In the 17th century, after Nikolaus' acquisitions, the family split into four main family lines:. The success of the family arose from the steady accumulation of land, and loyalty both to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Habsburg Emperor, the latter factor being the most important. A consistent theme of Hungarian history was an ardent and sometimes violent wish to become free of Austrian rule, a wish that was finally fulfilled at the end of the First World War. These included the Turkish siege of Vienna in , and the outright occupation of Vienna by Napoleon in The family acquired its property in three principal ways: redistribution of land taken from Protestants in the Counter-Reformation , redistribution of land conquered from the Turks , and felicitous marriages. The family ultimately became the largest landowners in the Habsburg Empire, and their income sometimes exceeded that of the Emperor.
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He gained notoriety as a spy for the German Empire and the actual perpetrator of the act of treason of which Captain Alfred Dreyfus was wrongfully accused and convicted in After evidence against Esterhazy was discovered and made public, he was eventually subjected to a closed military trial in , only to be officially found not guilty. Esterhazy retired from the military with the rank of Major in —presumably under pressure—and fled by way of Brussels to the United Kingdom , where he lived in the town of Harpenden in Hertfordshire until his death in
Historically, surnames evolved as a way to sort people into groups - by occupation, place of origin, clan affiliation, patronage, parentage, adoption, and even physical characteristics like red hair. Many of the modern surnames in the dictionary can be traced back to Britain and Ireland. Simply start with a family member and we'll do the searching for you. View Census Data for Esterhazy. Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Esterhazy ancestors, such as occupation.