Wednesday 12 September 2012

The Zamolyi Family

The Zamolyis of Zamoly were one of the ancient feudal families. In the middle ages they were lords of Zamoly in Bratislava County. This locality is not to be confused with the modern village of Zamoly in Hungary, made famous today by the gypsies emanating from it to various parts of the EU. The Bratislava Zamoly was an extensive region spanning the area of three villages today, that of Jablonec, Bahony and Blatne. Zamoly as a name eventually vanished in the late middle ages to form these other settlements.

In 1416, Ladislaus of Zamoly was documented as a hominus regi, a king's man - effectively one of the king's deputies in the county. His daughter, Ilona of Zamoly, married Urban Csoka of Reca: the Hedervary family archive suggests this happened in 1479, but this is incorrect because a document exists in the Counts Karolyi archive from 1467 which states that they were already married then.

In any case, it appears that the children of Urban Csoka adopted the Zamolyi name, because it remained a name of one of the noble families of Reca, while the Csoka name disappeared soon after. The Zamolyi name was doubly adopted in history, suggesting that it was a name of some age and prestige; in the beginning of the 20th century Joseph (Jozsef) Pomichal of Reca, who in 1908 married Zsofia Zamolyi and inherited a considerable landholding, altered his name to include Zamolyi through a Royal Hungarian patent to carry on the extinguishing aristocratic name.

Below I reproduce the 1467 document from the archive of the Counts Karolyi de Nagy-Karoly. This document is fascinating because it highlights a common problem which already by then began to afflict the Hungarian nobility - the partial inheritance of land from various ancestors in various villages, leading to petty squabbles, compromises and economic stagnation. It also mentions the ancestors of some noble families I discuss here - the lords of Magyar Bel, the Fodors, and the Hollosis.

Nos capitulum ecclesie Posoniensis memorie commendamus, quod nobilis domina Elena vocata filia condam Ladislai de Zamol consors Vrbani Czoka de Rethe pro se personaliter et pro Petro filio eiusdem Ladislai fratre videlicet suo uterino ab una, partibus vero ab altera Nicolaus filius Michaelis Butya de Magiarbel similiter pro se personaliter et pro Jacobo fratre suo germano, ex utraque parte onera et gravamina eorumdem ac aliorum omnium fratrum et consangvineorum suorum in infrascriptis super se assumendo, coram nobis constituti viva voce sponte et libere confessi sunt per hunc modum, quod quia ipse Nicolaus Butya simul cum dicto fratre suo Jacobo per eandem dominam in causam attractus, sibi scilicet domine et dicto fratri suo Petro dotes et res parafernales condam domine Elizabeth filie dicti Ladislai, sororis scilicet ipsorum carnalis, consortis condam Johannis Butya de dicta Bel eidem domine Elizabeth de porcionibus possessionarus ipsius domini et mariti sui in Magiarbel Rethe et Kethweles provenire debentes ob penuriam et defectum pecuniarum solvere non potuissset, et ideo idem Nicolaus Butya sua dicti fratris sui in personis nobiles dominas Annam relictam condam Nicolai Fodor de Kethweles et filiam eius Dorotheam consortem Pauli de Fewdemes et filium eiusdem domine Dorothee Andream Hollos vocatum et alium filium eiusdem Valentinum ac filias eiusdem domine Hedvigem consortem Johannis literati de Saswar et virginem Anastasiam amicabili prece petivisset, ut pro ipso Nicolao et dicto fratre suo Jacobo prefatas dotes et res parafernales puta decem florenos auri puri hungaricales, per eundem Nicolaum ab ipsis uti dixit ad summam et (racionem) priorum et plurium debitorum suorum in impignoracione quarumdam porcionum possessionariarum in dicta Kerthweles mediantibus alys literis impignoraticys habitarum computando et accumulando plene perceptos, cum effectu prefate domine Elene et fratri eius Petro expedivissent et persolvissent, quapropter de dictis dotibus supranominata domina Elena nominibus quibus supra prelibatos Nicolaum et Jacobum Butya, deinde iamdictos dominas Annam et Dorotheam et Andream ac Valentinum simul et Hedvigem atque Anastasiam heredesque et posteros eorum utriusque sexus universos quitos et expeditos commisissent et per omnia satisfactos; insuper partes supradicte puta domina Elena et Nicolaus Butya similiter nominibus quibus supra de et super litibus controversys dampnis nocumentis fatigys et expensis quibuslibet inter se qualitercunque motis emergentibus illatis atque factis, literis eciam superinde quibuscunque et qualitercunque emanatis et extractis cassatis similiter quitos et absolutos dimisissent atque satisfactos, atque dimiserunt coram nobis, testimonio presencium mediante. Datum in festo beati Thome apostoli, anno domini Millesimo quadringentesimo sexagesimo septimo.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Church Records

an example of an 1856 baptismal church record from Reca (Boldog), noting some local noble families mentioned in this blog (Egyhazy, Molnar, Fadgyas, Zamolyi, Pomichal)

I receive a number of requests from individuals researching into their family history in Hungary, sometimes on the basis of similar or identical names that appear on my blog, and sometimes on the basis of the places I mention. Researching into family history is very difficult, and doubly so for those who do not happen to live in the country of their ancestors; and really the only reliable way to trace your ancestry (unless your family happens to be in the latest edition of the Gotha, which, on second thoughts, is not that reliable after all) is to go through archival records.

Happily, many of these records are to be found online, on The best way is to go on through to individual localities and villages, and browse through the individual church records as in a book. A name search is possible, but it is not accurate or reliable and in any case does not present the rich picture of changing generations as browsing does.

It is thrilling news that these records have gone online. The only shadow is cast by the fact that this was done with the resources, energy and capabilities of a U.S. religious faith-group - a source of shame for those countries, such as Slovakia, which does not honour its own history enough to attempt to do it themselves. Not to mention the positively medieval state of the archival system here. For any overseas individuals interested in your ancestry - think twice before flying over to decrepit Mitteleuropa, and browse through the internet archives first.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Lajos Udvarnoky von Kis-Joka

 Portrait of Lajos Udvarnoky von Kis-Joka, from the Austrian National Library. His family, of ancient landowners in Jelka (Joka), furnished the Empire with a number of military officers.