I agree with all you say here.
You yourself confirm, what I said. There were people, who geve themselves out for what they were, and also such, who assumed airs like Utassy.
There are some points though, where I might play the devils advocate:
1.) the emigrants were used to a society of nobles and serfs/peasents.
Many of them were from the poorer, lower classes. At that time, their level of education wasn't very high, to say the least. They could not be expected to know, that in America they did not care for noble titles, so some may pretended to be of noble birth.
In such cases like Utassy, they may have been found out. But if their aim was low enough, say that when the got a menial job, they did not start from the lowest rang, but from a step or two higher, an assumed title (or air of a title) helped. It was more pleasent to dry the dishes than to wash them, if you see, what I mean. In such cases their pretence would have been never found out.
I am ellaborating on this issue, because I see diffivulties caused by them, when you try to trace the ancestries of immigrants.
Some of them were real, some of the phoney, but who knows who was what?
I think that the descendants of those, who did not pretend to be someone else, than who they were, have an easier job finding their roots. Those of the other type may never succeed.
Just a remark about your question, how my family regarded themselves:
A member of the family, MÃ¡rton Rakovszky de N. et K., a HuszÃ¡r-general got the Maria-TerÃ©zia order, which also meant the title of baron. When he died childless, the rest of the family was offered it, but refused because it was an Austrian and not a Hungarian title. (Lajos Reich refered to this in one of his contributions.)
Had I read some thing he wrote in the thread "what am I", before I went to such lengths about the question of ethnicity in Hungary, I might have saved my breath. But better twice as never.
I am Hungarian and regard my family as such, but nevertheless I feel drown the the county Turocz, although I have never been there. You know of course, that the Rakovszky coat-of-arms is part of the Coat-of-Arms of TurÃ³cz. (since 1711).
Before that it was simply the Rakovszky or RÃ©vay arms, or the two together.
I support all who seek their roots, whether these are Hungarian, German, or any country you like to name, as long, as they are willing to accept, that in tha past the attitude of the people as to language, nationality, ethnicity were different from those today, and that they were different in each country, and are ready to live with it.
(Hungary unlike England, France, Austria, the German Empire, never tried to impose the language of the ruler on his subjects. This make life difficult sometimes - What am I, what were my ancestors?)
If you know your roots, you may be able to withstand some bad periods in life. Without them, you may be just blown away.