Monday, May 29, 2023

International Newspapers: Rutners Becoming Landowners

My 4th great grandfather David Rutner was born in what is now Kolodne, Ukraine, but which was Darva, Austria-Hungary during his life.  I've found various clues about his life over the years, but I know to always check where I've checked before, as more is getting digitized and discovered all the time.  I semi-regularly check Arcanum Digitheca, a great resource for Hungarian newspapers, journals, and more, but it had been a while.  And sure enough, when I checked recently, I found a newly-added 1857 article in German that mentioned David Ruthner from Darva!

Pester Lloyd, February 5, 1857

Google Translate wasn't very helpful in this instance, so I requested a translation on the Genealogical Translations Facebook group, and Martin Koch helped to explain what was happening here.  He explained that this was dealing with a concept called "grundentlastung" in which previously dependent farmers were able to acquire the land they had been cultivating as their personal property by making a one-time payment. This article was documenting that David Ruthner had bought his land for 112 fl and 30 Kreuzer.

This timing is interesting, because I'd previously discovered that David Rutner had land taken from him via eminent domain the previous month.  Perhaps he used the payment for that land to buy this new land?  I'll need to investigate 1850s Hungarian land laws a bit more in depth!

(I didn't just find this during my latest search.  I discovered that my great grandmother had a first cousin who appeared on a casualty list during World War I.  I discovered other relatives who bought or sold land or who got in a bit of trouble and made the newspaper.)

So what can you learn from here?  First, always periodically check repositories you've checked before to see what's new.  And look at sites that have old newspapers that cover the regions where your ancestors lived--you may find out more about their lives.

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1 comment:

  1. I recently got a subscription to Arcanum. Good to know it’s continually updated. Thanks, Lara!