Friday 16 December 2011

The Nobility and Landowners of Kosuty

Kosuty, or Nemes Kosut in Hungarian, is another well-known village in the Matyusfold region. It is located 5km from Galanta, and was famous for the number of distinguished families inhabiting elegant classical manor houses in the village. Below is a list of the nobles and landowners of Kosuty throughout the 19th century.


Fekete (Galanthai)









Takats (Jokai)





Burian (of Rajecz - Count Istvan Burian descends from this family)






Thursday 1 December 2011

A Noble Ending

I have noticed that there is, particularly in the US but generally in the West as a whole, a deep confusion with relation to Hungarian surnames and whether one can assume "nobility" of the bearer of that surname. I have also gotten several messages about this.

I refer to the "nobiliary" particle of Y at the end of a surname. It appears that the popular understanding of this is that both Y and I at the end of a name are territorial equivalents such as "von" in German and "de" in French; but that I denotes a non-noble from a certain place, while Y denotes a noble from a certain place.

This is, I must say, on the whole complete rubbish. There is no such rule, and both endings of Y and I are used by both common and noble families - the greatest families in Hungary had Is in their surname - Teleki de Szek, Rakoczi, Szechenyi, Ujlaki. And the Y ending is used by millions of descendats of commoners today. To cite a queer instance: the illustrious Palffy family, who were Counts of Bratislava, were called "Palffy" even before they became noble.

I seriously believe that this misconception is unacceptable, because the alternative interpretation is so obvious: that a Y or I ending is identical to the "-er" endingt in German - i.e. Hamburger, Frankfurter, and other savoury delicacies. It means from the place, and not of the place in its aristocratic interpretation.

Another misconception is that Hungarian nobles all had a Y or I ending in their name, again because the belief is that it denotes nobility. This idea comes from the old medieval land tenure, when families tended to take the place name and made it into their surname. But, as we see from the families in this blog, this is not the case. The Prikkel, Szullo, Csiba, Csorba families are older than most families of Hungarian magnates, their histories stretching back at times to the 12th century, who on the whole managed to keep their 800year old estates until the 20th century - and yet they have no Y or Is at the end of their names. Even with magnates - Count Burian, Count Bethlen, Count Thurzo, Count Tisza, Count Fekete, Count Josika, Count Forgach, Prince Kollonics, Prince Grassalkovich - these are well-known and illustrious names, and the list could go on.

What these families do have, though, is usually a territorial designation after their surnames in Latin - so for instance Forgach de Ghymes et Gacs. In Hungarian, this would be ghymesi es gacsi Forgach (note the lower case spelling for the place names). This is the real noble particle, which only nobles could ever have. Mind you, many nobles did not officially have a noble territorial designation, which of course did not make them any less noble - such as the Ravasz family.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

The Royal-Hungarian Lifeguards

A member of the Royal Hungarian Lifeguards, wearing the magnificent uniform with leopard skin

The Royal-Hungarian Lifeguards (koniglich-ungarische Leibgarde) was the most elite military corps in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was founded in 1760 by Empress Maria Theresa, who, enamoured of the Hungarian nobility, decided that a select corps of Hungarian aristocrats should provide her with a guard of honour.

Membership of the Lifeguards was restricted to 120 Hungarian officers of high military distinction and blood. The role was purely honorific and representative, and members of the guards had the privilege of accompanying the Empress (later the Emperor) on festive occasions; actual protection of the monarch was not possible for many members, owing to their great age. More is to be found on the Austrian Wikipedia article:

In 1847, in the last list of the member of the Lifeguards to be compiled before they were disbanded in 185o due to the Revolution (but re-instituted in a slightly change form in 1867), we find in this elite corps five members, two of whom were from Kis-Joka, and three from Rethe and Senec. These are:

His Excellency the Lord Albert Udwarnoky von Kis-Joka, Major and Premier Wachtmeister of the Lifeguards and Royal Colonel

The Lord Geysa (Géza) Udwarnoky von Kis-Joka, Guard of the Lifeguards

The Lord Aloys von Urbanovics (of Réthe), Captain (Rittmeister) of the Lifeguards

The Lord Anton von Bagi, Auditor of the Lifeguards and Captain of the Royal Cavalry

The Lord Ferdinand von Klempa, Guard of the Lifeguards

In the 1844 list of Lifeguards, but not the 1847 one, we find listed Alex von Asztalos, from the Bratislava county family branches of which lived in Jelka. Also, in the 1870 Austro-Hungarian Schematismus, one Alexius von Agoston de Kis-Joka is included as a member of the Royal Hungarian Lifeguards. All in all, this is a very impressive roster for so many individuals from one village to be members of this corps.

Another interesting member of the Hungarian Lifeguards in the list is one "Lord Georg von Klapka", who joined the corps in 1842. It is none other than General Gyorgy Klapka, the most distinguished Revolutionary Hungarian general during the 1849 uprising. The Lifeguards were officially disbanded in 1850, but the reality was that by then it had not a single member: in 1849, all memberd of the Lifeguards, inspired by the revolutionary events, deserted their posts in the Imperial court to join the Hungarian rebels.

Source: Hof- und-Staats Handbuch des Oesterreichischen Kaiserthumes (1 Theil, 1847) page 127.

Also the corresponding Schematismi from 1840 and 1870.

Friday 21 October 2011

Dóka von Réthe and Bustelek

The Doka coat of arms, based on a 17th century precedent. The 1714 re-grant features a coat of arms with a mounted hussar.

The Dóka family was not, as far as is known, an ancient family of Bratislava county. However, since their appearance as nobles in the 17th century, and especially since a further acknowledgment of nobility in 1714 by Emperor Charles, the Dókas have been important landowners in the county until the mid-20th century. In the 19th century, they were feudal lords of Bustelek, a village now part of Janiky in the upper Csallokoz (Rye Island), only about 15 kilometres from Bratislava. They were also, alongside the Prikkel family, the greatest landowners around Senec and Reca. Ladislaus Doka became the viscount of Poszony County in 1837. The family manor house in Reca, still extant, is now a school.

A branch of this family owned the manor house and village of Almosd in Bihar County. The manor house was made part of Hungarian national myth by being the living place of Ferenc Kolcsey, a famous poet and composer of the national anthem of the 19th century revolutionary period.

Friday 1 July 2011

Klebercz Family Tree

A beautiful rendering of the Klebercz arms, probably from the late 19th century. Courtesy of Mr Deszo Klebercz

Link to the Family Tree of Dezso Klebercz

Here is a link to the Klebercz family tree, kindly provided by Mr Dezso Klebercz. The family tree shows that these co-owners of Reca maintained active social contacts in the region - as their marriages to members of other noble families from outside the village attests, such as the Fodor, Szalay, and Petrovics families.

Also notable is the marriage of Vilma Csemez (1897 - 1967) to a member of the Klebercz family. The Csemez family was an old and respected Bratislava County family, with large estates and a number of their members in county and royal posts. From this family comes the unfortunate Istvan Csemez, who was chief szolgabiro (iudex nobilium) of Nitra County and who was the subject of a rancorous debate on state corruption in the Hungarian Parliament (Gyorgy Smrecsanyi, to great noise in the Upper House, said that Czemez's activity only really begins in the evening, with his gallows assistants) - Seton-Watson, R.W.: Corruption and Reform in Hungary, London 1911.

An entire page of this blog is dedicated to the Klebercz family, which outlines its descent from the medieval kindred of the Elefanthy.

Thursday 30 June 2011

Csiba Family Documents

An early 20th century representation of the Csiba coat of arms. Courtesy of Mr Charles Csiba

The Csiba of Velke Blahovo (Csiba de Nagy Abony) could be seen as representative of a typical medieval curial family of the Csallokoz region. Of antiquity and deeds of which the noblest Western European houses would be proud of, it is a Hungarian speciality that these families gradually became pauperised and over the centuries lost much of their wealth, though maintained their mentality. The canker in the state of affairs was, simply, Hungarian inheritance laws. This stipulated that all sons and daughters inherited equally, and it thus impoverished most of the Hungarian nobility. The exception of pro-Habsburg Hungarian magnates, for whom the Habsburgs allowed to place their property into an indivisible entail. Just to name a few: the Palffy, Esterhazy, Illeshazy, and Nadasdy families (which all originally came from Csallokoz curial background). This of course created yet another source of discontent between the majority of the nobility and the small coterie of "barely Magyar" magnates, who were viewed with suspicion.

The origin of the Csiba family appears to be Czech, as they were listed as Czech noblemen in a document from 1165 A.D. (!). In 1236 Bela IV confirmed these privileges, and reads as follows:

Béla, Dei Gratia, Rex Hungariae, universisi praesentem paginam inspecturis, salutem in vero salutari.Quia labilis est hominum memoria, et rerum turbae non sufficit; idcirco solerti ingenio est expertum, ut ea, quae hic longa post tempora noscuntur recordanda, fideli memoriae litterarum commendentur. Universitati igitur vcstrae praesentium tenore cupimus fieri manifestum, quod Chyba, lbur, Heym, Sid, Pocus, Karachun, Illerus, Sath, Hugel, Nolch, Ioanus, Clemen, Stegun et Omodias, ad nostram accedentes praesentiam, obtulerunt nobis litteras felicis recodationis Stephani Regis, quondam Praedecessoris nostri, filii secundi Geyche, in quibus habebatur, quod proauis ipsorum de Bohemia venientibus in Ungariam, terram, in qua fuerant hospitati, dictus.Rex Stephanus eisdem liberaliter contulisset, ut in quacunque libertate vellent, super eadem possent remanere; oblatores igitur dictarum litterarum a nobis petierunt obnixe:quod ipsos libertate Iobbagionum Udvarnicorum nostrorum donaremus. nostrorum donaremus. Nos igitur petitionem ipsorum affectu condigno attendentes, in hac parte, maxime propter hoc, quod sicut fideli nostro Dionysio Palatino, et Comite Bihoriensi, aliisque quibusdam regni nostri Baronibus referentibus percepimus, per venerabilem Partem nostrum, Dominum Andream, illustrem Ungariae regem, eadem libertate fuerant decorati; ipsos ct haeredes ipsorum haeredumque successores, in terra, nomine Oboni, quam per dictum Stephanum Regem eis collatam fuisse dicimus, libertate praedictorum Iobbagionum Udvarnicorum, secundum petitionem ipsorum, duximus vestiendos; ita quod nullus nostrorum successorum ipsos in aliquo, praeter libertatem ultro susceptam valeat aggrauare. Ut igitur hoc ratum et-firmum habeatur, praesentem paginam dupplicis sigilli nostri munimine fecemus perpetuo roborari. Datum anno Domini Millesimo, ducentesimo trigesimo sexto. Septima idus Novembris, regni autem nostri anno secundo.

(also note, along with "Chyba" and other noblemen, the name "Karachun", probably the first mention of the Karacsony family, who were subsequently documented later on in the 13th century as Karachon).

The above text courtesy of Mr Charles Csiba.

In the 18th century, Janos Csiba was viscount of Moson County, and Michael Csiba was viscount of Pozsony County (Bratislava). In the 19th century a branch of this family lived in Jelka.

From this family comes Lajos Csiba (1901 - 1966), a celebrated ornithologist, zoologist and ethnographer of the Csallokoz region. Born to a wealthy landowning family in Tejfalu in Bratislava County, his brother was judge of Moson County. Having studied farming and agriculture, he spent his youth hunting and obsessively observing the flora and fauna of the Csallokoz. He had a legendary trophy and bird egg collection, which sadly was destroyed during World War 2. He published widely into respected Hungarian journals about ornithology, hunting, and game management. But he also wrote a number of publications about local customs, beliefs and superstitions. The Benes Decrees stripped Lajos Csiba and his family of their substantial properties (please see my blog - but he worked modestly in his home village until his early death, and managed to build another great ornithological and zoological collection.

Source: Pomichal Richárd: Csiba Lajos emlékezete. (In memory of Lajos Csiba - a biography) In: Őszi szarvasbőgések, tavaszi szalonkázások. Dunaszerdahely, Csemadok Dunaszerdahelyi Területi Választmánya, 2003.

Sunday 8 May 2011

Szullo de Borsa

Szullo von Borsa, Szullo de Al-Borsa

The Szullos were a truly ancient and great family of Bratislava County. They trace their genealogy to the genus Salomon, a legendary genus of original Hungarian chieftains. The genus originates in the Csallokoz (the southern part of Bratislava County), and some other families traced their descent from it - such as the extinct Illeshazy de Illeshaza family, as well as the Eszterhazy de Galantha.

One branch of the Salomons became the lords of Borsa, a village in the Matyusfold near the town of Senec. In 1238 the lords of Borsa were confirmed in their land holdings by King Bela IV of Hungary. In 1278 the lords of Borsa took fighting part in the Battle on the Marchfeld, a decisive event in the history of Central Europe where the arrogant and powerful Premysl Ottakar II, King of Bohemia and Duke of Austria (also called the "Golden King") was decisively beaten by Rudolph I of Habsburg in alliance with King Ladislaus IV of Hungary. Seeing that this battle facilitated the rise of the Habsburg family in the region (who then became Dukes of Austria), it is ironic that in modern times members of the Szullo family took such an active part in anti-Habsburg rebellion (see below).

The most illustrious member of this family in the middle ages was Thomas of Borsa (Csorba), who was Royal Cup-Bearer and courtier to King Matthias Corvinus. As such, he was one of the small circle of the medieval barones et magnates, the most important individuals in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary. In the 16th century, the family of the lords of Borsa divides into three branches, forming the modern Szullo, Farkas, Csorba and Petheo families.

In 1678 Ferencz Szullo de Borsa, who was already a commander of a cavalry regiment, was elevated to Supreme Captain of the Csallokoz. Another member, Georg, was killed in the Battle of Parkany in 1683, fighting alongside members of the Prikkel de Rethe family (see below).

In the 18th century, Sigismundus Szullo was alispan (viscount) of Bratislava, and he was also the County delegate to the Royal Diet. His marriage to Baroness Maria Rzihovsky cause him to move and settle in Thurocz County.

The family was also involved in the momentous events of the Hungarian anti-Habsburg revolution of 1848. Istvan Szullo of Nagy Abony, judex nobilium, was a honved with the rank of first lieutenant. Geysa Szullo was a commander of a hussar regiment, and later in the 19th century he was a member of the Hungarian Diet (Parliament). Another Gejza was Imperial chamberlain and a member of the Hungarian parliament from 1901 to 1918. After the partition of Hungary, he became chairman of the Hungarian Christian Socialist Party in Czechoslovakia, which vigorously defended the rights of the Magyar minority. He was a famous and respected leader, who resigned in 1932 and who instituted Janos Esterhazy as his succesor as chairman. (Esterhazy was very well known as a somewhat controversial politician in Slovakia, but often portrayed as a hero by Hungarians).

Many members of the Szullo families lived in villages around Borsa in the 19th century, such as Jelka and Reca. Until the 20th century, the family were the greatest landowners in Borsa and Hegysur (todays Hruby Sur).


Gorfol, J. et al: Hol sirjaik domborulnak (Dunaszerdahely, 2003)

Pongracz, D. et al: Slachta Bratislavskej Stolice (Bratislava, 2004)
Siebmacher: Adels von Ungarn (Budapest, 2002)

Nagy, Ivan: Magyarorszag csaladai: Czimerekkel es nemzekrendi tablakal (Pest. 1863)

Friday 6 May 2011

Pomichal Family Tree

 The original Pomichal (Pomischel, Pomyschel, Pomykal) coat of arms. Later, in modern times, a branch inherited and adopted the elephant as blazon. For more on this family see here.

Pomichal Family Tree

Above is a link to a family tree of the Pomichal family, who were composessors of Reca in the 19th century.

Ladislaus Pomichal from the above tree distinguished himself as an officer in the original Hungarian force which was formed to resist the Habsburgs during the 19th century revolutionary period (it subsequently became the Honved, the regular Hungarian army to this day). His son Jozsef Pomichal (born 1878, married Zsofia Zamolyi of Zamoly in 1908), was also an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army. Also Franciscus Pomichal (born 1830 and married to Veronica Klebersz in 1859) was an officer of a Hussar regiment (the cavalry of the Hungarian nobility) in the 1840s and 1850s uprisings.

In the mid-19th century, Antal Pomichal (married to Rozalia von Dóka, whose father, Michael Dóka, was Chief Justice of Bratislava County and member of the Hungarian parliament prior to the 1848 revolution) was a significant landowner and co-lord of Reca. The family also owned land in Pozsonyivanka, Boldogfalva, and Senec.

Today, a member of the Pomichal family (along with a member of the Neszmery family) is a representative of the Hungarian minority in the Bratislava Autonomous Region; a somewhat larger successor to the historical County of Bratislava.

As Pomichal de Rethe (or Réthe), this Hungarian family of Czech descent is listed in the most comprehensive and reliable list of Hungarian nobility to date, edited by Prof. Steven Totosy de Zepetnek (Nobilitas Hungariae). For the older, Czech and German, history of this family please see here.

The family tree was provided by and reproduced here with the kind permission of Mr. Joseph Pomichal from his private MyHeritage website.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Noble Families of Jelka

The modern coat of arms of Jelka, combining the crowned lion of ancient Joka with the hind of Ujhely Joka

The village of Jelka on the Csallokoz, the Rye Island formerly belonging to Bratislava County, played host to a staggering number of noble families, diverse in their origin and influence. The village, like quite a number in the Csallokoz and the Matyusfold, is very ancient and dates back to the Magyar conquest in the 9th and 10th centuries. Firstly it was an outpost of Magyar warriors, to guard the borders against the Dukes of Bohemia and Austria; then, in the early middle ages, it was a tributary to the castle of Bratislava - the village contained the castle warriors who had to fight in times of need. These origins explain, as with other villages in the area, the relatively high proportion of nobility. Jelka's oldest aristocratic family, the Ilkays (documented since the 12th century), divided to create the noble Farkas, Panghy and Nagy families, who survived until modern times.

Jelka was at the forefront of Hungary's historical events. On the border of the Turkish empire in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was razed several times and bloody fights occurred within its borders. In the 18th century, during Prince Ferencz Rakoczi's noble rebellion against the Habsburgs, his field marshal, Count Bercsenyi, was said to regularly hold conferences with his officers under an ancient tree in Jelka.

The following is a list of the noble families who lived in Jelka in the 19th centuries. Many names are of ancient date, some are new, and others of old families from elsewhere who have moved to Jelka. In fact most of those families present are originally from elsewhere in the county or indeed the kingdom - it would point to marriage settlement and the attraction of the village in the wealthy part of the kingdom, near the capital of Hungary, Pressburg (Bratislava). The large number of names is due to several factors:

1) the sheer size of Jelka. The village is formed of originally three independent municipalities, called Nagy Joka, Kis Joka, and Ujhely Joka. Jelka is therefore one of the largest villages in the area.

2) Many families, otherwise ignoble, had members who were documented as being noble, for whatever reason, sometimes only once or twice. Nevertheless, it does seem that around half of the entire population of Jelka was noble. Several illustrious figures rose from the original Jelka nobility, such as the military officers from the Farkas de Joka family and the Counts Takacs de Kis Joka (both Caspar Farkas and Franciscus Takacs, for instance, were viscounts of Bratislava in succession in the mid-18th century: and they were preceded by Sigismundus Szullo in 1743). Likewise, ancient families from other villages such as the Hegyi and the Csefalvay are recorded in Jelka, as well as the Fekete de Galantha family - several branches of this family were baronial, and one branch was comital (from this family comes the legendary 18th century courtier Count Georg Fekete de Galantha, knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece).

The Nobility of Jelka

Andrassy Antal Asvanyi Asztalos Baan Banko Barath Bittera Bogy Both Boross Buday Csefalvay

Csenyi Csiba Csomor Czeze Deak Elek Farkas Fekete Gorfoll Gorcs Hakszer Hegyi Hervay

Ignatz Lamos Lanyi Laszlo Lolkos Kallay Kantor Kardoss Kiss Kovats Kozmer Krigovszky

Magyary Marczel Meszaros Molnar Morvay Nagy Nemeth Nyuno Nyuro Olle Panghy Paxy

(Paksy) Petrovics Petteny Posgay Racz Ravasz Rimay Saha Sarkany Sebok Szabados Szabo

Szakall Szullo Tajnay Takacz Tarsy Torok Vargha Viragh Voros Zsebrovics

Sunday 1 May 2011

Baron Ferencz Neszmery

Baron Ferencz Neszmery

Franz, Freiherr von Neszmery, Ritter des Maria-Theresien Ordens

Ferencz Neszmery was undoubtedly the most illustrious member of this family, and indeed one of the most illustrious and gallant characters of late 18th century Austria and Hungary. He was born in Magyar Bel (today Velky Biel), a village adjacent to Reca: his family moved to Reca in the 18th century.

Neszmery was a soldier who moved up the ranks and, due to his extraordinary courage and personal bravery during the last great Ottoman war in the late 18th century, achieved the post of Colonel and was given the Knight's Cross of the Order of Maria Theresa. This knightly order, instituted in 1757, was the highest and most sought-after honour for any Austro-Hungarian military officer. Officially, the order ranked second to the Order of the Golden Fleece; however, the Maria-Theresa Order was seen as even more prestigious because it was given purely on merit - It was specifically given for "successful military acts of essential impact to a campaign that were undertaken on [the officer's] own initiative, and might have been omitted by an honorable officer without reproach." The order was so prestigious, that upon receiving it the officer had a right to either i) being raised to the nobility or ii) if he was already noble, to be elevated to a further rank. Accordingly, Neszmery (who was already a Hungarian aristocract) was raised to the rank of an Austrian Baron (Freiherr) in 1806.

Ferencz Neszmery's son, Baron Johann Neszmery, was also a military officer: he was Colonel of the 62nd Linien Regiment, which was incorporated in 1798 in honour of his father.

Below is a short excerpt from the Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, by Constant von Wurzbach (vol 20, Wien 1869) - the original is in German and goes into much more detail.

Neszmery, Franz Freiherr von (K.u.K. Colonel and Knight of the Order of Maria Theresa, born in Hungary in Magyar Bel in 1747, died November 21 1818). In 1763, at 18 years of age, he joined his elders as a cadet in the Hungarian Infantry Regiment No. 2, where he rapidly advanced through the ranks to Lieutenant and to Captain in March 1783. In 1788, he went with his regiment to fight in the last great Turkish war by Dubicza and Novi. At Dubicza under General Brentano, he was so keen to drive out the enemy that, after three charges, he hurried ahead with his Division and in the heat of battle advanced so far that he was at once alone amidst the Turk.

Eventually, Neszmery and his regiment alone faced the entire force of the Spahis [the heaviest Turkish cavalry]. There was no choice, either escape or death. Neszmery, without reflecting further, decided to keep the position to the last man. Attacked from all sides, he made brave and bloody resistance from the repeated attacks of the superior enemy: he not only held his place but moved up the battlefield until he stormed the enemy positions and gotten possession of three hills, which were very important for our side. He displayed no less heroism a few days later, on the night of 23 to 24 August 1788.

The text continues to elaborate of further acts of (reckless) heroism, especially Neszmery's propensity to storm fortresses and blow up castles by himself in the face of impossible odds and with no help from his fear-struck colleagues and men.

Prikkel von Rethe

Prikkel de Rethe Family

The Prikkel family was one of the oldest and most respected in Bratislava County. It is believed that they are the direct descendants of the original castle warriors of Reca, those Magyar knights entrusted with defense of the realm since the Magyar conquest of Pannonia in the 9th century. Whatever the case, their original name was simply their territorial designation, "de Rethe". The first member of the family to use the full surname was Georgius Prikkel de Rethe, in 1480.

Although the family properties were concentrated around Reca, it appears that by the 17th century their holdings extended over other villages in Bratislava County. This is because, between 1648 and 1699, members of the family appear in the list of magnates and powerful wealthy nobles of the County - specifically Stephanus, Andreas, Michael and Gasparus Prikkel (Regestrum seu Catalogus Dominorum Praelatorum, Magnatum et Nobilium sessionatorum inclyti Cttus Poson).

Istvan Prikkel de Rethe, the son of Andras, distinguished himself on 10 October 1683 at the Battle of Parkany (Sturovo). This was a massive defeat of the Ottomans, orchestrated by Jan Sobieski the King of Poland, immediately after the Ottomans failed in their Siege of Vienna. Istvan Prikkel was there as part of the noble levee of Bratislava County (in return for their privileges, Hungarian nobles had to take part in person in all defensive wars against Hungary).

In 1816, Ferencz Prikkel was a iudex nobilium of Bratislava County. Dezso rethei Prikkel (1863 - 1913, Rete) was also iudex nobilium of Bratislava County (Pozsony varmegyei foszolgabiro).

A branch of the family lived in the area of Pezinok (Bazin); from this line comes the abovementioned Ferencz, viscount of Bratislava County. His son Anton was the city judge of Modra (Modor).

During the early 20th century, certain members of the family changed their name to "Rethey", perhaps to "return" to a more ancient-sounding and original surname. Others use the usual noble double barreled "Rethey-Prikkel".


Parish registers

Pongracz, D. et al: Slachta Bratislavskej Stolice (Bratislava, 2004)
Siebmacher: Adels von Ungarn (Budapest, 2002)

The Nobility of Reca: Families List

The modern coat of arms of Reca (based on the ancient coat of arms and displaying the typical heraldic attribute of a village with a sizeable noble community - an armoured arm holding a Hungarian sabre

Here is a list of all the families, recorded in Reca in the 18th and 19th centuries as either i) being nobles and living in Reca, or ii) being noble co-owners (composessor nobilis) of Reca itself. About 20% of the village was noble. Reca was an ancient centre of Hungarian nobility: it was a vassal village of Bratislava Castle, and from as early as the 14th century its inhabitants enjoyed all the privileges of nobility (Borovszky: Magyarorszag varmegyei es varosai). The most memorable (and commendable, according to opinion) communal act of the Reca nobles was when they voluntarily formed an entire regiment of Hussars to serve Prince Francis II Rakoczi in the early 18th century in his efforts to depose the Habsburg dynasty. The regiment was led by one of their own, George of Reca (Rethey).

The estate of Reca itself, which as with many Csallokoz villages comprised large tracts of superb arable land (the most productive in all of ancient Hungary) was held as a compossessorat, an old Hungarian trust concept. The estate was owned jointly by the noble families who were recorded as being compossessors. This trust, administered by elected members from the beneficiaries, and instituted in the middle ages, was in place until the 20th century. In the summer and autumn months many seasonal workers would appear from the north to work the harvest.

Ennobled 17th century.

Branyik (de Felso-Szeli)
Ennobled 17th century. The grantee of nobility in 1635, George Branyik, was the registrar of the Royal Hungarian Chancellery. His private library included a very rare 1491 incunabula of the Bible, now in the Bratislava University Library. Family owned estates in adjacent Felsoszeli and Kosuty. 

Noble since at least the 17th century.

Ennobled 17th century, confirmed 18th century. Owned a number of estates in the County. Two members viscounts of Bratislava County (Pozsony Varmegye).

Ancient family from Egyhazfa (Kostolna pri Dunaji).

Ancient family of Nitra County (Nyitra Megye).

Ennobled 16th century. Nobility confirmed in 18th century. One member distinguished Budapest lawyer in 19th C, several members officers of the K.u.K army. Urbanus Fadgyas de Rethe was a legate in the 1825 Hungarian Diet in Bratislava.

Ennobled 18th century.

Horvath (Rarovichi)
Croatian exiles. Nobility confirmed in 17th century.

Ennobled 17th century.


Ancient family, noble since at least the 13th century. From Hodoss (Vydrany), and kin of the Hodossy de Hodoss. Karl Karatsonyi de Hodos retired in 1859 as Major in the 34th Austro-Hungarian infantry regiment, the "Prince Regent of Prussia". In the 1920s and 30s, hodosi Karacsony Sandor was Royal Chief Forestry Advisor of Hungary. More recently, Hanna Karatsony von Hodos married Andreas Meyer-Landruth, the international diplomat during the Cold War. Their grandchild, Lena Meyer-Landruth, won the Eurovision song contest in 2010.

Klebercz (Kelepcsics)
Nobility confirmed 17th century. Petrus Klebertz-Kelepcsics was the steward of Count Ladislaus Esterhazy (second head of House of Esterhazy and Hero of Vezekeny). Descends from the Elephanthy, of the Ludany kindred, of genus Hont-Pazmany.

Ancient family. Noble since at least 14th century, original nobles of Reca.

Ancient family. Nobility confirmed in 15th C. by Matthias Corvinus. Istvan Molnar was confirmed in his nobility in the 17th century after distinguishing himself at the Siege of Vienna in 1684. Molnar Dezso (1881 - 1948, Rete) was viscount of Pozsony varmegye (judex nobilium of Bratislava County)

Neszmery (of Magyar Bel)
Ennobled 17th century, confirmed in 18th century. One member a Knight of the Order of Maria Theresa, his line raised to baronate.

Nogell (Nogl, Nogli, Nagel)
Ennobled 17th century.

Hungarian nobility presumed 18th century. One member officer of 2nd Hussars ("Transylvanian" or "Kaiser" Hussars), another a miles defensorum patriae (honved) during the uprisings.

Ennobled 17th century; nobility confirmed 18th century. Mostly owned estates in Senec. One member a great patron and donor for the church of Senec. Poor Antal, Canon of Esztergom and Canon of Bratislava, was a famous Hungarian historian (from Borovszky's Pozsony Varmegye).

Ancient family, noble since at least the 14th century, original lords of Reca.

Nobility presumed since 18th century. Ignac Rajczy of Reca was a honved during the 1848 uprisings, and was blinded in the left eye.

Ancient family of Reca.

Szullo (of Borsa)
Ancient family, noble since at least the 12th century. Mostly owned estates around Sur and Borsa. Descends from the great Genus Salomon.

Ancient family. Landowners of Sarfo (Blatne). Nobility confirmed in 16th century in Prague by Rudolf II. Reconfirmed in 18th century in Vienna by Maria Theresa. One a captain of the Royal Hungarian Lifeguard, another a captain of the 10th Hussars (Konig von Preussen Hussars) in mid-19th century.

Ancient family. Once owned Laskar Castle. Gabor Vital of Mayar Bel was a honved during the 1848 uprisings.

Zamolyi (of Zamoly)
Ancient family from Zamoly, a vanished medieval settlement. In 1479, Urban Csoka de Rethe married Ilona Zamolyi de Zamoly. It is probably that her family name was then adopted and used ever since (information from the Hedervary Family Archive).

Národný Archív Bratislava, cirkevné matriky, okres Senec, obec (fara) Boldog.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Slovak and Hungarian Nobility (Noble Families) in Senec and Surrounding Countryside

The city museum of Senec is hosting an exhibition until 30 April 2011, entitled "Nobility in Senec and Surrounding Countryside". The poster and the invites are to the left: the coats of arms of those of the Klebercz and the Czikhardt families.

An interesting show, it managed to convey the broad sense of local noble families, despite clearly being on a very tight budget. Apart from a wealth of text and coats of arms, real life paraphernalia was also included, such as sabres, tunics, and jewellery of the typical Hungarian nobleman.

Especially interesting were two collections of manuscripts. One, the archive of the family Karacsony (Karatsonyi, Karacsony) de Hodoss, a very ancient family which traces its origins to the 13th century. It lived in Reca since the end of the middle ages. Also of note was part of the archive of the Doka de Rethe family, which contained facsimiles of its grant of arms/nobility and other documents.

The city museum in Senec, though of recent vintage, is a great success. Housed in the "Turkish House", a fortified Renaissance manor house in the centre of the town, it has a permanent exhibition which is very comprehensive. A section of it is dedicated to Albert Szenczi Molnar, the great Hungarian Humanist and Protestant scholar in the 17th century. As his name suggests, Molnar was born in Senec.