Today, brother John and I unearthed (not literally) our final great-grandparent. Yes, we now have a wholly complete set of sixteen. Nobody famous, nobody in any way outstanding, but a selection covering (allowing for changing borders) Hungarian Jewish (one), Romanian Jewish (one) German Jewish (one), Czechoslovakian Jewish (one), Austrian (two), Czechoslovakian (two), and Scottish – oh Scottish! – eight. The whole of our mother’s contribution.
So, here we go. Here they all are. Starting with numbers one and two, the bearers down the years of the Gänzl surname, which, in those days, was spelled Gánsl. Our direct male line. (1) Josef Gánsl, tailor, in the wine-growing village of Mór, Fejér, in Hungary. And (2) his wife Leni, née Lip(p)mann from Temesvár in what is now Romania. The Gánsls were soundly based in Mór and had been for several generations before, I gather, the place was ‘purified’. I’m not sure how Leni got there.
(3) and (4) are the other Jewish branch. Adam Rosenbaum, variously a ‘Kaufmann’ (merchant) in Königsberg and Eger, later a Papierhändler at Opernring 21, Vienna, later a bankrupt … and his wife, Katharina Schwei(t)zer from what is now Nové Sedlo, Czechoslovakia, who lived to the age of 91. And who produced the prolifically blossoming line of the family with which I identify the most closely, including the famous Brüder Rosenbaum, printers and publishers …
|1863. Adam in Eger.|
The next pair are Viennese. (5) Josef Stogetz or Stojetz was latterly a ‘Werkführer at the kk National Bank’, and previously a locksmith. Of his wife, (6) Margarethe Böhm, apart from the fact that she bore a plethora of children (of whom only one survived) before her death aged 36, I haven’t yet discovered any further details. But I’m trying.
|1856. Josef the locksmith.|
And the final European pair are the (nowadays) Czechs. (7) József Baumgartner was from the place now called Zatek, and his wife, (8) Maria König, hailed from I know not where. There is something of a question mark hanging over these two, for they had a four-fold family of their own, but seem to have handed our great-grandmother over for ‘fostering’ by Adalbert Tesar of Vienna. However, said great-grandmother (as Marie Baumgartner-Tesar) confirmed on her wedding certificate that József was her father, and left out reference to her mother. Hmmm. Question mark.
And the sum total of those four couples was our father.
And mother? Well, when our parents’ DNA came to us we nodded sagely at Father’s. A big blob in central Europe.
But were amazed at the diversity in Mother’s! Because to our knowledge, in the last three centuries, nearly everybody on every side of her ancestry belonged to Perthshire, Aberdeenshire and Angus. Rattray, Ballintuim, St Vigeans, Scone, Blairgowrie … In the 17th century one ancestor was running the Black Bull Tavern in Dyce. How does one get more Caledonian?
|Vikings, Arabs ... what is this?|
First come the Welsh or Welch family, (9) Robert and his wife (10) Mary née Taylor. Solidly Scone, and solidly into the tailoring business. For generations. My grandfather’s brother (who was a plumber) lived in the family house at 15 Queen’s Rd, Scone, right up to his death in 1961. Maybe there are Welshes there still!
|Number 15 is second from the right|
They married into the Hudgston (spelt multiple ways) family. (11) David Hudgston (‘heckling machine foreman’) hailed from West Mill Wynd in St Vigeans, and he and his wife (12) Jane Steel née Cramond from Arbroath are my next pair. Yes, our family was heavily into flax and jute, as was a large part of the population of the area. Some made it to foreman or mechanic, some spun, some heckled, but it was flax and its products all the way.
|St Vigeans churchyard|
|East Mill Wynd, St Vigeans|
And finally there were the Morrisons. Linen-warper (15) Alexander, of Kirkmichael and his wife Margaret Howe née McGregor of Rattray. I knew we had to have a Mc in there somewhere. Grandma always told us that our clan was the McGregor and mother even confectioned us shirts in the clan tartan. But it never seemed quite right to me. I’m afraid that, in that way, I am my father’s son. Golden-haired John inherited most of the Scots heritage, black and dramatic Kurt the Jewish. Of course, now neither of us has hair at all.
So, there we are, a complete set, at last. The satisfaction of a stamp collector reigns. Well, it may not be a bundle to set the Maitai River on fire, but it is kind of fun to know about one’s background, of all the elements that came together to result in Kurt Gänzl and John Gallas …