The Vargha Family
The Vargha family originates from Erdély (Transylvania), which is presently part of Romania. Their deed of nobility was granted by Prince György I Rákóczi of Transylvania on June 2, 1635, according to which György Vargha was elevated to the rank of lófő (the equivalent of baron), and the family was given the forename “szent-lászlói”. In case of war, due to his rank --- along with the other lófő-s --- he was to be second in command to the prince. In recognition of his ability to read and write, he was also allowed to use the distinguishing adjective “lyteraty”. Interestingly, most of the Varghas were not only literate, but were good writers as well, and some even wrote credible poetry. Fortunately, the knack for good writing continues to this day.
György II Vargha, moved the family to Balatonfüred, where his sons, Lőrinc (Laurence) and János (John) were recognized by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Charles III (Habsburg) as noblemen, and were given the additional forename “balatonfüredi” on April 10, 1713. Some generations later various members of the family successfully petitioned the Hungarian government for the use of the double forename “szent-lászlói és (and) balatonfüredi” and the spelling of the name as Vargha in order to distinguish them from various other Varga and Vargha families. Since the term “varga” meant shoemaker in past centuries, the name Varga is a common last name in the country. In fact, there are several other noble families named Varga and Vargha in Hungary with different forenames. Nevertheless, many of the Varghas considered the “h” old-fashioned and dropped it from their names. And forenames were not advisable under communism either, and hence they were conveniently omitted.
George is a descendent of Lőrinc, who was the great-great-grandfather of Imre Vargha, who is shown in the chart on the previous page. Through the mother of Imre, George is also a descendent of the Etényi, Foky, Szily, Hertelendy, and kis-barnaki Farkas families, which are also of interest to him.
Imre and his two brothers were also among the revolutionaries in 1848-49, and were probably saved from the subsequent repercussion of the Austrians by their father, who was a highly respected district judge. After the Compromise of 1867, he became a colonel in the Austro-Hungarian Army.
Imre’s son. Jenő was an engineer, who worked most of his life for the Hungarian Railroads (MÁV). He died at the young age of 42, leaving 8 children, of whom George’s father, Miklós was the second oldest son. He too was a military officer, with the rank of Lt. Colonel at the end of WWII. After the war, he successfully managed his wife’s family’s lands (more precisely, the 300 acres of the 3000 they were allowed to keep) until the communist dictatorship took that away too. Following some difficult years under communist oppression, he accompanied his son, George to the USA in 1957, and taught horseback riding in Texas for some years.
Though many descendents of the original Varghas left the area, there are still many, like Lajos Varga and Attila Tóth, who live in Balatonfüred. Hence, it was reasonable to organize the first family reunion there in 2005. We learned about the Varga graves in Balatonfüred from Lajos, and are thankful to his children for hosting the reunion organized by Attila. George was pleased to have had a part in bringing together different branches of the family too.