Farkas & Kunstler, Hungary

Moritz Farkas
From the countryside of Botpalad and NagyBereg to the busy Lower East Side of Manhattan--and then, finally, the suburbs of the Bronx. That was the life journey of my immigrant great-grandparents, Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) and Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938).

Lena Kunstler Farkas
Moritz was born in Botpalad, the son of Ferenc (Fred/Yehuda) Farkas and Hermina Gross...Lena was born in NagyBereg, Hungary (now Berehi), the daughter of Samuel (Shmuel Zanvil) Kunstler and Toby Roth.

Moritz married Lena about 1884 and as his family grew, so did his responsibilities, helping to supervise the lands and vineyards of the Kunstler family and leasing his own lands to grow crops, as well. His family prospered as the harvests were plentiful. One year, however, Moritz the gentleman farmer failed to insure his crops -- and of course that was the year of devastating hail storms that wiped out the harvest. (Family story but quite plausible.)

By this time, Moritz and Lena had 8 children: Sandor (Alex), Hermina (Minnie, my grandma), Albert, Julius, Peter, Irene, Ilka (Ella), and Freda. To make a new life and keep his sons from mandatory conscription, Moritz set out for New York City in the summer of 1899, intending to send for his family once he was established.

The weeks turned into months as Lena waited. Near the end of 1900, more than a year after Moritz had sailed to America, she left her children with the Kunstler family in Hungary and joined her husband in lower Manhattan. The children crossed the Atlantic later, in two groups (on their own!): Four children came to NYC in 1901, and another four children came soon afterward. In New York, Moritz and Lena enlarged their family by three new babies: Rose, Fred, and Regina (Jeanne).

Still being researched: The exact relationships between various branches of the Farkas family, the Roth family, the Weiss family, the Mandel family, the Hartfield family, and the Kunstler family. There were intermarriages between these families in Hungary and later in America.

I created a Find a Grave virtual cemetery for the Farkas family, which can be seen here. It's a work in progress, with more memorials being added little by little.

Some of my posts about these genealogical mysteries and discoveries (and about the Farkas Family Tree) include:
  • Farkas men are witnesses to Bela Roth's naturalization (Bela was married to Lena's sister, Sara/Zolli/Sali Kunstler); 
  • Cousin JW -- who, it turns out, really is a cousin from the Weiss family.
  • Joseph Roth links Weiman/Warren family-Weiss family and possibly more.
  • Identifying the Mandel and Roth cousins at my parents' wedding (and the Hartfields). 
  • The Roths from Nagy-Bereg came to NYC -- and later give my Grandma Minnie a much-needed job in a tie factory. Bela Roth's death in 1941. Using Ancestry AI to look at Roth passenger manifest from Hamburg.
  • Great-uncle Alex (Sandor) Farkas marries Jennie Katz on Xmas Eve, 1916, in New York City. Was Jennie born in Hungary? Today, it's Romania, actually, according to the town name on Alex & Jennie's marriage cert.
  • Is Julia Farkas Waldman (born in Tiszaujlak, now known as Vylok in Ukraine) part of my Farkas family tree? 
  • Gizella Steinberger (daughter of Josephine "Pepi" Farkas and Noe Steinberger) was born in Botpalad, Hungary. 
  • Alex (Sandor) Roth married Blanche Schwartz. Is she a cousin of Tony Curtis (original name: Bernard Hershel Schwartz)?
  • The Kunstler siblings (Great-grandma Leni and other sibs, including Sali/Zalli who married Bela Roth) 
  • Handwritten note of Farkas names/death dates on the back of a Farkas wedding photo provides clues. 
  • Farkas Family Tree Thanksgiving celebrations as described in the association minutes.
  • What the Farkas family did to support its service men and woman in WWII. 
  • Lena Kunstler Farkas's Find A Grave site now has links to her children. 
  • Thanks to the Farkas Family Tree minutes, I can date photos more precisely.
  • What surprised me about my Farkas grandparents.
  • How did Moritz Farkas know when his children's ship came in from the Old World? He read it in the newspaper.
  • My Aunt Dorothy Schwartz (granddaughter of Moritz and Lena) was a WAC in WWII, and one of her letters home is included in a 1945 compilation of servicewomen's letters home. Joy! A cousin lent me all the WWII letters written to the Farkas Family, so I can scan and index and distribute to the family (now done).
  • Donating my WAC aunt's artifacts to the US Army Women's Museum.
  • Kunstler in-law Bela Bernard Roth's ancestor timeline. What happened to his son, Imre Roth? 
  • Farkas family members served in WWII and wrote letters home about their experiences.
  • Earworm Farkas Family Tree song sung at every meeting.
  • My Farkas and Schwartz families were part of the founding and leadership of the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick & Benevolent Assn in New York City. Suffragette supporters! Long-time officers of the society too.
  • Grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz sewed ties before marrying grandpa and working alongside him in his grocery story, starting in 1917 or so. The tie factory was owned by a Roth cousin.
  • Indexing the Farkas Family Tree monthly meeting minutes from 1940-44.
  • Bachelor Brothers Julius and Peter Farkas were well known in family for their stinky cigars and stinky cheese. Finding obits in the NY Times.
  • The Farkas Family Tree enjoyed outings such as an annual fishing trip.
  • Why my great uncle Albert Farkas was missing from a family wedding portrait. He sent a postcard from Seattle, WA to my grandma, who was vacationing in upstate, NY, August 1911.
  • Great uncle Albert Farkas's life of service to the community.
  • My Farkas family helped found the Kossuth Society, one of hundreds of landsmanshaftn in New York City that aided immigrants. Grandma wore a fun costume dress to the Kossuth's 5th anniversary ball! 
  • Legendary Savile Row men Louis Steinberger & Fred Stanbury were Farkas cousins, visited by my uncle in 1937 and 1938. I've confirmed this with a descendant of Fred Stanbury (paper trail and DNA).
  • A bit of humor in Farkas Family Tree minutes: descriptions of food, loud discussions about money, and more.
  • Great aunt Regina's penmanship award--when did she win it? My hypothesis and methodology.
  • A hail storm in Hungary led great-grandpa Moritz Farkas to the life-changing decision to come to New York City. 
  • In New York City, the subway enabled Moritz to move his family from the Lower East Side to the Bronx.
  • Grandma Minnie Farkas, age 23, was photographed in costume in 1909 for the Kossuth Society fundraising ball. Grandma Minnie refused an arranged marriage--threw the ring out the window!
  • All the Farkas girls chose their own husbands, following the example of my Grandma Minnie, the oldest, who would only marry the man she loved.
  • Saving the wedding photo and baby photos of Farkas cousin Iris Weiss, who married Albert Mintus.
  • Julius Farkas (my great uncle) was a WWI conscientious objector.
  • The Farkas Family Tree gave silver napkin rings as a gift to each new baby born as a great-grandchild to Moritz & Lena Farkas, the original immigrants who brought the family to America.
  • Scanning the Farkas Family Tree monthly minutes (1933-1964) and distributing to many cousins so family history stays alive in the next generation and the generations to follow.
  • Enhancing, colorizing, and animating a favorite photo of Leni Kunstler Farkas--good results! 
  • Seeing the signature of my immigrant great-grandfather Moritz Farkas on his naturalization papers.
  • Reading the Farkas Family Tree minutes about some memorable fishing expeditions by my land-lubbing, city-dwelling ancestors!
  • In the Farkas Family Tree, some ancestors married during Thanksgiving week, including cousin Jennie Mandel (married Isidor Hartfield), Uncle Fred (married Daisy Katz), and my parents!
  • The grandfather of my great uncle Fred Farkas's wife Charlotte Chapman served in the US Civil War, fighting for the Union in Co D, 1st Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.
  • Great-grandpa Moritz Farkas on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor.
  • Bela Roth, a brother-in-law of my great-grandma Lena Kunstler Farkas, sailed on two different Hamburg-America Line ships from Germany to NYC.


  1. Who were the parents of Moritz? And who was his grandfather?

    1. Hi Linda, Moritz's parents were Ferencz Farkas and Hermina Gross. I wish I knew his grandparents' names, but I don't. Perhaps there's a connection between your Farkas family and mine?

  2. My father-in-law was from Beregovo.