Portrait of Charles Chiba

Dear Relation, greetings!

Iván Nagy in his authoritative reference book, published in 1858, "Magyarország családai" writes about the Csiba family as follows: "One of the oldest families. In 1299 King András III. discontinued the earlier fort service duties of Jaka, Marczel, Máté, Csyba (should read Chyba), Bug, András, János and Musga residents of Fel-Abony, and in recognition of their military deeds elevated them into the ranks of nobility."

The financial strength of our family followed the fate of great many other "minor noble" families and went into a decline as its members multiplied and their landholdings shrank accordingly. Good land of reasonable size and within reasonable distance was often not available; marrying into families with larger holdings had sometimes postponed the inevitable but, as most other families suffered the same problems, this solution was not a long term remedy. Many had to leave the land and the better of these learned a trade or entered the professions.

Péter Gálffy retired sergeant-major of the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie completed assembling the Csiba Family Tree on 20 April 1932 at Kaposvár, Hungary. He, who is linked to the Csiba family through his maternal side, used documents located in the archives of Pozsony, Komárom, Moson, Fejér, Vas and Bács counties as well as papers left behind by the late (+ Dec. 1918) Mrs. László Nagy nee Ernesztina Csiba from 1160 to 1848 and further from his own collection of official and private documents from 1848 to 1932. Much of the archival material of the Csiba of Nagyabony family' that were in Csiba Ernesztina's custody and later formed part of her bequest. They were held in an old ironshod crate, Dr Dezsö Németh of Beknepatony, retired Chief Sheriff, in 19?? took with him" writes Gállfy.

Research and maintenance of discovered data even in these days computers require many hundreds of labour hours. In 1931-32 a researcher equipped only with paper and pencil needed to have a lot of free time, lasting power and enthusiasm. The Family owes a mighty amount of gratitude to Peter Gállfy for his devoted work.

Gállfy identifies those members of the Csiba of Nagyabony family who during the nationwide survey in of the nobles in 1754-55 were alive and had corroborated their Csiba origin in the Counties of their residence.. According to best information available at present the Family's patriarch is a Czech soldier named Ceka from Bohemia who settled in Hungary's Highlands (Felvidék) sometime between 1120 and 1165 AD. The next generation carries the Chyba name.

I visited the Nagyabony cemetery in June 1995. There I found a fresh tombstone that says in the Hungarian language: "Here is at rest Chyba Maximilan 1906-1981 (and) his wife Takács Júlia 1904-1984. May the Eternal Light shine upon them." In my belief this tombstone throws new light on the Family's structure, i.e. one branch of it, most likely the larger one, changed the spelling to Csiba whilst the other, presently believed the smaller one, retained the original Chyba format. That this branch regarded and still regards itself to be Hungarian is suggested by the tombstone's Hungarian language inscription.

I, who arrived in Australia in 1950, to avoid administrative difficulties, as a halfway solution, selected the Chiba spelling; our children's' birth certificates say likewise. A cousin, a medical practitioner in Germany, for the same reason spells his name Tchiba.

A few words by way of introduction. My grandfather was Orbán Csiba from Tejfalu who moved in the 1880s to the then thriving Budapest. Both my father Károly Csiba and I were born in Budapest. I commenced my high school as a boarder with the Jesuits at Kalocsa in 1939. Early 1944 I was accepted into the Royal Hungarian Army's Zrinyi Miklós School of Cadets.

Following the loss of the war I matriculated from the Eötvös József gimmnázium in Budapest. In 1949 the communist expelled me from the University for Economics, Budapest. I read one year Commerce at the University of Innsbruck and finally I graduated as Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Tasmania in 1954. We have been living in Melbourne since 1955. I spent all my working life in industry. I retired in 1993; since the then I live for my trees, on my farm I have 1700 grafted walnuts and here at home is the family tree. My wife is the Pozsony born but Budapest raised Tanóczky Márta B.A.(Monash), M. Lib. Monash), LAA, past Fulbright Scholar, director of the local Monash University's engineering, computer science and medical faculties' libraries. Our son Mark (*1965), B.Com (Hons) Melb., LL.B.(Hons) Syd., M.A.(Hons) Oxford; past Rhodes Scholar, After working London and Melbourne is the Prseindent and Chief Executive Officer of the Union Bank of Switzerland Warburg (Japan) Ltd a.d lives wothhis wife Kathryn in Tokyo. Our daughter Catherine (*1967) B.Agr.Sc.(Melb), A.S.I.A., is area group manager of the Shell Company.

Our cousin Dr Csiba Árpád, a well-known oral pathologist, dental surgeon and university professor (H-1053 Budapest, Múzeum körút 23-25 I /5, tel. 117 6873) is writing the Family's general history and I concentrate on the maintenance of the database. Searching the family tree is a fascinating task; it is true that it demands sacrifices both in time and money but we feel that we will pass down the generations something precious. Our aim is to make the results our research available to interested members of our family either on computer disk or in print or both when practicable.

For those who may be interested: the family tree is laid out Microsoft Excel Version 5; that software may not be absolutely ideal for the purpose but is the best available. If anyone could transfer it into something more suitable, I would be grateful. The individual data are held in genealogical database called Relatively Yours, compiled by Computability Pty Ltd, Blackheath, 2785 NSW. Australia. As it is purpose written and is almost faultless, it does the job well. Apart from basic data it has places dedicated for an individual's life story, his/her life's highlights, places and items of interest; the history of a family branch's patriarch, photos, paintings, etc.

In conclusion, it is totally without consequence under what circumstances a family member lives, whether his/her mother tongue is Magyar, Slovak, German, English, or Spanish; today's world is only a big village. It is equally unimportant whether his/her occupation is truck driver or teacher, managing director or miner. Each and every one of us is an important link in this great community of the Csiba family and so binds us the bond of blood.

I talked to several people who received survey forms for researchers of (other) family trees. "I threw it away, I don't know why they bother me." was the casual comment. Fair enough, I thought, not everyone may be interested in the history of his family nor is everyone literate. Still, if someone somewhere took the trouble of locating and contacting him/her, good manners and just plain decency would require to return the blank form with a "No thank you". I should like to hope that there are few, if any, such specimens in our family.

I ask you, in the interest of the common good, to spare a few minutes to tell us about yourself, our descendants will be grateful. Please note there the guarantee of confidentiality.

Looking forward to hearing from you in the very near future,with warmest greetings,

Charles Chiba.

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