Also seed for the first year with the provision that it be replaced after the first harvest. For the trip each head of family received daily 12 Kreuzer, grown children 6 Kreuzer and little children 2 Kreuzer." "This tavel money shall be from station to station, and each of these could be four days apart." They were given houses in master-planned villages. Fields were allotted in farmlands around the villages. There was also the lure of freedom from serfdom, initially exemption from taxes, and uncrowded land. "There where recruitment offices in all major german cities and the austrian empire." The recruiters were well rewarded. "A reward of 1 fl 30 kf is offerd to the recruiters and should other states offer higher inducements, I shall increase mine. Families who arrive without recuiters efforts shall receive the same reward." "("Heimatbuch Heufeld-Mastort-Ruskodorf"Gerhard-Klein-Rebl-1987) Often overlooked however, was that concurrently with Hapsburg recruitment of settlers to the Banat and Batschka was extensive efforts by Hungarian nobles to attract German settlers to their thinly populated estates in the Pannonian basin. Of interest to the history of the Banat was private recruitment of German settlers to the area around Arad. In return for services rendered to the crown, Johann Freiherr von Harrucker was awarded 1800 sq miles of thinly populated and devastated land North of the Marosch. As early as 1722 the first 150 German families arrived to his estates where they received generous concessions. This settlement program was continued by his son, Franz Harrucker.
By 1750 this settlement program was well underway. Among the communities established on the Harrucker estates was Baumgarten, Glogowitz, Martia-Radna, Neu St Anna, Neuarad, Neupanat and Paulish. Count Mercy was appointed governor in 1720 and started the process of turning this largely depopulated area with a large proportion of marshland into a settled agricultural region...the Banat. Between 1722 and 1787, there was a large-scale migration of individuals and families from German-speaking states within and near Habsburg domains in their Holy Roman Empire. They had been recruited to colonize this South-Eastern part of the Austrian Empire in part of the Danube basin. My research is with those who left the area of Lorraine (France). So these numbers are from that area, but would show the same for the general region. The lures offered by the recruiters were successful. Feb.
1770---127 Families left from German Lorraine; April 1770---930 Families left from French Lorraine; Dec.
1770---203 Families left from Alsace. "By the year 1771 so many families had settled and the demand was so high it was announced that from now on settlers would have to bear the cost of travel themselves and bring their own household implements." And once there, "the population increased quickly: in the parish of Saint Hubert, which in the beginning, kept the records of two close villages, Heufeld and Mastort; the parish had people of Lorraine and Alsace; from March 31 through December of 1771,there were 31 births, in 1772, 92 births, and in 1773, 129 births. " During the mid to late 1700s, there were three "formal" migrations that originally went as far as Vienna where they were registered. Under Maria Theresia who reigned from 1740 to 1780, the migrations, from 1765 to 1771 were certainly Catholics. However, between the "formal" and registered migrations, there were smaller, more informal ones and individuals. The early recruits had all been promised to receive from the Austro-Hungarian colonial administration: a traveling stipend, farmland, a house, livestock, some household goods. They were also promised they could bring their priests, and that mass and schools would be conducted in their own language.
The initial "Hapsburg" settlers in the Banat were first-line Catholic Germans out of the neighboring Austrian lands and others from the neighboring lands such as Alsace and Lorraine. Only Catholics settlers were accepted during the organized colonization of 1763-1773. They were skilled tradesmen (weavers, millers, etc.) and farmers - all very desireable skills needed to civilize a frontier. The first two migrations were restricted to Roman Catholics, but the third was also open to Protestants. Emperor Josef II had granted freedom of religion in the Habsburg Empire bythat time. Later, Protestant settlers out of Baden, Württemberg, Rhine Hessen, and the Pfalz were allowed and also out of Alcace-Lorraine." To put things in perspective, the Banat was still a frontier region of Europe at this time (during the American Revolution). One wonders if they were made aware what a frontier region this was. One which was beset by border wars, marshland, and illness. These were individuals and families (mostly but not all) from the areas of the medieval Suebi of Swabia and medieval duchies of Palatine and Saar region of South-West Germany or the Rhineland-Palatinate, North-East France (Alsace and Lorraine) and Luxemburg. The area from which they came was centered between today's cities of Saarbruecken, Trier, Metz and Luxemburg. This encompasses portions of modern Baden-Württemberg, the Rhineland, Swabia, Western Bavaria, Alsace, Lorraine, and parts of Switzerland. Others hailed from Austria and other parts of the then Austrian and (later Austro-Hungarian) Empire. Some also came from Italy and Spain. These Swabian and Alemannic regions were primarily speaking a Palatine German dialect similar to that of the Pennsylvania Dutch who had come to the USA from the same regions from which the Danube Swabians. They traveled a large part of their trip living on flatboats down the Danube River and so...the name Donauschwaben. (Danau = Danube, Schwaben = from Swabia). These colonists often set out from the cities of Ulm or Günzburg traveling along or by ship on the Danube (Donau) River to Vienna and then further South to their new home and lands. They rode the river on the famous "Ulmer Schachtel" (Ulm Crates). These were barges that had wooden roofs which were later disassembled and used for building the houses in the various village settlements.
They traveled to the Danube basin (an area in the SE area of the Empire) and settled in new villages as colonists in a region called the Banat. The area had been recently reconquered from the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire by an army sent by the Hapsburg Family, the family ruling the Austrian Empire.
According to Johann Eimann: "The German Settler (Der Deutsche Kolonist)" (page 114), who went with his bride from Duchroth in the Palatinate to Werbass in the Bachka, the voyage took from May 30 to July 21, 1785 / i.e. 53 DAYS." The trip consisted of three parts:
1. First the trip was on firm soil through Mainz, Frankfurt, Wuerzburg and Nuernberg to Regensburg. It was made with hired carts and lasted 18 DAYS.
2. On the Danube River it went from Regensburg to Passau (3 more DAYS); then Linz and Wien (9 DAYS from Regensburg) on July 6. On the 12th of July they reached Pressburg (6 DAYS) and on the 15th, Ofen (3 DAYS).
3. From Pest they went by cart again through Kecskemet and Kula to Werbass in the Bachka. (14 DAYS) = 53 DAYS
Condensed History of the Banat Region 1527: Turks by virture of the Battle of Mohacs 1679: Plague spread from the Ottoman Empire into Austria, killing thousands of people especially in Vienna and eastern Austria. 1718: Austria acquired it thru war with the Turks. 1722-1726: Reign of Kaiser (Emperor) Karl 6th when the first wave of "Swabes" came(15,000). They faced death from sickness and invasions by the Turks. 1763-1770: 4,000 more came under the rule of Empress Maria Theresa (2nd wave). Faced Misery and Need.
1783-1788: (3rd wave) under Emporer Joseph 2nd.. Became Bread Basket. These settlers came from Platz, Hessen, Gross Lothringen and Wurttenberg. This sent to me by Adam Rattinger of Stuttgart, Germany. The old saying says: "The first died, the second starved and the third Prospered." 1814; Austrian Empire 1848:1860 Austrian Crown 1860-1919: Hungary 1867: "Magyarization" of Banat. In a campaign to surpress foreign influences the Hungarian language was promoted and as well, the towns names and many family names were changed to Hungarian. 1919 to Present: Hungary, Yugoslavia and Romania. For more history, please go to this site, written by Sue Clarkson (a longtime member of the Banat-L)... http://www.feefhs.org/banat/bhistory.html Before I get into some of the amazing records kept at the time which are still accessable ... or the dedicated work of later generations to make other records available to us ... I want to mention a few things that will make your welcome to the list a little easier.
1. It is the habit of most genealogical researchers to put the surname in CAPITALS so it stands out. For example, if I am mentioning my earliest family members in a sentence, it would look like this .... Simon and Nikolaus DESCHU. It makes the names you are researching more easily noticed by those scanning your message...and more likely someone researching the same name will catch the name. But putting all of your request in capitals is considered rude ... as if you were shouting.
2. It is for the same reason you should fill in the subject area of the message very specific...short and to the point .. mention the surname and/or village you are interested in. Not all members read every message. Many just look over the subjects listed in their new mail. They use the subject to decide whether to read it or not.
3. The list is not here to do your research. It is made up of people who are just like you...here to work on finding ancestors on their own family tree. So you cannot say something like, "What can you tell me about Simon Deschu?" Unless you are lucky enough to have someone from your own ree on the list, you won't get much feedback. But if you tell us all you know about your ancestor, then the generous people on this list will help as much as they can. BEFORE you start your message ... think it through so you can pose an intellegment question? Be sure to add all the available data you have ... such as birth dates and places. Do you know their parents names, siblings names? Certain names were used very frequently, so just saying Johann Schmidt would be like John Smith here, therefore having parents names or siblings names helps narrow it down. Include where they settled upon arrival in North America. Surnames should not be given without an associated locality. Might as well say you are looking for John Smith in Pennsylvania. The Banat covered a big area with well over 800 villages. If unknown, so indicate. etc. In short, if you want us to spend our time helping you, you've got to spend some of your own time preparing.
4. One thing to keep in mind is that it is very common in the Banat (and elsewhere) for the spelling of a name to vary. First of all, many of the settlers may not have been literate and the spelling depended on the individual clerk recording it...and/or the many different priests from village to village who did the recording. Most Banat names appeared for the first time in Banat/Austrian records when they registered in Vienna. Yet, for some lucky people, the records of the catholic priests were very good and prove can prove where your ancestor came from when the records of the Church preserved their roots. Here is some evidence that French names were Germanized, then eventually Magyarized in Banat. It was not an intentional effort to make all settlers appear to be German. But unless the settler could read and write or spell his name, it just happened. Here are the names of people on the Banat List at rootsweb.com who have proof of what the name was in France, before the Banat. It shows clearly that names WERE germanized in Banat! So when looking for "pre" Banat, keep it in mind.
DUPONT originally French > Germanized Dippong, Diebong,
Duppong AND BOURGEOIS originally > to Borsova (1841)
> to Borschowa AND GASCON originally >GASKO
> then Magyarized to GASZKO AND CHANET originally >
SCHANETT > then Magyarized to ZSANETTI AND DÉCHOU originally
in France > Germanized to DESCHU Our DESCHU name is unique to
the Banat. It was basically created by an Austrian clerk
doing the registrations in Vienna. As an Austrian, he spoke and
HEARD in German. So when our original settler (or colonist
as they are often called in the Banat) said his French (could
have been from anywhere) name, the clerk heard in German and
wrote in the record book what he heard....in German. These
records are available in the "Banater Akten." To
get the free land, they were required to register in Vienna on
their way to the Banat. These registration records are accessible
in an indexed chronologically arranged book called the Banater
Akten. They record the registration in Vienna from the period
1749-1804. Since the Banat villages were built from scratch
to fulfill the need of the Austrian Hapsburg rulers for a buffer
zone to keep out the Turks ... not all villages (or just the
dwelling) were not ready for habitation when the settlers arrived
and they were boarded or quartered with other established
families until such time as their own home was ready. Most of
these temporary stays were in an entirely different village than
the one to which they were assigned. They may have stayed
at this one (or more) temporary home for more than a year. This
can make it difficult to find them in the beginning. There
are often marriages and children born during their temporary stay.
But there were very thorough records kept concerning these
quarterings...known as the Einquartierung. It's a small part of
the Banater Akten. They are also known as the Schlaf-kreuzer-rechnungen
or SKR (Sleep Kreuzer Calculations). The name comes from the fact
that the hosts were paid one "Kreuzer" (a small
denomination of Austrian currency) per person per night for the
length of stay of their guests) . These are the billing records
for providing sleeping accomodations and meals for new people
when they first reached the Banat and their houses were not
finished. (There are also some records for other travelers
kept in later years). Both the Banater Akten and the
Enquartierung are a wealth of information. They usually
gave the information mainly for the head of the household.
The Banater Akten gives date of registration in Vienna and
arrival in Banat, age, occupation, number in party traveling
together, and area of origin (some lucky folks even get a village
of origin). The Enquarteirung gives much the same
information sometimes telling a bit more
detail of who was in the party (such as..wife, 2 boys etc.). This also tells which village they were quartered in..this can be important because some early marriages and births occured in the quartering host village. Here are three folks with the Banater Akten willing to do lookups:
- Gordon McDaniel <email@example.com>
- Michael Stamm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Rudi Keszler RKeszler@t-online.de
Unfortunately, the Banater Akten are not in alphabetical but chronological order. So if you do not have a time frame (within late 1760s to 1830-50) it might be better to ask for a lookup in the book by Stefan Stader: Sammelwerk donauschwaebischer Kolonisten. Part I (A-D) printed by AKdFF in 1997 in Sindelfingen. Part II (E-G) and Part III (H - Kapw) are also available.
Here are some folks with the first two Stader volumes:
A - D names
--Dave Dreyer <email@example.com
--Guenter Junkers <CG_Junkers@compuserve.com
--Deborah Kristmann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
--Dennis Bauer <email@example.com>
E - G names
--Uwe Morres Heidelberg, Germany <firstname.lastname@example.org>
--Deborah Kristmann <email@example.com>
H - Kapw
--John Feldenzer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
--Susan Clarkson <email@example.com>
It wouldn't hurt to ask the list to do a Banater Akten and Enquartierung lookup for your surname...include any alternate spelling variations known. But since Stader's new books are supposed to be a compilation of information from all of the other Banat reference books I'd ask for a Stader lookup first....as long as your surname starts with A to G. You can also ask for an1828 Census lookup.....there are several - collected by counties - best if you ask for a lookup by the surname and village name.
At LDS .... If you know the town your ancestor was in then, you need to look at..... http://www2.genealogy.net/gene/reg/ESE/ds_idx.htm ....this will list LDS film numbers.
Information at to which county books are available is listed at: http://feefhs.org/ah/hu/conner.html
Below are some members willing to do lookups ... (be specific ... there are MANY cities and MANY thousands of surnames)
Book # 2 is Baranya/Swabisch Turkei (30,975 names; 354 cities)
- John Feldenzer < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Book # 4 is Tolna ( $28; 25,461 names; 107 cities; 285 pgs )
Book #11 - Szerem (Syrmia/Srem) (24,551 names; 53 cities)
- only included the portions of Syrmia under civil authority
- roughly 60% of the region was within the military border and
thus excluded from the census. Among the towns included are
Ruma, India, and Vukovar)
- "Robert Goetz" <email@example.com>
Book #13 - Book of Cities ( $5; contains all cities named in
1828 Census and the associated 52 Counties/Megyes;
with LDS Microfilm Files)
- Dennis Bauer < firstname.lastname@example.org >
- John Feldenzer < email@example.com >
Book #14 - Arad
- Deborah Kristmann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
OR 1891 Hungarian Census - $20 - to see the database, but can lookup names mentioned for free http://www.bogardi.com/gen/g079.shtml
The following comes with an "if" a big IF .... if Lorraine or Alsace (Lotheringen or Elsass) is given as a region of origin, you could then start your Banat search with asking the list a lookup in one (or each) of the 6 villages which were settled predominently by French families.
* FRENCH VILLAGES IN BANAT *
By 1788 there were 104 villages populated by German colonists, including 8 which were predominantly French. These villages were Charleville, SanktHubert, and Seultour (Károlyliget, Szenthubert, and Szoltur in Hungarian). These towns actually edged each other. They are now in the Yugoslavian part of the Banat and have been merged into Banatsko Veliko Selo (YU-23312) in Yugoslavia). To complete the 8 villages there are also Triebswetter (est 1772), GOTTLOB (est 1772), Huefeld, Masztort and Ostern were were also primarily French. Triebswetter is now called Tomnatic, Romania. Seems a fair amount of French settlers went to Lenauheim as well.
"Die Auswanderung der Lothriner in das Banat und die Batschka" (Emigration of Lorraine people into Banat and Batschka). Booklet describes the settlements very detailed (but without name lists) - even some sources are mentioned as footnotes.
looked for GOTTLOB. It is mentioned as founded by Neumann von Buchholz in 1772 (200 houses), populated by settlers from "Lothringen (LORRAINE), Elsass (Alsace); Luxemburg; Mainz, Trier, Franken, Pfalz in Germany" From Harald Ruppe HuMRuppe@aol.com
Sadly, though many heard from relatives that their ancestors were French, the name was often changed at the registration in Vienna and after a few generations they spoke French no more.
Our branch of the Deschu tree is from the east coast of the US - New Jersey, Pennsylvania - as well as Montreal Canada. But I've also found Deschu families in Missouri, Austria, and Germany. But no matter where I found them (all thought they were the ONLY ones), they all had the same oral family history .... French origin but out of the Banat. You will probably find something similar. It is tough to find the original spelling. If you are lucky enough to get a village of origin from the Vienna records it should be easier to search the records for a similar sounding name. You could also ask the very multilingual members of this genealogy mailing list what they think it might have heen spelled like in whatever area of origin you discover. Once you have an area of origin, the internet online telephone directories should help you discover where the name is found most frequently in the US or Europe. Here is a URL which will help you with foreign phone directories... http://www.teldir.com
I have a list of which members own copies of books which list church records for many Banat villages and are willing to do lookups for individuals. I also have a list of Abbreviations, Symbols and Terms used in those records with their meanings..very helpful to understand the information included. If you want a copy of either, let me know. I personally do not have a copy of the Banater Akten, the SKR or Einquatierung, but if you ask the list in general, I'm sure someone will help.
Helpful sites about DONAUSCHWABEN GENEALOGICAL AND HISTORICAL RECORDS
You can learn more about this area by looking at the information available at these Donauschwaben homepages at ....
The Donauschwaben Village List Homepage / for the explanation of the Village list is at ....
OR: Donauschwaben Village List Index
and you can find all the names of Banat villages on the site:
Banat as well as Batschka and Baranja village names can be checked at http://www.feefhs.org/banat/banfaq11.html
Here are the URLs for the best maps of the Banat I've ever seen. They are large enough and clear enough to read all village names (original German only). There are 3 maps...north, middle and south banat. Here are the URLs...
Pages about DANUBE SWABIANS:
and about MONOGRAPHS OF DANUBE SWABIAN PLACES:
Also check out Federation of East European Family History Societies- Lots of info including passenger list extractions by Dave Dreyer.
ShipList-Intro.htm ( <all one line)
Also at the FEEFHS site you can check the subscription lists of the Deutsch-Ungarischer Familien-Kalender for others who are also researching your surname.
FEEFHS Banat - Frequently Asked Questions page:
search the index, go to and type in a surname, village, etc.
join the FEEFHS Banat genealogy mailing list
Familienbuch / a book which lists the families which lived in a specified village with church records Kirchenbuch. / a church book, church register with baptism, mariage and death records of the parish Ortssippenbuch / a local kinship book, genealogical data of a village You will find regional bibliography sections in these sites along with regional history that will help in the research of your ancestry. This page is the starting point for lists of villages of the different settlement areas of the Donauschwaben. Currently, lists for Banat, Batschka, Bosnia, Sathmar, and Slavonia are available. These are areas of German settlement outside the borders of Germany. Over their long history, various parts have been under Austrian, Hungarian, Yugoslavian, Croation and Romanian administration. That is why the Donauschwaben villages often have names in 3 - 4 different languages.
If you are more interested in the area during Hungarian rule, (the early 1900s/early-20th century) there's a good map at: http://lazarus.elte.hu/hun/maps/1910/bacsbod.jpg There's a very good source of old Hungarian maps at http://lazarus.elte.hu/hun/maps/1910/1910ind.htm) you If your primary interest is the "Batschka", this site will help. http://www2.genealogy.net/gene/reg/ESE/dsbatsch.html OR http://www.best.com/~heli/genealogy/backa-wel.html This was the Hungarian county ("megye" or "vármegye" in Hungarian, "Komitat" in German, "comitatus" in Latin) bounded on the west and south by the Danube, on the east by the Tisza, and on the north by Csongrád vármegye and Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun vármegye. Today it's in Hungary.
For those of you who are looking for information about ancestors that were killed in WW2 check out this site: http://www.com-de.pair.com/WASt/frame_e.htm
To search for your surname in the USA, * you can check for the surname on the extractions of passenger lists done by our own Dave Dreyer at:
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~banatdata/DreyerShip List-Intro.htm ( <- that's all one line) * you can use one of the online telephone directories such as the one at: http://www.yahoo.com
* you can search for your surname in Europe also with telephone searches there. This site gives you the choice of many countries:
The Banat Mailing List is archieved - You can search by date,
subject, and sender and then retrieve all messages with the web-based
search engine at: http://newsearches.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/listsearch.pl
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