Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Leaving Home

At 22 years of age, a newly married father, left his country, home and family to come to America to make a better life for himself and his family. Times were rough in Mezökóvesd. Work was hard to come by and food was a rare commodity. The alternative that most young men chose, was to go to America and work in the factories or mines, where work was plentiful and pay was 2-3 times better than at home. This amount of money would allow for a savings that could put food on the table, firewood in the fireplace and hopefully, enough leftover to purchase some land from the landlords. This would allow for a much improved standard of living for his family in Mezökóvesd.

Matyas Farkas left Mezökóvesd for the port of Hamburg, Germany in March of 1912. He traveled with a few friends and neighbors from his village. He departed from Hamburg on the 23rd of March in 1912 on the ship named the SS Pennsylvania.

Photo from the Library of Congress depicting emigrants leaving the port of Hamburg on a steamship
Photo of the SS Pennsylvania from Wikipedia

The officials for the Hamburg-Amerika Line kept records of those departing from their port. Some of these German records still exist today. The record for Matyas still exists. It lists him as a 25 year old (even though he is only 22 years old), married, male from Mezökóvesd, Hungary. His ethnicity was Magyar and he was a day laborer. He traveled in steerage with his friends, Josef Szabo, Ferencz Csirmar and Josef Kalo. I believe, further research will show that these three other gentlemen are related. They all carry the surname of our ancestors.

They traveled down the river to Cuxhaven and then on to New York's Ellis Island. They arrived
April 7, 1912. The trip took a total of 15 days.

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."  -Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Family Surnames

Everyone has 4 sets of great-grandparents. How many people can claim 6 of the 8 are coincidentally from Hungary. The 4 family lines that are handled here on this blog were all from Hungary, inside of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, and Hungary before and after the governmental merger. During that time period, if your were a true Hungarian, within the boundaries of the country of Hungary (not Austria-Hungary) you were called Magyar. All others were not given that distinction. It is used as an ethnicity. The people who were Magyar were very proud of it.

My mother's family were all considered Magyar. The paternal line came from Mezőkövesd, in Borsod megye and the maternal line came from Veszprém megye in the village of Dudar. These 2 locations always have been and are still located in Hungary.

Within the limits of Mezőkövesd, we will be following the family lines of Farkas, Papp, Varga, Vamos, Sipeki, Czirmaz, Parmadi, Balog, Biro, Adám, Fugedi, and Demeter among others. Spellings of these names would vary depending on the document and who was writing it.

In Dudar, in Veszprém county, we will be following the family names of Simon, Szam, Béd, Jakab, Veiland, Kiss, Baumann, and Szabo. Here we will travel to several other small villages within Veszprém county. Once again, spellings of these names would vary depending on the document and who was writing it.

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."  - Benjamin Franklin