Danube Swabian Community
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

Villages Helping Hands

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors


Settlement Area Coordinators

Last Updated: 27 Feb 2021


Banat McKim Pharr, Jody
Banat Tullius, Nick
Banat Leeb, Alex
Batschka Bauer, Dennis
PA, USA [2006->]
Bulgaria Vetter, Rose
  Laigep, Anton
Sofia, BGR [2013->
Hungarian Highlands Vogl, Lillien
  Chrisbacher, Ernest
NJ, USA [2008->]
Sathmar Coraggio, Sarah
WA, USA [2018->]
Swabian Turkey Fischer, Henry
ONT, CAN [2006->]
Syrmia Brown, Eve
MI, USA [2007->]


Sathmar Settlement Area Coordinator



"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 HungaryÖor 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, October 1, 2018
Sathmar Settlement Area



Hungarian Highlands Regional Coordinator


Lillien Vogl

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

Lilien Vogl was born in Chicago, Illinois and moving to suburbia when she was 4 years old.  She always knew she was different than others in her neighborhood.  German was spoken at home and some of her earliest memories involved attending German picnics and Oktoberfest celebrations.  Her father she learned was born in Hungary.  Her mother born in Serbia but why did they speak German? 

After retiring, a trip to Europe visiting relatives uncovered an account by an aunt of the Vogl family journey - leaving Hungary in the middle of the night in December 1944, becoming refugees in Germany and the eventual settlement of half the family in Chicago and the rest in Germany.  Lil was bit by the genealogy bug after visiting Salt Lake City family history library and finding a copy of her grandparentís birth certificates in the small village of Lokut, Veszprem county, Hungary. 

Since then she has traced her family back to the 1750ís in Hungary and made numerous DNA and family tree connections even taking a 3rd cousin on a trip to Hungary with her -visiting relatives including the mayor of her ancestral village.   

After extensively studying this side of the family she found her maternal grandfatherís family were ďDonauschwabenĒ settling first in Tolna county, Hungary in the 1720ís and eventually moving to Bosnia in the late 1890ís.   

Although new to genealogy her passion is to use her BS in Genetics to connect with relations and assist in adding to their family trees as well as understanding how history played a role in her familyís migration.

Hungarian Highlands Settlement Area


Published 13 Jun 2016 at DVHH.org by Jody McKim Pharr


Last Updated: 26 Oct 2020

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