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"A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler



Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
     
 

A Portrait of the Settlement of the Hӧgyész Domain  

by Josef Hoben
Translated by Henry Fischer

  Researching the names of local sites and landmarks is a significant contribution to a determination of the social structure of a village as Weidlein has demonstrated. 

  The village settlements in Swabian Turkey --as the maps indicate--were either clustered villages or all the houses were laid out along a single street.  While the old Hungarian villages (especially those in the Hegyhat District and the forested mountainous regions) that survived the Turkish wars were clustered villages, the kind that also spread to the large settlements in the interior of Tolna County with its propensity to steep inclines and slopes unlike the Batschka and the Banat. 

  With the resettlement and redevelopment of the ruined Hungarian villages the new village was not implicitly built on the site of the former village not did it replicate the former village's pattern.  The documents associated with the Domains and Estates identifies some special designations like "old homestead", "old village", "older village site", "old meadows," and "old gardens."  The villages that had been Hungarian cluster villages during the Middle Ages that were settled with Germans became "Strassendӧrfer" (all of the houses were alongside each other on a single street) with few exceptions.  But even in those cases they followed the regular contours of the landscape and terrain--especially in the broad valleys, as was the case in Murga, Tevel, Mucsi and Bonyhád which were normal valley villages and a deviation from the typical one street pattern.  Hӧgyész is a combination of a one street and a valley village with a main street along with various side streets. 

  The villages that fell into ruin during the Turkish wars were not all resettled or redeveloped in the 18th century.  In many cases two to three and sometimes even more of their boundaries that existed in the Middle Ages were combined into one village.  Today's Hӧgyész consists of the former Hӧgyész, Csefӧ, Csicsó and Csernyéd as  well as the southern portion of Hertelend.  The designations for many of the sites and locales bear these earlier names, such as the open prairies next to Hӧgyész named the Csernyéd Puszta and Csicsó Puszta (called "Bründl by the Germans) and the "Csefӧ Heights" and the "Csefӧ meadow."  In order to explain why only two of the village names--namely, Csernyéd and Csicsó--have been maintained while the third has been degraded to identify a local feature in the landscape we need to concern ourselves with a settlement document that is dated July 27, 1722 signed by Count d'Mercy.  Point three in the document said that the German settlers had the free use of the adjoining prairies of Csefӧ while the Domain would retain the other two (Csicsó and Csernyéd which were first developed in 1726).  Residences for administrators working for the Domain were erected quite early on both of the open prairies on the sites of the ruined villages and the manor houses were named after the former villages. 

  Not every administrator's residence bore the older name of the locale because most of them were built in the Tolna and Baranya in the middle of the 19th century after the abolition of serfdom in Hungary.  Following the partitioning of the lands of the estates and domains (through the Urbarial Regulations) the domain received a large portion of the community forest and meadowlands in every village.  By 1860 the land was cleared and the houses of the Administrators of the domains were first erected.  These new landed estates was named after the owner or the old designation for the site:  Apponyi-Puszta or the Nana Moorlands.

  The names of streets provide a valuable contribution to the history of the communities and helps to answer the question of whether a village was a newly founded or built on an old Hungarian site or had been inhabited by Raizen prior to the settling of the Germans.  For example in Gyӧnk both a "Hungarian" and a "German" village exist; in Murga there was a "Slovak Street".  If we find ourselves confronted by a "Kleinhäuslergasse" (the street of the Cotters = families without farmland) as we would in Gyӧnk and Kisdorog we discover first hand evidence of the social structure in the life of the villages.  The designation "Cotters' Street" is a reference to the existence of various social groups among the colonists in the village and they were primarily of two classes:  an older, well established group of farmers and a younger, poorer landless cotter element that had come later after the sessions of land had been distributed.  A surviving document from the year 1742 indicates that in Kisdorog that in addition to the older established people there were new people without land, colonists who moved in later and lived apart from the original settlers on a separate street, the Cotters' Lane.  There are other cases where the homesteads of the farmers are on the site of former ones, as is true in Csibrák and Závod while the Cotters' Street is in the highly shaded northern section of the village.  In Kalaznó the cotters had to dig 35 metres deep to reach water for their wells while the farmers built their homesteads on the valley floor that was much closer to the water table. 

  These cotters or "housed residents" as they were also called, were an element in the population in all of the Domains.  Because there was no land available for them to earn a livelihood they were assigned to work, cultivating the lands of the Domain owner.  This cotter "class" first appeared in the German village of Ladomány in Swabian Turkey in 1735 and from then on they were a regular element in all of the German Hungarian villages.  With regard to the farmers who had a full session of land and those with only a half session they were both counted equal socially but differed in that the those with only a half session worked as day labourers for the Domain and those with full sessions during the major working season of the year during the summer and autumn. 

  For all of that, the customary inheritance practices also affected the original owners of small and smaller parcels of land.  The cherished inheritance custom that the firstborn received the homestead and major portion of the land was well in place in the Banat and southern Swabian Turkey.  The siblings received a quarter or less of the land to survive on and could only expand their holdings through an advantageous marriage or through any future inheritance.

Next: The Farm Homestead and Agricultural Pursuits

[Published at DVHH.org 12 Sep 2011 by Jody McKim Pharr]

 


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