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The Game Ancestry - Second Edition - Part II - Chapter 8

Introduction to Part II
of the

Game Ancestry

My Hungarian mother was born Farsang Katalin (1), daughter of machine shop worker Farsang György and his wife Biller Katalin (see pedigree chart). Both her parents came from the same small village of Pázmánd in Hungary's Fejér County about 30 kilometers southwest of Budapest. This little village became very important in my ancestral research, and I wanted to know everything about it. What sort of a village was Pázmánd? What kind of people lived there? Where had they come from? How did they live? Are any of today's inhabitants related to me? These, and many other questions started a new branch of research which was entirely focused on this part of Hungary and the network of related families in a number of small localities. What ever other sources mention about when things started up in different localities, the one factor of most importance to my research is the availability of accessible records, by which we usually mean microfilms of parish records held the Mormon church in Salt Lake City. For the three villages where I found my ancestors the starting years of parish records were 1721 for Pázmánd, 1723 for Etyek, and 1738 for Budaörs.

It had been easy to unquestioningly accept my mother Farsang Katalin for a Hungarian. She was born in Budapest to Hungarian parents, spoke only Hungarian, had a very full head of black hair, and was quite fiery and temperamental. Later when she lived in Austria and was obliged to learn the German language, she never lost her strong Hungarian accent, and was unique enough in her small town to be known simply as die Ungarin (the Hungarian woman), a fact which in the minds of provincial Austrians conjured up fantasies of hot-blooded women who enjoyed lovemaking as a sport. She had consequently many secret admirers, some of them much less secret than others. The fact that she was also a very attractive woman contributed to her popularity.

Some of the stereotyping had also rubbed off on me, and when I acted crazy it was easily written-off as the expected paprika-related craziness. In summer when I developed an almost instant dark tan, everyone firmly believed that I was half Gypsy (which I was not). The more of this I experienced, the more I was inclined to play up to the image of a "crazy Hungarian Gypsy". I also had a very full head of black hair. It is therefore not surprising that I confronted the findings of my genealogical research with mixed feelings when I learned that my "Hungarian" ancestors were in fact descendants of German colonists. In this second part I will discuss how it came about that Germans came to Hungary in great numbers, and totally integrated themselves even to the point of changing their names and forgetting their ancestry along with the language of their forefathers. As it turned out, their total integration did not save them from being dispossessed and kicked out of Hungary in 1946 after the second World War.

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Historical Background

All that needs to be said is that when the Turks invaded Europe, they remained in possession of Hungary for 150 years. During that time most of the country became depopulated through either the killing, or capture and removal of the population, or because those that could, fled the country. When the Turks were finally beaten and pushed out of Europe at the end of the 17th Century, there were not enough people left to work the soil. Although towards the end of the Turkish rule there was a 15 year war (1593-1608) between the Turks and the Kingdom of Hungary, Turks and wars were not the only problems the colonists had to endure. The black death reigned between 1730 and 1763 and 63% of German settlers fell victim to it. There were other troubles to contend with. Using Etyek as an example, in 1763 there was trouble between the Catholics and the Calvinists. Many Hungarian families moved out and went to Bia as a result. The population's mix in Etyek at 1770 was 640 Germans and 150 Magyars. In 1773 the Jesuit Order in Etyek was dissolved and the village went to the Hungarian Camera until 1777 when Empress Maria Theresia donated it to the "Domkapitel" of Stuhlwießenburg (now Székesfehévár). In 1830, in the midst of the harvest, Cholera struck, and 80 people died in Etyek, and about 30% of the population in Pázmánd.

As the next generation came of age, they wanted to have a home of their own and properties were split in to smaller parcels, but then the Lords refused to allow any split into smaller than 3/8. (In Etyek, 59 families were already sitting on 3/8 of a plot).

At this point in history the ruling houses needed farmers to again cultivate the land and to populate the abandoned villages, or to start new ones. The House of Habsburg had large areas of crown land to give away, the landed gentry and the princes of the Roman Catholic church all needed people to work their holdings. All of these, either alone or in tandem, started recruitment drives - mostly in southern German lands where the population tended to be of the Roman Catholic faith. Partly because of the deliberate recruitment efforts aimed at them, partly because of their proximity and ease of access to the waterway of the Danube, the recruitment was most successful in attracting Svabians from the area between Hungary and the Palatinate. Many of these were experienced farmers who understood what needed to be done, and who were not afraid of working hard to achieve their goals. Colonists were promised free land, freedom from taxes for five years, and freedom from the obligation of giving free labor to the estate owners. Some of these promises did not materialize quite the way they had been intended, and there was a considerable variance by region. I am mostly concerned with the county of Fejér, where my ancestors settled.

Not until 1848 did these people become "free" and no longer were serfs, and no longer did have to provide socage to the land lords.

Pázmánd (47N 18E 136m) is the kind of village you would never know about unless you found that many of your ancestors lived there. The village does not seem to have any historical significance of its own apart from having been strategically located beside the old Roman road that led from Bicske through Acsa, Vereb and Kápolnásnyék to Adony. According to Cuspinianus there had been a customs point at Pázmánd in the 16th Century.

Ownership of the village changed hands a number of times. The Jesuits of Komárom(2) had been granted perpetual property rights (örökös birtokjog) to Vereb and Pázmánd. In 1517 it was owned, together with Lovasberény and Gardony, by Katalin, daughter of Buzlay Mózes. A document dated 15 June 1593 quotes Pejérköry István, Bishop of Nyitra and royal governor, as saying that Lovasberény, Pázmánd, Nadap and Técs belonged to the late Buzlay Mózes, but after that, in a 1593 bequest the family of Pálffy (Baracskai) together with Bolla György, Iványi Gáspár, Török Iván and Török Jakab owned it until 1666. Török Ferenc, the son of one of these Török brothers, sold Pázmánd and Vereb to Jakussith György of Orbova, the Bishop of Szerémi Vál, who according to a letter dated at Pozsony 3 April 1637, gave it to the Jesuits of Komárom (this gift to Markievics Jakab, superior of Komárom was only confirmed by King Leopold in 1694. The Jesuits, by the way, also owned the Bágyom Puszta east of Pázmánd. After 1637 there was some finagling when Pázmánd appears in parcel bequests and sales by and to parties having no good title to it. Over the objections of the Jesuits of Komárom, who had owned it since 1637, the female branch of the Pálffy (Baracskai) family sold it to Count Heister Sigbert 16 January 1699. It was this family who built the castle and the Roman Catholic parish church and residence.

Resettlement of the area started in 1717 and Pázmánd seems to have belonged at that time to Prince Ferdinand of Szász-Coburg-Gotha; it was valued in the conscriptio Comitatus Albensis at 130,000 silver Forints. In 1720 a Roman Catholic parish was established in Pázmánd, and the village with surrounding property was purchased from Prince Koburg by Lyka Döme. The list of inhabitants in 1720 shows 35 families, 16 classed as jobbágy (feudal tenant) on full lots, and 18 as zsellér (feudal subtenant) on half lots. Of significance to my family's history is the fact, that among these first 35 families, there was listed a member of one of our ancestral lines: one Bartos János, owner of 16 hold of land (1 hold=1 hectare; literally the word hold means 'moon' and refers to a parcel of land that could be plowed by one man and one Ox in one month).(3)

A record written in 1753 mentions that the old church had been built of stone but that it had been destroyed by the Turks and that it had been rebuilt partially by the estate and partially by the locals in 1719. The parish was dedicated to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. As of 1750 Pázmánd's congregation consisted of 90 Roman Catholic married couples. Subordinated to it were the parishes of Velence (22 couples), Sukoró falu (4 couples), and Gárdony puszta (3 couples). It is of genealogical significance that the people in these sub-parishes buried their own dead if the parish priest was not in their locality at the time. It is fair to speculate that some of these deaths never made it into the parish register.

Somehow Pázmánd reverted to the Crown and the property was given on 9 December 1775 by Maria Theresia to General Johann Nepomuk von Kempelen and his heirs, at the same time granting him and his heirs the additional surname von Pázmánd. Johann Nepomuk von Kempelen, had been made a Knight of the St. Stephan's Order and given Hungarian nobility in 1770, and later was made a Baron by Maria Theresia. The Kempelen Family had previously already belonged to the German nobility. The baronial line has died out.

The name Pázmánd is said to be derived from the Slavic family name of Poznan (Pöznan in Serbo-Croat, and Poznan in Polish).(4) It also appears as Paszmany, and is referred to as Paczman in the Palota urbarium (a census).(5) The name Pázmánd, as it is known today was finally carved into stone in 1898(6). The growth of this village can be termed a success because its population under Joseph II (1765-1790) had risen to 1168, and by 1877 it had 1500 souls. My 1913 gazetteer shows a population of 1820, and according to the census of 1930 there were 2231 inhabitants living in 526 houses. 2200 of these were Roman Catholics. Around that time the village included János tanya, Gyula tanya, Bágyom puszta and Szunyog major, and covered an area of 4707 square hectares. By 1930 the village was connected to the outside by a regularly-scheduled bus and a railway station at Kápolnásnyék, a mere 7.76 kilometers away. Today about 4500 live in Pázmánd, but statistics shown to me by the parish priest indicate a constant decline in population because deaths are overtaking births.

Politically and geographically, Pázmánd is in the county of Fejér, in the district of Vál, and in the political district of Székesfehérvár. A modern road map shows it north of the eastern tip of Lake Velence, just north of the 4-lane highway E-71 to Budapest.

When Doug Holmes, a fellow genealogist and friend, went to Pázmánd in 1992 someone mentioned to him that once upon a time Pázmánd had been known as "Tóth-Pázmánd".(7) 'Tóth' is a generic name given to people of Slovak origins, but the church records tend to support my belief that this was a predominantly ethnic German village. Any strong Slovak presence would have had to exist before the Turkish rule. Fact is, that as late as 1773 the Lexicon Locorum (a gazetteer) shows the predominant language of Pázmánd to be Slavic, which has to be a remnant of old information because the 1850 tabulation by ethnic origin shows the population of Pázmánd to be 1369 Magyars, 24 Germans, 29 Gypsies, 15 Jews. There must have been a few others also because the total population was 1437 living in 204 houses. So if the village was "Slavic" at one point in time, then those early settlers must have disappeared during the 150 years of Turkish rule. The 1850 statistics indicate a 95% Hungarian population with ethnic Germans only representing 1.6%. But I do not believe these numbers because from my own research, and years of scrutinizing the Pázmánd parish registers, I know for a fact that a very high percentage of the villagers are of ethnic German origin. It is most likely a matter of the villagers wanting to integrate and to feel Hungarian since they spoke Hungarian, and of the authorities cooking the books to show a high level of magyarization. During my visit in 1994 I noticed that a cousin, already a descendant of generations of Farsangs, still referred to his parents as fater and muter (using the German words Vater and Mutter). Be that as it may, it is a historical fact that for the colonization of the abandoned villages predominantly Germanic settlers were invited not only by Maria Theresia, but also by such families as the Eszterházy, and the Catholic Bishops of the area - they all wanted Germans.

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German Migration to Hungary

As early as 1690 southern Germans began to arrive down the Danube and settled, among other places, in the vicinity of Buda. Since owners of both the private and the church estates had sent agents to Austria and Bavaria, the bulk of the settlers came from the Danube regions of Bavaria and settled in the counties of Pest and Fejér. Villages specifically mentioned as destinations for Bavarians were: (1701)Isztimer 40 kilometers west of Pázmánd, (1741) Szár 25 kilometers north-north-west of Pázmánd and Etyek (starting 1720) 20 kilometers north-north-east of Pázmánd, (1744) VértesKozma. At Etyek there were from the beginning colonists whose names would later show up in my family tree: Kummer,Windeisen, Rack, and others. It is significant that these early documented settlers were arriving in the immediate vicinity of Pázmánd from Bavaria, because this provides a strong indication that my own maternal ancestors of Pázmánd and Etyek were also Bavarians. Until the precise localities of their origin can be determined, this is about as close as I can come.

The above periods of colonization coincide with the appearance of the Fasching name in village registers, and this leads to the conclusion that if they took advantage of these settlement efforts, the Faschings would have had to arrive in the first half of the 1700s. The arrival of German settlers brought to Etyek by the Jesuits of Komárom in 1741 is particularly interesting since Etyek was the intermediate stop of the Faschings' who moved from Budaörs to Pázmánd. Representative names for the group arriving at Etyek include several which are connected to the Fasching ancestry: the name Kummer (the village Justice of the Peace) also shows up in our Kreisz/Kummer marriage, Windeisen shows up in a Kreisz/Vindeisen marriage, and the name Rack comes up in a marriage at Etyek of my 4G-grandfather's son Ignác Fasching to Catharina Rack. This would then identify the ethnic group of which the Faschings were also most likely a part. The origin of these groups has been placed by one researcher into the southern reaches of the rivers Isar and Lech - which is the south- eastern part of Bavaria between Munich and Innsbruck.(10) A geographic placement which agrees with other aspects of the author's research. Other authors say that the colonists came from Bavaria and Austria, mostly from the Bodensee (Lake Constance) area and from middle Rhinish villages, and from the Mosel valley. Most of them went in groups to Ulm, where they would embark in one of the "Ulmer Schachtel" - a specially constructed, primitive floating box which would float down the Danube to Vienna. Then, after their registration and allocation, they would they would continue to Hungary.

Although it may not explain the history of the Fasching people directly, it will explain it by implication if we consider the historical fact that aggressive colonization programs were undertaken starting at the beginning of the 1700s after 150 years of Turkish occupation. After the Turks, there were only four years of peace followed by Rákoczi's freedom fight (started 1703), which lasted eight years. The retaliatory measures by Austria that followed, again led to much loss. When peace finally arrived, the plague epidemic took over 300,000. In 1711 Hungary's population was a mere 3.8 Million, or 11.79 persons per square kilometer.

Private landowners hired agents in Germany to recruit settlers, promising enough land to start an agricultural existence. The offer was very interesting to people in areas of the upper Rhine and the upper Danube, areas already experiencing food supply problems because of the dense population. Mostly the poor and the have-nots were prepared to settle in Hungary. German lords, not eager to let anyone of substance leave, had started to interfere with the work of the recruiting agents, and only gave permission to emigrate if 5% or 10% of the emigrant's assets were paid as a tax. The height of immigration in terms of quality and quantity was reached about 1720, and leveled out in the mid 1700s.

The family Eszterházy was particularly effective in its efforts to re-populate the abandoned villages. They insisted on German immigrants, as did the Bishop of Veszprém, and the Monastery of Tihány. Apart from neighboring Bakony, one of the areas resettled by the Eszterházys with Germans, was Pettend(8) where my great-grandfather Pál Farsang was born.

By way of incentives, the German settler received, apart from his homestead, 47 acres (1 Bauernhufe) of arable land, including 6.4 acres each of meadow and pasture, and occasionally, if available, a parcel of unused vineyard. There was plenty of land available for pasture, so each farmer was further entitled to use 8.5 acres of it for each draft animal he owned. In forested areas settlers could use, without charge, all the trees they wanted for building and heating/cooking. In 1717 it was decreed that, "inhabitants of the newly settled (i.e. resettled) Pázmánd shall be relieved for three years of all taxes and other burdens" (such as the obligation to provide labor to the lord's estate, as well as the obligation to provide quarters for soldiers). At the end of the three year period the settler was obliged to provide some labor and 1/10 of the harvest of all kinds to the estate (lambs, goats, bees, butter, eggs, poultry, etc). Most of these obligations were quite minimal and removable; Hungarian nobles did not want more than they required to maintain their own households. When Maria Theresia tried to "ameliorate" the lot of the serfs, she laid down rules in her Urbarium which were actually more demanding than what had, in fact, been asked by the Hungarian nobles. The colonization program was successful, in that most of the Svabians drove roots, and their villages reached an exemplary high standard of living. One of the counties in which they prospered was the county of Fejér.(9)

The oldest Fasching traced, the author's GGGGG-grandfather, was József Fasching who married Rosalia Haasz in Budaörs on 10 November 1774. Since his age at the time of marriage is given as 25, but as 44 at the time of his death in 1791, he was born either in 1747 or in 1749. It has not been possible to determine as yet the name of the place where József was born, but it definitely was not in the parish of Budaörs. It is therefore equally possible that this Fasching moved to Budaörs from another Hungarian village, or that he was born outside of Hungary. Suffice it to say that his marriage in 1774 is the first occurrence of the name Fasching in the Budaörs parish registers. This could very well have been the period when the Faschings came to Hungary, but as we have seen earlier, if they were part of the group from southeastern Bavaria, their arrival should have been closer to the 1740s.

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Life in Pázmánd

The 1828 census, taken before any of the Faschings had moved to Pázmánd, shows that some of the other related families were already settled in that village (The numbers in brackets indicate the sequence of their appearance on the census):

The very process of extracting records(11) plus other research I did, provided sociological insights into the early life in Pázmánd. Some of these insights were disturbing, but all of them were very interesting. Before they escape me, I want to record some of the impressions.

Child mortality The statistics for those days suggest that on average 38% of children died before reaching maturity. Most families had many children with seven being the average. Many women died before they were fifty, and a good number never saw forty. I have seen records of widowers in their twenties. Children died of almost anything. Chicken pox was fatal, so was Typhoid, Diphtheria, and even a sore throat. When a disease went through the village, page after page in the death register showed the same cause of death. The worst of these epidemics was Cholera. I counted 120 deaths (almost 10% of the population) in Pázmánd within a six week period that started in August of 1831. They had other epidemics, such as torok gyík (Diphteria), vérhas (Dysentery), and spanyol láz (which may have been Spanish Influenza). There was also a second Cholera epidemic in the 1880s.

Child mortality in individual families went anywhere from 0% to 100%. In the six families of my direct line it was never lower than 33.3%, and in the family of my GGGGG-Grandfather József Fasching it was as high as 66.6%. A little statistical dabbling showed some unexpected features of that early society. The births among the 24 significant Fasching families were evenly divided between boys and girls (50/50); among the six families of my direct line the division was 62% boys and 38% girls. Overall child mortality among my six families was 46% (12% higher than the 24-family average), and it was split into 50% for boys and 40% for girls (compared to the 24-family norm of 42% for boys and 34% for girls). Our surviving boys were more inclined to marry and scored 88% while the girls only scored 42% (compare to the 24-family average of 76% for boys married, and 55% for girls married).

In spite of all the hardships there were people who reached ages in the 70s and 80s. They must have been tough. Their worst enemy was ignorance and the lack of medical care as we know it. If they could have only known that simply maintaining good sanitary conditions would save lives. I do know that each house had its own well for their drinking water, but can only speculate at their general level of cleanliness. I did read in the registers for example, that one widower died of Cholera a full two months after the epidemic had passed. It must be assumed that something in his household had not been cleaned in more than two months.

There is also reason to wonder about the parenting skills in some families: I read about a family that lost three of their children within one week through "accidental poisoning". On the other hand, my statistics have shown that the three lowest percentages of child mortality were found in three families whose women all had the maiden name of Kerkuska. Can this be a coincidence, or did some families know more and teach their daughters better than others? There were also unusual deaths such as one from "a cold" in August, one of a man who hung himself two weeks after the last of his six children died.

To me it seemed miraculous that there were not many more suicides during the almost two hundred years covered by the registers. The constant sorrow of watching one's children die must have been stressful beyond belief. And there were the accidental deaths that we now like to call "industrial accidents". One Farsang got hit on the head by the wheel of the estate well, and died of the injuries. One Farsang had a wall collapse on him on a construction project (all walls in Pázmánd are built of solid masonry), and died of internal bleeding. One Farsang, whose job was to guard the vineyard was shot by another guard of the grapes. At least two Farsang girls in their 18s drowned in a pond, and one 9 year-old boy was trampled to death by horses.

Yet that these people not only survived, but carried on with their life cycle with a single-minded determination, stubborn tenacity, and a belief in the future is revealed in part by the frequency with which they would use the name of a deceased child over and over until a child finally survived. I have seen records of families that had named newborn girls Elisabeth four times in succession, hoping each time that she would live to be the Elisabeth they so desperately wanted. But if she did not live, the next girl born was given the same name. Tradition also played a role here. It was almost obligatory to name children after grandparents. Consequently, if a child bearing such a traditional name died, the same name was given to the next child of the same gender.

Another example of their flair for survival were the underground granaries (hombár) they built when enemy invasion threatened. In order to be able to grow wheat and corn again when hostilities were over they had to hide seed grain from the notoriously plundering armies. They would make just a small hole in the ground, large enough to permit lowering a small man. He would dig out a large cavern and his helpers would hoist the earth out in pails. When the cavern had reached its predetermined size, they would fill it with straw which was then set afire. The ensuing heat would glaze the walls of the cavern into which they could store their grain with confidence - it stayed bone-dry.

Among several social traditions which helped my genealogical research, was the method for selecting witnesses to a marriage, and of sponsors (or Godparents) for a baptism. A young man, just married, would ask another young man to be his koma (chum). The koma and a woman (usually the koma's  wife) would sponsor the children of the other couple at their respective baptisms. They would perform this act for all of the children of that couple. Quite often the two couples would reciprocate. Later when one of these children was about to be married, the 'Godfather' - who had been the sponsor at his/her baptism, was asked to be the witness to the marriage. If the male sponsor was no longer available for this honor, the female sponsor could substitute a male member of her family to stand in as a witness. Although not as predominant, there was also the couple who had acted as Confirmation Parents for the child (bérma apa, bérma anya), they also featured in this protocol by being second in line for the honor of being a witness to the marriage. In a small village where several people could be alive at the same time bearing identical names, it is often difficult to determine which family he or she belongs to. By paying close attention to these social ties, it is normally possible to arrive at the correct answer.

The political structure of a village changes with time, and along with it the titles and functions of the people also change. András Fasching1842, a brother of my great-great-grandfather Simon had been the bíro of Pázmánd for several years. This is a position to which a person is elected at a general meeting of the community at large. The two most important men in a village were the jegyző and the bíró, with the former (something like a town clerk) doing all the writing of documents and liaising with other levels of government, and the latter (much like a sheriff) looking after the people's needs for arbitration, and liaising with the county's law-enforcement detachments.

The bíró had helpers, called előjáró(literally, the one who walks ahead, but actually similar to deputies) who did most of the legwork for him. In the days before federal or municipal police forces (csendőr, or rendőr) existed, law enforcement was handled by police officers called pandur, who were paid by the county. Whenever the pandur had any business in the village, he would first visit the bíró and ask him for directions. (Today there is only one police force to serve the various levels of government, and its officers are called rendőr). The előjáró had at one point changed to tanács tag (council member) and is now called tisztviselő (official). There is now a polgármester (mayor), but the jegyző is still the most important official in the municipality.
János Tanya, at Pázmánd
János Tanya at Pázmánd
Preceding, then paralleling this municipal structure, there was always the large landowner and his support staff. Names that are still mentioned today in Pázmánd are Kempelen, who owned Pázmánd about 50 years after Lyka Döme, and who is said to be buried under the floor of the church. Although known as kis birtokos (small estate owner) these people owned most of the land and in effect ruled the village. For their right-hand man they had a hispán, a sort of estate manager and foreman. Many of the people who worked for the estate lived in servants' quarters (cselédház). In the older version of such servant's quarters several families shared a kitchen, and were generally thrown together without much privacy of any kind. Later, more modern versions provided individual rooms to each family. Single family dwellings existed only for the supervisor, and the landlord himself. These workers' quarters were known as tanya, a sort of a detached grange. I have seen János tanya, the only such tanya remaining (there used to be about five such groups of dwellings around Pázmánd) and I can categorically say that although the buildings were sturdy, I would not want to live in them - not even in the manager's house. It should be noted that the word tanya shows up quite often in residence addresses, and that several of my ancestors actually were born and lived in such settlements and servants' quarters.

Although the church lost part of its steeple and now gets by with one a bit shorter than what it used to have, the village of Pázmánd seems to have escaped major damage during the Second World War despite the fact that it sat smack in the middle of an area which featured in the Battle for Budapest in 1944. From a book written by Generaloberst Hans Friessner, supreme commander of Heeresgruppe Süd, the German Army Group operating in that part of the theater of war, the following events took place in the immediate vicinity of Pázmánd:

The expected Russian offensive started on December 20, 1944 from both ends of Lake Velencze in a northeasterly direction against the German line of defense called the Margareten Stellung (Margaret Line) which stretched from Lake Balaton along Lake Velencze to Budapest. The first wave of about 10 Rifle Divisions supported by superior artillery and fighter-bombers threw itself against the Margaret Line which by now had inadequate infantry support, the 3rd and 6th Panzer Divisions having been stripped of their infantry (Panzergrenadiere), who had been sent to plug a gap in the line around Ipolyság. The Russians achieved deep penetrations as the remaining German Panzer Regiments could do little against the enemy's huge masses of infantry which simply flooded around the tank groups, thereby essentially cutting them off from their fuel supply. Apart from the German Panzers and Hungarian army units, there was only one German infantry division between Lake Balaton and the Danube to oppose the 20 Russian Rifle Divisions, and 3 fast-advance Corps: the 271st Volks-Grenadier Division.

The Russians continued their offensive on both sides of Székesfehérvár, with a focus on the stretch between Lake Velence and Budapest. By using their massive infantry, they gained ground north and to the northwest. A strong Soviet panzer group advanced north via Pákozd, and took Pátka, then continued the attack in a southwesterly direction to Székesfehérvár which was taken during the night of Dec 22/23. Deep penetrations were made between Lake Velence and Budapest. The 271st Volksgrenadier Division was penetrated by Soviet tanks on their very first run. A strong Russian force attacked Acsa via Pázmánd, passing on both sides of Vereb, and swinging some of its parts toward Vál. Pázmánd was occupied 26 January 1945. Kajászó-Szt.Péter and Mártonvásár were taken by the Russians, who then continued to advance with tanks on Tabajd. Another group took Tordas and continued the attack towards Gyúró.(12)

This is just another example of how Fejér County had to pay a heavy price for its strategic position. The damages sustained by the population in the closing months of the Second World War far exceeded the national average.(13)

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The Author visits Pázmánd

Pázmánd Post Card

After initial contact by mail with some of the villagers who seemed to be relatives, it came time for the author of this family history to go and see with his own eyes the village that had produced so many of his ancestors, and to meet in person the relatives still living there who were of his mother's blood. I made the journey into history in May 1994, and to ensure some continuity, I took along my grandson, 12-year-old Chad Game , so that he could have an opportunity to see the places, and to meet the people for future contact if he so desired.

I can categorically state that village life today is a comfortable mixture of old and new. There is running water and gas for cooking and heating, and many have telephones, television, and washing machines - although I did not see an electric clothes dryer. Their huge lots, being about 600 öl (1098m2) are utilized to grow vegetables and grapes. Many have chickens, some also keep a few piglets or rabbits. As a guess I would say they grow about 60% of what they eat, and all of what they drink, including their own pálinka (mostly Slivovitz, which is plum brandy). Their diet would give most North American physicians gray hair. They start in the morning with big chunks of pure, white bacon, and a healthy serving of smoked pork plus cheeses, and several hard-boiled eggs. Yet it is hard to find an overweight person. I guess they move more, walk more - or are just used to digesting all those calories and all that cholesterol. They must have really wondered about this overweight cousin from Canada who meekly asked for "just one bun and a bit of jam - please". Many live into their eighties, and I spoke with 91 year-old Takács Mária who was born a Farsang, and is definitely a cousin with a good sense of humor. She immediately pegged me for a genuine Farsang cousin because she thought I had a Farsang nose.

It was interesting to observe how subtly they checked me out. First came the big hugs - from the men, and kisses on both cheeks. I didn't know Hungarians did that, so I was more inclined to crush their hands when I greeted someone, although I accepted all the hugging and kissing from the women. Then they examined my nose, and concluded that it was sufficiently large to qualify as a Farsang nose (when put that way, one is not a bit inclined to be hurt by such slander). In the morning they asked me how I liked my scrambled eggs, and when I announced that I liked them nice and runny, sort of half raw, I was practically lifted onto the table and cheered. "You are a real Farsang" was the verdict. The most interesting test was when they started pointing out how I pronounced some words "just like we do here in Pázmánd". I was a bit surprised by that until I thought about it and realized that it was perfectly natural: I had learned my pronunciation from my mother, who had learned it from her mother, who had grown up in Pázmánd. The same rationale probably holds true for cooking scrambled eggs.

András Farsang1928, my second host told some amusing anecdotes about his father András1899 how he had liked to do a little poaching and illegal shooting of a few rabbits, and how he liked to torment the local constabulary. According to one story András1899 took off on a Sunday morning leaving his property by the back-way, and skirting the village until he reached the end where scattered bushes in a field provided desirable cover for rabbits. It seems they also provided good cover for two gendarmes who had spotted András1899 coming their way. They hid on each side of the trail he was taking and when he was between them both raised their rifles and one yelled "Állj!" (Stop!) András1899 knew how to think on his feet because he bolted, and in a flash had disappeared between the bushes. He reentered the village from the rear, hid his rifle in the creek, and surfaced near the church just as people were coming out. He spotted a friend and joined him, asking to borrow his jacket and his prayer book. Thus equipped, he simply walked home where he found the two gendarmes and the village scribe already waiting for him. With a pious look on his face he raised the hand holding the prayer book and intoned the customary greeting of "dicsértessék" (Praised be) which was an abbreviation of "dicsértessék Jézus Krisztust" which required the response of "mind örökké, Amen" (into Eternity, Amen). The gendarmes knew when they had been beaten, and abruptly left without a word.

There had been other times, however, when András1899 did not get away. Then the gendarmes took him to Vál where they were stationed, and kept him a few days making him do such chores as splitting firewood. A collection of confiscated rifles was kept in the attic of the gendarme's station. András1899 discovered the cache and always had the best one picked out to take home with him upon his release.
Biller Mária, 26 Oct 1893 - 7 Feb 1980
This same András1899 had been an előjáró, sort of a sheriff's deputy, and after 1945 when the land was to be redistributed according to the new Communist regime's dictates, he was one of the five men who formed the committee which surveyed all land within the boundaries of the village of Pázmánd. There were no engineers nor surveyors available at this time, and the committee simply fashioned a measuring tool called mérő öl (measuring öl). This gadget looked like a five foot high pair of dividers which had a cross piece holding the legs apart at exactly one öl (1.83m). This implement was made collapsible simply by pulling out a removable pin. It may be something to worry about that the results of this survey were accepted as valid and entered into the telek könyv (deed register) at the county seat in Székesfehérvár.

The people I spoke to in Pázmánd knew stories about relatives. Some of the stories are difficult to prove, but that is normal for oral tradition. One cousin, Mária (Tóth Károlyné) who descends from the same Biller line as my grandmother, and who donated the picture of her mother Biller Mária (shown at right), whose GGG-grandparents were also my GGGG-grandparents, told me about my grandmother's brother Biller Ferenc that it was he who installed the two eagles on top of the Franz Joseph Bridge in Budapest (now Liberty Bridge). Once I had researched this a bit, it turned out that the eagles were actually turul, the mythical eagles of ancient Hungarian folklore, and that my grandmother's brother Ferenc, who was born 23 September 1875, would have been 19 years old when construction of the bridge was started in 1894, and a mere 21 years old when it finished, but that he was in fact a welder. A young welder would just be the one they would send up to the highest point of the structure. The story is therefore quite possibly true.(14)

Cousin Farsang Antal1922 told me about another Farsang who was among the fifty body guards who rode with, and protected Kossuth Lajos in 1849 when he was escaping to Turkey after his failed rebellion against the Austrian Monarchy.
Mythical Eagles atop the former Franz Josef Bridge in Budapest
The two Turul birds grandmother's brother Biller Ferenc is said to have installed on top of the former Ferenc Joseph Bridge in Budapest (now: Liberty Bridge)
But perhaps the most interesting story, which I have no trouble believing because I have heard it now from three independent sources (Joseph Farsang of Richmond B.C. in Canada, Farsang Antal1922, and Farsang András1928) is how they came upon the skeleton of my GG-grandfather's brother András1842 while rearranging some graves. They found him to have had waist-length red hair, and his leg bones, when measured against the current model of Farsangs, went up to their chest.(15) This András had been the bíro of Pázmánd for several years. Another interesting story my cousin Antal told me as we were walking around in the cemetery is that a long time ago the burial tradition required that the body should be interred lying in an East-West direction, with the head always pointing to the East. He said it was a throwback to the Hungarians' pagan past.

I should mention here that the cemetery is managed differently from what we are used to: It is not managed at all. It is considered by the villagers to be common property and comes neither under the jurisdiction of the church nor of the mayor's office. Individual families look after their own, and I must say that most do a remarkable job. From a genealogist's point of view though, their periodic consolidations result in loss of data: they dig up some old graves, and move the bones over into the current family grave, but the names and dates that go with the bones do not appear on the new monuments. I have not been able to find a single one of my mainline Farsangs, nor could anyone tell me why that should be so.

Somehow out of harmony with the Communist tenet of distributing the land so that everyone would have a piece of his own, there has been a consolidation of the thousands of acres of grapes being grown. This is administered by the umbrella authority of Hungarvin which is also the name we see on wine imported from Hungary. Much grape is grown in the immediate vicinity of Pázmánd, and there is a fair-size underground wine cellar which seems to date back to the time when Lyka Döme's castle was a Jesuit monastery (lower right corner of the postcard shown above).
Because Pázmánd is a small village where everyone knows everyone, and where most everyone is related to everyone else, it did not present a problem that the wine cellar was closed when I visited. My cousin András knew where to find the fellow with the key. We quickly found Erd János, the local manager of Hungarvin, who in turn directed Hobel Pál, the cellar master and also a relative, to open up the cellar for us. No sooner were we inside than Erd János also showed up and very kindly answered my many questions about the different wines being stored there. He not only answered my questions but took a lopó (a stealer; a glass vessel with a very long tube for inserting into a barrel whenever one wants to draw a sample of the wine), and drew us a bottle of fine Chardonnay. Without intending the consequences, I asked how this would compare to a Riesling, and instead of answering, he disappeared and returned with a bottle of Riesling he had drawn for me. Then, with the three of us settled with two bottles of wine and three glasses, he once again excused himself and returned in a minute with a complimentary bottle of Hungary's famous Tokaji Aszu as a going-away gift. He then told us to take our time and enjoy and excused himself for the last time. I found out later when I obtained a copy of the Pázmándi Hírvivó, the local administration's newsletter, that Erd János also writes a wine column. Cousin András mentioned that a wine with the Pázmánd name on it had been marketed, and although he could not find a bottle of it, he did find for me an unused label which revealed that the wine was being exported to and sold under the Robinette Label out of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Name Change from Fasching to Farsang

There is strong indication that Hungary made a concerted effort to magyarize its minorities, of which the Germans were only one.(16) In a book about Hungary's efforts to eliminate its minority populations, Zenobius Pâclianu is quoting "secret Hungarian documents", and although the book has an obvious anti-Hungarian bias, it must be believed at least in its recitation of historical events. It appears that there were a number of laws passed which either legalized the magyarization, or mollified the minorities by declaring that they all had equal rights. Local lawmakers and those entrusted with enforcing the laws were, however, more concerned with national policy than piecemeal legislation. Consequently they tended to interpret most laws in favor of the Hungarian Nation which did not acknowledge any other national interests, although it permitted minorities to have cultural and intellectual clubs - as long as they did not intellectualize along political lines. The German minority's problems seem to have been most evident in Transylvania because most reports have something to do with that area. Transylvania was given to Hungary in 1867 over the protests of both the German and the Rumanian ethnic segments of the population which together formed a 2:1 majority over the Hungarians living there. But there is evidence of magyarization much earlier than that. For example as early as 1840 a law (article 7, Law VI) prescribed that church registers had to be kept in Hungarian. It seems that there was constant pressure from one quarter or another to speak Hungarian, teach in Hungarian, do business in Hungarian, and the logical extension of this would be - to change to Hungarian names (Pâclianu claims that as many as 100,000 names per year had been changed). A name that can be translated is the simplest one to change, and the name Fasching certainly qualifies by that criterion.

Farsang is a happy name. It is the Hungarian word for carnival, in Catholic countries the exuberant weeks before Lent. The equivalent Bavarian/Austrian word is Fasching(17). It is natural for a researcher familiar with both the German and Hungarian languages to draw conclusions from the linguistic and religious implications of these names. Given that a large percentage of colonists were ethnic Germans, the first conclusion is that the ancestors of today's Farsangs were Austrians or Bavarians, the two Catholics among German-speaking countries of central Europe, and that their name had originally been Fasching - a fact which was confirmed through subsequent research. The change of name from Fasching to Farsang was gradual, and took about three generations. The following is a sketch of this gradual process showing how it manifested its progress generation by generation, family by family.

Because I have not been able to go further back, József Fasching1747 will be referred to as the first generation. He remained a Fasching all his life. He married as Fasching had nine children whose birth records consistently use Fasching for the father's name, and he died in 1791 still known by the name Fasching.

The second generation was József's son György1775. He also retained the Fasching name for all events in his family right up to his death in 1831. The birth records of all twelve of his children show the father's name as Fasching, and the record of his own death also still shows him as Fasching.

In the third generation they started to introduce changes, and there was a considerable amount of back and forth movement. Ignác1801 for example first used Fasing in 1827 but also continued to use Fasching right up until 1839, after which he must have switched to Farsang because that is the name used to record his death in 1870. Jákob1806 used Fasing for the first two of his children starting in 1833 but then reverted to Fasching for his remaining twelve children. He never ever used Farsang. Antal1808 had nine children, and first used Fasing in 1825, started using Farsang in 1842, and last used Fasching in 1849. Antal had been born a Fasching, married as a Fasching, but died a Farsang. His family clearly illustrates the waffling that had gone on; his children were registered in sequence as Fasing, Fasing, Fasching, Fasing, Fasing, Fasching, Farsang, Fasching, Fasching. Such inconsistency could be symptomatic of stubborn battles with the priest, who had the 1840 law to contend with which required that church records be kept in Hungarian. Some priests may have interpreted this to mean that not only should they use Hungarian words instead of Latin ones, but also that names should be spelled in a Hungarian way, and even translated where possible.

The fourth generation illustrates interesting differences in how some brothers handled the issue. Ignác1839 had been born a Fasching but married as Farsang in 1861 and used Farsang to record the births of his eight children. Ferenc1850 was also born a Fasching, married as a Fasching, and had his name recorded as Fasching at the birth of his seven children. Simon1825 had been born a Fasing, married in 1845 as Farsang but had his first five children recorded as Fasching. Starting with the sixth child he went over to Farsang. András1842 was the first birth-to-death Farsang.(18) He had been born a Farsang, married as Farsang, and every one of his seven children had the father's name recorded as Farsang. József1849 had been born a Fasching but married as Farsang and had his name recorded as Farsang at the birth of his seven children.

During the fifth generation there were some more birth-to-death Farsangs; Ignác1962 and Márton1864 were two of these. My great-grandfather Pál1849 was born Fasching, although afterwards he never used any other name but Farsang.

Starting with the sixth generation only Farsang appears in all the records.

In summing it up, I see three distinct phases for the name change, and each family had its own time table: The first phase had nothing but pure Faschings; it was restricted to the first and second generations and ended with the death of György Fasching1775 in 1831. The second phase was introduced in 1827 by a slight magyarization of the spelling, and the appearance of the variant of Fasing which did not change the sound of the name since the German "sch" sounds exactly as does the Hungarian "s" but it did Magyarize the spelling. For the next 31 years there was a gradual shift to Farsang with only intermittent use of Fasing. The third phase started in 1842 when the birth of András1842 was entered using the name Farsang, which became the only name used in his family at any of its events. He was quickly followed by the families of Ignác1862, Márton1864, and István Márton1863 who joined the lineup of Farsang families in 1862, 1864, and 1863 respectively. At the same time, however, there was Ferenc Fasching1850 who until 1889 never allowed any other name to be entered but Fasching. After 1889 there is no further occurrence of Fasching.

I can say with conviction that, among my relatives, the name Farsang was in general use from 1842 on. When I spoke with several Farsangs of Pázmánd I found that they no longer knew the original name of Fasching, although some could remember hearing that their name had evolved by way of a change "from some other name" to the currently used Farsang. Interestingly, I found three Faschings living in Budapest in 1995. Thinking that there may have been an unknown branch way back whose members may have held out and retained the original name, I contacted one of them, a Géza Fasching, who told me that his grand, or great-grandfather had been born in Wiener Neustadt when it still belonged to Hungary and was known as Bécsi Újváros. That takes you into Austria where there are hundreds of Faschings still using that name.

Which takes us back to the basic question of "where exactly are our Faschings from?" But that is a different research problem, one which I will probably not have enough time to solve.

Table tracing the change of name from Fasching to Farsang

Generation Head of Family End Fasching Start Fasing Start Farsang
1 József (1747-1791) 1791 ---- ----
2 György (1775-1831) 1831 ---- ----
3 Ignác (1801-1870) 1839 1827 1870
3 Jákob (1806) 1876 1833 ----
3 Antal (1808-1886) 1849 1825 1842a
3 János (1812-1834) 1834 ---- ----
4 Ignác (1839-1883) 1839 ---- 1861
4 Ferenc (1850) 1889b ---- ----
4 Simon (1825-1885) 1858 1825 1861
4 András (1842) ---- 1842 ----
4 József (1849-1918) 1849 ---- 1872
5 Ignác (1862) ---- 1862 ----
5 Márton (1864) ---- 1864 ----
5 Pál (1849-1931) 1849 ---- 1873
5 József (1852) 1852 ---- 1873
5 János (1855) 1855 ---- 1884
5 István Márton (1863) ---- 1863 ----

a = Earliest use of Farsang; b= Last use of Fasching .

End of Introduction to Part II

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The Game Ancestry - Second Edition - Part II - Chapter 9

Fasching-Farsang Family Overview

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The Fasching People

The Fasching who goes back the furthest was my GGGGG-Grandfather József Fasching of Budaörs. He married and died there, but he was not born there, or at least there is no record of his birth in the Budaörs church records. He did however establish some reliable mile stones for the family's history: his marriage in 1774 to Rosalia Haas became the first occurrence of the Fasching name in the Budaörs marriage register, and when his second child Jakob died in 1777, his was the first occurrence of the Fasching name in that parish's death register. Later on I came across some details provided by the "Heimatmuseum at Bretzfeld which also shows a marriage between József Fasching and Rosalia Haas (born circa 1749, died 1791)  on 10 Nov 1774. The only additional information in this entry, is that his occupation is shown as "vietor" which is Latin for "cooper".  It is interesting for two reasons: first of all that this Fasching was a tradesman, which already put him into a social strate of being "something", and secondly it was a trade which gives us a hint, as subtle as it may be, of his background, and perhaps even his geographic location. Let us just say that a cooper makes barrels. Barrels are for wine making. Why would a young man spend at least 3 years of his life learning the trade of making barrels unless he lived in an area where barrels were in demand? They are, of course, mostly in demand in wine-growing regions. Having always considered the Fasching ancestors to be of Svabian ancestry, I had started considering the Black Forest area as a reasonable possibility.  I don't know the Schwarzwald from a hole in the ground, but I have instinctively not considered a forested area to be a wine-growing area. But I had considered it a source of my ancestors. Now with this guy who went through the apprenticeship of learning how to make wine casks, it shoved my imagination further north. I am now thinking Rhein, and Mosel, the two most famous wine growing areas that come to mind. This puts me into the Palatinate, doesn't it? It is hard not to jump to conclusions, but since I have not been able to find any hints where my oldest ancestors in Hungary came from, I have to settle for a best guess. They were Svabians, my ears confirmed that in 1994 when I went to the ancestral village in Hungary and heard the cousins use a typical Svabian sound for pronouncing the few words they still knew. They were solid and capable, I can vouch for that. One son of this oldest ancestor, married a girl when he was 24 and she was 17. They had 7 children, moved three times into different small towns, and lived to a ripe old age. For some reason I have developed a romantic liking for these two who made a successful marriage and successful life together.
RC Church Budaörs
RC Church Budaörs
There can be little doubt that my Fasching ancestors came to Budaörs about 1760 or 1770. From there they went to Ettyek (now spelled Etyek) about 1810, and from there to Pázmánd about 1840, which also explains why the Pázmánd church records do not show any Farsang or Fasching events prior to 1847, even though the records start in 1720.

Since the name was obviously Fasching before it was translated to Farsang the logical conclusion is that the Farsangs are of German descent, and that their ancestors had migrated to Hungary. In fact almost all the families they intermarried with had German names (Kreisz, Haas, Bierer, Biller, etc). Where exactly these Germans came from is not known at this time, but I have no doubt that in Hungary they would have been considered svábok (Svabians), which was, on the one hand, a generalized designation for immigrants of German background, but on the other hand pointed to the historical fact that many, if not most of the colonists who moved to Hungary, had in fact come from Svabia, or Schwaben, as that region is called in German.(19)

The continuing search for clues to the geographic origin of the Fasching people produced some surprising results. Still under the impression that Fasching was a rare name, I was excited when in July 1993 I learned of a newly-anointed bishop Dr. Heinrich Fasching of Sankt Pölten in Austria. I wrote to His Excellency and asked him where his family came from. He responded with a very kind and down-to-earth letter, and remarked among other things that Fasching was actually not such a rare name since there were 279 occurrences of it in the 1993 Vienna telephone directory. I felt like a heel! I should have thought of checking those telephone directories myself! The high number in Vienna caused me to also spot-check some Austrian centers through the Austrian electronic telephone directory. I found large concentrations in the provinces of Burgenland, and in the province of Styria around Graz, as well as significant numbers in most large centers I checked (e.g. Salzburg, Linz, Wels, Bruck, and others). An electronic check of the 1994 German telephone listings produced 175 Faschings 79 of whom were in Bavaria. Made curious, I asked a friend to access the US telephone database, which turned up 22 Faschings in Pennsylvania, and 92 in Minnesota with sprinklings in several other states.

Proof may be hard to provide, but the incidence of the Fasching name together with the Roman Catholic connotation and the southern German character of the word plus the proximity to Hungary, certainly provide strong circumstantial evidence for the conclusion that Hungary's Faschings came from Austria and/or Bavaria. Details provided in the book by Erdös Ference11 actually focus on the south Bavarian area between Munich and Innsbruck.

Cousin Jóska (Farsang József) of Kápolnásnyék was the only one with any memory of oral history relevant to their origins: his father had mentioned hearing from his elders that they came from Bajorország (Bavaria). Since this agrees with all the hints throughout my research, I might as well accept the fact that the Faschings of my ancestry came from Bavaria.

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József Fasching
1747~ - 13 Jan 1791
My Maternal GGGGG-Grandfather

Josephus Fasching, as he is called by his Latin name in the Register of  Marriages 1765-1841 (Volume 5, page 17) of the Roman Catholic parish of Budaörs in the Archdiocese of Esztergom in Hungary, has the distinction of being the first occurrence of the name Fasching in the Budaörs Marriage Registerfggdoc172. He also has the distinction of being my oldest Fasching ancestor traced and confirmed up to this point. His place of birth is not known; his birth does not appear in the Budaörs registers. Neither his marriage record, nor his death record contain any hint as to who his parents were, or where he came from. Perhaps József was born on Hungarian soil and came to Budaörs from a different village, or perhaps he was born in Germany or Austria and was in fact one of the original colonists. I hope to find out someday. Two possible leads with a potential to pushing back the Fasching line do exist but their significance has not been confirmed, and they are best ignored at this stage of the research. The first one is the record of a death on 15 May 1791 of a Stephanus Fasching, age 36, who was the "son of Joseph Fasching". Since given names often run in families my Joseph Fasching could have been the son of another Joseph Fasching, and perhaps he did have a brother Stephanus. There is an unfortunate thing they have in common: both my Joseph and Stephanus died of the same malady (febris putrida) and only four months apart at the prime of their lives, at 44 and 36 years respectively. The second lead was an entry of Jacob Fasching with wife Margaretha having a child baptised on 27 July 1738 at the Zsambék R.C. parish not far from Budaörs. They must have been passing through when they had this need for ecclesiastic services because it was their only appearance in the parish registers. Could they have been heading for Budaörs? We certainly have encountered two men a Joseph, and a Jacob who were producing offspring between 1738 and 1755. Perhaps one of them is my Joseph's father, perhaps neither. Only time and the efforts of a new genealogist will tell.

marriage of Joseph Fasching
Marriage entry Joseph Fasching and Rosalia Haasz: "Juvenis honestus Josephus Fasching (25) cum virgine Rosalia Haasz (18) Incola BudaEörs"

On 10 November 1774, at the age of 25, Josephus Fasching married 18- year-old Rosalia Haasz. Their witnesses were Josephus Frank, and Josephus Vilhelm, both residents of BudaörsDoc172. There can be no doubt that this was an ethnic German wedding, and as we will see, the sponsors who attended the baptism of every one of their children were also ethnic Germans: Georg Glas and his wife Hellena (née Hübnerin). This was the first occurrence of a Fasching marriage in Budaörs.

During the next 17 years József Fasching and Rozália Haasz produced nine children, of which four survived. (For a complete listing see person #1 in Appendix B). It was their first child György who became my maternal GGGG-grandfather. Anna, their ninth child, never knew her father because she was born 1 month after his death.

József Fasching, resident and cooper of Budaörs died on 13 Jan 1791 at the age of 44 of infection/gangrene. The Latin entry in the death register of th Budaörs parish reads as follows: "Josephus Fasching Incola et Vietor Budaeörsiensis. Omnibus proviso. Febris putrida. 44 Annorum" fggdoc174.

His widow, soon to deliver her eighth child, was left with five children, György 16, Márton 6, Helena 4, Sebastian 2, and Anna yet to be born (Anna died two years later).

A reference to the "widow Rosalia Faschingin" is made on 16 July 1794 in the birth register. It appears that she acted as the Godmother at the baptism of Rosalia, the daughter of the "illegitimate couple" named Michael Fux and Éva Meatessin. There was only one Rosalia Fasching at the time, and she seems to have been a kind, open-minded woman.

There is little else to be learned from these vital data beside the fact that this was the first family of Faschings in Budaörs. József's marriage in 1774 was the first time the name Fasching was entered in the Marriage Register of Budaörs. The death of his infant son Jákob in 1777 was the first entry of a Fasching in the Budaörs Register of Deaths. We can deduce that they lived in house #201 (at least in 1787 when Helena was born), and that Rozália's name was spelled three times Hasin and once Haasin, and that the sponsor's name had also been provided with the suffix of '-in' indicating that the custom of adding '-in to the surname of females was still observed among the German colonists in Hungary at a time when it was seldom used anymore in Austria.

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György Fasching

2 Nov 1775 - 4 Aug 1831
My Maternal GGGG-Grandfather
First child of József Fasching and Rozália Haasz

The birth record of Georgius shows his parents as Josephus Fasching and his wife Rosalia, and this was the first Fasching birth in Budaörs.

Marriage George Fasching
Marriage entry György Fasching and Marianna Bierer(in): "Honestus Juvenis Georgius Fasching (22) Cum eoque Honesta Virgine Mariana Birerin (21). Budaeörs."

He later appears as the 22 year-old groom who married the 21 year-old Marianna Birerin [also referred to as "Anna"] - the "-in" ending denotes a female Bierer) on 22 Nov 1797. It was from this age that a computation of his year of birth became possible, and subsequently allowed his birth record to be found and confirmed. Between 1797 and 1819 there were 12 children born to György Fasching and Anna Birer, and six of these survived.

It was from this György Fasching that some of the different branches of the family started. His third son, and first one to survive, was Ignác1801 who started the line from which my cousin, and host in 1994, András Farsang1928 (husband of Rozália Pálinkás) descends. Ignác married Catharina Rack, and their fifth child, also Ignác1839 married Katalin Kovács. The second child of Ignác and Katalin Kovács was Márton1864 whose second wife Rozália Kerkuska produced their fifth child András1899 who married Erzsébet Kerkuska and became the father of my host András1928 who married Rozália Pálinkás, and sired two daughters (Rozália and Andrea).

György Fasching and Mariana Bierer's seventh child was Antal1808. Two of Antal's sons started the branches from which I descend, and from which my cousins Antal1922 and Jóska1923 also descend.

Antal1808 married Barbara Kreisz and their first son Simon1825 sired both my great-grandfather Pál1849, and also József1852, who became the grandfather of cousin József1923 of Kápolnásnyék. Antal's seventh child András1842 became the great-grandfather of my cousin Antal1922 who with his wife Vera (née Domak) was another of my hosts in 1994.
Reformed Church Etyek
Etyek Reformed Church (1765)
György Fasching died at the age of 58 of nervosa (neuritis). In that entry the widow's name is spelled Piri; If Biererin were slurred to Bierin, it could sound like Piri. Anna Fasching died 12 years after her husband at the age of 64 of vizikórság (dropsy).
Catholic Church (1723)
What is significant about György Fasching's family is the move from Budaörs to Etyek, a distance of about 20 kilometers straight west. That the move took place between 1808 and 1811 is evidenced by the fact that Antal, their seventh child who became my maternal GGG-grandfather, was born 1808 in Budaörs, but the eighth child Anna was born 1811 in Etyek where she became the first occurrence of the Fasching name in the Etyek parish's birth register. György Fasching's next four children were all born in Etyek.

Etyek had a mixed population of Catholics and Calvinists. The Catholic church had originally been built of stone but was destroyed by the Turks. The Calvinists, who had maintained a pastor even during the Turkish occupation, rebuilt the church from the ruins, and used it for several years until the RC population grew to outnumber them, and it was reclaimed by Cserkó István, the Superior. It was reestablished as a Catholic church in 1731, and re-covered in 1750 largely due to the generosity of Primás Imre Eszterházy.

According to records of the Komárom Jesuits which in 1753 and 1757 listed the settlers in a document called Conscriptio Sessionum et Incolarum Germanorum ... , most of the German, Catholic settlers came from Austria and southern Germany. Many of the names appearing in this list later show up in the Farsang family tree through intermarriage. For example, Jacob, Johann and Josef Ráck came in 1743 and 1745 from the County of Hauenstein in the Black Forest (Catharina Ráck later married Ignác Fasching, son of my GGGG-grandfather György Fasching and Marianna Bierer). Martin Kummer came circa 1751 with his father from the vicinity of Höchstadt in the Duchy of Neoburg in Bavaria (Anna Kummer later married Georg Kreis, relative of Barbara Kreisz who married my GGG-grandfather Antal Fasching). Anton and Leonard Windeisen came from the vicinity of the Archbishopric of Colon (Barbara Vindeisen married János Fasching, and Marianna Vindeisen married Simon Kreisz). According to official records of Oberstadion, Josef, s.o. Johann Lambert came from Moosbeuern (Moosbeuern was in Baden-Württemberg, south of Ulm and only about 10 Kilometers away from the river Danube). András Fasching1842 married a Therézia Lambert, although there is no proof that she was related to Joseph or Johann Lambert, it does provide a geographic area for the origin of some Lamberts (another, an Anton Lambert, also came to Hungary from Offenburg in Baden but he seems to have settled in Pancsova where he married a widow and where he died. Although at 63 he was plenty old enough to be Therézia's father or even grandfather, his entry indicates that he emigrated alone, then married a 50 year-old widow in Panchova, where he died. That is a long way from Pázmánd).

The 1754 parish list of Etyek's 56 Catholic households also names such related names as Ráck und Winteisen, and the 1757 Conscriptio Annimarum in its list of 130 households names Lambert, Kummer, Redll, Rák, Vindeisen, and the 1771 Conscriptio Annimarum also mentions Raak, Vindeizen, Khummer, Nusz, Haas.(21)

These Germans maintained their customs and culture and thrived in this wine-growing area. As a sad comment on humanity, most of their descendants were dispossessed and expelled 200 years later in the 1946 aftermath of World War II. By chance, or perhaps because good records were available as a guide, they were transported to approximately the same regions of Germany where their ancestors had come from in the first place.

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Antal Fasing

26 Feb 1808 - 29 Apr 1886
My Maternal GGG-Grandfather
Seventh child of György Fasching and Anna Bierer

Antal's birth is registered as Antonius in the Roman Catholic parish of Budaörs (volume 1 of births 1739-1748 as seen on LDS film #0612981). His parents were Georgius Fasching and Anna Bierin [sic]. The sponsors at his baptism were Antonius Taxhomer and Barbara Skaszol. We know he had a son Simon, and that Simon's father had been named Antonius Fasing in Simon's birth record. In the absence of any further proof that both references to Antonius pertain to the same person, the argument is offered that the only couple of child-producing age by the name of Fasching at that time were in fact Georgius Fasching and Anna Bierer. If looking for an Antal Fasching, father of Simon, then this has to be the one.

On 18 Jan 1825 Antal married Barbara Kreisz in Etyek . Barbara was born 19 Jan 1808 at Budaörs, and Antal on 26 Feb 1808 in the same place, so they were both 17 years old, and it is a mystery why the priest had entered his age as 17, and hers as 21. The ages as found in the marriage register are wrong; they were both 17, and she was five months pregnant. Barbara was the daughter of Sebastian Kreisz and Elisabetha Hauszer.

Antal and Barbara had nine children, six in Etyek and three in Pázmánd. Six of these nine children survived to adulthood.

Antal and Barbara somehow reach out at me across time. I had warm feelings towards this couple from the first time I found their records. Perhaps my romantic ideas were fueled by the fact that they were only 17 years old when they married. But it is more than that. I somehow got the feeling that they were good for each other, and that they had applied themselves to the business of living in a responsible, mature manner that stood up well in comparison with their contemporaries. For example, Barbara gave birth to nine children, and lost three of them to practically unavoidable childhood diseases like measles. Her loss amounts to a mortality rate of 33.3% of her children, which is sad but a much better record than the 66.6% loss suffered by her husband's grandparents, and the 41.6% loss suffered by her husband's parents.

In the records Antal had been called either inquilinus (tenant farmer) or sub inquilinus (subtenant farmer), but he had learned a trade, and when his death was entered in the register, his occupation was recorded as kömüves (stone mason/brick layer).

Antal and Barbara were both born in Budaörs, but they married in Etyek where six of their children were born. Sometime between 1836 and 1842 they moved to Pázmánd where the other three of their children were born.
Pázmánd RC, with short steeple
Pázmánd RC Church with after 1945, shorter steeple

From then on most Fasching descendants were born in the village of Pázmánd, in the County of Fejér, and were baptized, married, and received their farewells into eternity in that little church which had originally been built with a taller steeple (see above) but was damaged during the final days of World War II, and when re-built under the Communist regime of 1945, the funds were in such short supply that the villagers replaced it with a shorter, simpler structure.

Because there is a six year gap between Katalin1836, the last of their children born in Etyek and András1842, the first of their children to be born in Pázmánd, there is a slight possibility that they did not go directly from Etyek to Pázmánd - although where they may have gone is anyone's guess at this time.

Antal and Barbara also experienced the influences of magyarization. He was born Antonius Fasching, and married as Antonius Fasching but in the very same year, when recording the birth of his son Simon who became my GG-grandfather, his name was entered as Antonius Fasing, and it kept alternating between Fasching and Fasing as the other children were recorded.

Antal died at the age of 82 of agykór (a brain disease), and his death was recorded in the name of Farsang. Barbara had died eight years before her husband at the age of 76 of végelgyengülés (senile marasmus). She was by this time known as Borbála. Both Antal and Borbála were buried at Pázmánd.

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Simon Fasing
6 Jun 1825 - 1 Aug 1885
My Maternal GG-Grandfather
First child of Antal Fasching and Barbara Kreisz

Simon's birth is recorded in the Roman Catholic parish records of Etyek, in the county of Fejér (volume 2, page 214 of the Register of Baptisms 1769-1834 (as seen on LDS film #0613244). His parents were Antonius Fasing and Barbara Kreis.

The 19 year-old inquilinus Simon Fasing married 18 year-old Rosalia Kratantsik at Pázmánd on 23 Nov 1845, and they proceeded to have nine children of whom six survived to adulthood.

The various parish records show him to be inquilinus, nem telkes meaning he was a sub-tenant and did not own land, then in 1859 when he was witness at the marriage of Georgius Sörös and Anna Treuer, he was referred to as colonus, farmer. When son Pál was born he was called zsellér, which is Hungarian for inquilinus, a feudal sub- tenant, or cotter. At the birth of his next son József, he was entered as lakós, a tenant. When the last child Rozália was born in 1869 he was simply munkás, which means worker, yet at the time of his death in 1885 his occupation appears as kõmûves (brick layer/stone mason), a skill he would have learned from his father Antal. I interpret all this to mean that Simon did have a special skill, but that there was not enough construction going on for him to support his family, and in consequence he had to hire himself out as a day-laborer.

It is evident that Nyúl Pál was Simon's koma, his buddy, who became the Godfather to all of Simon's children, and it is a safe assumption that my great-grandfather Fasching Pál had been named Pál in honor of Nyúl Pál. Simon and Rosalia reciprocated by acting as Godparents to the children of Nyúl Pál and Pálinkás Erzse. Simon had also been asked to act as one of the four witnesses at the marriage of Georgius Sörös and Anna Treuer, and then to be one of the two witnesses at the marriage of widower Johannes Miri to Anna Vida.

Simon was 61 years old when he died in 1885. A remark in the Register of Deaths indicates that an inquest had been held, and that the conclusion reached was that he had "died suddenly" of tüdõmájasodás (pulmonary hepatization).(22)

Rozália Kratantsik died in 1895 at the age of 67 of tüdõ gümökór (pulmonary tuberculosis).

Simon is another one who exemplifies the name change from Fasching to Farsang. At his birth his father's name was recorded as Fasing, at his marriage he was called Farsang, at the births of his first five children he is called Fasching but at the birth of the last four children his name is recorded as Farsang, as it was at the time of his own death in 1885.

The mother had two names: According to the latest information, the three children initially believed to have been born to some other Simon Fasching with a wife named Rozália Potasz are in fact part of the same family, and Rozália Potasz was the same person as Rozália Kratantsik. My rationale for combining these 9 children into one family, is that (1) there is no record of a marriage of a Simon Fasching to a Rozália Potasz, (2) there is no evidence of any other Simon Fasching existing during that time, (3) the list of children by Rozália Kratantsik shows unusual gaps into which these three children fit very naturally, and finally, (4) because both sets show the same Godfather at their baptisms. Apart from these considerations there is also the well established family contact between the Stütz (or Szücs) family and the Potasz families: Rozália Kratancsik's mother was born Éva Stütz, and in 1850 a Juli Szüts married István Potasz.

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Pál Fasching
13 Jul 1849 - 28 Feb 1931
My Maternal Great-grandfather
Second child of Simon Fasing and Rosalia Kratantsik

Pál's birth is recorded on page 188 of volume 3 of the Register of Baptisms 1817-1852 in the Roman Catholic Parish of Pázmánd in the Diocese of Székesfehérvár.(23) The entry is dated 13 July 1849, the child's name is Pál, the parents are Fasching Simon, zsellér (cotter), and Kratantsik Rozsi, of Pázmánd. The sponsors at the baptism were Nyul Pál, and Potasz Judith. The baptism was performed by the Káplán. His father Simon is still named Fasching at this point, but in his marriage record his name is already Farsang.

His links to the parents Simon Fasching and Rosalia Kratantsik are firmly established, as is his link to son György, who was my starting point for the entire Farsang research. The Pázmánd parish had provided certified copies of György's birth certificate naming Pál Farsang as father. Since there was no other Pál Farsang it was an easy match.

On 4 Nov 1873 Pál, a 24-year-old labourer (kézimunkás), married 20-year-old Katalin Szanyó, daughter of János Szanyó and Róza Nagy at Pázmánd. Witnesses were Domak József and Nyúl István.(24) This is how we became related to one of the oldest families of Pázmánd. I have seen the marriage of a Szanyó girl recorded there as far back as 1733 when Szanyó Erzsébet married Kónya György.

Pál and Katalin produced 10 children by 1893, five of whom reached maturity. Their sixth child, György Farsang born 3 April 1884 at Pettend became my maternal grandfather. Pál had evidently selected his friend Német Lajos to be his koma since he is the Godfather of all of Pál's children. Child #7 was probably named in his honor.

One fact that forces itself on the researcher's attention, is that Pál had a number of different addresses. Almost every child was born at a different address, and as to underline this phenomenon, the last child, Mária, was born at one address and died a month later at a different address. What could have been the reason for this?

Pál's social status was zsellér (feudal subtenant, or cotter), and his occupation according to the birth entries of his children varied between kézimunkás (literally: manual worker), urasági cseléd and uradalmi cseléd, both meaning servant of the estate. Was there some connection between his employment and the many moves? Pál and Katalin have demonstrated that couples did occasionally sponsor children from more than one family. They acted as sponsors not only for Katalin, daughter of their koma Német Lajos and Zsovák Katalin, but also for Mária Alojzia, daughter of Pál's brother Farsang János and Szilágyi Terézia, which may indicate that they were popular among their relatives.

Pál died 28 Feb 1931 at the age of 82 of végelgyengülés (senile decay). Szanyó Katalin died 9 Aug 1912 at the age of 60 of bélrák (intestinal cancer).

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György Farsang

3 Apr 1884 - 9 Sep 1914
My Maternal Grandfather
Sixth child of Pál Farsang and Katalin Szanyó

Portion of WW1 Heroes List on Pázmánd RC church
Little is known about my grandfather. He was born the sixth child in a family of ten and grew up in the small villages of Pettend and Pázmánd. He may have realized early in life that his future would be very limited if he stayed there. He obtained employment with the state railway (MÁV), but just when he started there is not known, nor whether he left home first and then obtained employment or the other way around. What is known is that he worked for them on 21 December 1913 because this is the date appearing on a railway pass made out to his 4 year-old daughter Katalin who became my mother. On this pass the father is named "Farsang György, gépmunkás" (machine shop worker). There may have been train travel involved for the members of his family, or perhaps it was just a perk which employees were entitled to, and he took advantage of it so they could visit relatives in Pázmánd without incurring expenses - although the nearest train station was, and still is Kápolnásnyék. At one point he moved to Budapest, as did Katalin Biller, a girl from the same village of Pázmánd. They must have known each other in the village, but did they decide to move away together or did they start a relationship after they had arrived in Budapest? György Farsang married Katalin Biller three months before she was ready to give birth to their first child, who became my mother Katalin. When this daughter was born in 1909, György and his wife lived in the 10th district of Budapest. He was then 25 years old.

The year after he got the rail pass for his little daughter, World War 1 broke out on 28 July 1914, and he must have been one of the first to be drafted into the army. By the fall of 1914, his wife had already been told that he had died for his country. György was enlisted with the 69th Infantry Regiment, and was 29 years old when he lost his life at Pilsen, (now Plzen, Czech Republic).(25) The plaque affixed to the outside wall of the Pázmánd church lists the names of those villagers who died in the two World Wars. On the photographed segment of the plaque for 1914-18 the name of Farsang György can be seen - followed by the name of his brother Farsang Lajos. An inquiry from the Austrian Kriegsarchiv in Vienna produced the reply that no records were found for these two brothers, and that inquieries should perhaps be directed to the Hungarian archives in Budapest. Which I did, with similar negative results.

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Katalin Biller
17 Sep 1883 - 26 Sep 1972
My Maternal Grandmother
9th child of István Biller and Erzsébet Bartus

Some time in her early twenties Katalin Biller decided to leave her native village of Pázmánd and move to Budapest, the nation's capital about 40 kilometers away. It is not known whether she got this idea all by herself, or if a young man by the name of György Farsang from her village helped her decide. That the two of them did get together in Budapest is attested to by the fact that she became pregnant by him during the summer of 1908, and they were married in December fggdoc166 of that year - 3 months before their first child, Katalin was born on 23 March 1909 (this girl Katalin became my mother, and is hereafter referred to as "Kató". They were living in the 10th district of Budapest at the time, and Katalin Biller was 26 years old - a year older than her husband, who had a good job with the state railway. Their future looked good.

Two years later she gave birth to a son whom they named György after his father, but whom they called Gyuri. Then World-War-1 broke out on 28 July 1914 and her husband was called up for military service right at the start. By August of that year she received the devastating news that her husband was dead. A casualty of the war.

She was a widow at the age of 30. And she was pregnant, and about a month away from delivering her third child. She did the only thing she could think of, and took her five year-old daughter and three year-old son to Pázmánd and asked a relative to look after them until she had delivered her child, and sorted out her life.

A second daughter Mária, who became known as Mariska, was born a month after her father had died in 1914; this was a difficult year for the young widow. According to Mariska, she found employment with MÁV (Magyar Állami Vasut) the state railway, where she got her fallen husband's job.

About twelve years later, on 15 May 1923 (at the age of 40) she found employment with the Budapest Street Railway Company ("BESZKÁRT"). It is probable that it was then that she found a place to live in the 8th district of Budapest close to her place of work, where she stayed until her death in 1972. She remained in the employ of BESZKÁRT until her retirement on her 64th birth day in 1947.fggdoc137 She raised her two daughters alone, never re-married, and was never at any time a burden to anyone.

In 1919 her little eight year-old boy died. As a child I had heard mention of a boy György who had died while still young. The cause of his death was somewhat mysterious, had something to do with sitting on the stone stairs of the apartment building where my grandmother lived. Being a smart boy, little György knew enough to protect himself against the cold of the stone, and took off his cap to sit on it. He caught a head cold and died from it. Or so the story went. I asked Mariska in 1994 what he died of, and she very matter-of-factly replied "of hunger". My questioning look then elicited the story that times were tough then. In the same year (1919) there was an uprising of the workers, and they staged a march and mass demonstration. Mariska relates the story that my grandmother marched with the workers and carried the flag. Mariska was only five years old and her mother had to take her along on the march. Somewhere along the line a troupe of mounted policemen charged the workers trying to disperse them and to break up the demonstration. My grandmother, taking her role as guardian of the flag very seriously, concentrated completely on the task of saving it, which she succeeded in doing. Alas, with all that single-minded concentration she lost track of her five year-old daughter. She had disappeared in the melee. The child was found and reunited with her mother, but the episode does hint at some interesting, although decidedly unusual priorities. (I was able to substantiate this event in a reference on p.43 of Revolution in Hungary and the dissolution of the multinational state 1919 - by András Siklós, Akademiai Kiado, Budapest 1988).fggdoc291

I remember visiting my grandmother several times when I was between four and eight years of age. Some of the things that have stayed in my memory have to do with some wonderful donuts she made one Easter, the intricate choreography of making the paper-thin pulled-out dough for a poppy seed strudel, and the cooking of a big pot of chicken soup which she started by cutting the throat of a live chicken over the cold water catch basin. I also remember clandestinely listening to a crystal radio which required that all of us huddle in the kitchen with a blanket spread on top of our heads.(26)
Portrait of my grandmother Biller Katalin
Özv. Farsang Györgyné (née Biller Katalin)
One of my fondest memories connected with my grandmother relates to the most memorable Christmas Eve I have ever experienced. I recount this in full detail in Chapter Nine, where I recall my own childhood. Looking back I find it difficult to classify my grandmother. All the things I remember were things I had observed her doing. As if I had been a spectator, and she an actor. I cannot remember, however, her ever holding me on her lap or giving me a hug. Nor do I remember her ever speaking specifically to me. Yet she must have cared about her only grandchild, because knowing the living quarters, and the lack of space, I now fully understand that even cooking a pot of chicken soup required a major effort, but the difficulty under which she baked homemade donuts and strudel is almost beyond belief. I do know that there was no oven for baking, so when people made a cake, they took it to the baker where, for a few pennies, it was shoved into the ovens and then picked up later and brought home.

My grandmother Katalin Biller must have been a strong person. She had made her bed, and she lay in it uncomplainingly. Although it is hard to imagine, I suspect that she had never been ill or missed a day's work all her life. In 1945, at the age of 62, when the destruction of Budapest seemed imminent, she lead her daughter Mariska on a 30 Km hike (on foot) to hide out with relatives in the vicinity of Pázmánd. She retired on 1 August 1947 at the age of 64, and lived on to be 90 years old. The year before she died she was visited by her daughter Kató who was at the time hosting her 12 year-old grandson Vance Game from Canada. I doubt that she was aware enough, and realized that this was her great-grandson, but Vance remembers actually seeing his great-grandmother alive.

My maternal grandmother died on the 26th of September, and was buried on the 4th of October 1972 at the Rákoskereszturi cemetery in Budapest. The official death certificate is in conflict with the information sent to me by my mother in 1972.fggdoc 167

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Mária Terézia Farsang
14 Oct 1914 - 10 Jan 1996
My aunt Mariska
3rd child of György Farsang and Katalin Biller

Poor Mariska was born just one month after her father fell in the First World War. She never knew him, nor did she ever have the benefit of a father figure in her life, nor to the best of my knowledge, was there ever a man in her life. I grew up hearing disparaging remarks about her from both my parents which left me with the impression that she must have something wrong with her, some psychological problem. As an infant in the early 1930s, when I was first taken to visit my grandmother, I was not aware that Mariska ever left the small apartment she shared with her mother. That address is still etched into my brain: Budapest VIII., Dobozi utca 41, 1. emelet 40.

Mariska was still living at the same address when an acquaintance of mine went there to check on her in 1989. The acquaintance reported that my aunt was very old, was being cared for by a neighbor, and was very poor. I immediately wrote to her and sent some money, but never received a reply or any acknowledgment, although I tried several times to establish contact.

Then in 1992 a friend, Doug Holmes, who was going to Budapest, went to check on her again and found her to be still in the same apartment, in reasonable health, and although hard of hearing, quite lucid and aware of her surroundings. I telephoned a neighbor, Mrs. Mária Horváth, who had agreed to receive calls, and she told me that Mariska was not as badly off as Mrs. Horváth herself because she was able to get medication which Mrs. Horváth was not.

An interesting piece of gossip came out of this telephone conversation with Mariska's neighbor, which revealed that the neighbors had been given the impression that my grandmother had been some sort of overbearing ogre who would not allow Mariska to do anything, or go anywhere, which was also the reason why Mariska could not even cook too well.

I do not believe this description of my grandmother for one minute because I doubt that any of the neighbors have lived there long enough to have known her as a young widow, and because it was common knowledge in our family ever since I can remember, that Mariska was unable to, or just did not want to fend for herself. It is more likely that Mariska was herself the source of these stories about her mother. It would certainly have explained to strangers why she had never married, why she was a recluse who never left the building she lived in, and why she generally didn't do anything - not even responding to mail from her only nephew whom she professed to love as if he were her own child.

If her mother had any inclination of curtailing the personal freedom of her daughters, she would have shown some of this tendency with the older daughter also, yet Kató was able to go to school, prepare herself for some sort of commercial employment, was able to meet a former Austrian officer and get herself pregnant, and had enough initiative to turn herself into a successful seamstress who eventually became a licensed Master Taylor of ladies' fashions in Gmunden, Austria. At any rate, my further attempts at starting up correspondence with Mariska remained as fruitless as the previous ones had been.

In May 1994 I finally had an opportunity to see her myself. She was still living at the same address. This was in effect the first time I saw her with the eyes of an adult, and the first time in almost 60 years. Mariska was obviously a hermit. She has not been outside the building since the end of World War II (1945), and I doubt that she had been out much before that either. I must have known Mariska when I was a very small boy, but I could not remember anything about her. She in turn still remembered me by the nickname of Fexi that I had been labeled with in my early childhood.

Always described by my parents as "very strange" she was a surprise to me. She was lucid, and actually a very kindly woman who told me how she had loved me when I was an infant, and how she wanted to raise me as her own, saying that my mother (her sister Kató) didn't want me anyhow (she used the Hungarian phrase "nem kellettél neki" which leaves the meaning somewhere between not needing and not wanting). As I sat there talking to Mariska I tried to reconcile this gentle old lady with the hearsay characterizations I had been living with all my life.

Once during the war, I believe it was 1942, her sister Kató (my mother) went for a visit to Budapest to see her mother and her sister, and to make a last-ditch effort to find a man for her sister. She even found a prospect and staged an opportunity where the two could meet. Alas, her sister Mariska made all the wrong moves and all the wrong noises. The bottom line was she did not like the guy. Kató was furious, thinking that any old maid like Mariska, who by this time was 28 years old, should not allow herself the luxury of being choosy. Most likely Mariska was not the least bit interested in any change to her status quo. The matchmaking attempt failed, and Mariska continued to live with her mother, and after the mother's death in 1972 she continued to occupy the same apartment.

Mariska lived a very frugal life, was visibly poor, but at the same time very proud and independent. She would not accept any sort of help, would not allow me to shop for her and refused any offer of money saying "I have money". She was pleased with some gifts I had brought her, but regretted the fact that her neighbors would probably get their hands on such a nice flannel night gown, which she was loathe to wear since she was "already preparing for death". There was nothing in evidence which would provide a hint of what she did with her time (no TV, no books, not even a clock). When I asked her what she did all day, she said "I wait". Considering that she had been doing the same thing for 80 years, she must be the most patient, or the most unimaginative person I have ever known.

I noticed with some amazement that Mariska had light-blue eyes while my mother's were hazel (a light brown). She was also of a frailer built than my mother who was more stocky in her later years. But mentally the two sisters were more similar. Much of what Mariska said reminded me of my mother. The same type of paranoid distrust of people on whom she depended for assistance with her shopping and general communication with the world. At the moderate end of the scale, she had no doubt in her mind that everyone was cheating and short-changing her. At the extreme end of it, she told me of being pushed down the stairs into the coal bunker by a neighbor who threatened to kill her down there. What struck me as strange was that she told these stories in a very matter of fact way, obviously not at all focusing on the personal experience, but simply making a statement of how rotten everyone was. As far as she was concerned, the neighbors, and even the mayor of the 8th district were all "Gypsies". She also explained that she would continue in her refusal to write to me, because she would have to depend on other people to mail her letters, and all they would do is open them, read them and tell all the neighbors what she had said. This kind of thinking was much too reminiscent of my mother to be a coincidence, and it occurred to me that they had either both learned it from their mother, or it was the environment in which they had been raised or, God help me, perhaps it was a symptom of something genetic.

Mariska surprised me when I started telling her about the plaque with the names of war heroes fastened to the wall of the Pázmánd church, and that her father's name, Farsang György,  was engraved on it. She replied "yes, and the name below his is Farsang Lajos" (her father's brother). This of course triggered questions about how she knew this about Pázmánd where I thought she had never been. It came out then that she and her mother had fled just before the "Battle for Budapest" started near the end of World War II. They walked 30 kilometers to get to Pázmánd, where they stayed with a relative, "Farsang Jóska at Pörnye Puszta, who had eight children". In spite of this experience she did not have a good word to say about the Pázmánd relatives. There was something in her memory about some of them having come to visit in Budapest and "eating them poor". There was one exception, a relative she remembered fondly: an elderly, gray-haired man named Bartus Jóska who lived in the 4th district of Budapest. (The Bartus were related on her mother's side; Mariska's maternal grandmother was a Bartus, from one of Pázmánd's oldest families - there was a Bartus among the first 35 families in 1717).(27) I kept writing to Mariska to keep in touch, to cheer her up, and to have some slim way of finding out when she left this world. In February 1996 my Christmas letter and parcel were returned without any clear indication of why. The rubber stamp which said "moved, address unknown" did in her case not make any sense. The reply to a letter I wrote to the local municipal office of the 8th district simply stated that they could not could not find any trace of such a person. I asked my assistant in Budapest, Thurnay Balázs, to try and shake this down. He went there in person, spoke with the very same woman who had sent me that idiotic reply, and just badgered her until she finally suggested they go down the hall to another office where someone might know. There, they got enough information to allow me to write to the head of the 20th district's Jahn Ferenc Dél-Pesti Kórház (a hospital), from where I received the following summary of events:

"As a result of the neighbors' action, Mariska was taken by ambulance to the Jahn Ferenc Hospital. She was described as very disoriented, and because of her inability to nourish herself, a very weakened, dehydrated, and hallucinating patient. With the initiated treatment her agitation subsided, but her disorientation continued, and despite the thoughtful care given her, pneumonia developed which lead to her death on 9 Jan 1996. The post mortem examination revealed, apart from the pneumonia, serious, generalized hardening of the arteries and its effect on the organs. Her turn for interment came at 8:30 a.m. on February 20 after her cremation. The location is: Újköztemető 40/130 alsó urnafülke. See her certificate of deathfggdoc229   and a report from the hospital fggdoc230.

Hu shield

Notes for Part II Introduction
1. Names in Hungarian are in the following order:  Family name followed by Given name(s).
2. City on the Danube, about 100 Km upriver from Budapest.
3. Seen at Székesfehérvár archives in May 1994: Conscriptio Regnicolonirer Ordinata & Iser Donos ... 1720.
4. Kis Lajos. Földrajzi nevek etimológiai szótára. Volume II, fourth edition. Akadémia K. 1988. p.327.
5. Palota urbarium a possesiones desertae ad accem pertinentes Paczman; Finanz- und Hofkammerarchiv Wien; film W524/3 1559. Paczman.
6. Az 1898. évi IV. tc. alapján megállapitott név: Pázmánd  
7. The author has not found any mention of this in the description of Pázmánd in the History of Fejér Megye.
8. Pettend in the county of Fejér is close to Pázmánd, and this is the locality where György Farsang was born. The first mention of Pettend was in 1429 by King Sigismund (Zsigmond). It has always been a noble estate, crossed by the southern railway line.
9. Brunner, Georg, ed. Die Deutschen in Ungarn. Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft. München 1989.
10. Erdős, Ferenc: Etyek története.[History of Etyek] FMTÉ 16 (1985). [FMTÉ=Fejér Megyei Történeti Évkönyv] as referenced by István Kállay in his article Ansiedler aus Bayern im Frühzeitlichen Ungarn appearing in the book Bayern und Ungarn, Tausend Jahre enge Beziehungen. Beiträge eines Symposiums der Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft und des Osteuropainstitutes Regensburg-Passau [held at] Passau 17-19 April 1986; ed. Ekkehard Völkl, Regensburg 1988.
11. From the church registers of the Roman Catholic parish in Pázmánd up to 1895, as found on microfilm held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (short: Mormons) in Salt Lake City, Utah, and from the actual, original registers I used in 1994.
12. Hans Friessner, Generaloberst a.D.; Verratene Schlachten. Holsten-Verlag Hamburg, 1956. pp. 199-201.
13. from
14. The Ferenc József híd with its 331.2 meters was built over a period of 2˝ years 1894-1896, requiring 6102 tons of metal and 6000 tons of cement for a total cost of 5.03 Million gold Korona (=5.85 Million gold Pengö). Along with all of Budapest's other bridges it was destroyed in 1945 by retreating German troops. It was rebuilt exactly to its original design but renamed Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge). Reconstruction started in March 1945 and was completed March 1946.
15. Tom Lincoln Md. Professor of Pathology had the following thoughts about this: "Sounds like your ancestor had a disease called acromegaly .. caused by the excess secretion of adenohypophysial growth hormone. This is usually due to a pituitary tumor, and leads to thick bones, particularly with exaggerated growth of the arms and legs. It is generally not familial. It mostly starts in the 30s or 40s, BUT in the rarer cases when it starts before the bones close at the end of puberty, it can lead to giantism, with excessively long extremities. These folks look a little like Frankenstein, and so I would not be surprised if he covered it up with a growth of very long hair, which would attract separate attention". Tom also confirmed that this would not be genetically inherited.
16. Zenobius Pâclianu. Hungary's Struggle to annihilate its National Minorities.
17. Fasching is a Bavarian/Austrian word; the corresponding words used in other parts of Germany are Fastnacht, Fasnacht, Fasnet, Fosnat, and of course Karneval. It should also be understood that Carnival is part of the Catholic culture and its celebration is almost totally unknown in Protestant countries. Originally meant was the eve before the start of the period of fasting; later it was focused on the last three days - or the entire week before Lent. Since the 19th century it includes mostly the time between Three Kings and Ash Wednesday. Fastnacht is then actually the eve of Shrove Tuesday - the last day of merrymaking. As far back as the year 1200 the customs can be found documented, especially in towns. Patrician equestrian tournaments dominated right up till 14th century, and developed into a tradition of masquerades. Italian influence since about 1700 (esp. Venice). Public celebrations with dancing, games and parades, all aiming to demonstrate that this was a period where the customary order of the day had been put aside and was being made fun of in a fool's costume (e.g. establishment of a counter-government, handing over the keys to City Hall to the fools). Today Fasching simply means the whole season of the carnival which reaches its peak on the last day before the beginning of the fast.
18. 100% means that the individual was born a Farsang (i.e. his father's name was recorded as such), never used any other name in his family, and had his death recorded as Farsang also.
19. The Svabians (Schwaben) descend from the early Suevi, a loose confederation of German tribes of south-western Germany in the first century B.C.; defeated by Caesar in 58 B.C. They were seen later as companions of the Vandals in the invasion of Spain at the beginning of the fifth century A.D. Those that went to Spain lost their identity. Those that stayed in the Black Forest in Germany became the ancestors of medieval Svabians. Schwaben is today a political district of Bavaria with about 1.5 Million inhabitants, its capital is Augsburg. Württemberg also falls into the general area considered to be the home of the Svabians, and the dialect in Württemberg and Svabia is considered to be "Oberdeutsch".
20. vietor can mean either a cooper (barrel maker), or a cellar master.
21. Names of colonists and places of origin from: Etyek - Edeck, Deutsche Siedler in einem ungarischen Dorf. by Irmhild Günther und Otfried Kies.
22. Hepatization of the lung is an old technical term where due to untreated pneumonia the lung was so engorged with blood and consolidated that the tissue looked like liver. One could obviously not breathe with it. Modern term: lobar pneumonia. (Explanation provided by Lincoln Jackson Md., prof. pathology).
23. Source: LDS film #622531.
24. Source: LDS film #622532, p.27(13).
25. From the original Pázmándi Halotti Anyakönyv  1907-1948, p.126, Nr.5. Entry dated 6 Feb 1922. Seen by F. Game 5/1994 in Pázmánd. The following is the full citation of the Hungarian entry: "1914 szep 9; Farsang György, gyalogos a cs. é kir. 69. gyalogosezredben (gépmunkás); r.kath.; 29 éves; ns Biller Katalin; szülei: néhai Farsang Pál, néhai Szanyó Katalin; hol halt meg: Pilsen (Cz). A hazáért hõsi halált halt katona halálesete. bejegyezve a BM által közölt adatok alapján /:6151/1922". [Translation: died a hero's death for his homeland, [on] 9 September 1914 at Pilsen (now Plzn, Czech Republic) Farsang György, 29 years old, Roman Catholic, machine worker, son of the late Farsang Pál and the late Szanyó Katalin, married to Biller Katalin; infantryman with the Imperial and Royal 69th Infantry Regiment. His soldier's death is recorded on the basis of data received from the Ministry of the Interior (Ministry of the Interior number 6151/1922 B.M. sz).]
26. As opposed to the clandestine radio listening during the second World War, this had nothing to do with hearing foreign news. It seems to have been strictly a question of evading the need to register a radio receiver. It may have cost nothing, or it could have cost a few cents, but it was more customary to avoid having anything to do with the bureaucracy.
27. Extracts from Conscriptio Comitatus Albensis, seen by me at the County archives of Székesfehérvár in May 1994, contained a "list of inhabitants in 1720"; there were 35, and one was Bartos János.
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