Heritage of the Brenzovich Surname


Introduction | Surname History | Homeland | 1754 Census |


The earliest record pertaining to the Brenzovich surname found to date dates back to 15 July 1662 with a connection to the Kingdom of Hungary and the Carpathian Mountains of east-central Europe. The origin of the Brenzovich surname is not really known. Surnames were first derived from various sources, such as; names of places, trades, occupations, personalities, nicknames, physical appearances, patronymics and metronymic’s. In the East Slavic language surnames ending in "vich, ovich, icz or wicz" usually meant "son of". There appears to be no source or meaning for the word "Brenz". However, in the Czech language, "Bren" is the name of a well-known cheese. Could it be that the Brenzovich surname originated from the son of a cheese maker? Maybe so!

However, there is another theory that could explain the origin of the Brenzovich surname. In the Brenzone Italy early centuries kings would recruit people from populated areas of Europe to settle and populate sparsely populated area within the their own kingdoms. In my research, it came to my attention that there exists a village in northern Italy named Brenzone; located on the shores of Garda Lake approximately half way between the cities of Milan and Venice. The following is pure speculation on my part and there is no proof to substantiate this theory one way or another at this time.

Keep in mind that many European surnames originated from place names. Therefore, my theory is that sometime in the early days of the Hungarian Kingdom, an individual or family from the village of Brenzone migrated to the Carpathian Mountain region and settled there. Therefore, is it possible the Brenzovich surname originated from the son of a person who migrated from the village of Brenzone and the first son became the "son of Brenzo or Brenzovich"? Something to think about.

History of the Brenzovich Surname:

According to documented evidence in the National Library of Hungary, in Budapest there exist two books, cited below, that document Alexander Brenczovicz and his two sons, Stefan and Johann receiving a title of nobility from King Leopold I of Hungary. The first book listed describes the Brenczovicz Coat of Arms and cites Alexander Brenczovicz his sons receiving their title of nobility on 15 July 1662. The second book depicts the Brenczovics Coat of Arms. Book Cover

1. "Die Wappen Des Adels In Ungarn I", Author Unknown, (Pub. Location Unknown: Publisher Unknown, Pub. Date Unknown). Translation of title from German: "The Coats of Arms of Nobles in Hungary I".

2. "Die Wappen Des Adels In Ungarn II", Author Unknown, (Pub. Location Unknown, Publisher Unknown, Pub. Date Unknown). Translation of title from German "Coat of Arms of Hungarian Nobles II".

The following is a transcription of the entry from the book "Coat of Arms of Nobles in Hungary I" followed by the translation from German.

Copy of Page


WAPPEN: in b. auf gr. boden ein ganz in r. gekleideter krieger mit # hute, hohen g. stiefeln und g. gurtel, an welch' letzterem eine II sábelscheide befestiget erscheint; er hált in der erhobanen rechten einen krummsábel mit g. kreuzesgriffe, in der erhobenen linken einen gr. palmzweig. - kleinod; n, kranich, in der erhobenen rechten einen ruden stein haltend, - dechenibg – rs

Adels - und wappenbrief v. Konig Leopold I a.d. Pressburg, 15 Juli 1662 (kundgemacht: drama, ungher comitat, 26 Juli 1663) fur Alexander Brenzovicz als Haupterwerber u. fur seine söhne Stefan u. Johann als Nebenerwerber (Leg. C.) Library index - Band I 33 N45/175

Translation from German:

Brenzovich CofA

BRENCZOVICZ (table/diagram/plate 68)

Coat of Arms: in blue on a green floor, a warrior dressed entirely in red with [#] hat, high yellow boots and yellow belt, to the latter of which a [II second {1}] saber sheath is attached; he holds in his raised right hand a saber with a yellow cross-handle, in his raised left hand a green palm branch. - gem/jewel; [n], a crane, holding a blunt stone the raised right foot - [dechenibg] - (rs)

Document/letter of nobility and coat of arms from King Leopold I to{2} the Pressburg, July 15, 1662 (published/made public: drama, [ungher comitat], July 26, 1663) for Alexander Brenczovicz main/chief recipient and for his sons Stefan and Johann as secondary recipients (Legend C)

{1} Untranslatable portions placed in brackets.
{2} Preposition unclear, probably to, but possibly also from or at.

According to family sources, Alexander Brenczovicz was granted nobility by King Leopold I for saving the kings life during a battle with the Turks. The date of Alexander's nobility coincides with King Leopold's first conflict with the Turks. This conflict is documented in a publication entitled "A Short History of Austria-Hungary" by H. Wickham Steed, Walter Alison Phillips and David Hannay, Reproduced from the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica by permission of the Publishers, The Cambridge University Press.

According to this publication, King Leopold I led two campaigns against the Turks. The first campaign was from 1662-1664. The cause of this campaign was due to the Ottoman Turk aggression in Transylvania. The campaign ended with a victory at St. Gothard on the Raab August 1, 1664. However, because of the political situation at the time, King Leopold was prevented from taking full advantage of this victory. As a result, the Turks were left in possession of two cities or fortresses in Transylvania. The second campaign was from 1683-1699. This campaign drove the Ottoman Turks permanently beyond the Danube River and out of the Kingdom of Hungary. King Leopold's reign lasted 48 years, from 1657 to 1705.

Ancestral Homeland:

Carpathian Rus'

The Brenzovich surname can be traced to a region once referred to as Carpathian Rus' located in the Carpathian Mountains of east-central Europe. In ancient times, this region was also referred to as Ruthenia [pronounced Roothn]. The people living there were called Rusyns. In today's world they are often referred to as Carpatho-Rusyns [pronounced Kar-PAY-tho ROOS-ins]. Carpathian Rus' encompassed an area located primarily along the southern slopes of the Carpathia Mountains and formed the north-eastern border of the Ung County CofA Kingdom of Hungary from the 12th century until 1920. The homeland of the Rusyn people now resides within the borders of Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania. More specifically, Brenzovich ancestors lived in what was known as Ung County, Hungarian spelling, or as it is spelled in Rusyn. The English translation is Uzh. According to a village historian, Alexander Brenczovicz established a fortress that eventually became the village of Tychyj [Hungarian Tiha] and the ancestral center for the Brenzovich surname. In my research, the one fact that seems to tie the branches of the Brenzovich Tree together, is the village of Tychyj.

Nobility Census of 1754-55:

The following transcription is from the source document KEMPELEN BELA MAGYAR NEMES CSALADOK II, page 433. The translation of the book's title from Hungarian is HUNGARIAN NOBLE FAMILIES II. The document list what appears to be a either a father and his sons, or a group of brothers who had proven their nobility status for the Hungarian Empire's census for 1754-55. The exact relationship is unknown at this time; other than Janos is the son of Istvan. Also, it documents the change in spelling of the surname from BRENCZOVICZ to BRENZOVICS (Hungarian form)

1754-55 Hunagrian Census Document “BRENZOVICS - Az 1754/55. Évi orsz. Nemesi osszeiráskor Ungmegyében András, Nikodém, Ferencz, Gergely, Matyás, Simon, Gábor, István, fia János igazoljálk nemességuket. - Vo. Siebm. 85. Library index - Bebekbyzo (.) 141/85'

English translations:

"BRENCZOVICS, see BRENZOVICS. BRENZOVICS - At the 1754/55 annual noble census in county Ung Andras, Nikodem, Ferencz, Gergely, Matyas, Simon, Gabor, Istvan, son Janos prove their nobility".

Brenzovich Nobility Comes to an End:

It is not known when the Brenzovich nobility status came to an end. It is my theory that is ended as a result of the Hungarian war for independence of 1848-49. Revolutionary uprisings were sparked, by the French revolution, throughout the Habsburg or Austrian Empire. In June 1848 Hungarians began intensifying their demands for self-rule. In December 1884, Franz Joseph became emperor of the Austrian Empire and led counterattacks against the Hungarians. In March 1849, Hungarians declared themselves as an independent Hungary (Magyar) nation-state. In August 1849, Russia's Tsar Nicholas I sent troops to aid Franz Joseph. By year's end, the revolution was over and the Hungarians were firmly under control of the Habsburg monarchy once again. To punish the Hungarians and those who aided them in the quest for independence a reign of terror engulfed the Hungarian Kingdom.

I believe, that during this reign of terror, the Brenzovich nobility came to an end and they lost their land, their wealth and authority; and became poor famers and labors. I must point out there is no documented evidence to substantiate this theory one way or another. However, the generation following the war of 1848-49 began to emigrate from their Ung/Už county homeland. If there is any merit to this theory, the Brenzovich nobility endured for approximately 188 year.