Hungary, Jewish Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Hungary, Jewish Vital Records .
Foreign Language Title
Magyarország, Zsidó Anyakönyvek
Collection Time Period
This collection covers records for the years 1800 to 1945.
Jews in Hungary generally did not keep vital records unless required to do so by law. In 1781, the Emperor Joseph II issued the Toleration Patent which recognized Judaism throughout the empire. Jews did not use fixed surnames until 1788 when another patent required them to adopt and use German surnames. Beginning in 1788, Jews were required to keep records of births, marriages, and deaths in German under Catholic supervision. Because these records were required for conscription and taxation purposes, Jews often evaded registration. The law was reemphasized several times during the early 1800s. Most Jewish communities did not actually start keeping records until the practice was again codified into law in 1840. In 1885, the Hungarian Royal Ministry of Cults required Jewish vital births, marriages, and deaths to be recorded in vital registers that included several congregations in a sub-district rather than in registers for each individual congregation. Exceptions were allowed when individual congregations paid to have their own registrar. With the beginning of civil registration in 1895, Jewish registers ceased to be official state documents.
Jews constituted between 4% and 5% of the total population. Few Jews were recorded until the 1840s, after which 80% to 95% of the Jewish population was covered.
Why This Collection Was Created
Beginning in 1788, Jews were required to keep records of births, marriages, and deaths. Jewish vital records establish individual identity and are excellent for family and relationship linkage. They identify names of parents, prove other relationships, and are very useful for linking generations.
Jewish vital records are extremely reliable and accurate family history sources, more so than census and other records. Ages, birth dates, and birthplaces found in marriage and death entries are only as accurate as the informant’s memory. This is the most reliable record for birth, marriage, and death dates.
Jewish vital records are held in county archives under the direction of the National Archives of Hungary [Országos Leveltár] in Budapest. Records that are not part of this collection may be accessible for research by correspondence, or researchers can get permission to research the records in person at the archives. Research by correspondence is often quite slow and costly.
Some of the earliest Jewish records have not been preserved and, in many cases, have missing years. Often only the transcripts remain, and the originals are unaccounted for. These records are kept under good storage conditions but are subject to catastrophes.
The records for births, marriages, and deaths mostly consist of bound volumes with entries on two facing pages. The images were scanned from microfilm copies of the originals.
Key genealogical facts found in a birth record are the following:
• Child’s name
• Date of birth
• Father’s name, occupation, and place of birth
• Mother’s name, maiden name, and place of birth
• Parents’ residence
• Child’s place of birth
• Midwife’s name
• For a boy, date of circumcision and who performed it
• For a girl, date of naming
• Witnesses’ names
• Death date of infants who died in the year of birth
Key genealogical facts found in a marriage record are the following:
• Groom’s name, occupation, and place of birth
• Names of the groom’s parents and their residence
• Groom’s residence, age, and previous marital status
• Bride’s name and place of birth
• Names of the bride’s parents and their residence
• Bride’s residence, age, and marital status
• Date and place of the marriage
• Proclamations, witnesses’ names, and the officiating rabbi’s name
Key genealogical facts found in a death record are the following:
• Deceased’s name, occupation, place of birth, gender, status, and age
• Cause of death
• Date and place of death
• Date and place of burial
• Parents’ names and occupations
Please note that the information contained in the genealogical records vary. Not all of the genealogical facts listed above may appear in every record.
How to Use the Record
Use these Jewish vital records to identify ancestors (individuals, their parents, and their spouses) and make family connections.
Related Wiki Articles
Sources of This Collection
“Hungary, Jewish Vital Records, 1800-1945,” database, FamilySearch Record Search (http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch); from Magyar Orszagos Leveltar (Hungary). “Index of Jewish vital records from the Kingdom of Hungary. Magyar Orszagos Leveltar (Hungary), Budapest. FHL microfilm, 26 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
How to Cite Your Sources
Click here for instructions on citing specific records or images within this collection. A full bibliographic record is available in the Family History Library Catalog.
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