When I first began researching my family almost 20 years ago, all I had been told was that they were from "Budapest, Hungary".  Well, I have found them in many places throughout Hungary and Slovakia, but I have yet to find them in Budapest!  Here is the story of how I found them in Körmend:

     I became interested in genealogy after my father's brother died.  His parents had predeceased his brother, and now my father was an orphan in the truest sense of the word.  At first, my genealogical quest was simply to locate some first cousins that he had lost track of, in an attempt to restore some of his family to him.  But I was hooked.  This soon escalated into an attempt to find living relatives of my mother, and then into a more global project to find as many ancestors and descendants on both sides of the family as I could, and solve the mystery of exactly where the families were from.  The surnames SCHREINER and LICHT are on my mother's side of my family.  I followed pretty much the usual procedures by talking to my relatives, writing away for any records that I could find, etc. 
     Over the course of several years, I uncovered some tantalizing hints.  The 1919 death record for my maternal great-grandmother, Mary (nee LICHT) STACEL, lists her birthplace as "Austria" and her parents as Samuel and Minnie LICHT.  Mary had a brother, Emanuel, and I had a little better luck with him.  His death certificate included Minnie's maiden name--SCHRINER.  Naturalization records listed Emanuel's last place of residence as "Raab", which I soon found out was Györ, Hungary.  I hired a researcher to go through the Györ vital records filmed by the FHL, with no results.  No Emanuel LICHT.  Was there an error somehow?  Taking another tack, I managed to find Mary and her husband Salamon STOSSEL's passenger records on the Hamburg lists.  They came at separate times, first Salamon and one group of children from Uzhgorod, now in Ukraine, then Mary and another group of children from someplace that looked like "Kormonow" on the record.  At  this point I  hit the proverbial  "brick wall".   I couldn't find the family in Györ and "Kormonow" didn't seem to exist.
     So I turned my attention elsewhere and made progress on other branches of my family.  Fast forward several years, when I became the library director for my synagogue.  We have a set of the Encyclopedia Judaica, and on a whim, one day with nothing better to do, I looked up the town of  Györ.  There was an entry, which noted that until 1840 the Catholic Church permitted only Catholics to reside in the city and compelled the Jews to settle on the nearby Györ-Sziget island on the Danube River.  BINGO!  When I got home, I looked up Györ-Sziget in the online Family History Catalog, and found a different microfilm for those records than the ones my researcher had looked through years earlier.  I ordered it and waited anxiously for several weeks for it to arrive.  It took me several hours to go through the film, and just when I thought I'd reached another dead end, on the very last 3 images of the film, I finally found Emanuel, his wife and the birth records of two of their three children.  The best thing of all was that one record listed Emanuel's birth place as Körmend!  So of course I immediately ordered the FHL films for Körmend vital records.
     I found SCHREINER and LICHT names practically from the very first page.  What a treasure trove!  There was Samuel LICHT (1810-1887) and his wife, Wilhelmina (Vilma) SCHREINER (1818?-1890) and their eight children. Eight children!!  I only knew about my great grandmother Mary (listed as Maria/Malka in the records) and her brother Emanuel (listed as Moriz/Moshe).  I found Maria and Salomon STOSZL's marriage record in 1875 that indicated Salomon was divorced when he married Maria.  Who knew?  I also discovered that their eldest daughter, my mom's Aunt Kitty, was really Gizella with the Hebrew name of Gitl and was the only one of their children born in Körmend.  So much for being from Budapest!!
     All the LICHT names I found pertained to my family, but what about all those other SCHREINER names?  In addition to Wilhelmina, there was Rosina SCHREINER (1825?-?) her husband Wilhelm RITSCHER and their ten children.  And Betti SCHREINER (1797-1878), married to Salamon FURST and their four children.  Then there was Aron SCHREINER (1805?-before 1857) who married Leni HIRSCH and their six children.  Finally, there was Rachel SCHREINER (1820?-?), her husband Izsak FURST (kin to Salamon FURST?) and their son.  I could follow all these families several generations into the 1890s, but I couldn't link them together.
     As exciting to me as all this was, I was not content to have the relationships between the SCHREINER families  be an eternal puzzle.  As I had done transcriptions for the All Hungary Database "Other Records" project, I knew there was census information available for some towns that predated the vital records.  Back to the Family History Library Catalog.  Again, I got lucky.  There are two microfilms with early census records from Vas megye, both of which I ordered.
     I found a Jacob(us) LICHT on the 1822 and 1831 censi.  Both times he was listed as having 2 sons and 2 daughters.  Since Jacob LICHT was old enough to have four children in 1822, I estimated his date of birth at around 1785.  Samuel was born in 1810, and had a son named Jakab born in 1845, so I believe it's highly likely that Jacob(us) was Samuel's father. Update: In 2015 I was contacted by a woman whose gggfather, Albert LICHT, lived in Fagaras, Romania.  Thanks to new additions to records, she was able to locate records stating that Albert LICHT was born in Körmend in 1818.  She also had had autosomal DNA tested, which postulated a 4th-remote cousin relationship between us.  In 2016, she traveled to Fagaras, and found the gravestone of Albert LICHT, which had extensive Hebrew writing on it, delineating not only his father's name, but his wife's, children's and even his brother's names!!  The father was Jacobus, the brother was Samuel.  So now we can verify that we are 4th cousins once removed!  The full family tree for the LICHT family can be found on
     I found a Moises SREINER in 1796, and again in 1813 as Moyses SCHREINER with 2 sons and 2 daughters.  In 1817, Moyses SCHRAINER had one son and one daughter.  Also in 1817 there is a Mandl SRAINER with 2 daughters.  In 1822, Moyses SCHREINER lived with 1 son, 1 relative and 1 servant.  In 1831 Aron SRAJNER shows up with 2 daughters.  No Moyses or Mandl.  Looking back at the 1793 census, which has mostly first names and patronymics, there is a Moyses Aaron with a son and 3 daughters, and a Moyses Volff with a daughter.
     So I made the following inferences based on approximate birthdates: 
     Which leaves me with this possible family tree:

Aaron (~1740-~1800)
                                                                                      Moses (~1770-~1830)
                                 |                        |                               |                             |              |
                             Mandl (~1790)     Betti (1797-1878)     Aron (~1800-?)       dau          dau?
                 _________|________                      __________|_________
                 |                               |                     |                                  |
          Wilhelmina                   Rachel            Rosina                        6 other children

     Based on this research, I feel comfortable saying that my direct family lived in Körmend from the late 1700s until the early 1890s, and that related branches lived in Körmend until the 1900s and probably up until the Holocaust--about 160 years!  And since the fun of genealogical research is that for every question answered one ends up with several more questions, here are some new puzzles for me to work on--
  •      Who are the daughters of Jacob(us) LICHT? 
  •      And who are the other daughters of Moses SREINER?
  •      Where were Moyses SCHREINER and Jacobus LICHT born?  In Körmend?  Since both surnames are Germanic in origin, could they have migrated from nearby Burgenland, now in Austria, but which was a part of Vas megye at one time?
        I'm sure trying to solve all these puzzles will keep me happily occupied for many years to come.
     I hope you've enjoyed my story, and that your own research is equally as rewarding!

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© Copyright 2008 Judy Petersen

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