Another Branch on the Family Tree

Aview of the cemetery in Csongrad.

Aview of the cemetery in Csongrad.

The library in Csongrad.

The library in Csongrad.

So far, I’ve only written about the Pazars.  I went to Hungary to learn about my paternal grandmother’s side, too.  My great-grandmother was Martha Georgiades.  She was born in Csongrad, Hungary, on 27 July 1876.  Her parents were Karoly (Charles) Georgiades, and Maria Hajdu.  I learned that Martha was the youngest of seven children, only two of whom survived childhood.  I also learned that Karoly, her father, was the son of Gyorgy (George) Georgiades, born in 1798, and Anna Oberna, born in Csepa, Hungary, about 1804.  Her mother, Maria, is the daughter of Mihaly (Michael) Hajdu, born in 1813, and Marta Blazsik, born in 1815.

My grandmother, Terez Georgiades, whom we knew as Margaret, was born on 25 April 1896 in Debrecen, Hungary.  She and my grandfather met and married in New York.

I drove to Csongrad two days before I left Hungary.  Driving in Hungary is not harrowing; the motorway was like the New York Thruway or any other toll road, well-paved and patrolled.  The roads off the motorway were well-marked and this time the GPS did not fail me.

Csongrad is a workaday Hungarian city.  It is not far from the Serbian border.  It is not on the usual tourist’s itinerary, like Budapest or Debrecen.  But like every other town in Hungary, it has layers of history that only need to be peeled back.  Physically, it is laid out on a grid.  Csongrad has many trees and it is a busy place.  People on bicycles, in cars, even in gasoline-powered wheelchairs, made driving an interesting experience.

Unlike my experience in Ginta, I had no guide waiting for me.  So, after lunch, I went to the library and asked in my fractured Hungarian for any books they may have with old pictures of Csongrad.  One of the librarians spoke a little English and he was very helpful.  In one of the books I found old postcards of the town, and they made some photocopies for me.  I then went in search of family history.  Earlier, I had visited Debrecen where Terez/Margaret had been born in the General Hospital.  I took pictures of the hospital in the driving rain.

School in Csongrad next to the church where my great-grandmother was probably baptized.

School in Csongrad next to the church where my great-grandmother was probably baptized.

The inside of the church where my great-grandmother was probably baptized.

The inside of the church where my great-grandmother was probably baptized.

The street where my great-grandmother was probably born.

The street where my great-grandmother was probably born.

A memorial in Csongrad.

A memorial in Csongrad.

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The best I could do was take pictures of the church where my great-grandmother was probably baptized.  She was Roman Catholic and there were a number of Catholic churches in Csongrad.  I guessed it was near the scrawled address on her baptismal record.  The house numbering system had changed since 1876 so, again, I guessed which street was the one corresponding with the name on the entry for her baptism.

I then drove to the cemetery.  I could not find anyone who could help me find my ancestors’ graves, but I understood enough Hungarian to read the signs telling me the cemetery was closing in twenty minutes.  So, I took these pictures and left fairly quickly.

I am not disappointed in not finding a wealth of information.  In fact, this may be the more usual result of an eager beaver family historian.  Martha’s father was a blacksmith, not a doctor or an engineer, like the Pazar side.  The records for my great-great-grandfather in Csongrad were pretty thin; I didn’t even have the date of his death to allow me to look for his grave.  From the pictures I suspect that Csongrad was a pretty rural place in the late 19th century.  The genealogist in Budapest with whom I had been working told me that certain documents were hard to find, and the archive had run out of toner so it would be a while before the hard copies were actually in her hands.  Out of toner.  At least there was toner at the library.

Debrecen is far enough from Csongrad today, and it must have been very far indeed in the 1890s.  Yet Martha managed to have her child in Debrecen, and immigrate with Terez/Margaret to the United States and make her life in this country.

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