Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton et al

My DNA Dilemma: Scottish East Europeans

Monaco's Runaway Scottish-Hungarian Princess and more

by Cecilia Fabos-Becker

After four decades of family history research I thought all my remaining 'brick walls' of missing documentation were in my mother's line, I recently decided see what clues were hiding in my genes, and got a DNA test. After reviewing the two best rated companies, I chose Family Tree DNA, both because they specialize in identifying cousin matches and allow people with DNA matches to exchange emails, and because, besides the usual autosomal DNA test, they offer tests and analysis of mitochondrial DNA which we inherit exclusively from our mothers, (as well as tests and analysis of Y chromosome DNA which we inherit exclusively from our fathers). I happily signed up for a package of two tests: autosomal and mitochondrial.

After more than 6 weeks, I finally got the results earlier this month. There were several surprises, but the biggest surprise was not in my late mother's mitochondrial DNA but instead in my late father's in the autosomal genes! I expected no more than 50% Scots and Irish matches, but these results showed 70% British Isles! (or 63% if one subtracts that bit of about 6-9% "unknown DNA.") Either way it meant that I have an ancestor who was very British somewhere in my father's allegedly "pure Hungarian" forebearers, and RECENTLY!

Given the location of the darkest part of this bright, blue blob of British DNA, it's also likely that person was largely part Scots or Scots-Irish. With this unexpected extra percentage understanding the division of percentages each generation, it seems to me most likely that someone who was British, with a lot of Scots or Scots-Irish, came into some line of my father's family between about 1815-1840 during or right after the Congress of Vienna. But Who? How? When? and Why, exactly?

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I began to delve into the history of British-Hungarian relationships and found more surprises. If most people know anything about such relationships, about all they know is that a Countess Rhedey is a 2nd great grandmother or so of the current Queen of England, Elizabeth II and that, about a thousand years ago, a Hungarian princess, became Queen Margaret of Scotland.

Well, there is a middle history.

First starting sometime in the 14th century, Scottish clans who didn't have as much land began to engage in sea trade and to build up mercantile branches of their clans. Scotland traded with the Hanseatic League, which included a port in Poland that often was under the Polish kings, Danzig/Gdansk. Over time, some 25,000 to 40,000 members of Scottish families set up branches in several port cities, and the royal courts fed by those ports. Paterson's History of Ayrshire specifically mentions that, in one generation, members of the Wallace of Failford clan sent, three brothers to the Netherlands, a German port, and to the Baltics (likely Gdansk, as Poland and Lithuania were a joint kingdom from the 14th century onwards). From the late 14th century to the 16th, and the death of the last Hungarian king at Mohacs in 1526, SEVERAL kings of Poland became kings of Hungary, and moved their court from Poland to Budapest. Retainers and merchants, including those who were Scots descendants followed.

My late grandmother's Garai family in Hungary, were appointed these kings' counts palatine, generals and as permanent "bans" (Viceroys) of Croatia, Dalmatia and southeast Hungary, now part of Romania. (See websites such as "House of Garai"). A member of the Polish contingent with a Scottish ancestor could have entered that family. Then in the late 18th century, Poland was completely destroyed, divided between Orthodox Russia and Protestant Prussia, with a third smaller portion being allowed to Catholic Austria-Hungary. Needless to say a number of wealthy mercantile, and noble, Catholic families made their way south to settle permanently in Austria-Hungary. When the Wallaces, and other Scots first settled in Poland, these Scots were still Catholic. It is likely some descendants of the Scots families who remained Catholic made their way south to Hungary, among the Polish nobles and merchants. That's two possibilities for Scots-Hungarian relationships.

By the late 18th century, Hungarians were growing wealthy and making "Grand Tours" of Europe and going to England and Scotland. For its part, the new UK (English) Parliament was noticing and taking interest in Austria Hungary, especially Hungary, as a counter to France. Hungary had long tolerated Protestants. Some noble families such as the Counts/Princes Bathory, who were cousins to the Rhedey, were already Protestant by the mid-17th century. Hungary was also more reform minded than Austria and eager to learn from the UK.

By 1812, the British and Austro-Hungarians were allied to defeat and exile Napoleon and afterwards, the new, post-Napoleon peace treaty for Europe, was drawn up in Vienna over the course of a year of negotiations and settlements. With the three main British diplomats, two of whom were Scots and Scots-Irish, were an entourage about 50 wealthy Scots and English families connected to the three leading negotiators. These people of course engaged in the social scene, the balls, theatre, and music of Vienna, as well as renowned hot springs and baths of that empire, including those located in Hungary. They also found that Hungary had fine wines and still had substantial wild game for hunting, including in the Dunantul, where my families had homes, wineries, and hunting lodges. At least one of them left behind a charming daughter or sister who married a Hungarian aristocrat whose estates were primarily in the Dunantul.

After this period, members of several key Hungarian families, including the Wesselenyi, the Festetics and Szecsenyi, made their way to the UK and spent months and years there, studying agricultural and industrial reforms, horse breeding for racing and bringing this new knowledge, and more British guests and investors home to Hungary. Several thousand British workers, particularly Scots, came to Hungary to help build the bridges, and the later railways, also built by the Szecsenyi and in part with British funds. The first bridges spanning the Danube river were built by the Szecsenyi using their and British investment money and designed by Adam and William Clark of the UK.

Some of them stayed. By the mid 1800's a number of the Hungarian Gymnasiums had English language programs in their degrees, including the one at Esztergom. These Hungarian gymnasiums, were not all just secondary schools. Many offered 4, 6 and 8 year programs, the latter two being college degrees, similar to what U.S. junior colleges and state colleges now offer. The most prestigious was Esztergom, under protection and influence by the Cardinal Archbishop of Hungary whose residence and cathedral were there and who was friendly to the British. Esztergom is where my grandfather attended and finished his degree.

Then came the last surprise.

I knew that my grandfather and grandmother were both aristocrats, that they born and raised in Somogy, and in the northern part of the county. The Counts Festetics were known to both of them, and their lands were adjoining. In fact, my grandfather and his father both were keen reformers in agriculture, viticulture and livestock breeding and met with Count Festetics often during the years the Count slowly developed his palace at Kezthely and where he set up a regional agricultural library and school. Dr. Gyula Fabos, the Rutgers professor, (also a former professor at Amherst in landscaping and landscape engineering), was a second cousin of my father and went to this school, in the 1940's before the communists temporarily shut it down as they took over Hungary.

In 1880, the then Count Tassilo Festetics II married someone well known to Scots, as well as the highest social circles of the UK, the Lady Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton, sister of the 11th Duke of Hamilton! Lady Mary had been briefly married to the Prince of Monaco, and bore his only child and heir! She is the ancestress not only of the current Festetics descendants of herself and her husband, but also the current monarch of Monaco. My Garai ancestors who owned most of the four larger villages and towns east of Kezthely on Lake Balaton and other large properties nearby, my Nyers at Vors and Csurgo, and my Fabos (a black sheep branch of the Szecsenyi), who were at the next nearest and largest town, Marczali and points south and southeast (they owned several pieces of the "great Szecsenyi" estate that had been established just after 1711 to rebuild the southeast Dunantul area after the Turks had been driven out of that area of Hungary for good) were the nearest neighbors and close associates of Count Tassilo and his Scottish born wife, Lady Mary. In fact, when my grandparents married in February 1905, the Count and his Scottish wife were among the first to honor them with a reception, at their palace at Kezthely.

The historical articles on the Dukes of Hamilton and Lady Mary, who became Countess, and later Princess Festetics, note that the Duke of Hamilton himself, her brother, mostly lived in Paris and Baden-Baden, and visited his sister Mary at Kezthely, frequently, often bringing his close friend Edward, the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII. My grandfather, his father and the Count were close, and at this point I can't help but wonder if there was another reason for this close association, that unknown Scottish-British ancestress in my father's father's family who entered the family between 1815-1840, somewhere.

I would be very curious to know if there is anyone, perhaps in the St. Andrew's Society or the San Francisco Caledonian Club, who knows a LOT about the Congress of Vienna and those several dozen British families who were there, or how to identify them, or has heard an interesting story about a charming sister or daughter of some British (probably Scottish) family who was in Vienna at the time and who married a Hungarian aristocrat, contact me, please. Email is best: celia.lfsbecker@gmail.com.

The Germanophiles and those who wanted to retain the absolute monarchy of the Habsburgs were by the late 1820's were, highly suspicious of Hungarian families who were close to the British and advocated reforms. This worsened under the emperor Franz Josef. Long before the communists rose, in 1906, my grandfather was sent into exile by Emperor Franz Josef. Shortly afterward, my grandfather's home was firebombed, and some of the family records were destroyed. My grandmother and uncle barely escaped with their lives and a few belongings and had to live with her family while she waited for her husband to be recalled or to be allowed to emigrate to join him. The Austrian Secret Police were not known for kindness and mercy, and this happened to other families as well. The communists weren't terribly fond of either the British or Hungarian aristocrats when they first took over and destroyed a number of families' and other records. Others were collected and stored haphazardly at the national archives and other places, as happened to the gentleman below.

There are likely to be other British/Scottish-Hungarians who could some day use your help in identifying their own Scottish ancestors, some who came to Hungary with Adam and William Clark, and stayed. One such Scottish Hungarian was lucky enough to know his heritage, and able to find additional earlier records in Hungary, is a Campbell, a senior descendant of the brother of the grandfather of the 9th Earl of Breadalbane, (originally Campbell of Borland). John Breadalbane Campbell, 'came to Hungary in 1873 to help build the the bridges and railroads and stayed.' His great grandson, Huba Campbell b. 1945 of Budapest has been accepted recently as the seniormost legitimate heir to the title of Earl of Breadalbane, by Debrett's Peerage and other authorities. Huba Campbell has the documents to support his ancestry, showing his descent from his great grandfather, John Breadalbane Campbell, and his great-grandfather's ancestors back to Scotland. Huba Campbell grew up under communism in an impoverished and oppressed family. He presently owns his own 'haulage' (trucking) business. (See "The Scotsman," Sunday, 14th March, 2004).



TonyCeliaDNAorigins

Family History DNA and Tourism

Reconnecting with your Ancestral Home

By Cecilia Fabos-Becker

Americans benefit greatly by learning and connecting to their actual ancestral history and culture. Both the tourism industries of the U.S., and especially the countries of Europe where Celtic Americans find their ancestors, benefit substantially from Celtic Americans who research and learn their family history, because they often travel there!

Travel indeed broadens the mind, opens the heart and brings people together. When they travel to these countries and meet the people there, they learn and appreciate infinitely more of their ancestral culture than they ever would had they stayed home. Every country should encourage travel, as part of a balanced, diverse economy and to foster and maintain strong positive, international relationships at all levels. When other parts of an economy are changing, or in mild recession, tourism remains, as San Francisco recently proved in the Great Recession.

In recent years, the new industry of personal DNA testing, lead by Ancestry DNA and others, has opened up new opportunities for all nations and US states willing and able to take advantage of them, but there is more that can and should be done to make this new economic boon work better.

As you may know, we have done extensive research on our ancestors and can trace multiple lines back many generations using non-DNA document records. We still have many gaps, and as you can see at right, a few months ago, we decided to do our personal DNA tests, using the Family Tree DNA service. In part, we chose this company because independent reviews found it does a better job of discovering matching DNA and so family relationships, and also gives its clients opportunities to share their email addresses and connect. (Great, and more on this later). More interesting to us were the surprizes in our results.

  1. For Cecilia, who thought her enthnicity was 50% Scots-Irish from her mother, and 50% Hungarian from her father, her test shows 69% 'British Isles'. Her 'Hungarian' father carried 28% DNA from the British Isles! (See 'My Dilemma' Below)
  2. For Tony, who thought his enthnicity was 25% Irish from his paternal grandmother, 25% Welsh from his maternal grandfather, and 50% Austrian from his other two grandparents, his test shows 24% 'Scandinavia'! Were some of Tony's medieval ancestors Vikings?


DNATree

Tap Roots

It does not take a 300 or 400 years long pedigree to establish the close relationships that interest most people. Most people are not going to want to see people with only a 3% link to them, per se. The greatest interest/priority is going to be the unknown descendants of grandparents', and great-grandparents', siblings, those 2nd to 4th cousin relationships. Recall that from each of your parents you inherit 50% of your DNA, from grandparents (four of them) you inherit 25%, each, from great-grandparents (eight of them) you inherit 12.5%. (See the nice neat mathematics?) An average generation is 25-30 years each. So, the 12.5% ancestor is only about 100-120 years in time and records. Now many people are interested in that one more generation back ancestors to include immigrants and point to their interesting places of origin back in Europe. This means looking for cousins who are descended from a mutual 2nd or 3rd great-grandparent, 125-150 years ago, and these are cousins from before the industrial age of increased travel and urbanization, from a time when cousins married cousins far more often.

This is the most persistent DNA, the strongest, and the type most connected to one's distinct cultural heritage. This the kind of DNA connection that, when you visit the area where it originated, and stand in the village that your ancestor once saw as home, or in front of that ancestor's gravestone, knowing he or she is only feet from you, it can make you feel like you've come home. It sucker punches you in the stomach, buckles your knees and makes your eyes tear up. You feel like you are surrounded by every loving relative and ancestor that ever existed. All the old stories and faded pictures of the past are suddenly real and you understand them, and you know the grand-parents you half-listened to, long ago, a lot better.

It's really not that hard to find just enough documentation to go back 150 years or so. If you have either an ancestry.com subscription or a local LDS library which usually has such a subscription and you know who grandparents were and they were born before 1940, as most were, you can find their unknown parents and grandparents in the census records going back to 1850 and before in the U.S. census records. That gives you all the dominant surnames in your family. The same site has immigration and naturalization records which can give additional information, and links to state and county marriage records to find the surnames and parents of wives/mothers. At that point, you have a list of surnames for 6 or 7 generations to put on a profile and help your cousins find you. You will know in what family the connection exists, and with a couple of emails, how close you are to one another.

For centuries prior to about 150 years ago, when affordable railroad and steamship transportation became available, families stayed pretty much in one relatively small, long-term ancestral home area and kept intermarrying among one another within a radius of no more than about 12-15 miles. This makes some places in the U.S. and Europe, main 'tap roots' for a person, a key part of the foundation of one's being, and cultural heritage, as well as genetic heritage. Prior to about 150 years ago, you are looking at intermarried families, and 'tap root' DNA and ancestral homes. When cousins married cousins and did so repeatedly, there is a closer DNA match that can make it appear that a 6th or 7th cousin, in another country, is a more recent match, because genetically that distant cousin is closer. Understanding this, though, makes travel more interesting and exciting.

America is nation of immigrants who have mixed, over time, with other immigrants from multiple areas in single nations and multiple nations, and our tap roots are where the most intermarriages took place longest, that is, in the oldest and easternmost states of the U.S., the oldest states in Mexico, and in Europe. The chambers of commerce, the governments, the oldest counties and communities will all soon realize this, and if they want the dollars/euros from a tourist economy, then they should be encouraging their airlines, their travel agents, and various types of companies to help facilitate more family history touring by making themselves visible to reconnecting Americans.

Economic Impact

Every part of a family history related tourist visit, brings income to the providers of those services. There are almost 330 million potential tourists in the US alone, and approximately 150 million with 'tap roots' in Ireland, Scotland, & England, and a growing number in Spain. A U.S. couple traveling to Europe to visit their 'tap roots', will likely spend between $3,000 to $9,000 on airfare alone. They will pay between $700 and $1500 a week for lodging. Then there are meals, transportation, history centre helpers, and more. Add up the costs of trips for each and all, and that's a huge amount of money being pumped into local companies and national economies.

Most of us, both of our generation and many of those younger, were raised to reciprocate hospitality. When some member of one's family does you the favor of taking time from their normal schedule to meet and greet you, show you hospitality and play tour guide to help you feel the area in which your ancestors lived, meet other family, etc., you also do as much for them as they will allow, and is agreeable to all, to repay the favor of their time and attention, with a nice gift and paying for a meal out for them, etc. This too, adds to the economy, enhances the visit and Builds relationships.

Besides American tourist dollars going into the tap root countries, there is one other thing. When people of those countries want to visit the U.S., they can also be assured of hospitality and friendship of family in the U.S. to make their own trips more wonderful. It builds more and better bridges, and not walls.

Digging up Relationships

The DNA test results match information extremely helpful in reconnecting with both ones ancestors and living relations, but has limitations. Some are natural, but there remain some solvable problems. It would really help BOTH the U.S. immigrant descendants trying to find those 'tap root' relatives, and the economies throughout the countries where those roots really are, if more people on BOTH sides of the Atlantic would not only submit their DNA for testing, but put a list of surnames of at least the families within the first 6 or 7 generations on the individual 'profiles' to help better establish real family matches. This is something that both the governments of countries, and counties within them, who want more tourism, and the DNA testing companies, should encourage and promote.

The first is created by these very clients. It is not enough to have a DNA match and only the testee's surname. With only the testee's surname, and nothing else to indicate where the two individuals most likely connect, that another party may or may not recognize it. The tests only establish degrees and quantities of matching DNA sequences between all the ancestors of both parties in the match, not the individual families nor the locations which those families shared for a time and actually connected, or the relevant events (like marriages). These details come only if the persons at least list their known ancestor's family surnames! For example, two 5th cousins each have a possible 32 families that establish a significant percentage of matching DNA. If these surnames are known, can either cousin can much more easily figure out where they connect among these many families.

There is second problem in how these companies then sort the relationships based on the quantities of DNA that match. DNA is not attached to surnames. The cousin relationships are grouped, not by individual specific degrees, but groups of degrees. For example: in Family Tree DNA, the groups of relationships in the menu for selecting matches to examine and with whom to possibly communicate, going from closest to most distant, are:

  1. Immediate relationships (parents, brothers and sisters),
  2. Close and immediate (includes the former and adds first cousins and aunts and uncles and grand-parents, and great-aunts and great-uncles),
  3. "Distant relationships" in two groups: 2nd-4th cousins, and 3rd-5th cousins,
  4. Last are "all matches including those with probable relationships" into which fall some actual 2nd through 5th cousins.

 

BUT the term "probable" is important because these matches have something about them that is different. They tend to be either very distant, actually 4th through 6th or 7th because of cousin intermarriages within the generations that normally establish the degrees/amount of DNA relationships, or there are half siblings in some generation or other which, in a timeline, are actually closer to a party examining the relationships, but because there was an entirely different parent for the half sibling, the DNA is less of a match. One way or another, these relationships and the amount of DNA match are outside of the normal expected cousin degrees of the programming and its mathematical algorithms. Cousin intermarriages and half siblings skew the timelines and make relationships seem either closer or more distant than they actually are in time. Of course the matching programming, based on simply DNA, also can't, and doesn't, show which parent was the shared parent in half sibling relationships, nor which couple in an ancestral line were cousins who married one another. For us, and for most people who are interested in establishing the real degrees of likely relationships in these matches, it really helps to document family members as much as possible, so we have a list of family surnames on our profiles to compare with any other lists given by the DNA match persons on their profiles.