Have Hungarian ancestry and don’t know where to start, or hit a brick wall? Our experts can help.
Using Records to Trace Hungarian Ancestry
Most records used for Hungarian family history research are kept at the local town or parish level. This means that it is necessary to first find the specific town or origin for your ancestors before Hungarian research can begin. It’s also helpful to determine what their name was when they lived in Hungary. If your ancestor emigrated from Hungary to another place, it is fairly common to find that their name changed slightly, either due to them wanting to assimilate more easily into their new culture, or because record-keepers didn’t understand what they said because of their accent and/or language differences — or a variety of other reasons. Sometimes the change is just a couple of letters in the spelling or a shortening of a longer name, but other times the name change was more drastic and can be tricky to sort out.
Overcoming Challenges in Hungarian Genealogy Research
As with many other European countries, it can also be difficult to determine where exactly your ancestors came from even after you have the actual town name. Many locations in Hungary have similar names that can easily be confused, especially if you’re not sure of the exact spelling of the hometown in the first place. Also, Hungarian grammatical endings can change an actual place name. Fortunately, there are gazetteers that can help you narrow down the choices and determine where records are kept, but you may still need to search in a few localities to find which one is the correct one for your family.
Religion & Your Hungarian Ancestors
Another thing to keep in mind is that up until the 20th century, vital records were kept by the church parishes or Jewish congregations, so it is helpful to know the religion of your ancestors. If you don’t know, you’ll want to search other records to see if they provide clues. If you really can’t identify their religion, then it is best to start with Roman Catholic records, since that was the dominant religion in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
If you have Hungarian ancestry, our professionals can track down the city/town of origin of your ancestors, determine where that location actually is today, identify where the records for that place are currently kept, and work to obtain any documents that are available.