Name: Layas Wittik
Change Date: 18 AUG 2002
Birth: in Tarpa, Bereg megye, Austria-Hungary
Note: The given name is sometimes spelled "LAJOS." Wittik may be the Austrian or German spelling, Vittik or Vitik or Vitig the Hungarian spelling. The Hungarians would write the name as "Vittik Layas."
INFORMATION ON THE HOMELAND AND ANCESTORS OF VILMOS VITTIK AND MARISKA MARGIT NAGY [William Wittik & Mary Margaret Nagy]
Lineage of Vilmos Vittik and Mariska Marget Nagy:
| Agnes Lincz
| Sandor Nagy
Mariska Marget Nagy ----------|
William Wittik and Mary Margaret Nagy were born in the eastern part of the Hungarian portion of Austria-Hungary. The following information, most of which was written on a small sheet of thin cardboard, was provided by Mariska M. (Nagy) Wittik/Vittik:
Village Megye Event Person Notes
Or City [County]
------------ ------- ----- ------ -----
Tarpa Bereg birth Layas Wittik Father of Vilmos Wittik
Frigyesfalva* Bereg birth Agnes Lincz Mother of Vilmos Wittik
Frigyesfalva* Bereg birth Sendor Nagy Father of Mariska Nagy
Frigyesfalva* Bereg birth Ida Teisz Mother of Mariska Nagy
Kis Palad Szatmar birth Vilmos Wittik Husband of Mariska Nagy
Frigyesfalva* Bereg birth Mariska M. Nagy
Munkacs marriage Vilmos Wittik & Mariska Nagy
Munkacs Vilmos & Mariska "Lived near"
Kassa visits Vilmos & Mariska
*Frigyesfalva [meaning Fredericksdorf or Fredericksburg] was renamed "Klenovci" after the breakup of the Austria/Hungarian Empire.
It is interesting to note that Vilmos and Mariska were married in the Catholic Church August 2, 1903 in Munkacs, [now Mukachevo, Ukraine], and, according to Ida Wittik's notes, "Came to America Aug. 1903". A search of the Ellis Island on-line database showed no entries for surname "Wittik", but did show one record for "Vittik, Vilmos", for August 18, 1903, on the Kaiser Wilhelm II. This ship departed from Bremen on August 5, 1903, just 3 days after their marriage.
The following description of the ship is given on the Ellis Island website:
"Built by Vulkan Shipyards, Stettin, Germany, 1903. 19,361 gross tons; 707 (bp) feet long; 72 feet wide. Steam quadruple expansion engines, twin screw. Service speed 23 knots. 1,118 passengers (775 first class, 343 second class,).
"Built for North German Lloyd, German flag, in 1903 and named Kaiser Wilhem (sic.) II. Bremerhaven-New York service service (sic.). Laid up at New York at the start of the World War I in 1914. Seized in 1914 and USS Agamemnon. Troopship service. Laid up in 1919 and renamed Monticello. Scrapped at Baltimore in 1940."
A picture labeled "Bremen", possibly the Kaiser Wilhelm II, was on page 2 of the December 6, 1935 Newark Evening News. A pictorial booklet of the NORDDEUTSCHER LLOYD BREMEN SCHNELLPOSTDAMPFER KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE exists. This booklet shows photos of the interior of the liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie, part of the Bremen fleet that included Kaiser Wilhelm II and two other ships.
On the transcribed text version of the ship manifest the "Ethnicity" of Vilmos Vittik was listed as "Hungarian, Slovak", the "Date of Arrival" was "August 18, 1903", his "Age on Arrival" was "25y", his "Gender" was "M", "Marital Status" was listed as "S" [Single], "Ship of Travel" was "Kaiser Wilhelm II" and "Point of Departure" was "Bremen, Germany". The actual manifest, however, shows his marital status as "mar."
As to the above ethnicity, there is no letter "W" in the Hungarian alphabet, so the surname of Vilmos was probably "Vitik", "Vittik", "Vittig", or some variation thereof. A search through various sources does not reveal any Hungarians with that surname. However, the name is occasionally found in Austria, so some of Vilmos' ancestors might have been of Germanic origins, although he proudly characterized himself as "Hungarian, not Slav." [Personal conversation]. There is no doubt, however, that the name "Nagy" is thoroughly Hungarian.
Although Vilmos Vittik's name appears in the Ellis Island database at www.EllisIsland.org, his wife's name does not appear in the entire database. I also searched every name on the manifest images of the August 18, 1903 arrival of the Kaiser Wilhelm II and did not find anything resembling a Mariska Marget Nagy Wittik (or Vittik). According to verbal information (received from either Mariska or Ida), Vilmos first came to America to find a job, then brought his wife back with him. I do not know whether he returned to Hungary to fetch Mariska, if he simply sent for her, or if she actually traveled with Vilmos to the new world. This may or may not answer the question as to why her name does not appear on the August 18, 1903 passenger list. It is our recollection that she spoke of passing through Ellis Island, so this remains a mystery.
It has been said that 12 million immigrants entered this country through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. In memory of Vilmos and Mariska Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Brown in 1985 were contributor number 9093-065-07922 to the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., Lee A. Iacocca Chairman and Gerald R. Ford Cochairman.
Vilmos became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America on January 8, 1923 at Newark, NJ, (petition, Volume 21, Number 4855, Certificate of Naturalization No. 1749910). He worked for STERLING LEATHER WORKS (TANNERS AND CURRIERS), Newark, NJ, but eventually lost his job. The 1930 census lists his occupation as "Leather Worker."
Mariska attended evening English classes October 18, 1909 through March 22, 1910. Two composition books exist that show her achievements. The 1930 census shows her status as "Alien."
Hungary has had a rather complicated and turbulent history. In the 5th to 9th century the people who would migrate to their present location were known as the "On-Ogur" (i.e., meaning the "Ten Arrows"), from the Slavonic pronunciation of which the name "Hungarian" is derived. Their past is one of conquering and being conquered. The Magyars conquered the lands of others and took slaves about 900 AD. Ecclesiastical intrigue by the Byzantine and Roman elements of Christendom to force their particular version of corrupt "Christendom" on the populace, and internal political intrigue characterized the instability and ruthlessness of the day. And, lest we forget, the people were ravaged in 1241 AD by the Mongolian army.
During the lives of the parents of Vilmos Wittik and Mariska M. Nagy the Seven Weeks' War of 1866 took place and the Austro-Hungarian Compromise joining the two countries went into effect. During the lives of Vilmos and Mariska the population of Hungary skyrocketed by 50% in 50 years, and prosperity was unevenly divided. Half the agricultural population of the country existed on land holdings far too small to afford a livelihood, and a huge number were completely landless. A large number emigrated overseas just prior to 1890. There was constant political agitation to dissolve the alliance with Austria and become independent. Such was the political and economic climate that existed in that time period, which may have influenced the emigration of Vilmos and Mariska to the rich new world.
As to the homeland of Vilmos and Mariska, modern maps depict a much smaller Hungary than existed in the Austria-Hungary of that day. For example, much of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), much of the former Yugoslavia, Rumania, and a portion of the Ukraine were part of the Austria-Hungarian empire until Hungary was forced by the Treaty of Trianon (1920), following World War I, to give back these lands. About 1938 Hungary developed ties with Hitler's Germany in an effort to regain the lost territory, holding some regions of Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Yugoslavia between 1939 and 1944. These annexations were forfeited after World War II. Following the war the Soviet Union annexed into the Ukraine the entire eastern tip of Czechoslovakia that included the area surrounding the city Munkacs (now called Mukachevo). This area had been controlled at various times by Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and by Hungary alone.
From modern maps we were able to easily identify Tarpa, the birthplace of Layas Wittik, the father of Vilmos, and Kispalad, (or "Kis Palad"), the birthplace of Vilmos Wittik. These two villages are about 15 miles apart and are located in the far eastern tip of present day Hungary. By comparing a number of maps of the area dating from the late 1800's to the present we were able to locate Munkacs and to determine that this is the same city presently called Mukachevo, Ukraine. This is the city the family lived near and it was the city where Vilmos Wittik and Mariska Marget Nagy were married (in the Catholic Church). We have two post cards showing different views of the church building in "Munkacs". The pictures on the cards are labeled "Rom. kath. templom." The record of their marriage should be available in perish records for anyone willing to travel to the Ukraine.
Mariska Marget lived in a village called "Frigyesfalva, Bereg Megye", (the name is equivalent to "Friedrichsdorf [or Fredericksburg], Bereg County"). This village got its name from the earl Schönborn Frigyes founder of the Schönborn family ironworks yard and mine established in 1807 with miners from the Zips, the first German village on the Western Side of the Latoroza river. Megye means county or diocese. "Bereg megye" varied greatly in size, depending on the particular year. At one time it extended well into present day Ukraine. According to the website
the area surrounding Mukachevo was ceded to Hungary, then to the Soviet Union, then to the Ukraine. The name Frigyesfalva does not appear on modern maps because, according to that website, Frigyesfalva was renamed "Klenovci." A topographical map taken from a Ukrainian website shows Klenovci as a nearby suburb of Mukachevo, about 2 - 3 miles N.N.E of that city. This identification is confirmed on the Radix web site by a map from the "1913 Gazetteer of Hungary."
This would explain why Vilmos and Mariska were married in Munkacs (Mukachevo), because nearby Frigyesfalva was the birthplace of both of Mariska's parents, and of Vilmos' mother. This would also explain why the passenger ship manifest describes Vilmos' ethnicity as "Hungarian, Slovak", because in 1903 political boundaries had changed so the Frigyesfalva/Mukachevo area of Bereg Megye where his mother was born was located in the eastern tip of Czechoslovakia, before this area was annexed by the Soviet Union.
Bereg Megye (county) is bordered by Szabolcs Megye to its west and Szatmar Megye to its south. In Szatmar is "Kis Palad", (also spelled Kispalad), birthplace of Vilmos Wittik, only 15 miles from "Tarpa (Bereg Megye)", birthplace of Vilmos' father Layas Wittik.
As to "Kassa", the place they "visited occasionally": The spelling of this location was stated to be uncertain at the time the original information was given in 1979 to Mary-Margaret Brown by Ida Catherine Wittik (Bennett), daughter of Vilmos and Mariska. The identity of this city has been verified. It is located about 100 miles from the birthplaces of the relatives. It was known as Kosice or Kaschau. I found one map in a 1942 Rand McNally atlas, which spells this Kassa. We also have a postcard that belonged to Mariska Wittik printed in 1922 and mailed from "Kosice", bearing a "Ceskoslovenska" postmark. The postcard has a picture of a church, with a description of the picture in three different languages, (Slovak, Hungarian and German): "Kosice. Hlavna ulica", "Kassa. Fo utcai reszlet", and "Kaschau. Partie von der Hauptsirasse". [Translation: "Kassa. Main Street"]. Another postcard mailed in 1901 from Kassa displays a Magyar [Hungarian] postmark. This "Kassa" was the city they visited occasionally.
Their lives in the United States of America
Vilmos Wittik & Mariska Marget Nagy Wittik lived at the following addresses:
* 1903-05: Unknown.
* 1906: 12 Adam Street, Newark, NJ
* 1907-09: 122 Magazine St, Newark, NJ
* 1909-10: 337 New York Avenue, Newark, NJ
* 1910-12: 59 Ann Street, Newark, NJ. This address is probably the same house as 337 New York Avenue. [Two cards are addressed to "cor. of Ann Str & New York Ave"]
* 1913: 448 Walnut Street, Newark, NJ
* 1913-14: 436 South 18th Street, Newark, NJ (Some paperwork in our possession implies they never actually lived there because the house was sold to another person. However, I have a number of post cards addressed to the Wittik's dated 1913 & 1914 indicating they did live there for about two years).
* 1920-37: 456 South 14th Street, Newark, NJ was purchased in May 1920. They lived at that address at the 1930 Federal Census, and were still living there as late as March 1937 according to a post card from their family doctor who was vacationing in Cuba. [They had a problem selling this property because of a "Martin Act" title defect.
* About 1925 they purchased land from Murray Hill Colonies and built a small cottage at 72 Hillside Avenue, Berkeley Heights, Union County, NJ. Because their official address was 456 S. 14th St., Newark the 1930 census would not show them living at New Providence Township.
* 1940-47 [approximately]: They lived with their son and daughter at 12 Coles Avenue, Scotch Plains, which was eventually renumbered by the Postal Service to 2340 Coles Avenue.
* They then moved to 62 Hillside Avenue, then across the street to 73 Hillside Avenue, and then 65 Hillside Avenue, Berkeley Heights. Eventually they were back at 62 Hillside Avenue.
On 6 February 1906 Vilmos' sister Roza, age 17 and single, and her sister [?] Karolina, age 24 and single, both of Munkacz, Austria Hungary, arrived on the Coronia, port of departure Flume. Vilmos' mother, Agnes Lincz, had lived at Frigyesfalva, a suburb of Munkacz [Munkacs]. When Albert Vasarkovi, future spouse of Roza Wittik, arrived in the United States one year later, 5 March 1907, he was age 24, single, and had resided in Budapest. He was signed for by William Wittik, and was destined for "Adam Str 12 Newark NJ", the residence of Vilmos and Mariska. On December 24, 1910 Vilmos' sister Roza Vasarkovi (nee. Wittik) again arrived in the United States with her son Albert, age 2, and daughter Terez, age 6 months, on the ship Ultonia, from Carnaro, Triest, Austria. The passenger manifest says they were going to be with Roza's husband, Albert Vasarkovi who then resided at 116 Magasin [Magazine] Str., Newark, NJ, about 3/4 of a mile southeast of her brother Vilmos. Years later, when Vilmos and Mariska purchased the land on Hillside Avenue, Albert and Roza Vasarkovi purchased property on Debbie Place, a short walk from the Wittiks.
Vilmos and Mariska conversed in both Hungarian and German. Their children conversed mainly in German, but knew some Hungarian. Their grandchildren spoke only English. Vilmos learned only the essentials of English, and it was very difficult for him to explain things in his new language. He once took about 15 minutes to tell me how he once injured his knee, and how it became badly infected [I will spare you the details]. He did, however, become a naturalized citizen on 8 January 1923. [Note that prior to 22 September 1922 a foreign-born woman became a citizen when her husband was naturalized. Since that date she must take out papers in her own name].
Mariska went to school from 18 Oct 1909 to 22 Mar 1910 to improve her English skills, and to learn the basics of American history. Two composition books exist which show her achievements. She probably did not become a citizen [unless after April 1930].
Mariska greatly enjoyed gardening and would arise early to work on the star pattern she created in the front yard. She had severe pain in her back and many of her clothes were worn out where she constantly rubbed her back to alleviate the pain. She enjoyed birds, and raised baby blue jays that had fallen out of their nest. We have a picture showing her sitting in a lawn chair with blue jays standing on the arms of the chair. There is also a picture of her holding a canary, and I recall hearing of her carrying a canary in her hands on the bus in Newark.
There is a photograph of her house in Frigyesfalva, Hungary with eighteen [unidentified] people standing in front of it, one of which is Mariska. Some of these individuals are family members once described by her, though, unfortunately, their names were never recorded. She told me she came to America because it was supposed to be a rich country, but that she had a much better house in Hungary.
At home Vilmos raised rabbits, chickens and ducks. He also had a grape arbor. There is a large oval framed colored picture of Vilmos dressed in a military uniform. No other information has surfaced as to his involvement in the military.
Very few pictures exist where both Vilmos and Mariska appear, and fewer still where they are standing side by side.
Note: There are at least two postcards dated 1909 and addressed to "Mrs. R. Arrowsmith, c/o Miss G. Wittik, Bellport, Long Island". Who is Miss G. Wittik? Also, another postcard dated 1909 and addressed to "Miss Gustakon Wittig, 680 High St, Newark, NJ".
Mariska had a cousin Anna Womacsko, nee Klusic, who lived in Peekskill, NY. This family called Vilmos, "Vilmos bácsi" [Uncle William].
The following information on Mukachevo / Munkacs is from the Jewish website
"Mukachevo better known as Munkacs by the Jewish community that once flourished there, is at the nexus of a region that has changed sovereignty five times within the past one hundred years. The changes are reflected in the various names by which this region, known as Subcarpathian Ruthenia in English, has been called: Carpaten, Podkarpatskaya Rus, Carpatho-Ukraine and Zakarpatskaya Oblast. The region's administrative center has always been Uzhgorod / Ungvar and its commercial center had been Munkacs. For most of its history the town was called by its Hungarian name, Munkacs. However, maps published at different times have displayed the name as Munkatsch (German), Munkacz (Polish), Mukacevo (Czech) and currently in its Russian now Ukrainian designation, Mukachevo. For a period of eighteen years, from 1920 until November 1938 Subcarpathian Ruthenia was a part of the newly created Czechoslovakia.
"...two cities...could epitomize the different crucibles experienced by Jews during the past century: In the north, Vilna...could represent the epitome of Jewish idealism and Yiddish nationalism while in the south, Munkacs could represent Jewish piety and commercial creativity."
"...By 1891 the Jewish community had grown to 5,049 individuals which represented nearly 48% of the total population of Munkacs.... Today, what remains of the Jewish community of Mukachevo is fewer than 300 Jews including eight Jewish men and less than twenty Jewish women who were born there before World War II; their average age being over eighty."
Also, from http://www.genealogienetz.de/reg/ESE/karukr.html I gleaned the following:
"The Munkacz Area:
"Munkatsch itself is situated on the Eastern side of the Latoroza river. In the 1690s, the ruler of the area, Ilona Zriny, in open rebellion against the Habsburg king of Hungary, hired several hundred German craftsmen and 500 German soldiers to improve the castle defenses at Palanok near Munkatsch. The castle surrundered in 1703. But many Germans stayed, founding Plankendorf (Palanka) in Munkatsch. In 1726, the estate was transferred to count Schönborn, from Franconia in Bavaria. The Schonborns recruited new settlers, mostly from their native Franconia, but also from the German-speaking Eastern Lorraine/Lothringen (Dory family, notably), and settled them around Munkacz. Some settlers came from the Zips (hard-rock miners founding Friedrichsdorf) and from the Prachatitz area in Bohemia (charcoal-makers and iron-smiths). The settlers founded many villages, listed below. These are mostly along the Latoroza River, which flows into the Tisza (Theiss), and located in the Megye of Bereg. The Schönborns recruited new settlers until 1880. Other Germans came as individuals or in small, private groups. Most Germans lived on the East side of the Latoroza river. In the 19th century many of these villages also received settlers from German villages in Galicia and the Bukowina.
Ober-Schönborn: Founded 1728 with families from the Black Forest in Southwest Germany.
Founded 1728 with peasants from Franconia in Bavaria. Since 1728 own parish.
Birkendorf (Berezinka): Founded 1728.
Bardhaus (Bardovo): Founded 1736 by peasants Kleinberg and Kleinwedel in Germany. RC Parish in 1772.
Pausching (Poshaza, ukr. Pawschyno): Founded 1748 with farmers from Suebia. In 1989 still a few Germans.
Mädchendorf (Lalovo): Founded 1763 with settlers from Oberschönborn.
Deutsch-Kutschowa: Founded 1763 with settlers from Oberschönborn.
Friedrichsdorf (ung. Frigyesfalva, czech. Klenovci): Founded 1807 with miners from the Zips, the first German village on the Western Side of the Latoroza river.
Sofiendorf: Founded in 1805 by Sophie countess Schönborn with Germans from Bohemia.
Dorndorf (Drac^iny): Founded 1827 with lumbermen from the Prachatitz area in Bohemia.
Blaubad (Sinjak, ukr. Synjak): W. side of the Latoroza, North of Munkacs. In 1833, Germans settled amongs the existing ruthenian population. In 1989 a few Germans still lived there.
Rechendorf (Hrabowitz): In 1837, Germans from the Prachatitz area in Bohemia settled among the existing Ruthenian population of this village.
Neudorf (Novo Selo): In 1856, 12 German families from Bohemia settled amongst the Ruthenian population.
Hrabowo: W. side of the Latoroza, North of Munkacs. In 1873 15 German-Bohemian families settled among the Ruthenian population.
Pusnjak: W. side of the Latoroza, North of Munkacs. In 1878 18 German-Bohemian families settled among the Ruthenian population."
Agnes Lincz b: in Frigyesfalva, Bereg megye, Austria Hungary
- Vilmos Wittik b: 18 FEB 1878 in Kis Palad, Szatmer megye,Austria-Hungary
- Karolina Wittik b: Abt 1882 in of Munkacz, Austria Hungary
- Rose Agnes Wittik b: 22 JUL 1888