The preservation of family folklore is an important part of genealogy research in my opinion. The stories told to us by our parents and grandparents whether wholly factual or embellished upon as they are handed down,
give us a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors and perhaps some new insights into ourselves.
The following is a combination of stories handed down to Dennis Demeter of Michigan USA by his father the late
John C. Demeter Jr. and to me by my late grandfather Mihaly (Mike) Demeter. Please note that there seems to be no direct relation between myself and Dennis. Our initial contact was through this website and it is
unlikely that his father and my grandfather had ever met. Yet, their stories of our Demeter ancestors are eerily similar. I will also remind the reader that these are unsubstantiated stories that may or may not be
factual. Due to the time periods involved and the regions where these stories take place it is very difficult to find any supporting documents.
ATTILA THE HUN
Family folklore states that we
come from a proud and noble race of ancient warriors. That we fought many bloody battles along side of Attila the Hun. Attila (d. 453), king of the Huns, led his barbarian horde from E. Europe in a series of
invasions of the later Roman Empire between 441-447, earning a lasting name for his ferocity. Please also see Origin Theory Three on the General Information page of this site in relation to this possible connection.
VLAD THE IMPALER - DRACULA
Vlad (The Impaler) Tsepch was a 14th century Wallachian prince who Bram Stoker loosely based the infamous character Dracula (son of the devil) on. While Dracula
is thankfully, wholly fictional, the prince Vlad was very much a living person who gained infamy as a cruel and sadistic ruler. However, please be aware that to this day there are some whom would consider Vlad a
hero to his people.
Family lore suggests we Demeters come from a long line of ancient warriors and possibly were related to Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). If not related, we were definitely conscripted
under him serving in his armies. Vlad's reputation for placing heads on poles accounts for our coat of arms... Decapitating an enemy.
*Note from the Webmistress
*I believe that some Demeters, while Vlad
was still in favour with the Hungarian crown did serve to fight off the Turks. One of our coat-of-arms is the piked and bloody severed head of a Turk. However, the exact date it was awarded has been lost to
antiquity and there are others that belong to individual Demeter families. I do not personally believe our particular bloodlines are related with that of the Tsepch family, however I do believe that the Demeters had
a long, and often bloody, and barbaric past that could rival that of the impaler!
It is rumoured that at least two Demeters were at one time official executioners of the Hungarian crown. And that decapitation
was in fact a Demeter 'trademark' so to speak. However, the problem with this type of research is that to authenticate much of it is difficult as documents have been destroyed, gone missing over time, etc. I hope to
travel to Hungary within the next few years and do some research on that end. Our ancestors according to these stories were not a very nice lot by today's standards, however we must remember that life within Eastern
Europe during the dark and middle ages when they lived was turbulent at best and their behaviour was in fact attuned with the times.*
My personal thank you to Dennis J. Demeter of Michigan USA for sharing his
late father's stories, which are so similar to the family lore handed down to me by my own grandfather that I often wonder how much truth can actually be found within them.