At 82, Martha's motto is
"Don’t give up—do it now!!!"
Rose Mary Keller Hughes
Published at DVHH.org 26 May 2007 by
Jody McKim Pharr
How many times have we heard of Martha Connor and the dedication she and her husband, Bob, devoted to transcribing the 1828 Hungarian Land Census? How many times have we relied on their skills to find out more about our heritage and our ancestors? Due to the modesty of our subject, this is not a definitive interview, however, it will give some substance to the person we all feel we know.
Where were you born, Martha, and what was your schooling?
I was born in the Bronx section of New York City 82 years ago. High School was the highest school I attended.
What are your interests, your hobbies . . . ?
I enjoy sewing, rock hounding, and the making of jewelry in the early morning hours.
Tell us a bit about your husband, Bob . . .
We were married 58 years when he died in January of 2007. Bob and I both worked on the 1828 Hungarian Land Census books—I did the research and he typed the data in our computer. When the children left home, we felt we had to do something interesting. It was a hobby for us. I can’t stress how important that is—it was a hobby.
Have you done research and family history on your own roots? What got you started?
Bob’s Uncle Beany Connor was worried that no one was doing and recording the Connor family history. Bob’s heritage was all Early Americana. Family history is one giant jigsaw puzzle! We encountered many brick walls—so many records were destroyed. My cousin Martha, who was born in Nemci, Szerem County, was one of the first bits of research for me. There were all kinds of brick walls in researching my family because they moved so many times—but, that also made it interesting! Where there was work that is where they moved.
What led you to doing the census records of the Donauschwaben?
I found the 1828 Hungarian Land Census and searched for my ancestors in one book. I had a friend at the LDS Library in Salt Lake City and asked if I could make the films into easily readable books. He gave a resounding “YES!” and so the project was born. No one had done anything like that before.
When did you start this hobby, Martha?
I started when I was 65 years old.
Wow, Martha! I can’t imagine being devoted to a project for 17 years that benefited others! You are the Donauschwaben Researcher’s dream!
We know that you do the extractions, Martha, and that Bob did the computer input.
Yes, it’s been real teamwork. The books were microfilmed and are available at the LDS Family History Centers.
Approximately how much time must you devote to extracting the information of one county?
Sometimes it takes me over a year to put one county book together. No one subsidizes this hobby. As I said before, IT IS A HOBBY! [Emphasis by Martha.]
Martha, if you were to create a family crest, what would be in it?
A plow, a hand holding a musket, and a river [that’s the Danube in the crest—we thought it was appropriate.]
I don’t think we need to have the crest explained, Martha; it is very meaningful.
Have you been able to return or visit your ancestral village?
We have never had the time to visit Hungary. I guess it was the impression that it was still there.
What advice would you give to others who plan to visit their heritage village?
If you can afford to travel there, GO!
What has been your most remarkable find in your familial research?
My relatives were the most remarkable find. THEY SURVIVED many things—they were strong! I have met relatives and heard their stories. They were fighters all their lives. They are all heroes and heroines.
Do you have a special family hero or heroine?
My cousin Martha became my heroine when she and her parents evaded the Russians.
Do you have a motto you live by, Martha?
Don’t give up—do it now!!!
If you were confined to only one tip you might give a fellow researcher, what would it be?
DO IT NOW—memories fade too quickly.
Martha, what would you say to someone contemplating doing family research?
Genealogy researching has been wonderful. Our ancestors were there and they survived!
And so we come to the end of our interview with a most phenomenal woman . . . a woman who has dedicated a good part of her retirement years to helping other genealogical researchers... and for this we are forever indebted to Martha R. Connor of Las Vegas, Nevada. Whenever you use the 1828 Hungarian Land Census, give thanks to Martha and Bob Connor who made it possible.
Martha makes five copies at a time to replenish her stock. Her prices range according to the changes in the cost of photocopying and Post Office costs. You can find the list of her books at:
Ancestors from Neu Verbasz and Nijemci, Batschka; and Torschau, Banat. Surnames: Breitwieser, Waidmann, Remer, Ott, Losch, Korell and more.
Note: Martha died in 2015.
Notice posted 2013:
For ordering information
contact Mrs. Connor's daughter:
DVHH.org 30 Sep 2020 by Jody McKim Pharr]
19 Jul 2021