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My mother (who is only related by marriage to the family in question) recounted a story that my great-grandmother's little brother died in the first World War when he and a group of fellow young officers were on town leave, and a Serbian soldier came along and shot him in the back.

Now, my mother has a much better memory for these sorts of family stories than most people, me included, but I still can't place much weight on any of the details (not least because they come through the filter of my memory of what my mother said). So let's just say that the young man was a soldier, possibly an officer, in the Austro-Hungarian army during WWI, and died during the war.

The more certain details: he was born on Dec. 3, 1886 in Budapest, Hungary, and was given the names Béla Ferencz at his baptism on Dec. 9 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9Q97-YS85-5R1). His father was Gaiter János, a restauranteur originally from Pornó, Vas county, Hungary, and his mother was Steidl Teréz, who came from Mór, Fejér county, Hungary. He is listed among the survivors on his father's funeral notice in 1912 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6QK3-X6J?i=858&wc=M6WV-FNG%3A101520501%2C101520502&cc=1542666), but there are no clues as to his occupation at that time.

Both the OCR-based search at the Austrian State Library (http://anno.onb.ac.at/anno-suche/#searchMode=complex&title=Verlustliste&dateMode=period&yearFrom=1914&yearTo=1914&from=21) and the human-based index at GenTeam (https://www.genteam.eu/) only turn up one Gaiter in the Verlustliste: a rather detail-poor entry among the officers in issue number 9, dated Aug. 31, 1914, indicating that Adalbert Gaiter, a cadet in the reserves of infantry regiment 53 company 2, had died (http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno?aid=vll&datum=19140831&seite=4&zoom=60).

Other relevant tidbits: The name Adalbert (or Albert) was sometimes used as a German "translation" of the native Hungarian name Béla.

Béla's elder sister spoke fluent German as well as her native Hungarian. This came in handy when she became the cantor-teacher's wife in Harta, a Danube Schwabian village about 80 km (50 mi) south of Budapest. (The marriage was in 1902.)

My question is: what is known about the unit and rank and whatnot given in the Loss List? Can any of it exclude (or much less likely, verify) the entry as a match to my relative? Is there any hope of more information somewhere to go with such an anemic entry in the Loss Lists?


Edited to add more detail about what it is I'm trying to find out:
The Loss List entry, anemic as it is, gives a unit and subunit, and comes with a date. Is there someplace where I can look up information about that unit, such as where it was based or where the people in it mostly came from, and what it was doing (where it was) in the summer of 1914?

Alternately, is there an archive somewhere that would have files about the members of Austria-Hungary's infantry regiment 53, company 2, where I could look up Adalbert Gaiter's birthdate or mother's name?

  • Might genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/3915/… be relevant? – ColeValleyGirl Nov 12 '18 at 12:53
  • @ColeValleyGirl: part of my problem is that I keep finding information about the German military in WWI, such as that previous question on this site. Mr. Gaiter very definitely was not in the German military. – JPmiaou Nov 12 '18 at 14:39
  • ~@JPmiaou --understood, but I wasn't sure who might be considered part of the Germany military at that point in time -- hence my question mask, – ColeValleyGirl Nov 12 '18 at 15:10
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There should be a death record somewhere. And, since he didn't die in battle, a grave. Did he die within the current limits of Hungary? If so, he should be in the Hungarian archives.

Have you searched here?
http://www.macse.hu/society/en/kezdolap.php

There are some other sites to search Hungarian vital records and also cemetery records.

If he died outside of the modern borders of Hungary, there may still be Hungarian records, since he was a Hungarian citizen. But you would also want to search records for the country he died in. Nearly all records archives are based on the modern borders.

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    Seriously? I would reject this edit if I could. It adds nothing to my answer. It's simply a stylistic difference. – Cyn Nov 12 '18 at 21:25
  • I know all about finding records in Hungary. That wasn't my question. What I don't know much about is the military stuff: do the numbers and abbreviations from the Loss List convey any information that I don't recognize? – JPmiaou Nov 12 '18 at 22:58
  • If that Loss List entry conveys any information about where Adalbert Gaiter died, it's eluding me, so your advice to "search records for the country he died in" is rather, um, circular. – JPmiaou Nov 12 '18 at 23:36
  • I understand. I was responding to your final question: "Is there any hope of more information somewhere?" Most people aren't familiar with the Hungarian materials (MACSE has a lot of things you can't find anywhere else). But if you already have searched there and elsewhere, then I don't know what else you can do, besides hold out for new documents. Good luck. – Cyn Nov 13 '18 at 1:00
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My underlying question (whether Gaiter Adalbert in the Loss List is the same person as my Gaiter Béla) hasn't been answered yet, but I have been made aware of some resources that may help others looking for Austro-Hungarian WWI military information.

http://www.magyarezredek.hu/ Magyar ezredek az első világháborúban (Hungarian Regiments in the First World War) has maps of what area of the country went with which unit (both army and honvéd), along with a searchable WWI-specific library catalog with some material available online, such as a history of the 52nd infantry regiment (http://www.magyarezredek.hu/online-viewer-webapp/onlineviewer/25252). Unfortunately the website seems to use every deprecated Web technology in existence (starting with Flash).

The Hungarian Military Archives (HM HIM Hadtörténeti Levéltár) has an online form for asking about military ancestors: http://militaria.hu/adatb/leveltariuj/content/katonaosok_kutatasahoz_szukseges_adatok They only search the materials available in Budapest, which includes only a partial database of qualification sheets for officers born before 1900, WWI award recommendations, and a partial loss list. For further information, they refer you to their Vienna detachment, for which they give the following contact information: A-1030 Wien, Nottendorfer Gasse 2. e-mail: ukadelwien@gmail.com. (I've corresponded with them before, in Hungarian. I have no idea whether they know any English.)

FamilySearch has some enlistment records digitized and online, but unindexed: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&query=%2Btitle%3Akatonai They appear to be organized by place first, then by birth year.

FamilySearch also has a fairly extensive collection of Austro-Hungarian military vital registers. Finding them in the catalog is an artform; I used "Österreich Armee Infanterie" in the Author field with pretty good result. A lot of it has been digitized, but a lot of it is restricted (camera with key icon).

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