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The Hajdú Surname Project


The Hungarian surname Hajdú is from hajtó or ?drover?. Drovers traveled armed, and sometimes ended up as highwaymen, mercenaries, or retainers in the service of local landowners. Hajdú acquired all these meanings, but the surname is chiefly associated with the settlement of hundreds of mercenaries in eastern Hungary by Prince István Bocskay as a reward for their support. In 1604-1606, István Bocskay, Lord of Bihar, led an insurrection against the Habsburg Emperor, whose army had recently occupied Transylvania and begun a reign of terror. The bulk of Bocskay's army was composed of serfs who had either fled from the war and the Habsburg drive toward Catholic conversion, or been discharged from the Imperial Army. These peasants were known as the hajduk, a term associated in the Hungarian language with the cattle drovers of the Great Plains. As a reward for their service, Bocskay emancipated the hajduk from the jurisdiction of their lords, granted them land, and guaranteed them rights to own property and to personal freedom. The emancipated hajduk constituted a new "warrior estate" within Hungarian feudal society. Many of the settlements created at this time still bear the prefix Hajdú such as Hajdúbagos, Hajdúböszörmény, Hajdúdorog, Hajdúhadház, Hajdúnánás, Hajdúsámson, Hajdúszoboszló, Hajdúszovát, Hajdúvid etc., and the whole area is called Hajdúság (Land of the Hajduk). The name is also borne by Hungarian Jews, generally as an ornamental adoption of the Hungarian name. This surname project seeks to identify the descendants of the Hajdús who originally received this coat of arms from Prince István Bocskay in the early 15th Century: Given this history, however, it cannot be assumed that all of the emancipated Hajdús had similar Y chromosomes at the time they were freed.



Other surnames in Project


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