Preparing for research
We do hope that information contained on this page will prove useful.
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Researchers should be aware that tracing family history can be a long-drawn-out and tiring process.
Record office and other staff are willing to give advice and help, but those tracing their family tree are generally expected to organize and undertake research in person.
This guide is therefore, without completes, designed in a spirit alike.
Before your starting research please keep the following in mind.
1. Collect and arrange all family information before beginning your research; all documents, birth, marriage & death certificates, last-wills, notices of death, c.v.-s, anything that may be of importance.
Any data seeming insignificant might also be of great help in research work, and special attention should be paid when talking to elderly relatives, listening to their accounts. A lot of future tiring and superfluous work can be spared so.
It well serves the purpose to examine the pages of the Holy Bible of the family viz. essential family events used to be introduced here ; moreover you are well advised to do the same in old books of the house, which may bear notes, or names of importance.
Experience proves that there are many more documents in family possession than you may think. Collecting and putting them order makes more sense than throwing them out as trifles.
Go through all papers, photographs or artifacts etc., of your own and of your immediate family. These might provide information about your own and earlier generations.
Elderly relatives, especially, may have such papers, and their recallings may prove very useful These should always be checked for accuracy with other sources wherever possible. Information from sources discovered in your home should provide enough detail to allow research to be started in records deposited in the various repositories.
Save much time and effort by discovering if the family has been traced before.
2. Survey if the person or family appears in the FORUM
The FORUM contains all families known to us as well as the concerning research sources and places, and enumerates all (well)known persons and the concerning research sources and places.
3. Researching on Internet - site, for example.
4. Research in the National Archive (OL) and in archives all over Hungary.
5. Researching in Church Archives.
6. Researching in the Mormon Genealogy Index.
7. Researching in Libraries in Hungary.
8. Should a family have moved from some earlier locality address of which is known, it may yield a result to mail, asking help from dwellers there. These may have information of the persons searched, their family, their house. Try, even if there is little hope. Enclose your addressed envelope with stamp on it .
9. Place the name and address of the person you search on WEB Archive Genealogy FORUM placing trust in help coming from fellow-researchers.
To avoid superfluous work you are advised to share information with others. Besides, make sure whether the family is being (re)searched by anybody.
10. It seems wise gleaning the FORUM in order to see if someone of our search has turned up there. It is mutual assistance only, which will improve this kind of service .
11.Proving relationship is required to carry out research in local registry offices.
12. Expert researchers can be commissioned if personal research is not possible. Magyar professzionális kutatók (Directory of Professional Genealogy Researchers) contains a list of names.
13. Having collected some genealogy information you can begin to start research work in registers out of doors.
The golden rule is to start with oneself and work backwards, from the known to the unknown
14. Keep in mind that any Register may contain inaccuracies so our efforts may be accompanied by error or failure.
15. Researching copies of last-wills.
Lucky is the researcher that, while doing examination discovers a last-will. These are especially rich in data of genealogy. Not everybody left one, but if done the last-wills are useful sources about family members and wealth.
There may have been documents by authorities in connection with deaths without last-wills.
16. Documents of law-suits. Researching documents of county courts..
Lucky is the researcher whose ancestors had many law-suits and finds documents among the ones of the county courts. ( National Archive - section O - Court archives : with documents of high-courts in Hungary and Transylvania from 1526-1869; containing twelve archive and some other document-collections not called archives.) The documents of cases have been worked up so there is a computer catalogue available of the names in them. It is a dream come true to get WWW on line to these. E.g. : O section - Courty archives. A knowledge of Latin is necessary to read the documents.
17. Research of censuses, of registering
To know more about the latter ones see chapter : Censuses-registering.
18. Research of books and publications of local-history.
Very lucky may be called the researcher researching in a place the history of which has been thoroughly worked out. Simontornya is one ( Simontornya Krónikája- author: Dr. Kiss Istvan, 1938.).Several data can be find in these sources of local history that do not turn up in registers of birth, marriages and deaths, which refer to the family, person being searched for.
19. Research of Address-registers.
20. Registers of trades and of guilds.
Research possibilities in the National Archive (OL).
Anywhere your ancestor come from, work must begin in Budapest. The less you know, the more problems you are sure to meet.
State-civil (family) registering in Hungary.
Civil registering of births, marriages and deaths began all over the country in October 1895. Each domicile has got its own Registry Office, data are held here.
The institution called Registry Office can usually be found in the Municipal Office. The Municipal Office of the Capital does keep data, but not for the public.
As data have declared secret for 100 years, it is not easy to make use of state registers, without proof of relationship. Local offices undertake researches of five year, but data requerering -research is not possible.
A researcher, not being a relative, can not be denominated .
Church registers (Registers of a parish, of vicars)
Should you not know where your relatives come from denominations may be able to help. Their religion must be known as there is a Roman Catholic, a Calvinist, a Lutherenien community, but larger localities have United, Greek Orthodox churches, and Jewish communities, synagogues, too.
If you began work with civil registers, the fact that religion is shown there, will help you get across the problem.
Before starting researching church registers we wish to draw your attention to the following.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon church received a permission in 1959 to microfilm church-registers in Hungary, they could film all registers. Most of these date back to 1700- 1720, though some to 1630.
Copies of these films can be found in the National Archive except the ones of the last 100 years, can be researched, and read using an uptodate microfilm- reader.
A list has been made of these films, they can be found in the hall in books, in alphabetical order. It is only to be hoped that the lists of the microfilms will be available from WEB Archive, too.
Only a part of copies of microfilms containing copies of registers from territories beyond our present borders are available in the National Archive.
Here you can find duplicates registers of Burgenland, a province of Austria know, of the Archbishopric of Kalocsa (parts in Jugoslavia, Bosnia-Herczegovina), of Kolozsvár annexed by Romania as well as copies of Nagyvárad Jewish registers of 1828-1895.
Parts of Hungary belonging now to Austria have got their own registers, and the Mormons have filmed these, too.
The fact that several old Hungarian town was renamed adds to difficulties. Doing research work is tiring, but not impossible. As in certain cases the Hungarian Archive Service has filmed major Hungarian registers in Slovakia, it worth going through microfilm catalogues. E.g. the registers of Pozsony can be dealt with We are soon going to publish the former and present place names of Greater Hungary in Register of Placenames.
Registers, as resources are of utmost importance. The may contain several other data e.g. profession, like mill judge, place of origin (like "ex Hosszúfalu"), social rank ( nobilis (latin for nobleman), or a suffix like "neme", while "peasant", "agricultural labourer", "taxpayer", "colonus", "nemtelen" refer to persons "s.nob" (sine nobilitas). Age, family status at marriage (e.g. "lad", "virgo nobilis") turn up aswell as the cause of death like "ague, "colic".
Church registers of 1800 or later of several places contain housenumber columns, too. The site of the house can be identified in case of luck on the townmap, also to be found in archives.
Censuses, registering, where to research and how.
Papal list on tax payable to Him by churches. There are ten of these between 1233- 1332, mostly a concern of Hungarian bishops.
The so called "Conscriptio portae", on possesions, buildings and serfs, it denotes the name of proprietor. "Consriptio decimae" contained what serf owned to his proprietor (this usually was a tenth of the crop) .
The Turks copied this system, their "dephter" lists existed in the time of their occupation here 1570-1650.
The first one like this was put together after the liberation of Turk rule. It was completed to find out how many families survived the Turk occupation of 150 years
There had not been a national census until 1715. The census of the 1715. year . This was followed by one in 1720 and another in 1728. The latter was not complete.
The next one was 1747, but one of a church character. It was almost complete, especially the one in the western parts.
Queen Maria Theresia ordered one to be held in 1770. Her purpose was to find out how many landed proprietors contracted serfs; Urbarium was its name.
It mostly contained data about noblemen, but the services, payments due by serfs, the size of the property.
There was ordered one in 1784 by Joseph II., but the noblemen resisted it; they did not want to pass personal data on the House of Habsburg. It partly came to nothing. Hardly any traces have remained.
Suprisingly the last Hungarian census of 1828 contains everybody except the gentility.
There are a few modern censuses. In 1848 it concluded every Jew, in 1857 every household.
Regrettably modern census since 1868 have been different to that of the British, they were of a character of profession and district , aimed at statistics and archive- purposes, not giving names, with no value for family research.
Address-list of the Capital Budapest
Mostly to be found in the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library, address: No. 1. Szabó Ervin tér
The list consists of two parts. In the fist you will find the towndwellers in alphabetical order; but not the peasants (the latter having no money). The second part is divided according to trades.
There are types of information: One of people with a private profession, the other ofe ones having a shop or business. It contains the period of 1885-1928.
The data here are of every other year. The second set of data informs you of state employees and those of the town from 1878-1945, and is more substantial.
The population in Budapest speaking German had an address-list of their own.
"Adddressen Kalender und Strassen Kalender" begins in 1805, and gradually shows names of people not of German tongue.
Useful data these are, the addresses telling the district, too leading you to the right District Registry Office if you are searching documents after 1895 of birth, baptism, marriage or death.
Last-wills are being kept in the Office of the Mayor, but a lot have been sorted out owing to lack of room.
You will find further archives in Chapter : Archives.
Archive of the Capital Budapest
. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there are special archivists who can not be found every day.
It is the trade licenses having been issued, which are the most useful here in this town targeting to take on bourgeois habits since 1890.
Should you know the trade or profession of your ancestors, you can find the guild registers here, too. This is why you can follow apprenticeship here even, though only in a limited way, trade history of certain craftsmen, e.g. of carpenters. School data and lists of pupils can, cum grano salis, also be found here.