To receive updates for this site, subscribe to the Banatbooks Group

Your email address:

Visit Banatbooks Group

Familienbuch Hatzfeld im Banat

By Helga and Anton Hornung

A 6 Volume Set:
4,408 pages, 3 maps, 18 illustrations

Review by Dr. Hertha Schwarz

The Family book of the Catholic parish of Hatzfeld in Banat with filial parishes Klari, Tschene, Ketscha, Deutsch-Zerne and the local manorial domains, 1766-1920, by Helga and Anton Hornung, (published by the AVBF), 6 volumes (Danube Swabian Origins Research Series #198; German Local Kinship Books OFB #00.922), St. Georgen, 2015.
4,408 pages, 1 map, 2 local maps, 18 illustrations, 3 tables, hardcover, thread stitching binding. Price: 180.00 euros.

Hatzfeld in Banat (Romanian Jimbolia) is for genealogy just what it is in the real world: a center at the intersection of important traffic routes, a kind of “distribution point" for the entire Banat. Anyone who is researching Banat genealogy will sooner or later encounter Hatzfeld. The Hatzfeld Church records and its entries are therefore, for Banat genealogy, of the utmost importance.

With the six-volume Family Book of the Catholic parish Hatzfeld (together with its filial parishes), Helga and Anton Hornung present a full and complete compilation of the Hatzfeld Church books from the first German settlement in 1766 through 1920, and thus have closed a large gap in the available data. On more than 4,000 pages they have listed with great care 26,394 families and individuals. Originally, this work was planned as “only” a continuation beyond 1866 of the Hatzfeld family book 1766-1866, first presented in 1998 by Emmerich Henz, a very active Hatzfeld local historian. However, it was soon apparent that a seamless connection to the first family book was not feasible for various reasons. In addition to this, the family book of E. Henz apparently did not include all individuals - godparents and witnesses were missing entirely. This was probably due to the fact that work was only possible under difficult conditions; at various times the archives barred research. Also, there was a time when genealogy research was measured on a different scale than today: it was formerly quite common practice to simply omit individuals without family ties to the locality or even omit individual deceased children, as not relevant for genealogy.

The basis for the Hatzfeld Fb is the Catholic Church records of the parish; this data is supplemented with information from other church or family books and other works quoting the respective source. In addition to the information about the family - name, birth and death dates, parents, profession, children - both witnesses, godparents, causes of death, as well as any other information contained in the parish registers was included. Thus, for example, in marriages, if present in the source, it is indicated whether the spouses were single or widowed. This seemingly minor detail is very important, particularly in large towns such as Hatzfeld, where it was very common for the same names to occur in the same time frame; it may be the crucial key to assign a person properly. With the comprehensive analysis of parish registers and complemented by other data, a very rich source of information has emerged which goes beyond the scope of pure genealogy and can offer interesting material for other branches of historical research.

The family data is preceded by a historical summary of Hatzfeld by Walter Tonta; the Church's history is also briefly touched upon. The information on the sources, the instructions for the use and the list of abbreviations are complemented by the register of places, register of wives and a register of professions in the last volume.

Even the most extensive work may leave something to be desired, and so it should be noted here that, for example, a translation of the introductory chapter into English could certainly served to promote the reception of the book.

In listing of the primary sources, ideally it would have been helpful to include more complete information, such as a brief description of the Church book registers (condition, number of volumes, place of custody, and if applicable, the catalogue number).

With their research for the “Family Book Hatzfeld", Helga and Anton Hornung have completed a comprehensive, well-researched work which will certainly be consulted very frequently. It is a successful and important work which will influence Banat genealogy significantly and therefore should be in every family history research library.