Re: Illegitimate royal descent, myth or mystery? #hungary

Robert Neu

Just a couple of comments. It was not unusual for
families to keep "a" daughter >from getting married so
that she could take care of them in their old age, and
often the oldest.

Did you try to get the copy of the original birth
record(s)? If she was born out of wedlock the records
would show it.If she was adopted that should also be
verifiable. If not, I doubt the record would show
anything, and it would certainly be irrelevent once
away >from the small town. As to looks, skin tone,
other physical attributes, can vary greatly from
sibling to sibling. It can give a hint, but no

If the family had means in the home country before
they came here, some clues in marriage and other
records should be also available (and possibly its

Saying one came >from a larger town is also a common
occurrence. It is easier to say one is >from Budapest
or Kosice, than to explain where Hundorf, or by its
other names, is.

Robert Neu

--- wrote:

I offer this rumor to the participants of this forum
for their insights and,
perhaps, for their confirmation.

In the family of my maternal grandmother, for at
least a century, there were
whispered rumors of illegitimate descent >from some
member of the royal

Since this branch of my family was living in what
then was the
Austro-Hungarian Empire, I must assume that the
"royal" person referred to was a Hapsburg.

When I was tiny, my mother's older brother mentioned
the rumor that their
maternal grandmother had been the Emperor's
illegitimate daughter.

This seems hard to imagine about an Orthodox Jewish
girl raised in the town
of "Kosice" in what then was Hungary and, today, is
part of the modern nation
of Slovakia. (Kosice has alternately been called
"Kassa" and "Kashau,"
among other names.)

Then, there was one of my mother's aunts, the eldest
daughter of the
putative illegitimate princess. She, too, insisted
that she was, herself, an
illegitimate princess.

I have pondered this for years now, since I first
heard these whispers as a
little girl. As an adult woman, I am wondering if,
when there's this much
smoke--albeit metaphorical--whether there had been
some sort of fire.

Any question I had asked as a girl about this topic
had been shushed and,
except for my mother, anyone capable of answering
those questions now is long
dead; sadly, my mother no longer is able to respond

There are some curiosities here, however.

My grandmother always told her children that she had
been born in Budapest
but, recently, purely by chance, I found her
application for a teaching
license with the New York City Board of Education in
which--in her own
handwriting--she gave her birthplace as "Hunfalu."
Hunfalu, also called "Huncovce" and
"Hunsdorf" also is in modern Slovakia, quite near to

My grandmother's next younger sister wrote "Kosice"
on her application for
the same license; actually, she wrote "Kashau."

Now, there is no crime in having lived in a small
town rather than a big
city and there also is the possibility that the
family had, indeed, lived in
Budapest for a period before emigrating to New York.

I do think that it is curious, however, that my
grandmother and her
siblings--six in all--kept the names of the small
towns in which they had been born
from their own children. It seems to have been a
deliberate act and it seems
clear that they did not want their children to know
from exactly where they
had come.

More curious is that this branch of my family
arrived in New York with what
had to have been a comfortable amount of money.
They traveled first class on
the ship to the USA, according to the family
history, bringing maids and
nannies with them on the voyage. In New York, they
immediately bought a
four-bedroom apartment on Central Park West, which
is where my great-grandmother
lived for the rest of her life. They always had a
live-in maid. Obviously,
this was not the typical experience of the recently
arrived Eastern European
Jewish immigrants of 1890.

Ah, but there's more. My grandmother was the second
of four sisters. The
three younger sisters all attended college, and they
each married.

The oldest sister, however, was not allowed to
attend college, and she never

Remember, this was an era during which no family
would have been ashamed to
have arranged a marriage. There really is no reason
that I can discern,
after this passage of years, why they family would
have hesitated to employ the
services of a professional matchmaker, particularly
since money issues never
were their problem.

I have been told by people more learned than I am
that, under Jewish law, an
illegitimate child is not permitted to marry a Jew.
There is no doubt but
that my grandmother's parents remained observant
Jews for their entire lives.

Could my maternal grandmother's parents, then, have
held back this young
woman >from marriage because she was illegitimate?

Could they have received money >from someone--someone
royal?--to take this
girl out of the town of her birth?

My great-grandmother would only have been about 18
when this daughter was
born. While I well understand that, by the
standards of 19th Century Hungary,
this would not have been too young to have been
married and given birth to a
child, motherhood here also could have happened in
another fashion. What if
some rich, perhaps noble, man had impregnated a
Jewish girl >from some small
town and, to prevent a scandal, arranged for the
child of this union to be
adopted by suitable parents? And what if the rich
man (or his agent) endowed
the adoptive parents with enough money so that they
could relocate easily, and
raise the child in a certain amount of comfort?

Or there's even the possibility that my
great-grandmother was, indeed, the
biological mother of this girl. Yet perhaps my
great-grandfather was not the
girl's father; rather, he could have been someone to
whom she hastily was
married off--and, quickly afterward, effectively
banished >from their families.

Oddly, this one aunt looked nothing like her five
younger siblings, not the
least bit. The other five all were short--barely
five feet--and fair, as
were their parents. This one sister was quite tall,
particularly for their era,
and dark. I am sure that there are biologists and
geneticists on this forum
who can confirm that this does not seem to be
biologically possible.

Of course, I have tried to do some research on this
topic. I have
discovered that Crown Prince Rudolf, the "Mayerling"
prince, left at least 75 known
bastards at the time of his mysterious death. I
also discovered that Prince
Rudolf was great friends with the renowned Jewish
philanthropist, the Baron
Moritz DeHirsch, who also served as his banker.
The first thing that the
Emperor Franz-Josef did on learning of his son's
death was repay the debt that
Rudolf had owed to DeHirsch.

I am sorry to send such a long letter, but I would
be interested to get
opinions about this mystery, and to learn whether
others have similar rumors in
their own families.

Thank you!
Judy Segal
New York City

BAYERN, HERSKOVITS (alternate spellings), RAPAPPORT
(alternate spellings),
and "Kosice" (now Slovakia, then Hungary),
Budapest, New York City and Ohio.

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