Church Death/Burial Registers

Late Roman Catholic Burial Register

This register is from the Roman Catholic Church in the city of Szeged in Csongrád county. It is illustrative of the excellent quality of church death registers in Hungary during the early part of the Dual Monarchy (1867-1895) period.

The first entry on this page records the death of my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Heszlényi. At the right, I will comment first on his entry, and then provide complimentary information from the other entries in the example.

Format: Printed Tabular Death Register.
Preview of 1895 Death Register.
Click to See Enlarged Document.

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Content of Register.

For a listing of the Magyar-language headings in this register and the literal translations of each Click to See Note.


  • 1) sequence number: restarted at the beginning of each year, #54 is my ancestor. This was a very large urban parish, so it is not surprising to find 50 deaths in the first two months of the year.
  • 2) date of death.
  • 3) name and calling: note that a calling is only provided for men; my ancestor was an épitész (a building contractor).
  • 4) gender: fi for male, for female.
  • 5) name of parents or spouse: entry #54 describes my ancestor as the widower (öszvegye) of Theresa Gömöri; #55 is wife (neje) of ...; #56 is husband (férje) of ...; #57 records the death of a 3-year-old child and so this entry gives the names of the parents, including the calling (bádogos = tinsmith) of the father. [Note: parents' names will be provided for anyone who never married; for example, elsewhere in this register the parents are given for a 67-year-old woman who died -- this is a key indicator that the person in question was never married.]
  • 6) and 7) place of origin and residence: if both are the same city/town, the town name is written across both columns; where they differ (entry #56) both columns are used. [Note: in most small villages, house numbers are given for the current residence; since Szeged is a major city, street addresses are given -- for instance, my ancestor lived at Boldogasszonysugárút 34 or "34 Boulevard of the Blessed Virgin."]
  • 8) confession: all in this example are Roman Catholic (abbreviated rk).
  • 9) age: the examples here are all in years, for instance: 80 éves or "80 years of age."
  • 10) cause of death: since this register is relatively recent, the causes given bear more resemblance to our medical nomenclature than those found in earlier registers; the few examples we see here are: agyszélhüdés or "cerebral hemorrhage" -- aggkór or "senility" -- hólyaghurut or "inflammation of the bladder" -- tüdölhurut or "bronchitis" -- tüdölob or "pneumonia."
  • 11) were sacraments performed? here the question is usually answered "no" (nem) or "provided for" (ellátva); another answer found in this register is utolsó kenettel ellátva or "provided with [the sacrament of] extreme unction."
  • 12) burial place and date: as seen here, most burials were in the local church cemetery on the second day after the date of death.
  • 13) burial performed by: in entry #54, the burial was performed by the esperes plebanos -- "archdeacon". Click to See Note. for more information on this ancient title. In general, burials in large churches (such as this one) were performed by priests with the title of Assistant Pastor (káplán). Usually the Pastor presided only at the burial of wealthy or prominent parishoners. That was the case with my ancestor, who was the owner of a major construction company.
  • 14) observations: none in this example, but to give you an idea of what might be found here, elsewhere in this register is the comment "the deceased was transported from [the city of] Arad."