Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grandpa Frank Schotl from Mönchhof, Hungary to Minnesota

Up until 2011, I knew little about my maternal grandfather, Frank Schotl.   He died February 22, 1941, a month before I was born.  My mother and grandmother had a few photos of him and he was mentioned at family gatherings but I had no idea of his birth-place, residences, occupation or where he was buried.  About all I knew was that my mother was born  in Forest Lake.  I do not remember trips to the Forest Lake area to locate relatives or visit cemeteries.  This was in direct contrast to the times we would spend visiting old neighborhoods and cemeteries where my father's relatives had lived and where they were buried.

In 2011, Shan did an ancestry search for Shotls in Minnesota.  In the 1910 Federal Census, she found records for a Franz "Frank" Schotl in Anoka County.  Frank was listed as a cook on the Wire Grass Farm #4 in Linwood Township. 

 In 2012, we made a trip to the Anoka County Genealogical Society housed in the Anoka County Historical Society, looking for information on the Schotls and the Kunshiers and trying to find some information about the wire grass farms. 

The Historical Society had recently received a collection of photos of workers on the wire grass farms from Mr. Ken Dufresne.  Among the photos in that collection was a picture of Frank in his cook's uniform. The name penned on the photo bottom was "Frank Schotl."  It was a nice surprise.   (more on the wire grass farms and products, and the family connection in a later blog)

I continued the research and found Grandpa Frank's WWI Draft Registration.  The birth date he gave was September 29, 1887 and his place of birth was given as Mönchhof, Hungary.  The following is a short summary of what I found.

About 800 years ago Cistercian monks lived in the area of present day Mönchhof.  They drained ​​the swamp and cultivated the land.  In 1217, King Andrew II of Hungary bestowed on them the whole area that, up to then, had been known as Petschenegengut Leginthov.  The deed of donation from 1217 was the first documentary evidence of Mönchhof which in English means monk's house. 

In the late 19th century when the Hungarian Crown insisted on the use of Hungarian rather than German names,  the village was known as Barátfalu, or Barátudvar.

After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Europe’s borders drastically changed. Among those changes, the western-most part of Hungary, previously known as "German Western Hungary," was given to Austria. The idea was for parts of the Moson, Sopron and Vas counties (in German Wieselburg, Ödenburg, and Eisenburg) to be incorporated into Austria. Hence, ‘Burgenland’ was established as an official state of the new Republic of Austria in November 1921.  Some of this history, and more info is available through the Burgenland Bunch site linked a little further along in the blog. 

So, it was in Hungary where Frank's family was living when they decided to emigrate. Today Mönchhof  is a municipality in the district of Neusiedl in Burgenland, Austria.   It is the oldest wine-growing town in Austria. 

We  have yet to sample a bottle of Mönchhof wine but Shan was able to find a bottle of Riesling from Rust on the other side of the Neusiedlersee.  She gives it a hearty endorsement but, due to the price, will have to limit this find to special occasions.  

We did find at least one possible Schotl connection with one of the vineyards.   Magdelana Leona Schotl, born in 1829 in Austria, married a Pöckl but more research needs to be done on this.  At present there is a Pöckl winery in Mönchhof.

The S.S. Frankfurt

                     We discovered Frank's emigration dates from a ship's manifest.  The ship was the Frankfurt, and on board were his father, mother, and siblings Johan and Maria.  Frank was 14.   They  left Bremen, Germany on May 2nd, 1902.  They arrived in Baltimore on May 22nd of the same year.

An article in one of the 2012 newsletters of the Burgenland Bunch deals with The Hungarian Emigration Law of 1903The Hungarian Parliament passed what was then considered to be the most restrictive emigration law in the world.  No citizen could leave without government permission and all aspects of the emigration were placed under governmental control. Word about the pending restrictions may have filtered to the Schotl family and it may have prompted their 1902 departure. 

According to the manifest the tickets for the ship were purchased by Frank's father.  They had enough money to sustain their journey and they had a destination - Bancroft, Iowa.  This is where Frank's older brother, Michael, was living.  There is a good chance that Michael had earned money during his Iowa years to send some to the family.  I have written about Michael in an earlier blog.

They didn't stay long in Iowa for in 1905, according to the Minnesota Census, the family, with the exception of Frank and Mary, were living in Columbus Township, Anoka County.  In the same year Mary was found working as a "domestic" and living in Wyoming Township, Chisago County.  We are not sure where Frank was during the years 1902 -1910. He may have been living with one of his brothers.   In 1911 he courted and married my Grandma Rose Kunshier who was living on a nearby farm. More on this in a later blog. 


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