by Professor, Doctor Honoris Causa, Hans-Dietrich-Christian Schlecht, University of Nichts, Germany
As an amateur genealogist, I have decided to undertake an objective and, therefore, factual research about the history of the Schiff family. Now, I am ready to publish my findings.
Without even a shred of a doubt, the Schiff family immigrated to the Hungarian Kingdom in the 14th century. As their permanent seat, they settled in Transylvania that was a part of the Hungarian Kingdom until 1918. My research could not ascertain the place from which the family immigrated. Some family members claimed that they arrived in the Danubian Basin from the Gobi Desert. Others pointed to Andalusia, today’s Spain, that was under Muslim control until 1492.
Be that as it may, the family found the banditry professionally and financially very rewarding. And since the vast majority of the members of the family were caught on a regular basis and put in jail, their family name became Sitt, which in Hungarian is one of the slang words for prison or jail. Here, I would like to note that the letter “S” in Hungarian is pronounced as the letter “SH” in English.
To redeem themselves of that stigma, some of the members of the Sitt family went into the banking business and became rich. One of them asked for the hand of a noble girl whose family was poor. Her precondition to marry Mr. Sitt was that he must Germanize the family name. Thus, Mr. Sitt became Mr. Schitt.
Members of the family became full-blooded Hungarians and joined the volunteer army that fought against the Habsburgs in 1848-1849. A Schitt by the first name of Bagarja, made it to general. He was a valiant fighter. He became a national hero. Unfortunately, he was captured by the Russian Imperial Army, handed over to
the Austrian Emperor, and hanged. According to unsubstantiated and maybe even malicious rumors, before he ascended to the gallows, he soiled his pants.
Regardless, whether the 19th century media reports were true or fake, he became a Hungarian martyr. It must be noted that the uprising might have succeeded, except for the massive Russian special military operation, or as it was later called, Russian invasion. Hungary was occupied and the people were terrorized for almost three decades. The Schitts who were intimately acquainted with Hungarian prisons and heard horror stories about the abysmal conditions in Siberia, decided to flee to America together with about two or three million of their countrymen.
Upon arrival at Ellis Island, the authorities found their family name slightly amusing. After they spent time in Brooklyn, they learned English. Without exception, their favorite English slang was the “F” word. For this reason alone, they decided to change the two “T”s to two ‘F”s. Voala, from then on, the family proudly called themselves Schiff.
This is all that I found out about the genealogy of the Honorable Congressman Adam Schiff. To make the history more complete and authentic, I call upon my fellow amateur genealogists to share their research with me and the greater public too. I am sure the majority of Americans, even beyond the confines of the sunny Congressional district of the Honorable Chairman, would be extremely interested.