Background Information.

4. Background Information for Hungarian Family History ... focusing on Language Issues

Important Note: Remember, historic Hungary of the 18th and 19th centuries was a multi-ethnic society. So when I refer to the people or language that we today call "Hungarian" I will use the name they call themselves and their language ... Magyar. Likewise, I will refer to other languages and/or ethnic groups of historic Hungary by the common designation for them: German, Slovak, Latin, etc.

This tutorial does NOT attempt to teach the Hungarian language. It focuses on the the language issues that are important when searching the registers of Hungarian churches, and on understanding the customs that led to the register entries you will find. While most references are to the Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, and Reformed confessions, I believe that everything here applies also to the Greek Catholic churches of the northeast, except for the few years those records may have been in the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet. I cannot comment on the applicability of this material to the Orthodox confessions or to the Jewish community. Links to lists of terms found in other parts of this tutorial are provided. This topic also deals with the personal and town names found in historic Hungary, and describes changes in spelling that occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries.

  1. General Language Conventions of Church Registers.

  2. Terminology of Hungarian Church Registers.
    The links below are to DOCUMENT EXAMPLES and their notes which provide basic insights into key terms used in church registers written in the Latin and Magyar languages. Each was chosen because of its rather general applicability, and therefore will (hopefully) be a good starting point for those users unfamiliar with these languages. Please note that the Magyar examples are much better than the Latin examples because I can deal with that language better, and the later registers used contain much more information that the early Latin registers.

    Use your browser's "Back" button to return to this topic from any of these Document Examples.

    • Terms found in Birth/Baptismal Records
      • Latin -- 1709/16 Roman Catholic Register of Sopron
      • Magyar -- 1884 Reformed Register of Inota

    • Terms found in Marriage Records
      • Latin -- 1726 Roman Catholic Register of Sopron
      • Magyar -- 1869 Lutheran Register of Puconci

    • Terms found in Death/Burial Records
      • Latin -- 1772 Roman Catholic Register of Beled
      • Magyar -- 1895 Roman Catholic Register of Szeged

  3. Dealing with Personal Names.

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