Alexander Kégl was born in a landowner family. The origins of the family can be reconstructed as follows. 1

According to the surviving documents and genealogical sources, the family had two lineages, whose relationship in the earliest period is not clear. They were ennobled in different times: the Kégly lineage in 1623 by Emperor Ferdinand II, while the Kögl lineage in 1762 by Empress Maria Theresia. This is also the reason of the differences of their coat of arms. 2 Nevertheless, in the 19th century the two lineages professed their relationship, at that time both of them using the name form Kégl (or rarely Kégly). The family of Alexander Kégl belonged to the Kögl lineage, as it is attested by the coat of arms on his tombstone.

The marriage of János Kégl and Éva Farkas, contracted on 8 January 1806 in Felsőpakony, was blessed with 17 children. 3 The eleventh of them was Sándor’s father, also called Sándor (Alsópakony, 5 February 1825 – Szentkirálypuszta, 14 August 1905). He had from his marriage with Terézia Jeszenszky of Nagyjeszen 4 (Délegyháza, 3 March 1838 – Szentkirálypuszta, 4 March 1894) contracted on 14 June 1860 five children: Mária (Szunyogh, 1 May 1861 – Pusztaszentkirály, 13 January 1874), Sándor (Szunyogh, 1 December 1862 – 28 December 1920), János (Pusztaszentkirály, 1 January 1865 – 15 October 1925), József (Pusztaszentkirály, 19 June 1867 – 8 February 1874) and Teréz (Tessa) (Pusztaszentkirály, 26 July 1869 – 28 December 1920). Only three of the children survived to adult age, Mária and József died in smallpox. Sándor, János and Teréz were loving and loyal brothers. None of them founded a family of his/her own.

We do not know much about Alexander Kégl Sr., but it is certain that he was also an educated person, speaking several languages and interested in intellectual activities who supported the scholarly career of his son. The center of their estates was Pusztaszentkirály near to the village of Áporka in Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun county. Although Sándor and Teréz were also engaged to a certain extent in the management of the estates, after the death of their father this was mainly the competence of their brother János.

Similarly to his brother, János Kégl also pursued his studies as a private pupil, and then he read law at the University of Budapest. In 1889, during the Persian journey of Alexander Kégl, János did his one year’s military service at the hussars. Their father reported in a letter to Sándor about his service like this: “Jani is healthy. He hopes for a promotion to corporal by Easter, and he even considers his officer’s promotion as sure by the end of the year. His superiors love and also appreciate him. I have heard them speaking among themselves that they believe him to become the best horseman among the fellow hussars.”

János loved his profession, and he gave a long account of his affection for jurisprudence – which, in his opinion, was not equal to practical law – to his brother. He also published several titles in this subject (Az ági öröklésről [On collateral inheritance]; Az öröklési jog reform kérdései [Questions of the reform of the law of inheritance]). Besides he was engaged for all his life in agriculture. He was especially interested in horse-breeding, and took much care of the family estate. At his death in 1925 he left behind an estate of about 230 hectares, which also included a model dairy farm and pig farm.

In his last will written on 14 January 1925 and complemented on 30 September he left his estate on the State with the condition that they would establish there a stud farm within a year. This was the beginning of the famous Hungarian Royal Stud Farm of Pusztaszentkirály. He also established a number of foundations, for the renovation and enlargement of the Catholic church of Pereg, 5 the building of a seat for the credit union of Áporka, and for the books and school equipments of the poor children of the elementary school of Áporka.

Teréz, the youngest of the three was a person endowed with great intellectual skills and a talent for languages who could be an intellectual partner of his eldest brother. László Gaál, a student of Kégl in his necrolog on his professor 6 wrote about her like this: “He also had an adequate company in the person of his sister who spoke about ten European languages … and with whom he could discuss his scholarly subjects and practice languages. Most probably his essays on English subjects were also written on her inspiration.” According to the witness of the bequest, Sándor and Teréz simultaneously used the same notebooks, and Teréz also took part in the formulation and copying of the English essays of his brother. We do not exactly know how they shared the work, but Sándor’s treatise on Shelley, published in 1913 7 was left to us in the hand of Teréz, most probably dictated and then corrected by Sándor himself.

Teréz Kégl was also an author of essays, including one on Újabb angol regények [Contemporary English novels] and a “novelette” entitled She who loved much.

Besides literature and languages, the wide range of interests of Teréz also included photography. She was an enthusiastic amateur photograph. Her article written on her experiences of photography was published on 24 December 1906 by the journal The amateur. 8 Most probably she was the author of most of the photos left to us on the family and the estate that are presented here (MTA Dept. of Manuscripts, Ms 5075), as she herself wrote that her camera “is devoted to the family stove: this beautiful bright lens is the illustrator of the home”.

The love of music permeated all the family. They were serious clients of the most important record shops in Budapest. Sándor and Teréz had their special notebooks where they noted down the texts of their favorite opera arias.

Teréz Kégl spent her days in Pusztaszentkirály, in the circle of her extremely educated, much-reading family members speaking a large number of languages. Besides them she had no adequate intellectual company. Her letters reveal that in the absence of her brothers she felt being “in a Babylonian captivity”. It is no surprise that at the sudden death of her brother she also saw the sense of her life being lost.