Origin of Family Names in Kaltenstein


 The following information finds its origin in “Festschrift zum 200 Jährigen Jubiläum der evangelischen Kirche in Kaltenstein” published in Veszprem, Hungary in 1989.


  This brief study attempts to unravel the mystery of various family names to be found in Kaltenstein and their probable origins.


  The first six centuries of Kaltenstein’s history from 900 to 1500 remain hidden from us to a great degree.  At that time there was also no such thing as family names as we know them today.  The “first” name simply stood for the person involved and had nothing to do with his relationship to anyone else.  It was only in the High Middle Ages that additions were made to names such as “the second” or given a title.  Often it was a position the person held in the community or their occupation. 


  The first document that exists that identifies the names of the families in Kaltenstein comes from 1546 from the period after the Battle of Mohács.  It was at that time that the fortress of Altenburg was strengthened by the Austrians for possible attack by the Turks.  The Commander was Johann Hardeck and the occupation forces were German-speaking.  German was also the language of the eight hundred subjects in the outlying villages including Kaltenstein and Strasssommerein.  In Kaltenstein their names included:


  Benusch Hausmann

  Georg Thanicker

  Anton Pinkitzer

  Wolf Stelzer

  Marx Zechmaister

  Clement Murrer

  Valtein Rott

  Jakob Lang

  Mathes Stainer

  Kyrein Reyer

  Georg Wallner


  In Strasssommerein there were also the following family names:


  Wurmbm = Wurm

  Pairr = Bayer

  Vischer = Fischer

  Mutt = Muth




  At this time individuals and families moved about a great deal from one village to another and often through marriage.  This listing indicates a population of fifty to sixty persons in each village.  The first names are of German origin:  Wolf = Wolfgang or of Roman and Christian origin:  Marx = Marcus, Benusch = Benedict.


  What were the times like in which they lived?  They were subject serfs of the fortress of Altenburg.  Villages were small.  In Zurndorf for instance there were twenty families.  There was the Great Hunger in 1510, the Peasants War led by Dozsa in 1511.  The three-fold use of land was in effect and livestock were raised.  But the peasant’s focus was not on material things.  Learning to read the Scriptures and the teachings of the Reformation and the opening of schools became the new priorities in their lives.  Even though they felt the heavy hand of Habsburg military might under Ferdinand I they felt insecure because of the threat of their Turkish neighbours who had taken and occupied nearby Raab.  Marauders and disaffected troops plundered, robbed, destroyed and held the peasant population hostage to fear.  Most of the Heidebaurn villages were enclosed by timber fences for defence and the men carried out night patrols.


  The Possessio from 1644 is the second document from the Domain of Altenburg that provides us with family names.  What had transpired between the time of the last report from Altenburg?  The Lutheran Reformation had captured the support of the population.  Over ten thousand soldiers now served as the garrison at the fortress.  In 1594 the Turks had overrun the entire Heideboden.  They left destroyed villages behind and wasted fields.  By 1644 the fortress was strengthened once more and the villages were rebuilt.  But who were the people that did it?  Obviously those who had gone into hiding and survived as well as new settlers as the names indicate in the Possessio document.   The following heads of families are identified in Kaltenstein:


  Thomas Stelczer

  Gregorius and Adreas Muhr

  Ambrosius Muhr

  Thomas Pinketzer

  Vitus Danicker

  Matthaeus Chechmaster

  Gregorius Daninker

  Christof Muhr

  Martinus Steltzer

  Christof Steltzer

  Blasius Ratt (could be Rott)

  Gregorius Schneider


  We know that the areas not occupied by the Turks in Western Hungary (Burgenland) and Slovakia developed into areas where people migrated and the town and village populations increased including Kaltenstein.  And new families now begin to appear who have been given sessions of land:


  Christophorus Botter

  Gregorius, Simon and Thomas Hauczinger

  Matthaeus Peckh

  Thomas Huetflus

  Matthaeus Fischer (Could be a Vischer from Strasssommerein)

  Abraham Heckh

  Andreas Bierleiher

  Joachim Gross

  Rupertus Daschner

  Johannes Gregorius Fleischacker

  Michael Saltzer

  Simon Fischer

  Lauren Macher

  Matthaeus Gross

  Gregorius Grass

  Gallus Pamer

  Philippus Schmickl

  Marcus Marx


  There were also additional new cotters who were without land:


  Wolfgang Salamon

  Matthaeus Schuesser

  Johannes Holczer

  Joannes Hierschinger

  Martinus Ranner

  Augustinius Seubalt

  Blasius Ratt (Rott)

  Joannes Lienhardt

  Matthaeus Khardni

  Paulus Raisinger

  Stephanus Marcus

  Gregorius Stattner

  Sebaldus Matern

  Paulus Pinter

  Adam Grass

  Peter Schmauser

  Christof Steltzer

  Gregorius Plambtritt

  Andreas Schnaider


  There were other who were simply described as residents:


  Bartholo Daschner

  Gregorius Pinter

  Joannes Griessell

  Johannes Schueb

  Matthaeus Grass

  Thomas Rhatt

  Andreas Schmauser

  Matthaeus Pameker

  Salomonis Ranner

  Jacobus Grass

  Joannes Dasch

  Blasius Wennes

  Jakobi Raiff

  Christof Gebhart

  Martinus Grass

  Matthaeus Eckher

  Gregorius Schneider

  Sebaldus Schuesser

  Joannes Perckhamer

  Gallius Schuistor

  Blassius Wiessinger


  Historians suggest that the newcomers came from Lower Austria which is in close proximity to the Heideboden following the Turkish Wars in the 17th  Century.  But Lower Austria, above all the areas south and east of Vienna, had many abandoned farms of its own after the Turks rampaged through it and took 10,000 inhabitants with them as slaves and the area was in need of settlers itself.  It is far more likely that they came from Upper Austria, the Steiermark and the Upper Palatinate (Franconia).


  By mid-1600 the population of Kaltenstein expanded to sixty families with some two to three hundred inhabitants.  What was the reason behind this increase?  The answer may have something to do with the fact that Kaltenstein, Ragendorf, Nickelsdorf, Zurndorf, Strasssommerein and Pallersdorf all became part of the Emperor’s Domains in 1636.  That would be an incentive for settlers to seek safety there because of the security provided by the presence of the Imperial military forces at Altenburg.  There were also religious reasons behind the migration on the part of Lutheran refugees seeking sanctuary in the Heideboden which was known to be a stronghold of Lutheranism.


  During the canonical visitation of 1696 the Archdeacon of Wieselburg reported that the total population of Kaltenstein was 469 inhabitants.  There were 300 Lutherans and 169 Roman Catholics.  This despite the fact that Lutheranism had officially been “wiped out” in Hungary at the height of the Counter Reformation in the closing decades of the 17th Centrry.  His report with regard to Strasssommerein indicated a population of 629 of whom 364 were Lutherans and 265 were Roman Catholic.  While in Zurndorf with a total population of 1,032 there were 733 Lutherans and 299 Roman Catholics.


  Several researchers from Vienna have indicated that there is strong evidence that a steady stream of Lutheran refugees entered the Heideboden in the area around the Neusiedler Sea at the beginning of the 18th Century.  They indicate that at that time the pro-Roman Catholic Habsburgs had very little influence in Western Hungary or Lower Austria and the Steiermark.  For that reason the Heideboden became a sanctuary for these religious refugees for several decades.  This had both a religious and cultural impact on the region.  They were Germans from the Alpine hereditary lands in Austria that found sanctuary in the southern part of the Heideboden and there they blended in with the existing populations. Along the eastern shore of the Neusiedler Sea an influx of Lutheran refugees from the Bishopric of Constance (Upper Swabia) began to arrive earlier.  This was not a mass migration but rather they arrived in small or extended family groups to avoid detection and were scattered in many of the different villages and did not influence the basic character of the local Heidebauren.  They came from the vicinity of the city of Ravensburg and the villages and towns of Isny, Lindau, Wangen, Tettnang and Saülgau and adjacent communities.


  The increase in population in the overwhelmingly Lutheran communities of Zurndorf, Nickelsdorf, Kaltenstein, Strasssommerein and especially Gols can also be attributed to the arrival of numerous families from the Voralberg region of Austria.  This can be substantiated from various sources that speak of a major migration from there at that time that indicate who they were and where they came from.  The local church Chronicles give specific evidence in this regard.  Taking all of these groups into account there were several thousand Lutheran refugees who found sanctuary in the Heideboden.


  From these various backgrounds we are able to determine the origins of some of the families by their names.  The names Nitsch and Nitschinger occur in the Kaltenstein church records 97 times.  They are  of Swabian origin and later they would be corrupted into Nics and Nix in some church records in a later period when they were recorded in Hungarian.  The name Hautzinger which later became Hauczinger in Hungarian record keeping was of Upper Swabian origin as well.  The name Schmeltzer and its variations can be traced to the area around Ravensburg on Lake Constance.  The other names that are common in the Kaltenstein church records are of Bavarian-Austrian-Franconian origin and are descendants of the original Heidebauern. Some of the most common are Allacher, Dürr, Geistlinger, Reifmesser, Limpp, Bosch, Leinwetter, Lunzer, Grundner, Wendelin, Zechmaister, Rosenberger, Rumpeltess (Rumpler), Pfann, Falb, Gangl, Fink, Hirschmann, Schiessler, Laass, Zinnitsch, Limbacher, Preiner, Weissdorn, Riener, Heinz, Tischler, Bahr, Kellner, Eder, Hauptmann, Weber, Weiss, Schmickl, Wiedemann (48 times) and Zimmermann (32 times) and Fischer (93 times).


  It is rather phenomenal that some of the family names to be found in the documents of 1546 and 1644 still appear in the listing of the members of the Lutheran congregation in Kaltenstein in 1721!  The Richter was Andreas Schmickl and the other Council members were Fiellip Danicker, Hanss Steltzer, Andtre Muhr, Lorentz Steltzer, Gerig Gross, Georig Schmickl and Mathiass Steltzer.  (None of these were refugees from outside of the Heideboden.)  The names Schmickl and Schmausser appeared in the document from 1644.  The name Schmickl would result in a very large extended family in Kaltenstein and the immediate area while the name Schmausser would become associated with the new settlement of Bikács in Tolna County where many of the other families from the Heideboden migrated in the early part of the 18th Century.  Many others migrated to the new settlements in Pusztavám, Gyӧrkӧny and Lajoskomárom.  The tax conscription list for 1720 indicate that there were 107 families in the community.  While another source reports that there were 700 inhabitants in 1713.


  The Possessio of 1732 there are references to the Schmickl and Smauzer families as well as Hutfles, Hong, Nicz (Nitsch), Tulner, Mur ((Muhr), Schmicker, Holpauer, Groff (Graf), Cwickel, Taninger, Wesuckner, Lehner, Weth, Solczer (Salzer) Stelzer, Smickel and Wajsz (Weiss).  On the other hand the following other names appear in the Kaltenstein church records in 1736:  Hoffbauer, Reicher or Riecker, Lechner, Rath, Hake, Tullner, Dӧgn, Limbacher, Pagessam, Buechler, Hagn, Schmӧlzer, Gangl, Kastler, Pauret, Schiebinger, Weiss, Däscht, Pamer, Dumpf, Schmickl, Mayrim, Wallner, Wӧber, Trӧscherin (Rosina) Niczinger, Praimagen.  In the Possessio only the families that had sessions of land are listed; cotters and day labourers are not included.


  The population in the Heideboden were very mobile and families spread out in all kinds of directions.  The Schmickl and Stelzers remained a major extended family in Kaltenstein while as mentioned previously the Schmaussers moved on to Bikács.  The Pingitzer family migrated to Strasssommerein and the Muhrs went on to Zanegg.  As a result some family names died out in Kaltenstein such as Tuyrner, Schuh, Lentsch, Tusch, Reiber, Maar, Hallmann, Halbpauer, Wenhardt, Grossbauer, Stäptmann, Turnwirth and Hauswirt.


  But there are also new family names that appeared in the Kaltenstein.  The Hofbauer family were of Bavarian/Austrian origin.  The name Pamer which is common throughout the Heideboden is of Bavarian origin.  There were variations such as Baumer and Pirnpamer.  Schmickl is also Bavarian in origin as well as variations of the name.  Gangl is either of Bavarian or Austrian origin.  Schrӧdl is a short form of Schrӧder = Schneider and shares a common origin in Barvaria or western Austria.  The Allachers were “those who lived by the creek” an indication that they originated in the Voralberg area of Alpine Austria.  The Salzer family name indicates their origins were in Bavaria.  The name Preiner is common in both Bavaria and Moravia.   The name Rumpeltess could be of Silesian, Saxon, Bavarian or Austrian origin.  Falb is a corruption of “Falbe” the Central German word for blonde and the name Fanzler shares the same origin.  The name Fischer which was so common in Kaltenstein had its origins in the Alpine regions of Austria.  Grundtner is another example of a Swabian name.  The Gross family had their origins in Bavaria.


  The Tullner family name appears to have its origins in Austria.  While Tischler and Weiss find their origins in Bavaria and eastern Austria.  The Zechmaister family had its origins to the north in the Carpathian Mountain mining region of Zips County.

3 Responses to “ Origin of Family Names in Kaltenstein ”

  1. Robert I. Moore says:

    We are looking for information on Joseph Mohr and his wife Sophia (maiden name unknown). Both are believed to be from Swabia area.

  2. Steven Lechner says:

    Looking for information on Lechner family from Kassa Hungary now Kosice, Slovakia

  3. Justine Riener-Heinrichsberg says:

    I am from a historically german-speaking city in Canada called Kitchener, which was previously named Berlin. My great-grandfather was Matthias Riener and was born in Timisoara in then Hungary on Feb 24, 1830. I assume he was a Banat Swabian and perhaps a Lutheran. He came to Canada, settling in Berlin with his wife Maria Novak and children in 1876. He was a tailor and follower of Emanuel Swedenborg and so attended our local New Jerusalem Church. I wonder if he had been exposed to the writings of Swedenborg in Timisoara or if he converted once in Canada.

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