Thursday, January 30, 2014

Help Me Research My Hungarian Wine Family Roots

Growing up my grandfather briefly mentioned at times about his life and family in Hungary.  He never really talked about it and it was always in passing.  He did say that his family owned vineyards in Tapolca, Hungary and spoke briefly about going up there growing up.

A few years ago I received a phone call from a gentleman in Texas who was researching his family history "Lessner" and when he googled it guess who came up.  Yours Truly!  It was then that I realized I didn't know too much about my grandfather's side of the family.

My grandfather has a sister who is 15 years younger than him and lives in Sydney, Australia so I reached out to her daughter and began to just touch my wine roots. My Aunt Lucy did write a book on her life called "Stories From The Lost World" that takes us through her childhood and family history, hiding in Budapest during WWII and escaping to Australia.  Juno was kind enough to get me a copy which I will pass down to my kids.

Where do I begin?  Well this is what I know so far and I ask of you to help me in my quest to dig deeper and help me find my wine roots and family history.
The Seals & Coat of Arms of Tapolca that sit on Jozsef Lessner's House

My great grandfather Alfred Lessner came from the Lessner family who owned six vineyards in Tapolca, Hungary.  The main street in Tapolca was lined with seven Lessner Houses. My great great great (yes that's three) grandfather, Jozsef Lessner owned the large main house on the street.  His brother lived across the street, but as in a typical dysfunctional family they didn't speak due to an argument over the quality of wine they were producing. (yes, you can laugh and shake your head)

My aunt said when she'd go visit her grandfather there was never any water on the table at meals.  Even breakfast, there was always wine.  According to my great, great, great grandfather, "wine was what civilized people drank." There is no question about my DNA!
The Lessner Family Cellar
My great great great grandmother was the keeper of the keys.  The keys to the "Lessner Cellar" which was a system of wine cellars with eight different branches. There is an article on this that I haven't been able to locate written by a Jozsef Laposa titled "The Lessner Cellar in Tapolca."

I am going to continue my research and will post information as I find it. If you come across any information please share it with me.

Hopefully in the not to distant future I can travel to the wine regions of Hungary and visit the vineyards and cellars that were once a part of my family (if they still exist) and any family members that I didn't know I had.

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