Thursday, January 11, 2018

Books in the blood

I have always, since an early age, been connected with writing and books. My juvenilia were published in the New Zealand press, and even in some Enid Blyton magazine (I forget which), my first slim volume of drama was published when I was seventeenish … which must be about the same age that the work of my poet brother, the now celebrated John Gallas, was unleashed on the world. It was just something we ‘always did’, alongside music, athletics, theatre … I blame our Jewish ancestry.

Well, I took an initial turn towards music and theatre, and notably musical theatre, and was in my late twenties before, thanks to my mentor Ian Bevan, I again began writing seriously. The bulging result can be seen on amazon or Wikipedia.

John has gone from prize to prize and volume to volume, and to the very top of his tree.

 Strange, in a way. None of our immediate family was a writer. Great-grandfather Stojetz penned lengthy ‘Social Democratic’ and ‘Naturfreund’ pieces for the devoted Viennese press, but …

It wasn’t until I dug further into our ancestry that the books in the background started to appear, notably through our great-grandmother’s connection with the famous Rosenbaum publishing and printing family of Vienna.

 But today I found another author, also on the Jewish side of our family, to whom we are related. Admittedly only by marriage. So far, he is only a name to me, but I shall work on it.

Israel Gánsl of Mór, Fejér, Hungary had four sons. Abraham Hirsch otherwise Hermann (1800), Josef (1807), Ignáz (1813) and Fulop (1817). Josef’s grandson, also Josef, was my grandfather. But the big boy of the family was eldest son, Hermann. In the church registers, he can be seen godfathering and circumcising a wide circle of local children. His son, Mór or Moritz also took a prominent place in similar circles, and himself gave birth to five daughters and finally one son, Aladár (1886).

I haven’t yet discovered why, but Aladár changed his name from Gánsl (just as my father did), and called himself Aladár Gáspár, so that his daughter was born Julianna Gáspár (1930). And Julianna married a gentleman named Miklós Marót. Who, unless I have muddled my Miklóses, is the author of the standard guidebook to Budapest.

He is apparently also the father of Edit Tüske, and Ezster Marót and the grandfather of Annamária Adrienn Tüske, who, if they are still around, would be the first living descendants of the Gánsls of Mór, apart from John and myself, whom I have ever tracked down.

Hello, cousins! 

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