in the Batschka


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 the 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:

1.      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.

2.      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.

3.      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 “Heumattwiese” (meadow).

4.      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.  All 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.

5.      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.

6.      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.

7.      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.

8.      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.

9.      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.

     Specific 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 group.


    At the 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).  For 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. Emigration-Taxes (1 Gulden per male, 45 kr (crown) per female and 10 kr per child were to be paid to the charity box.

  2. A 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.  This 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 council’s protocol.

   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, 1786).

   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.

Translated: September 1996 by Lucas Burger, Mannheim, Germany

[1] 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.

  see the Ratsprotokolle at the Staatarchiv Ulm.




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Last Updated September 09, 2008