Dear oversea Relatives!

The reason behind the creation of this site and my personal confession

The Szelesteys came to an interesting fate. They can go back to very ancient times, at the beginning of the nation’s written history they stood in the front, later they succumbed into mediocrity. Even during the Jaák period the cloud of mysteriousness lingers around them. On the charters that the family turns up they are mentioned in the umpteenth row. Were they the youngest sprig or some family feud bothered them we may never know? On the clan chart set up by various people they could not be accurately classified. About the relatives mentioned in the 1221 deed of bestowal by András II and also in the 1240’s charter contradicting the bestowing, we can say with absolute certainty that they cold not been further related than second cousins. More likely first-degree relation but I risk that we can suspect brotherly relations. In the modern historical literature they are neglected, many times they are forgotten or left out from the families stemming from the Jaák-clan. Mostly the Niczky family which rose to the rank of earl and the Sitkey family which was prestigious during the Anjou period make it into the scientific treatises. The following I heard from a historian’s mouth in Vas county: I’m baffled by the fact that during a well-known documented time period a family never bearing any substantial land (In the volume about Vas county of The Counties of Hungary edited by dr Samu Borovzszky there are only 16 villages noted at the family’s peak.) why is it in Vas county surrounded by the respect deserved only by the most prestigious. The answer is maybe in the ancient origins but into the untangling of its threads we cannot put much hope. The Jaáks were swiped away by the Kőszegis then came the Kanizsays, Nádasdys, Batthyánys. During the recent times a large format individual who could raise the family back to its old glory was not born, and Fortuna also hasn’t spoiled us.

I’m dedicating our website firstly to our family scattered around the world secondly to my fellow researchers thirdly to the general public interested in history and in human life.

I think it is important to mention that the sections otherwise not marked, are all written by me. It not necessarily represents the wholeness, the opinion, the ideology of the family, but I hope it is not substantially different in the main questions from it. For my thoughts I take full responsibility. When I was nearly 50 was when I found my life goal, helping the values of the ancient times surface and promoting them, with one word the role of the chronicler.

I would like to edit the site so that every Szelestey who wishes to contribute or rather show the family from his side or viewpoint could do it under his own name on a separate page.

To avoid any misunderstandings I would like to note that in no way want I to expropriate the subject. I would not want that anybody get any bad feelings about my activity from the broadest extended family. The reason that on the family photos and in the recent events I’m only sharing my closest family is that either I have no material from the extended family or I lost contact with them or rather they have not given me permission to communicate pictures or data. I also wanted to publish the family tree that I finish it with those who have been born before 1920. To avoid hurting anyone’s privacy. I know my limits and I also know that with the research of the Szelestey family and with the revival of the forgotten values and by blowing off the thousand year old dust from it, I only had one goal to commit them to paper and to protect them from complete oblivion. Every one of my lines was guided by good intentions. I know that the so called road is also paved with this but I hope I have not made that mistake.

Almost in every generation the family had a researcher or someone investigating who got into smaller or deeper depths but a complete summarizing work was not been made. I got data from various people for example from Laci on Boba or from uncle Elemér on Szombathely. The 96 years old aunt Ilona (Lenkice) also told many tales. Really my grandfather Antal Szelestey (1904-1982) had started me on this journey, even though the only thing he told me about this subject: „son, we are Alsó-Szelestei Szelestey’s”.

The family bonds are also an interesting subject; there are the ones who because of various reasons are not willing to contact me there are also heartwarming examples. When the grand- and great grand-children from the female line Szelesteys are checking in that they also belong here. There was an example of it during the last reunion, „my grandmother told me that wherever you meet a Szelestey greet him with familial love because he who writes his name so is all blood-kin”. The family has a sizeable halo.

The family relations, the blood relation is meant differently by everyone. For most of the people it ends with the grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. Myself and people like me consider each and every person that once lived and is related to the family in any way to be close to us. During the years of the intensive research I woke up and went to bed with the old letters. I lived with the ancients and began to use the same words and on the name-days I remembered the 600 year old family member like the currently living ones. I was so with the clan relatives before the close family state. The meeting of the today’s descendants’ of the 8-900 years ago brothers is a fantastic feeling. A lot of people can say it, and they rightfully do so, that in this perspective almost the whole country is related, but still it is different yet it is not, all this together is the nation. Naturally not excluding anybody else who loves our homeland with all of its values and flaws better than any other community, this is what the country is. Unfortunately there are only a few of us who think in the same way. On the Jaák clan reunion in 2006 organized on the occasion of the 750 years jubilee there were fewer of us than on a the family reunion. With the Niczky family I could connect on multiple strings from the Kemény’s I could only connect with one person, but unfortunately none of them showed up on the reunion. I live it as a special task to reunite the three branches of the Sztelestey family which were started with the three sons of Ádám I (+1621, the last mutual ancestor of all the currently living Szelstey’s). I only made partial successes but at one place at the same time there couldn’t be a meeting. Unfortunately I couldn’t create the unified Szelestey family and to think it further this is also typical for our whole homeland.

It is hard to say a central attribute about the Szelestey’s, but I can see one or two craggy attributes being equal even among distant relatives. Tough, stubborn, self-willed, not willing to compromise, rather brakes than bends, and does not forget. In the meantime upstanding, doesn’t run away from the problems and also can be generous. Which attributes are good or bad is only a matter of viewpoint.

Unfortunately today even in the family people are estranged, today everybody is a personality in the pejorative meaning of the word. From the economy’s viewpoint an independent spending power. Because looking rom above society is alike. The old proverb „the dead indian is the good indian” is not true anymore, today the well spending indian is the good indian. The ones controlling the „stock market” are not interested in one bit by the fact that mankind eats the Earth from under its foot. The goal is to rout the communities starting with the base units. If the strong moral and ethical unity is present in the family then it is self-regulating, if not then it is up for grabs. The next level is the village where man lives together with the soil for the Earth. Of course I’m not talking about the holiday villages or the urban agglomerations where if the cock crows or the cow passes gas the „town” neighbor runs to the authorities. Today’s towns are foreign bodies that completely turned away from the real life. Where 90% of the population lives in the virtual space. Unfortunately even most of the villages are so. In the villages the city life is the example, but I think and feel that day by day that more and more people are feeling that this is not good that the laptop can’t be eaten, because it is carcinogenic and also chewy; that the sparkly dreamland of Las Vegas not only sucks away its own life giving water but half of the world’s. The 20 hours a day TV withers not only the body but also the mind and produces zombies stunning and turning them away from the problems of the real world. The other day they reported in an advertisement block that the eliminated contestants of the „Való világ” show are celebrated and adored everywhere they go like they were at least Kossuth Prize winning artists or scientists. This is surely the beginning of the end. Primarily the problem is not that they broadcast these programs rather that the big masses whom indifferently go by the fundamental human values keep these style destroying pathetic money making products alive. I won’t even mention the sucking power of the computers it is well known.

Being a member of an ancient Hungarian family I feel that I must talk about patriotism and Hungarian self-identity. If we were to play yes-or-no then I would say I’m a conservative Hungarian. If I could elaborate on it more I would say I’m able to make compromises but never one-sidedly. I fell that everybody demands 100% tolerance from us but if we ask for 50% they get upset even on the Antarctic. Today on the global level there is no trendier word than tolerance. This would be fantastic if everybody would love everybody and the other would be more important than him, but that’s not the case. We can freely say that, unfortunately because we truly lack the empathy it was killed out of us during the big self-realization. In my opinion behind the speaking-tubes of tolerance mostly is selfishness. Everybody should tolerate everything be satisfied with everything and the profit should come straight to us. If somebody doesn’t hold his nation bigger than anybody else’s and also doesn’t hold it less than anybody else’s, it is more important for him therefore responds more sensitively to his own nation’s issues and problems than other nations’, on top of this he does this in his own homeland and it hurts him when foreigners or his own rootless compatriots consider this nationalism then I’m a nationalist. According to the encyclopedias this view can lead to the one sided national partiality. I feel that in a best case scenario the conditional tense will remain like in my case. We shouldn’t go to the other extreme because that is not true and it may do more harm than remaining neutral. I would like that my grandchild would not be mocked because he says „Boldog Karácsonyt!” rather than saying „Merry Christmas!”. Because it does not mean that he is illiterate but that he is Hungarian. The world would be very grey if everybody would wear grey button-down coats, simply it wasn’t meant to be that way. There are global problems that can only be solved on a global scale but the everyday life without personal folklore is saltless and meaningless. The passage between different cultures the knowing and honoring of each other is very important. The idiom „every Jack needs to find his Jill” is also true. It can also be denied but it is unnecessary. It is one thing if it is constrained with force but it is a different matter when we take up anything unprincipled and on a no matter basis. That the nations living further west from us because of their luckier geographical location prospered while we protected the gates of Europe against the eastern conquerors and we bled to death. We are moaning the thanks for 90 years. What they did to us after the First World War that neither can be explained nor can we forget it and we should not. The equation looks like that a nation embroiled with pressure was proclaimed a collective capital criminal and a penalty was imposed on it that was greater than every other nation’s penalty together who were taking far greater responsibility in the war’s breakout. Why is that? I think the main answer is ancient in Europe we are in the ring of nations who were not related to us but to each other, and in their eyes we always were a thorn, being potential chess pieces who can be sacrificed without any scruple in accordance to their system of alliances. If for nothing else we can definitely be proud that we are still here, believe me my compatriots this is an outstanding accomplishment. For every decent man be from every nation it is clearer as daylight that they created a situation which according to all universal human values is unlawful and unfair. It is also in human nature that those are shouting the loudest while insisting their truth whose house is burning. We shouldn’t wake and sleep with this subject but until there is a mutual recognition of each other’s mistakes I think there won’t be an absolute resting point. With all these feelings I always tried to be calm and be Hungarian and not to Hungarise. Of course not everything is good, not only is that good which is Hungarian moreover we have great flaws the biggest being the lack of togetherness. Every nation has its own values but these should be treated as such and used not at the expense of others but for their own benefit. At the time I voted no for the Union, today I wouldn’t do differently, but not against anybody else rather beside ourselves. In my opinion between sovereign strong independent states there can be a thousand threaded cooperation, which is beneficial and good. But an organization based on central ukase is only good for the center (governing head). The Hungarian agriculture which once along with Poland was the pantry of Europe. And where is it now? What is it that we have to consume, even if we don’t want it? As they say, the trust can only be earned hard but it is easily lost. Because our joining was inevitable I can only hope that I see everything wrong. As a Hungarian I root for Europe and as a European I root for the World. I am a true Hungarian also in the meaning of this word that shows the character. Benevolent, temperamental, during the height of enthusiasm I can move mountains but unfortunately this enthusiasm can cool down from one moment to the next or at least become lukewarm. An English or German person can set a goal and marches and marches towards it. That’s how great nations, grand stock buildings were born. Typically this is the northern type’s own, we are in the middle in this also maybe on the southern side. We are unable to do so. We can achieve more in no time than the aforementioned ones but afterwards we turn towards other things and we won’t build on the already established. Whether it is good or not, that’s the way it is.

A western manager is shipwrecked on an island in the Pacific Ocean. He is living there for weeks, day by day he is watching and analyzing the fishermen’s work. On one afternoon he sits next to one of them. „What’s your work schedule friend?” he asks him. „Four in the morning I go out to fish, at 10 o’clock I finish the fishing. The caught fish is then processed by my family for lunch and dinner. After lunch we take a siesta and talk. Towards evening I come out here to watch the sunset.” „Look mate, let me tell you something. If you would fish not until 10 but until afternoon, you could catch so much more that you would have surplus. You could sell them and buy more boats and catch more fish. So you would have more profit and you could sell the surplus to abroad, and then you could even build a processing plant.” „And how long would it take for me to accomplish all this?” „Approximately 15 years.” „And what could I do then?” „You could sit on a deckchair and watch the sunset.” The fisherman looks shocked at the manager. „But that’s exactly what I’m doing now!”

The world is about to change it is about to change in a way that is unprecedented throughout our history. It is for the first time that mankind fiddled with the eternal cycle so deeply like never before. Before mankind appeared there were multiple ice ages, warm-up periods, it even happened that life almost entirely became extinct, but it never happened before that mankind so much change it, dislocate it from its natural course, with its industrial revolution and overpopulation. Nobody knows what will be after 30 years we can only hope not only us Hungarians but any nation’s sons and daughters. If anything it is the entire mankind’s problem. It is not enough only to hope and to think about it but we also have to do something about it. That for the 1% chance how and what needs to be changed.
The so called western-style civilization needs to be fundamentally changed because it is unsustainable and it is unseen only by those who don’t wish to see it. If the personal ambition is not replaced by responsible community thinking, by the need to radically change the fundamentally unnatural artificial world view, and then what…? It is a misbelief that it will be hard only for the downtrodden; even the most successful will have to face the same conditions! We should watch out for each other for our environment our planet and we should do as many good deeds towards them as we expect for ourselves. Our needs shouldn’t be defined by Las Vegas but rather by a shepherd from Hortobágy, he who from under the warmth of his coat contentedly watches his flock. Believe me we would feel a lot better.

Already I hear a lot of counter opinions. What is this limited idealist preaching about, he knows well what we live in, he knows we can’t get out of the treadmill, he knows that we have to feed our children, he knows that without a job we are screwed, that without western investors we have no economy, that without loans we collapse, no country can stand alone the international context cannot be avoided, there is always an emergency… but what if there isn’t one?

Veszprém -Ják
30. March 2011.

Attila Szelestey P.
Guardian of the Past

One more thought from Márai on today’s successful human type:

...he needs to be ascetic because without self-denial nothing can be achieved, but the renouncement happens not only because of that which is more than life but because of that which is less than life. This is the superfluousness. What he can achieve with the European emergence technique is not glory at most it is success, is not greatness but at most it is fame, it’s not art at most it is attraction. The career has its recipe. It’s most important ingredient as we all know is shamelessness. The lack of face. Noneness is needed to it.