Friday, December 11, 2015

The Original Surname of Zsa Zsa Gabor's Family

Very few people, if any, know much about Zsa Zsa Gabor's paternal side of the family. I had previously conducted research on Zsa Zsa's maternal side of the family several years ago (Article 1, and Article 2). The marriage record of Zsa Zsa Gabor's parents yielded the necessary information to continue researching further back on the paternal side of her family. Not many know that her family's surname was not originally Gábor, and that her father changed his surname to assimilate and become more Hungarian. The entire family was Jewish.

The marriage of Farkas Miklós Grün and Janka Tilleman occurred on 13 September 1914 in Budapest, District VII. As determined from previous research, Janka was born 30 September 1896 to Jónás Hers(ch) Tilleman and Chawe Feige Reinharz. Farkas Miklós Grün is listed as a merchant who was born 19 September 1881 to the late Salamon Grün and Rozália Kluger. Notes were later recorded on the marriage record explaining that Farkas Miklós Grün changed his surname to Gábor in 1916 (document number 174292/1916, Belügyminisztérium) and his given name to Vilmos in 1917 (document number 852911917/XI, Polgármesteri Hivatal). While conducting further research into Vilmos' family, I located at least three siblings:

Czeczilia Grün

Czeczilia, much like her nieces and sister-in-law Janka, was married and divorced several times. Her first marriage was to a previously divorced man 15 years her senior named József Weisz. They were wed on 02 August 1908 in Budapest, District IX. He was a merchant born on 06 May 1869 to Jakab Weisz and the late Rozália Diamantstein. Czeczilia was born 22 June 1884 and her father Salamon had already passed away by the time of her marriage. The marriage was dissolved ten years later in 1918.

Czeczilia's second marriage was to a metal-spinner's assistant named Miksa Lichtig, on 01 May 1921 in Budapest, District IX. He was born on 27 November 1886 to Jakab Lichtig and the late Rozália Lefkovics. The marriage was dissolved eleven years later in 1932.

Czeczilia passed away the next year on 06 December 1933. She is listed as the former wife of Miksa Lichtig and a fruit merchant, residing at Közraktár street 10 in Budapest, District IX. She passed away from psychosis in Budapest, District I, at Hieronymi street 1.

Róza Grün

Róza was was married to Ernő Keszler on 26 May 1914 in Budapest, District IX. She is listed as being born on 04 July 1885 and residing in Budapest, District IX, at Csarnók place 3. Ernő was born on 31 July 1886 to Móricz Keszler and Háni Brüger, both having passed away prior to this marriage. He was a waiter and resided in Budapest, District VIII, at Teleky place 9. It appears a family member named Jakab Keszler, who was a witness to the marriage, was also residing at the same address as Ernő. The other witness, Károly Fodor, was Róza's neighbor. Nothing further is known about Róza at this time.

Lajos Grün

Lajos is the youngest sibling I have found, having been born on 07 August 1894 in Budapest. He was married to Erzsébet Izabella Dinner on 07 October 1925 in Budapest, District VII. Lajos was a merchant residing in the same district at Rákóczi street 6. Erzsébet was born on 31 August 1904 in Budapest to Mózes Dinner and Chaja Pinia Rohatyu, and was residing in the same district at Dohány street 22. According to the later recorded notes on his marriage, Lajos changed his surname from Grün to Gábor in 1933 (42296/1933 III, Belügyminisztérium).

The death record of Lajos states that he died at noon on 08 August 1945. He was a jeweler and a resident of Budapest, District V, at Báro Aczél street 3. His death is recorded as occurring in Budapest, District V, at Szent-István boulevard 30 and because of a gunshot to the head. Considering everything that was going on in Europe at the time, it's rather tragic to think that Lajos was killed 7-8 months after the liberation of the Hungarian Jews in Budapest (occurred between January and February of 1945). I'm certainly curious to know more surrounding Lajos' unfortunate death and why he was shot.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hungarian Genealogy: Research Tip #13


The theme of today's tip is: Hungarian Surname Origins & Meanings

The origins and meanings of Hungarian surnames can date back to well before the creation of the Kingdom of Hungary, and can be broken down into several categories.

Patronymic

Patronymic surnames are derived from the given name of male ancestors. They can appear several different ways in Hungary and are easily distinguishable. One variation they appear as is simply a male's given name, such as György, Péter, Mihály, Antal. Any given name could be a surname.

Another variation is slightly different in that it includes the suffix of -fi, -ffi, -fy and -ffy. This suffix, which as you see can has many spelling variations, means 'son' and when combined with a given name creates surnames very recognizable to English speaking countries. Examples of these surnames are Péterfi/Péterfy (Peterson), Jánosfi/Jánosfy (Johnson), Pálfi/Pálfy (Paulson).

A sub-category of patronymic surnames originates from the ancient clans or genus (nemzetség in Hungarian) of the early Kingdom of Hungary prior to the 13th century, with about 180 clans known to history. Some of the more recognizable names are: Aba, Baksa (or Baxa), Balog and Balog-Semjén, Csák, Dorozsma, Győr, Monoszló, Szemere, Tyukod and Zsadány. The -fi/-fy suffixes can apply to any of these names and clans. I must also note that many Hungarian noble families can claim descent from these early clans of Hungary, as well as some European royalty such as Queen Elizabeth II.

Matronymic

As with patronymic surnames and although rare, matronymic surnames are also easily recognized and taken from the given names of female ancestors. Ágota, Berta, Éva, Katalin and Rózsa are some of these surnames.

Aptronymic

Many of our Hungarian ancestors took on a surname reflecting the occupation or trade that they performed and were well known for in their community. Kovács, meaning smith or blacksmith, is one of the most common surnames in Hungary. Others include Biró (judge), Dobos (drummer), Juhász (shepherd), Lakatos (locksmith), Mészáros (butcher), Molnár (miller), Papp (priest or clergyman), Szabó (tailor), Takács (weaver) and Varga (cobbler).

Toponymic

These surnames explain where the original ancestors with these surnames came from or lived. A very large majority of surnames ending with the suffix -i or -y are prime examples. The -i and -y suffix, which are equally interchangeable, mean the exact same thing: 'from' or 'of'. We must not jump to conclusions though, as not all Hungarian surnames ending with -i or -y have this meaning: Borbély (barber) and Sovány (thin). Examples of toponymic surnames include Árvai, Csányi, Budai, Forrai, Mérai, Hagymási, Somogyi, Szatmári, Szilágyi, Váradi and Veszprémi (or Beszprémi).

Ethnonymic

Surnames derived from ethnic and cultural backgrounds are probably the most easily recognizable. Common examples of these surnames that most of us have probably seen during our research are Cseh (Czech), Görög (Greek), Horváth (Croatian), Lengyel (Polish), Németh (German), Olasz (Italian), Orosz (Russian), Rácz (Serbian), Sveda (Swedish), Török (Turk), Tóth (Slovak) and Zsidó (Jewish or Hebrew).

Appearance

Physical features are known to have been used as surnames and are quite common: Bajusz (moustache), Barna (brown), Erős (brawny, strong), Fekete (black), Fehér or Fejér (white), Fodor (curly hair), Kövér (fat, plump), Nagy (large, big; such as tall height), Szőke (blonde), Tar (bald) and Vörös (red).

Personality

Our ancestors were social and had unique personalities just like us today. A small portion of these surnames include: Baráth (friend), Csendes (quiet), Kecses (graceful), Kedves (kind), Nemes (noble, generous) and Ördög (devil or fiend).

Nicknames

Nicknames were as commonplace today as they were centuries ago. Most nicknames were a shortened variation of the original longer surname: Barta Bene (Bénjámin), Deme (Demeter), Fóris (Flórián), Jósa/Józsa (József), Mihók (Mihály), Pete/Pethe (Péter). Another example of these nickname surnames combines the -fi/-fy suffix mentioned above: Benefi/Benefy and Petefi/Petefy.

Objects or Things

In the end there's a good chance that when your surname doesn't fit any of the above categories, it could simply be a Hungarian word for something: Boros (bor=wine; may also reflect an occupation), Csuka (pike), Farkas (wolf), Kárász (Crucian carp), Medve (bear), Sörös (beer; may also reflect an occupation), Szarvas (deer) and Virág (flower).