Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Inzenhof Project

Last week I found the name of my 16th great-great grandparent, my maternal grandmother's maternal grandmother. I was very happy and threw myself a party. Not really.

Well the parades are over and it's time to get back to work. I have these three films of Hungarian records from 1800-1895. I might as well use them while the Family History Library will let me have them.

So I know Cecilia Kurta married Janos Jost and lived in Inzenhof, Austria. Sometimes this place was also called Borosgodor, Hungary depending on which way the wind blew. The border changed a bit, the names changed a bit, but Inzenhof and Borosgodor are the same place as far as I can tell. Oh, and I know my ancestors spoke German, but these records are in Hungarian so I've got that going for me.

Did Cecilia and Janos have siblings? I know the names of their parents, but not their grandparents. To extend this part of my family tree further, I'm going to have to study this whole dang village. Luckily, it's a small place.

I went to the Family History Center on Tuesday, and I'm going again today.

On Tuesday, I took film 0601494 and cranked it all the way to the end, which was 1895. Then I slowly went backwards, page by page, making note of any mention of the surnames Kurta, Jost, or Sommer/Szommer.

Each record has at least one name and a house number. I write all of these own as I go from page to page.

These particular records that I'm reviewing today don't look like birth or marriage records. I don't know what they are. Later on, I should encounter records that include parents' names and that will help me group people better.

After I go page-by-page on these three films, I will sort out all the house numbers and names. Then I will group people by house number and type up some notes. Then I will take those notes and go back to the films to try and establish family relationships.

That's my plan for now. It may change in the future. Probably somewhere there's a book that says I'm going about this all wrong, but in my gut this approach feels right.


  1. Perhaps cooking up a pot of Hungarian Goulash will help. You never know. ;) Gr8 work!


  2. You are doing exactly what I would do. I hope it all makes sense sooner, not later.

  3. Hi Amy, You are likely a cousin of mine :)! My Grandfather Kapple or Koppel's family is from Inzenhof. His mother was a Kurta. My family also married into the Jost family twice. Some of my Inzenhof ancestors lived near Gratz previously.
    I know that the Kurtas were Catholic, but wonder if they had been Jewish previously? That is a question I have never really been able to answer? Have you seen pictures of the War Memorial in Inzenhof?

  4. Annette, I wondered about a Jewish connection, too, though I've only seen Catholic records so far.

    Both of my third-great grandfathers from that area are Istvan Jost and Istvan Kurta. Either ring a bell? I'd like to talk more about this email me, please. I couldn't find any contact info on your blog. :)

  5. Good work Watson! Your approach sounds good to me. As you know these endeavors seem to evolve as we go along. Sometimes we have to go back and look for other info. Sometimes we get it right on the first time and proceed to the next step.

  6. That's a good approach, Amy. I usually lack the self-discipline to sift all the information first. I find myself diving in and chasing the first lead I find. Good luck!

  7. I blogged about Inzenhof today
    Going through my records I do find several Stephen Kurtas and Josts. It seems like all of these families had a Stephen :D. I also emailed you.

  8. Amy:

    Did you determine what those records were? I'm suspecting deaths partly by the structure of the data [House number, Date, Person, Place of birth (?)] Although I have no clue what the last number is for...
    Also, FHL catalog gives the title for this film as "Házasultak, halottak". Google translate indicated that 'halottak' means 'death/died' in Hungarian.
    I love these old records and they are always a fun challenge. My favorite is still a Catholic church book from Wuerttenberg. It has a section very much like family group sheets comeplete with parents place of birth and occupations.
    Have fun!

  9. Randy, there is much more info on these records. What you see there in the photo are my notes for the first round. I'm just trying to place names with house numbers so I can see which people are associated with which house numbers.

    After I go through all the records once, I'm going to sort them by house number and see who is associated with which house. Then I'll go through it all again with a finer toothed comb.

    Without translation, the records at the back of the roll look like legal transactions. Sometimes there are two names on a record. Sometimes two house numbers. Often both names are men, so I don't think they're marriage records.

    I do know marriage and birth records are on these rolls. I just haven't reached that point yet.

  10. Interesting stuff. I'm looking forward to reading what all is found there. Great posts.

  11. Amy, can this really be your 16th great-great-grandparent? Your ancestors must have had children really young if thee are 16 generations between 2011 and the late 1900s! I'm amazed.

    I hope you have great success with your method. It sounds like it should be really helpful.

  12. Nancy, I'm not referring to 16 generations. Each person has 16 great-great grandparents. I only knew 15 of mine until recently. Now I know all 16.

  13. It's possible that those records you were wondering about may be a parochial census which preists or ministers used to take sprodically for tithe or taxation reasons . Sometimes if it's heavily Austrian congregation , there will be these wonderful " family books" mingles in with the baptismal , marriage or death records . Good luck with them ! Maggie

  14. In late June 2011, my wife and I rented a car in Vienna and visited Inzenhof. We found the house where my wife's mother was born. Also obtained birth and marriage records for family members.

  15. During our visit to Inzenhof, my wife left her email address with a local. Several weeks later, a cousin my wife did not know existed went to Inzenhof from Germany to attend a funeral, and was given the email address. Now my wife and the cousin are trading family information. Trip to Inzenhof has really paid off.