Pustiana/Pusztina is located on the left side of the river Tazlău/Tázló. It is one of Moldavia’s youngest settlements, founded about or after the massacre of Siculeni/Madéfalva, in the latter part of the 18th century. The settlement’s history was handed down, by oral tradition. It states (recounts), that those, seeking refuge, came from Transylvania and Csík, which is somewhat nearer. They first arrived in Blăgești/Blegyest, a romanian village, where they began to work, as treshers of grain, in the fields. Later, when they found out, that a Hungarian man, a Mr. Nemes leased the farm-land at a place, where the present-day Pustiana is located, these trashers came to work for him. Those, who came at the beginning, found the place uninhabited or plain. In Hungarian, „plain” is „puszta” thus, the place was named Pustiana/Pusztina.
The following is the tale or story of Pustiana’s origin, by Kaszáp István, born about 1910. „They came from Csík, to work as trashers and they created Pusztina. When the székely’s (the original, Hungarian people, of Erdély) were being killed at Siculeni/Madéfalva, they sought refuge here, with us, because they were already well known, in the village. Than, a General named Nemes came. (My father told me… „i do not understand this General”). Here, he leased an estate, a landed property, with everything, including a mill. When the Hungarians in Blăgești heard, that this land-lord is Hungarian, all thirty of them moved nearby, to Fenek and to Laci’s forest’s. The first inhabitants of Pustiana were the Laci, the Bece and the Erős families, and around here, the Pál and the Barta/Bartha families. When the people came from Blăgești, they received (found) a bell in the forest. The bell was hidden, from the Turkish Army, because, when they invaded the Country, they collected all the bells they could find and melted them down, for cannons. To this day, nobody knows, who hid the bells, but these people, from Blegyest, found a small bell and brought it to Pusztina.” (Halász Péter: Pusztina (Pustiana) helynevei; Budapest, 1987. Magyar Névtani Dolgozatok – The Study of Hungarian Names.)
Later, in 1816, at the time of the great famine of Transylvania, Pustiana’s population „had increased once again, with the newly arrived székely refugees. According to one of the informants, his grandmother told him, that in her younger days (1870’s) they would „steal-away” to Magyarfőd (Transylvania), to visit the ones, who remained behind.” (Halász Péter: Pusztina (Pustiana) helynevei; Budapest, 1987. Magyar Névtani Dolgozatok – The Study of Hungarian Names.)
Geographical position of Pustiana
Geographical coordination: 46° 35′ 23″ North, 26° 37′ 46″ East.
Distance, from Pusztina (Public-roads):
- Bacău – 36, or 49 km
- Moinești – 20 km
- Comănești – 33 km
- Onești – 50 km
- Piatra Neamț – 55 km
- Miercurea Ciuc – 118 km
- Gheorgheni – 141 km
- Cheile Bicaz – 110 km
- Lacu Roșu – 115 km
The village’s first mention is from 1792. It appears as Pustiian, in an Austrian, yearly map-description or descriptive-map and in the attached Squéllete-map. The number of the community is 531. The number of the houses – 62. Head of families – 24. Number of men, fit for duty – 40. There is 1 horse and 40 team of oxen in the village. Number of map detail – 65. (Domokos P. Péter: A moldvai magyarság – The Hungarians of Moldavia; pages 101 – 105.)
Anton Coșa wrote in his book Catholic-Communities in the County of Bacău (Communități catolice din județul Bacău, p. 169) „The residents of Pustiana are Transylvanian refugees, who sought refuge in Moldavia, in the late 1700’s, from the forced enlisting, for service, as border-guards, for the brutal Austrian regime.” Their presence is noted, on January-11-1781 in the Diplomatarium Italicum, volume 1, pages 203-215. (Published in 1925.) The village also appears on the Austrian Supreme Command’s map of Moldavia (1787-1791). (Pr. Iosif Gabor: Dicționarul comunităților catolice din Moldova, Bacău, Ed. „Conexiuni”, 1996, page 221.)
Formation or developement of the population
- 1792 – Number of houses: 62. Head of families: 24. Number of men, fit for duty: 40. The village has 1 horse and 40 team of oxen.
- 1830 – Population, alltogether 500 people, from the original, 100 Székely (Magyar-Hungarian) families. (Jerney János keleti utazása… – Eastern-travels of Jerney János… 1844 and 1845. Pest 1851, volume 1, page 203.)
- 1838 – According to Gegő Elek, there were 700 „souls” in Pusztina.
- 1844 – Jerney János estimated 500 people. In 1851 – 452; in 1857 – 482.
- 1898 – According to the Great Geographic Dictionary of Romania (Marele dicționar Geoagrafic al României, Bucharest, 1898) the population grew to 762.
- 1930 – The census counted 1177 people in Pusztina. True to the „strange” romanian statistics, they declared, that the village had no ethnic Hungarians, although those, who spoke the Hungarian „Mother-tongue” (Anya-nyelv) numbered 1146 or 97.4%. The number of roman-catholics were 1153.
- 2002 – The census counted 1961 people. 941 – female and 1020 – male. From the 1961 people 1549 Romanians, 338 – Hungarians, 72 Csángó-Hungarians, and 2 others. Religion: 1942 roman-catholics, 18 eastern-orthodox and 1 other. In the village of Pîrjol out of 6773 people, only 290 or 4.28% Magyar (Hungarian), 88 or 1,30% – Csángó (Magyar) declared themselves Hungarian-speaking people. The numbers may not be correct, for many of the villages inhabitants were intimidated by the anti-Hungarian authorities and therefore dared not declare their Magyar or Hungarian origins. Erdély or Transylvania with its ancient inhabitants belonged to the Hungarian Kingdom (Country) for more than a thousand years, until 1920.
- 1995 – At the custom, called the „Blessing of the house”, there were 739 families – 2105 of the roman-catholic faith, according to the Church.
- 1999 – 730 families – 2083 believer;
- 2004 – 753 families – 2100 believer;
- 2007 – 743 families – 2067 believer (Almanahul „Presa Bună”, Iași);
- 2009 – 720 families – 1938 believer (Almanahul Presa Bună 2010, Iaşi).
In 1844 Jerney János wrote: „Altough at times, Pusztinas Hungarians and their Oláh (Romanian) neighbours were at odds with each other, true to their Székely-Csik traditions, they were always glad to speak, with anyone. They are diligent farmers. The only oláh in the village is a man, who converted to christianity, from judaism. His wife is a Hungarian woman of Pusztina.” (Jerney János keleti utazása… – Jerney János Eastern travels… 1844 és 1845. Pest 1851, Vol. I. page 204.)
„The schools old records indicate, that in the past XIX-century, the names of Pusztinas families were written in the original Hungarian. For example Kis, László, Veres, etc. But the names of Pusztinas Hungarian families were forcably altered, to appear Romanian thus, the name Bordás became Spătaru, László became Laslău, Veres became Roșu… etc. They could not translate Becze, thus it remained, as Beța, with their style of writing.”(Halász Péter: Pusztina (Pustiana) helynevei; Budapest, 1987. Magyar Névtani Dolgozatok)