Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Stefan Papp, Csendőrs

My grandfather, Stephen Popp or Stefan Papp, was a state policeman, a csendőrs in Hungary before he emigrated to the United States shortly after World War I. He served in the rural area near his home in the Chust district of Máramaros, patrolling on horseback. Today the region is part of the Transcarpathian district of Ukraine.

This photograph is of him in his csendőrs uniform. He is a sergeant, wearing a badge for Patrol Leader and two medals, the Long Service Cross for non-commissioned officers and the commemorative cross for the 60th anniversary of Franz Josef's reign issued in 1908. The bars or strafes on his sleeve indicate eight years of service.


Dating the photograph was a bit of a challenge. Since he had been awarded the commemorative cross it was clearly after 1908. The uniform collar design suggests it was taken before World War I. His soldiers book says he entered military service in 1904. The Gendarmerie were drawn from the military. I am estimating the photograph was taken about 1912 when he would have been about 30 years old.

I believe this is the earliest photograph we have of my grandfather. It corroborates what I have been told by his children about his life in Europe before coming to America. I am curious about the ring he appears to be wearing. He was not married then. I have a ring he left when he died, but don't know if it was the one he was wearing in this photograph. 

I used the wonderful website Austro-Hungarian Land Forces 1848-1918 created by Glenn Jewison and Jörg C. Steiner to find out more about the medals, decorations and uniforms of the Hungarian military and gendarmerie.


Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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