Tuesday, January 10, 2022
Over the holiday break I was going through some family photos and found these amazing books. They are "Patents of Nobility", illuminated with beautiful calligraphy, signed and sealed by Austro-Hungarian royalty, granting noble title to distant ancestors.
Here's the oldest one, dated 1755. It grants the title of Graf to Jung Tomás (Thomas Jung), signed by Empress Maria Theresa. Check out the royal seal, about the size of Flav's clock! The cord is threaded through the pages and the seal so any tampering would show evidence. There's also a family tree c. 1900 including Jung, Szabo, Pottyondy, Palfy, Laczkovich, and Susich families. Pretty sure my grandfather made the pencil annotations!
Here's the last page with the Empress' signature and a fancy calligraphic flourish.
Here's one from the next century (1840), granting nobility to Caroli Graff, (likely the Latinization of the Hungarian name Graf Károly). It grants the title de Daruvar and 1/6 of the possessions thereof ("impensurus unam sextam possesionis"). This is likely the township of Daruvár, now the Romanian Darova, recently freed from Ottoman occupation at the time. This is signed by Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Archduke of Austria.
Anyway I think these are beautiful artifacts of very minor nobility, even if completely obsolete -- the Austro-Hungarian nobility was dissolved in 1919 at the the Treaty of Versailles, after their loss to the Allies in the First World War.