A proper place-name sign for the inhabitants of Újbalázsfalva/Otkovci


When we drove from Farfasfa, heading for Apátistvánfalva/Števanovci in March 2008 we spotted a new place-name sign reading “Apátistvánfalva, Újbalázsfalva, Otkovci” at the gateway to the village of Števanovci. We were rather astonished by this new place-name sign since there used to be a place-name on the very same site, on which there was written solely “Apátistvánfalva, Števanovci”.


The term “Balázsfalu” however, was always familiar to us. Tibor’s great-grandfather, József Bedi, was born in Balázsfalva. Still today, both Tibor’s father and the inhabitants of Števanovci use the term „Balászfalu” in their colloquial language, despite the fact that Balázsfalu has been part of the municipality of Števanovci for more than half a century now.


In the mid sixteenth century, Otkovci was mentioned by name for the first time. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the Hungarians used to call the village Börgölin. Hence that’s why we repetitively came across entries with the place of birth stated as “Börgölin” and not with the place names  “Apátistvánfalva” or “Balázsfalu” when we were searching for Tibor’s ancestors in the church records. At the end of the nineteenth century, Börgölin was renamed Balázsfalu and later Újbalázsfalva. Finally in the 1930s, the municipality of Újbalázsfalva/Otkovci was incorporated into to the municipality of Apátistvánfalva/Števanovci and thus disappeared as an official place name.


At the initiative of some inhabitants of Otkovci, the place-name sign “Otkovci” was set up at the periphery of this small dispersed settlement in February 2008.  Now, the small municipality has also gotten its name back visually, and everyone who passes through Števanovci can see that there is a place called Otkovci.


We thank the initiators for making their project on a new place-name sign possible and that, as a consequence of their efforts, Otkovci will not fall into oblivion in the future!



             Pictures                                                                       Tibor Horváth / Joël Gerber