Stephen Pálffy

No, that's not a dirty mark on your screen! That á does indeed have an accent over it - the sort of thing you should expect to find in Hungarian words, including surnames.

What does it mean? you ask (and even if you don't, you are about to be told). Pál = Paul and the ffy suffix (also encountered as ffi, fy and fi) signifies son-of, so the name means. . . yes! you've got it: Paul's-son. It would appear that one of my remote ancestors was called Paul - in fact, at least two of them, father and son; the younger took to calling himself Paul's-son in order to distance himself from his uncle, his father's brother Stephen Kont, who had been executed (as the leader of a batch of thirty or so rebels) for high treason.

That said, there is really not much to tell about myself. I went to school (in the Érseki Gimázium at Budapest, also known as Rákócziánum); during this time survived the two-month siege of Budapest by the Red Army, in the cellar of our house; later did the obligatory spells of military service and prison (no, not high treason, just a class enemy, considered rather more heinous in those days); and after 1956 fetched up at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (for the benefit of any Americans who might read this: the real, authentic Cambridge, in England). Then I got caught up in the big bad world of computer systems. Oh yes, and I am an inveterate pipe smoker.

Not much point in boring you with an expansion of the foregoing - instead I might as well tell you something about Hungary.

Stephen Pálffy (

Just in case you wondered what the insyc stands for in that e-mail address:
Information System Consultants Establishment

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