The Fritsch-Hudacsek Families
The Fritsch and Hudeček families hailed from present-day Austria and the Czech Republic, respectively, and were of simpler origin than George’s other ancestors. In fact, the members of the Fritsch family were in servitude on a large estate, presumably, that of Prince Eszterházi in present-day Eisenstadt, while the Hudečeks owned and/or operated taverns near the city of Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. Eisenstadt was formerly the Hungarian town of Kismarton, while Brno was the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia.
Joseph Fritsch Senior, George’s great-great-grandfather was a coachman on the estate, a step up from his father, Ferenc, who was just a servant at one of the stations of the estate. George’s great-grandfather, Joseph, was the middle child among 9 siblings, who worked as an official for an insurance company --- a huge step up from peasantry. Two of his brothers also escaped farm life, one of them becoming a tinsmith, while the other ended up as the owner of a tavern/restaurant. Thus, it was natural for George’s grandmother, Anna Jozefa Fritsch to rise even more and marry into the noble Vargha family.
According to family legend, George’s great-grandfather was a hackney driver in Vienna at one time. Maybe that’s where he met his wife, Franciska Hudeček, George’s great-grandmother. Her family may have moved to Vienna to open a tavern there, and he, possibly already missing his left arm, had to follow in his father’s footsteps and work with horses for the time being. Later they moved to Sopron, Hungary, and that’s where their children were born: George’s grandmother Anna Jozefa Fritsch, her two older brothers, her twin and her younger brother, Jenő (Eugene), who emigrated to the United States in 1905, at the age of 22. After he established himself working at Thomas Edison’s initial Machine Works in Schenectady, New York, which was the forerunner of General Electric, he had his parents join him in 1910. Thus, they lived with him until the death of Great-grandmother Franciska in 1921, when George’s grandmother came out to the United States to take her father back with her.
Franciska’s older sister, Josepha, married Joseph Marchal, who later became one of the most famous chefs and restaurateurs of Hungary, and an influential shaper of the famous Hungarian cuisine. When Franz Joseph was finally crowned the king of Hungary after the Compromise of 1867, he was the one who put together the feast to celebrate the event. Later he was in charge of the kitchen of the National Casino, and then the owner of the Angol Királynő (British Queen) Hotel, where he trained some of the most successful chefs of the era. In particular, the creator of the Dobos torte was one of his students. The use of sour cream was also introduced by him in making the famous Hungarian stew (pörkölt) more palatable, and it was him, who cut back on the strong seasoning of traditional Hungarian meals. Moreover, he was the godfather of all five children of my Fritsch- Hudeček great-grandparents.