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Naming Customs

Surname (or a family name) is used first, followed by the given name:

NAGY János John Nagy
KOVÁCS Mária Mary Smith
  • there is usually just one given name
  • surnames are generally a single names
  • patronymics were usually not used
  • his rule is also followed in Hungarian parish registers

Surnames were usually derived from common sources such as trades, qualities, ethnic origins, place names etc.:

SZABÓ Ferenc Frank Taylor
MOLNÁR Lajos Louis Miller
KIS Mihály Michael Little
FEHÉR Erzsébet Elizabeth White
TÖRÖK Katalin Catherine Turk

Titles of nobility are put before the surnames:

gróf NAGY János Count John Nagy

Names of Hungarian married women take on special forms:

NAGY Jánosné Mrs. John Nagy
  • the equivalent of Mrs. is the particle né (wife) which is added to a husband's name
  • the -né means wife of
  • Klausenberger Ignáczné Bival Rosália means that Rosália Bival married a man named Ignácz Klausenberger

Excellent articles regarding Hungarian personal names can be found at:


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