Orbán de Lengyelfalva (Transylvania)
and other Orbán families of Hungarian nobility
Contents of this page
Until the end of last century, the Orbán de Lengyelfalva
family was one of the leading families in Transylvania, a former part of
Hungary now located in Romania. It got the title of Baron in 1744. The
family owned a very nice castle in Harasztos, which was destroyed in the
XVIIIth century. After that, they built a new castle in Lengyelfalva in
Udvarhelyszék on land owned by the family since many centuries.
This is now used as a school.
The family had two branches, one protestant, which is extinct since
the end of the XIXth century, and one catholic, whose coat of arms is reproduced
above (description in German: In B. auf gr. Dreiberge ein rechts v.
einer aufgehende g. Sonne links von einer s. Mondessichel begleiteter,
geharnischter, gebogener Arm, in d. Faust einen Krummsäbel mit g.
Parirstange haltend, um d. Griff des Säbels ein Rosenkranz). The
heirs of this family left Transylvania to Hungary in 1944 when the Soviet
army advanced to Germany, and fled to Holland when the Soviets crushed
the Hungarian revolution in 1956.
[Back to top][Main Orban
This chapter is my translation into English of a Dutch text written
by Dr. József Gyula Orbán.
Some oral communications, mainly history and origins of the family, by
Dr. László Orbán (+ 1957, professor of theology and
philosophy at the seminary of Györ). Several books in Hungarian and
Iván Nagy: Magyarország családi czimerekkel
és nemzedékrendi táblákkal. I-XII (Pest 1857-1865)
Béla Kempelen: Magyar Nemesi Családok. VIII
Kálmán Persián: A lebgyelfalvi Orbán
bárók (Kolozsvar 1911)
J. Siemacher's grosses und algemeines Wappenbuch in einer
neuen, vollständig geordneten und reich vermehrten Auflage ( Nürnberg
A Király Könyvek. Az I. Ferenc József
és IV. Karóly Király által 1867-töl 1918-ig
adományozott nemességek, fönemességek, elönevek
és cimerek jegyzéke (Budapest 1940)
Balázs Orbán: A Székelyföld leirása.
Történelmi, régészeti s néprajzi szempontból.
I-II. (Pest 1968)
2. Origin of the Family
The family originates from Erdély (Seven mountains), which
is presently part of Romania. They lived at Lengyelfalva, a place which
was founded by Poles at the time of the Honfoglalás (settlement
of the Hungarian tribes in the Danube delta). It is at a short distance
from Oroszhegy. Lengyelfalva is at the foot of the highest summit
of the area called Rez tetö, a mountain covered by beeches.
The family was known by the nickname Rezi, which is an indication,
if not a proof, that it is originating from that area. From Rez tetö,
one can see most of Udvarhely, if not Erdély. On the
foot of this mountain, there is also an place called Sükö,
or cherry country.
The first data about the ancestors of the Orbán family
goes back to the period around the year 1500 A.D. The only known fact is
that they belonged to the nemesek (nobility) of Erdély
Transylvania) and played in important role in the fight against the Turks.
There is much more data about the family after 1620 A.D., when they
moved out of Lengyelfalva to Harasztos. After that, they added the title
of Lengyelfalva to their name as a sign of their aristocratic origin and
all documents mention the name Orbán de Lengyelfalva.
Harasztos, where the family settled in 1620, is more a region than a
city: it is composed of more than 100 hamlets where so-called jobbágyok
(hired workers) were employed. The family had a castle in the southern
part of Harasztos, which, according to the monk Bombardus who wrote a lot
about the family, was built on the site and with the materials of a former
cloister of the Order of the Temple. Bombardus pretended that the castle
was unequalled in the whole of Erdély, but he erred when saying
that it was built on a Templars cloister: he was misled by the fact that
a small chapel was present within the limits of the castle. Anyway, it
was a superb fortified castle against the Turks.
Last century, Balázs Orbán (see under famous
Orbans) still owned a relation dated 1754 giving a detailed
description of the buildings which were then in an excellent state. From
this document, it appears that the castle had so-called védbástyak
(protective bastions), sáncok (ramparts) and védfalak
(walls), which tends to prove that the castle was indeed used for the war
against the Turks. It also had 12 so-called szakállas. The
castle was always manned by guards.
At the end of the XVIIIth century, the castle was sold as a zálog
(collateral) to the Thoroczkai family. Probably the Orbáns were
living above their possibilities and incurred huge debts, forcing them
to sell their castle. Thoroczkai pulled down the castle and sold it stone
by stone to the builders of a road through the Létom valley. During
the time of Balázs Orban (middle of the XIXth century), the foundations
were still visible.
At any rate, the castle must have been highly considered throughout
Erdély, since the Közgyülések (general assemblies)
of the nobility were held there.
3. The Coat of Arms
The XIIIth and IVth centuries were important periods for the development
of the arms. Many shapes and varieties of helmets appeared. The helmet
in the arms of the family comes from the "Livre des Tournois du Roi René".
It has a visor with a grid. This kind of helmet is used only in ceremonies.
The blazon is semi-circular, one of the most common shapes. The ratio
between highth and width is 8:7 or 6:5. The colours are essential for the
coat of arms. In heraldry, there are four main colours (red or gules, blue
or azure, black or sable, green or sinople) alternating with two metals
(gold and silver). The colours of the arms of the Orbán family are:
The air is blue, the sun is gold above a blue field and has 12 to 16 alternatively
straight and waving rays; it shows a human face. The moon is sometimes
represented as a discus with a face. More often, it is a crescent, which
is also present in the family arms. Finally, there is a hill with three
tops, which could be a symbol of the landscape around Lengyelfalva, although
the specialists disagree about its meaning.
main colour: blue (azure)
both metals: gold (for the sun) and silver (for the moon).
The crown consists of a golden circle with fleurons and pearls, without
gems. Fleurons are stylised leaves or flowers, or rosettes. Pearls re represented
as silver balls. The crown is called a baron crown, and appeared at the
end of the XVIIIth century, when the family received the title of baron.
It has seven points with pearls. There are also baron crowns with five
In the family coat of arms, there are also two typical elements: a harnessed
hand, with a curved sword, enlaced with a rosary. By this, the family wanted
to show their merits in having fought for Christendom against the Turks.
4. The Family at the Service of Catholicism
The battle of Mohács (1526), near Lengyelfalva, started the
switch to Protestantism in that area. Protestantism was an expression of
nationalism: the West of Hungary was in the hands of the Catholic House
of Habsburg; hence, many aristocrats of Erdély tried to maintain
the independance of their region by converting to Protestantism. This expression
of anti-Habsburg feelings, of course, pleased the Turk sultan.
The Orbán family, however, protected Catholicism in the area
and promoted its expansion. In Shékely-Udvaerhely, the Jesuits
build a cloister under the leadership of Mátyás Zsámbor.
At the end, the enriched themselves, and as a result, they were banished
around 1650 by Zsigmond Báthory, then head of Erdély.
Mátyás Zsámbor eventually came back to the city under
a false identity. He run away to Elek Orbán Nagy de Lengyelfalva
[Nagy means Sr.], who took care of his protection by first keeping
him in confinement, and later sending him in a barrel to Kolozsvár.
In Kerezstur, there is one of the oldest and most beautiful catholic
churches of Erdély, a gothic church which, according to the
description of Balázs Orbán, is 25 yards long and 25 yards
wide. In the church, a clock, also very old, bears the inscription: IN
HONOREM SANCTISSIMAE TRINITATIS. ILLUSTRISSIMUS DOMINUS ALEXI ORBÁN
L.B. de LENGYELFALVA. ANNO 1745. This clock comes from a chapel in Macskás.
The inhabitants of Aranyosszék were all Protestant. In
the reign of Maria Theresia, Jesuits arrived to bring the catholic faith.
One of the catholic churches of that period was founded by the Orbán
familie, in Harasztos.
5. The Orbán Family and the Fight against the Turks
From many descriptions, it appears that many in the Orbán family
took active duty in fighting the oppressors, among which mainly the Turks.
Many legendary persons were part of that history; they were legendary,
not bevause they did not exist, but because they performed unlikely deeds.
Near Abásfalva, the inhabitants of Abásfalva, Keményfalva,
Gyepes, Kénos, Remete and Lakod built a castle in the XIVth century,
that should serve as a shelter. In the middle of the XVIIth century, the
castle was attacked by the Turks. The head of the Székelyek,
Dávid Biró, was killed. The assailed succeeded in avoiding
the castle to be taken, under the command of Borka Orbán.
Her name was still mentioned last century as the adminitrator of a domain
between Gyepes and Szent-Márton.
Balázs Orban, who lived in the XIXthe century, was also
known as a great freedom fighter. During the revolution of 1848, he was
travelling in Greece and Turkey on a so-called discovery trip. When the
news of the freedom war in Hungary reached him, he decided to come back
to his homeland with his own little army. When he arrived at the border,
however, the revolution had been crushed. Thus, he remained abroad several
years more and he returned to Hungary only in 1859.
On many occasions, members of the Orbán family took high functions
in the administration of Erdély. One of them was Elek
Orbán., who was elected föbiró (delegate
of a region). In 1733, he became Orzsággyülési Követ
(delegate to the regional parliament) in Szeben. In 1742, he further became
of a region). He died in 1753.
In the vicinity of Harasztos, there is a small lake called Rozspatak;
somewhat North of it a pound was naturally created: it became the fishing
pound of the family Orbán.
7. Expansion out of Erdély
The family has for a long time formed a steady clan in Lengyelfalva and
Harasztos and did not move outside these areas. The first time that some
Orbáns settled in another location was during the French revolution.
It is possible, but not proven, that members of the family moved to France
and Belgium during that period. [Personal note from the translator:
I have located Orbans descending from Hungarian soldiers enrolled by Napoleon
in Champagne: look here].
In the same period, members of the family settled in the main part of
the homeland, i.e. whithin the current borders of Hungary. Their move was
due to the fact that they had to mortgage the castle and other belongings
in 1790 because of financial difficulties. They settled in Dunántul,
in the Western part of the country. Another wave of resettling took
place in 1848, after the revolution.
8. Oldest Mention of Members of the Family
Orbán (without a first name) was an architect in the first
half of the XVst century. In 1482-1486, he built the Szt. Egyed church
in Bártfa. He personally made the intrance of the church and the
oratorium located above it. Bártfa was in the former Hungarian province
of Sáros and is now a town in Slovakia named Bardejov.
Also in the XVth century, there was a man named Orbán who
built cannons for the Greeks, and later for the Turks. See his story here.
Harasztos is the place where the castle of the family Orbán de Lengyelfalva
stood. It is located at the foot of the lower Székelykö mountains,
in a green valley full of woods. It was founded as Hori in 1289. The popular
tradition says that it was born from the union of two hamlets, Bogáth
(on the river Aranyos) and Hori (in the valley of the river Roszpatak).
Both hamlets had been attacked and plundered by an ennemy. The inhabitants
looked for a new place where to settle and chose the place which became
Harasztos. The name derives from the Hungarian name for the local woods,
In later acts, until the end of the XIXth century, the name is always mentioned
The common fate of the two hamlets took place very early. Indeed, in
an act of 1319, it is mentioned that King Charles (Károly király)
makes a present of wild animals, including from Harasztos, to Szirmai Count
Tamás. The names Harastus and Hazartus also appear in papal
acts of 1332 and 1333 dealing with taxes (dézsma) levied for the
Church. All the properties given by King Charles to Szirmai eventually
became properties of the Orbán family. Later they were in the hands
of the Thoroczkai family.
Harasztos had two streets: Halomutca and Medgyesutca. Those names showed
that in the city there were immigrants from Halom and Medgyes. The catholic
church was between the two valleys, the protestant church somewhat higher.
Both churches burned to ashes during the great fire of the brewery in 1815.
Even the clocks melted!
The Orbán family had twice been honoured with the title of fökirálybiró,
who could do justice in the name of the King. That was very surprising,
since the family was originating from Lengyelfalva in a faraway province
(Udvarhelyszék); but in fact, the fmily had settled in Harasztos
many centuries earlier.
The hamlet of Lengyelfalva was probably founded by Polish tribes during
the Honfoglalás (settling of the Hungarians on the banks
of the Danube) (IXth century AD). It is located at one hour drive from
Nagy-Oroszi, at the foot of the Rez tetö mountain, the highest
summit of the area. The name Rez is very common in Székelyföld
(Seklerland): it is always associated with high areas covered with woods.
From the top of Rez tetö, there is a nice view over the whole area,
Udvarhely and further away the whole of Székelyföld. Beneath
the mountain is the city of Sükö, the land of cherries.
The three hills appearing in the family coat of arms are probably in
the Hármas Hámor; this part of Székelykö has
indeed three tops: Lajos csup (or Csegezi Gezsteg), Hidasi Gezsteg and
Lengyelfalva is now called Polianka in Romanian. In 1867, it had 388
inhabitants, of which 382 were catholic, 2 protestant, 2 unitarian and
[Back to top][Main Orban
(note: only the persons with the family name Orbán
have their names in bold)
Péter (I) Orbán. XVIth century. Married to Judit Balási.
Two sons: Ferencz (I) and István (I), both hereunder.
Ferencz (I) Orbán. Son of Péter (I). Died in 1610.
One son, Péter (II), hereunder; one daughter, Erzsébet,
married to János Biró.
István (I) Orbán. Son of Péter (I), born in
1609. Two sons: Ferencz (II), born 1639, married to Zsuzsa Toldalagi;
and Miklós, married to Kata Benedek, with offspring that
was at the origin of the nobility in the family.
Péter (II) Orbán. Son of Ferencz (I). Married to 1)
Sára Gyárfás, with whom two sons, Zsigmond (who himself
had a daughter Margit, married to István Ferency) and Farkas;
2) Kata Nagy, with whom one son, Pál, and one daughter, Krisztina,
Pál Orbán. Son of Péter (II). Two sons, Elek
(I) and Simon, both hereunder, and one daughter, married to János
Krisztina Orbán. Daughter of Péter (II). Married to
1) Zsigmond Torday; 2) Gábor Vitéz.
Elek (I) Orbán. (1670?-1742) Son of Pál. Married to
Borbála Galgói Rácz. One son, Elek (II), hereunder.
Simon Orbán. Son of Pál. Born 1710. Married to Mária
Baranyai. Two daughters, Agnes, married to István Kadicsfalvi
Török, and Kata, married to Ferencz Boér.
Elek (II) Orbán. Son of Elek (I). Born 1703, died 1753. Made
baron (Freiherr) Alexius Orbán de Lengyelfalva by the Emperor in
Vienna on 13/11/1744. Royal juge of Aranyosszék. Married to 1) Krisztina
Olasz (without offspring); 2) Klára Uzoni Béldi, with whom
6 children, Antal (married to Countess Agnes Haller, then to Countess
Zsuzsa Kuun), Katalin (died 1789, married to Gábor Apor),
(born 1744), Ferencz (III)(born 1745, see hereunder
Pál (see hereunder Second Branch), Klára (1746-1789,
married to József Nemes Count Hidvégi).
Ferencz (III) Orbán. Son of Elek (II). Born 1745. One son,
Tamás Orbán. Son of Ferencz (III). Born 1779, died
1826. Married to Erzsébeth Czeglédy. One son, József,
József Orbán. Son of Tamás. Born 1812, died
1851. Married to Katalin Reichel. One son, István, hereunder.
István Orbán. Son of József. Born 1834. Married
to Borbála Rácz. One son, Sándor, hereunder.
Sándor Orbán. Son of István. Born 1857. Married
to Anna Galambos. One son, József, hereunder.
József Orbán. Son of Sándor. Born 1885. Married
to Agnes Horváth.. Seven children: József (born 1910, hereunder),
József Orbán. Son of József. Born 1910. Married
to Anna Alsó és Felsöfelpéci Péntek (born
1920). Two sons, József Gyula (born 1942, hereunder) and Arpád
Peter (born 1944, hereunder).
József Gyula Orbán. Son of József. Born 1942.
Married to Katalin Tóth. Two children: Gábor László
Gyula (born 1970, hereunder) and Eleonóra (born 1979).
Arpád Peter Orbán. Son of József. Born 1944.
Married to Ilona Szarka. Three children: Krisztian (born 1975),
(born 1977) and Cecilia (born 1983).
Gábor László Gyula Orbán. Son of József
Gyula. Born 1970. Married to Elena Ephremova. One child: Ilona Katinka
Isabella (born 15 September 2000).
[Back to top][Main Orban page]
Pál Orbán (1751-1829). Son of Elek (II). Married to
Countess Klára Dessewffy. Six children: Julianna (married
to János Nedeczky), János (hereunder), István,
Klára (married to Count István Mikes), Fáni,
Luiza (married to Baron József Fischer).
János (I) Orbán (1779 Kassamindszent-1871 Lengyelfalva).
Son of Pál. Married to Eugenia Foresti (or Knechtel). Five children:
Bódog (I)(or Félix, hereunder), Balás,
Celesta (married to Lajos Ugron), Eugenia, Otto.
Bódog (I) Orbán (1827 Székelyudvarhely - 1895).
Son of János (I). Married to Ida (or Matild) Nagy [two children:
Ida married to István Szabó, Irén †
1897], then to Matild Zöld [six children: János (II) (hereunder),
Bódog (II)(hereunder), Balázs (1883 Szombatfalva),
Olga (1830 Szejkefürdõ-1901), Aranka, Ella]
János (II) Orbán (1879 Szejkefürdõ-1920
Székelyudvarhely). Son of Bódog (I). Married to Margit
Márkosfalvy Orbán.One son: János (III)(hereunder)
János (III) Orbán (1908 Székelyudvarhely-1983
Merseburg Germany). Son of János (II). Married to Marianne Katona.
One daughter: Réka, born 1945 in Pomáz, married to
György Kovács. They had one daughter, Réka Hovács,
born 1968 in Budapest, married to Dr. Lóránd Erõss,
who themselves have two children: Domonkos born 1994 in Budapest, and Botond
born 1996 in Budapest.
Bódog (II) Orbán (1880 Székelyudvarhely-1929
Balatonfüred). Son of Bódog (I). Married to Margit Kovásznay.
One son: Bódog (III)(hereunder)
Bódog (III) Orbán (1922 Székelyudvarhely-1971.
Balatonfenyves). Son of Bódog (II). Married to Mária Putti.
Two children: Balázs (hereunder) and Anikó (1948 Budapest),
married first to Béla Mártonffy, from whom she had two children:
Bálint (1970 Budapest) and Dániel (1972 Budapest), and second
to Pál Skáfár.
Balázs Orbán (born 1946 Budapest). Son of Bódog
(III). Married to Enikõ Bajusz, then to Anna Jusztin from whom he
had two children: Bence (1992 Budapest) and Zsófia
Other Orbán families of Hungarian nobility
Other Orbán families of Hungarian nobility have the following coats
The first one was fiven by Gabriel Bethen, Prince von Siebenburgen,
to Stefan and Johann Orbán on 18 June 1674 (description in German:
B. in g. Neste ein n. Pelikan mit dem Schnabel seine Brust ritzend u. mit
dem Heraustropfenden Blute drei Junge atzend. Kleinod: die Schildfigur.
The second one belongs also to the Orbán de Lengyelfalva family
and is similar to the one on top of this page, although without the rosary,
probably indicating the protestant branch of the family.
The Queen of Hungary Maria Theresia also raised to peerage Josef Kiss
aliter Orbán in 1753. To this family belongs Albert von Kiss, solicitor
in Pesth in 1803. The coat of arms is as follows (in German): Gespalten
von B. und R.; vorne durch einen w. Wellenbalken getheilt; oben deri (1,
2) g. Wecken, unten ein gr. Blätterkranz, hinten drei übereinandergereihte,
schräggerichtete, geflitschte Pfeile; Kleinod: Geharnischter, gebogener
Arm, in d. Faust einen gr. Blätterkranz haltend (auch einen Krummsabel).
[Back to top][Main Orban
Sincere thanks to:
József Gyula Orbán, Baron de Lengyelfalva, from the Netherlands,
for providing most of the information that enabled me to write this page
Marie-Christine Orban, from
Italy, for sending me the pictures and the description of the coats of
Krisztian and Cecilia Orbán,
from the Netherlands, who gave additional information on the genealogy
György Kovács, from
Hungary, who supplied most details of the second branch of the genealogy
Jacqui Orban, from South Africa,
for the photograph of the coat of arms
Oszko Zoltan, from Austria, who provided
me with some pages from two Hungarian books - Miklos Kazmer, Regi
magyar csaladnevek (Old Hungarian family names XIV-XVII centuries)
and Ivan Nagy: Families of Hungary, where I found additional genealogic
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