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Judit Pál

  • Research fellow, Masaryk Institute and Archives, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Research Interests: history of Transylvania; history of elites; administrative history; history of the Habsburg Monarchy (especially Hungary); history of Transylvanian Armenians
  • Role in the project: Data extraction and analyses for the Hungarian MPs between 1867–1928 and for the Lord-Lieutenants between 1867–1918, Dissemination activities and scientific publishing

CV and bibliography


A short family history

Măgheruș (Hung. Sepsimagyarós) is a small village near the Eastern Carpahians with a steadily decreasing population[1]. The Dancs family was a resident of the village already in 1614 when Transylvanian Prince Gábor Bethlen asked that free Szeklers[2] should be listed during the census. At this time Péter Dancs is found among the pedestrians (the so called pedites pixidarii). However two decades later, in the census made during the rule of Prince George Rákóczy I, in 1635 he or his son bearing the same name is listed among the so called „primipili”, since he „served in the army with a horse”.[3]

The system of the privileged nations and the institution of the military border with it ceased during the revolution of 1848 (officially was abolished in 1851). The late descendant of Péter Dancs, Mózes joined during the Revolution the Hungarian national defense and according to the family legend he fell in the battle of Sibiu (Germ. Hermannstadt, Hung. Nagyszeben) (21st January 1849) when the Hungarian army lead by lieutenant-general Józef Bem of Polish origin unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Sibiu, the „capital” of the Saxons of Transylvania defended by the imperial troops.[4] Mózes Dancs and his wife were newlyweds. At the time his wife was expecting their child, but Anna Dancs, the great great-grandmother of Judit Pál, was born after the death of her father in 1849. Her parents-in law proposed to the young widow to let the younger brother of her defunct husband have her newly built home and to come and live with them. But the offended widow defied them. She took her fate in her hands and had built another house in the margin of the neighbouring village, near the woods and moved there. Therefore she was nicknamed Borbála „the Bear” („Medve Borbála”). She never remarried. Her only help on the farm was a young boy from a family of former serfs. Later it was this boy, György Nagy to whom she gave her only daughter, Anna into marriage. Her kindred was outraged because of the marriage with a former underprivileged person and after that they did not permit my great great-grandmother − who probably was considered an eccentric even until that incident − to sit with them in „the family pew” in the Reformed church of Măgheruș.[5]

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