Remembering Our
Danube Swabian Ancestors

Donauschwaben Villages

"Helping Hands"

ďNever underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world.
In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead

 

Sarah Coraggio
Washington, USA

Sathmar
Settlement Coordinator
2018-Present

 

 



"Itís more than names and dates and places Ė itís finding our story."


My family and I live in Washington, my dad was born in Ireland, my mom was born in Cleveland, and both of her parents were both born in Sathmar (Szatmar), Hungary. I thought I knew all about my Hungarian family. I loved hearing my mom and Grama speaking Hungarian. My grandmother emigrated to America as a teenager in 1921 from Hungary, but I found later that sometimes she reported ďRomanianĒ on records Ė and sometimes wrote that her native language was German. German? Wait, what? Why did she leave HungaryÖ or Romania?  Where did her German language come from?  My mom said Grama left because she didnít like what was going on in her country. I thought that was an interesting remark for a teenager to make at that time. What was she thinking? A story I thought I knew turned into a compelling mystery.  

I was always interested in family but didnít catch onto comments my parents made and food they cooked that were clues to what I eventually found. Like many other people who investigate their family origins, I wish I would have asked more when I could have. When my parents passed, I realized how many questions I had!  I scoured diaries, address books and backs of photos for clues (all written in Hungarian).  After hours of transcribing and using a translation program, I finally understood the main ideas. I found people who could find and send records from faraway places for both of my parentsí families. Finally, I found my grandmother and grandfather in Hungary. They and the rest of the family were in the Swabian villages of Schonthal, Wahlei, Darotz, Gilwatsch and Maitingen.  

The great thing about discovering family history, for me, isnít only finding out who my ancestors have been.  Itís more than names and dates and places Ė itís finding our story. I love putting together facts from primary resource research, but also looking at the cultures, traditions, and what was happening in different periods in time. I read anything I can find to help me understand what my ancestors were experiencing in SathmarÖin their village, country and the world.  Itís so interesting to me to build a genuine story about family. Iím so happy that I found this friendly group where we can share our experiences and love for our families. Iíve learned I hope that I can help others the way Iíve been helped.  If you ever have questions, have extra information or just want to chat, feel free to send me an email using the link in the contact registry. Enjoy the site!

~Sarah, Oct 1, 2018
Sathmar Settlement Area

[Published at DVHH.org 30 Sep 2020 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Last updated: 31 Oct 2020