The Colonial Families of Sekitsch
By Friedrich Lotz
Published by the author himself in 1932.
Printed by Heinrich Pleeß in Novi Vrbas.
The Settlement History of
Community of Sekitsch
On March 13, 1786, Emperor Josef II
announced that the “Kameralprädium Szikity” in the Bacska (Batschka) would
be used for the settlement of German immigrants (deutsche Reichseinwanderer).
The word Kameralprädium describes a Pußta, or unplowed grasslands owned
by the government and leased to local butchers and animal dealers for grazing
their herds. Occasionally, leases
were granted to tenants from remote areas like Novi Sad, Osijek, and Vienna.
Once a Pußta was designated for settlement, leases were cancelled and
leaseholders had to vacate the Pußta, which was then surveyed and boundary
markings were established. At this
time the Prädium Szikity was severed from the Bacs-Topola precinct, (and the
colonization process began).
Agriculture was carried out on a three-field-planting-system with the use
of arable land rotating between summer harvest, winter planting, and dormant. Each field was divided into two equal sections which were
then subdivided into parallel parcels (Gewannen).
Pastures were sectioned off and new village plans were formed which
included details on streets, individual house lots, threshing sites (Trettplätze),
vineyards, water ponds, roads, and the cemetery. The engineer then drafted a map of the settlement, showing
the geometric proportions of the new district (Hotterkarte).
The map showed that 210 farmers would settle in the Sekitsch district,
each receiving 18 “Joch” (yoke) (@ 1100 square?) of arable land and 10 4/8
“Joch” of pasture. The map
illustrated the sites of house lots and farm lands for the notary public,
minister, school teacher, local administrator (Ispan), village inn (Herrschaftswirtshaus)
and the butcher shop (Fleischbank).
The government administration (Kameralverwaltung) in Sombor was
responsible for preparations for the territorial colonization.
Farmers from neighboring villages were required to assist
with plowing fields, hauling building materials, transporting window and
door frames, providing reed for thatched roofs, digging wells and building
several houses, including the village inn.
At the same time a zealous recruitment campaign was introduced in Germany
and in Alsace-Lorraine, France, with the recruitment under the responsibility of
the three commissars: Metternich, Röthlein, and Blanck who directed 44 agents/
recruiters. Two documents were used
for the colonization: the Settlement Patent published on September 21, 1782 and
the “Belehrung” (instructions) published on September 15, 1785. Recruitment
for Sekitsch was conducted by the instructions under the title: “Information
about the advantages and conditions established for the settlement of immigrants
from Germany and other provinces to the imperial Hungarian colonies for the year
1785”. The two part document
contained specific conditions in the first part and “most highly granted
advantages” in the second part.
Prospective immigrants, according to the “Belehrung” (instructions),
were obligated to register with one of the three settlement commissars located
at either Frankfurt am Main, Rothenburg am R., or at other pre-appointed
gathering sites. At these sites the
immigrants were provided with travel permits.
Heads of households were responsible for the acquisition of birth and
marriage certificates for members of their household. Immigration requests by sick, elderly, and individuals
without means were rejected by the settlement commissars.
The Settlement Patent of September 21,
1782, handed down by Eimann and published by Jauß in his “Ortsgeschifte”
(local history), was regarded as the guideline for Emperor Josef II’s
colonization. This document,
covering entitlements, stated that the colonists would receive decent,
“spacious, as regionally customary” new homes, adequate grounds, required
draft and breeding animals and travel money.
The instructions, on the other hand, gave a detailed account of all the
settlement privileges. The
unpublished instructions had a significant meaning for the Yugoslavian
settlement of Germans during the time of Emperor Josef II.
Some of the most important points were:
In Vienna each colonist was issued a 2 fl. (florin) per head allowance
for traveling expenses. In Pest
(Budapest), an additional 1 fl. Per head and, upon arrival at his destination,
another 1 fl.
Those settling as farmers on property owned by the crown were issued
homes which included a bedroom, chamber, vaulted kitchen with chimney, stable
and a shed.
Husbandmen received a whole, half, quarter, or eighth domicile of
farmland, meadow, and pasture in the Bacs precinct, depending on the proximity
to the village. These consisted of
32 , 34, 36, and 39 “Joch” (yokes) of acreage, each 1200 square
“Klafter” (fathoms) and 22 “Tagwerk” (day’s work) of
Each colonist was issued a pair of oxen or horses for tilling the soil, a
cow with rack-wagon and farming tools, a plow, and harrow.
equipment was issued free of charge and as inheritable possessions.
In addition, they would be free from government tax (Herrschaftszinsen),
common fees and compulsory labor for 10 years.
Individuals coming from the same village, who were related or good
friends would not be separated. If
possible, all would be settled in the same village or in a neighboring village.
Those sharing the same religion or language were settled in the same area
where a minister could serve them and where a school master could teach in their
native tongue. Health needs were
attended to by the district surgeon.
In planting of fields, a new arrival who worked a whole “Session”
(farm) was given 22 “Preßburger Metzen” of seed and those working a half
Session were given 15. They had
three years to repay the seed expense.
If a family’s living quarters were not completed, they would be settled
temporarily and free of charge in royal buildings, farms, or convents.
Adults were allotted 2 kr. (crowns) a day plus ½ Preßburger Metzen of
wheat per month. Children were
allotted 1 kr. a day and ¼ Preßburger Metzen of wheat per month.
Firewood was also supplied.
Those who were not farmers, handymen, or skilled tradesmen were issued
homes, but not farmland or meadows, and were entitled to the same 10-year tax
free status. Professionals, skilled
tradesmen and factory managers received the same privileges.
Printed examples of the instructions were read and explained to the
colonists by the commissioners. In
his closing remarks to the instructions the commissioner announced that, based
on the above mentioned conditions, he would accept those colonists whose names,
place of birth and country were listed as husbandmen or skilled craftsmen.
details about the immigration of colonial ancestors remains unknown at this
time. Intensive research in
German archives would be necessary to reveal factual information about this
time of the colonization, the former district of Ulm included not only the
municipality of this imperial free city, but encompassed a territory of
approximately 790 km. with about 40,000 inhabitants.
The magistrate’s office (Obervogtamt) of Geisslingen with the regional
administration of Stetten, Böhringen, Nellingen, and Barmeringen were located
in this areawhich also included the chief offices (Oberämter) of Leipheim,
Allbeck, Langenau, and the offices at Pfuhl, Riedsaum, Lonsee, Stubersheim, and
Süßen. Ulm carried out its
control over these offices through the government board (Herrschafts-Pflegeamt).
There was an upper and a lower “Herrschaft” difference.
The first was governed by the chief magistrate (Obervogt) of Geißlingen
and the latter by the chief official (Oberamtmann) of Langenau and the Obervogt
of Allbeck. During Emperor Josef
II’s era, emigration from farms, hamlets, parishes and filial villages of the
Ulm district (i.e. Landstädten) began relatively late.
On April 29, 1785 the city council granted emigration permission to
master weaver Johann Ilg from Kuchen, “Amt Süßen”, and his family (wife
and 5 children), with the hope that no others would follow.”
The council directed Ilg to report to the “Herrschaft-Pflegeamt” to
remit a departure fee (Abzugsgebühr).
this first case of emigration none of the board members were able to determine
the amount to be paid. It was
finally decided at the board meeting (Ratssitzung) 0f May 30, 1785, that the fee
structure in the edict of December 19, 1759, would be used as follows:
(1 Gulden per male, 45 kr (crown) per female and 10 kr per child were to be
paid to the charity box.
property tax (Vermögen-Nachsteuer) of ten percent and manumission tax (for
release from serfdom) of 8 Gulden per person was payable to the state.
The council announced that emigrants who might wish to return would not
be accepted back in the district of Ulm.
decision was not upheld, as numerous examples including laborer (Taglöhner)
Georg Wagner, carpenter Georg Vetter from Großsüßen, Andreas Gansloser from Süßen,
Johann and Michael Klement, two shepherds from Gingen, Daniel Wittlinger from
Radelsstetten, master weaver Georg Groll and laborer Jakob Schmidt from Gingen,
returned in October 1986, and all were accepted back in grace (in Gnade).
It was also decreed that the office (Kanzlei) would issue the colonists
passports and the parishes marriage certificates to those who were married and
birth certificates to those who were single.
Individuals desiring to emigrate were obligated to submit to the
“Oberamt” a petition for release from serfdom stating the reason for
emigration. The offices forwarded
these petitions to the city council of Ulm for discussion.
Unfortunately, these petitions no longer exist.
Only a few notations about the discussions have been preserved in the
The first Sekitsch colonist to receive an emigration permit (June 3,
1785) was master mason Johann Georg Haug, his wife and 5 children who emigrated
from Gingen. He was followed by:
Johann Bürkel (September 12, 1785), Georg Klaus (September 14, 1785), Jakob
Ziegler (February 17, 1786), Johann Michael Leibold (February 27, 1786), Simon
Öchsle (March 6, 1786), Georg Rapp (March 22, 1786), Wilhelm Gottfried Schmidt
(March 24, 1786), Johann Siehler (March 27, 1786), Andreas Lohrmann (March 31,
1786), Johann Georg Seyfang (March 31, 1786), Matthias Fetzer (May 5, 1786),
Georg Unselt ((May 5, 1786), the three Fetzer brothers: Leonhardt, Georg, and
Michael (July 5, 1786), Lukas Rieß (July 5, 1786), Lukas Hommel (July 12,
1786), Margaretha Bär (July 12, 1786) and Johann Georg Lohrmann (August 4,
The colonists traveled by “Odinari Schiff” (also known as the
“Ulmer Schachtel”), a boat that departed each week on Saturday from Ulm to
Vienna. For the first time the colonists met others who were settling
in Sekitsch. The “Schwäbische
Chronik”, a supplement to the “Schwäbische Merkur”, reports in No. 14 of
1786, “a lot of people from different countries are again coming to Ulm this
year and plan to settle in the hereditary Austrian lands.”
This time people came not only from the Palatinate, Lorraine and Alsace,
but also from Fürstenberg and even some subjects of the “Stift Konztanz”.
Merkur No. 17 of 1786 reports, “this May such a huge number of people
who are moving to Gallizien and Hungary came together, that in addition to the
regular weekly boat, to accommodate all these immigrants down the Danube, one or
two additional boats departed.
The colonists travel took them from Vienna to Ofen (Budapest) and on to
Sombor, where they reported to the government administration (Kameral-Administration)
installed by Grassalkovik in 1763 across from the market place.
The building is still in place today.
In the treasurer’s office (Rentsamt-Kanzlei) they were informed, for
the first time, that they would be settled in Sekić.
Each family was given a numbered provisions
booklet (Verpflegsbüchlein) and a billeting card.
The treasury (Rentenamt) placed great importance on the welfare of the
colonists and the settlers found this solicitude comforting.
The royal government (Kameralherrschaft) thus convinced the colonists of
its goodwill and at the same time established its authority.
The fragrance of Spring and the blossoms on the
spacious plains of the Bacska (Batschka), on a beautiful day in May greeted the
Sekitsch colonists as they were assigned houses and fields.
Up to this time they were housed in different villages and felt uprooted.
As they were able to take control of their own house, property, animals
and equipment, for the first time they felt at home.
Their participation in the economical and cultural development of the
Backsa (Batschka) had begun.
September 1996 by Lucas Burger, Mannheim, Germany
At this point the author
explains that his research is based on documents found in the city archives of
Ulm. He indicates that further
information concerning the colonist’s migration may be found in the archives
of Freiburg i.B., Regensburg, Frankfurt a.M., as well as the public archives of
Speyer, Munich, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, and Ludwigsburg.
the Ratsprotokolle at the Staatarchiv Ulm.