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Finding records of your ancestors in Slovakia (formerly Northern Hungary) early 1700s to 1918
This guide contains easy-to-use instructions that will teach you how to use original records to locate ancestors. These instructions include a step-by-step strategy for finding an ancestor family in the most useful record types for Slovakia in early 1700s to 1918.
Beginning Slovak researchers will also need: Reading Slovak Records and depending upon the language used in the records Reading Hungarian Records or Reading German Records or Latin Genealogical Word List.
If your ancestor lived in Slovakia (formerly northern part of the Kingdom of Hungary) between the early 1700s and 1918, follow the steps in this article to find the records of his or her family. These instructions will show you which records to search, what to look for, and what tools to use. One piece of information will lead to another until you have identified each family member and filled out a family group record.
1. Find your ancestor's birth record in church records.
2. Find the birth records of your ancestor's brothers and sisters in church records.
3. Find the marriage record of your ancestor's parents in church records. This family is now complete.
The steps and tools you need follow.
How to begin - preparation
You should have already gathered as much information as possible from your home and family and filled out family group records and a pedigree chart. You may have checked FamilySearch or other computer files to see if others have researched your Slovak family.
A. From your pedigree chart, choose an ancestor who was born in Slovakia between the early 1700s and 1918. You must know the place of birth and an approximate birth date in order to find your ancestor's family. It is helpful to know the county. You also need to determine the location of the record keeping parish that served your ancestor's community. (See Tips). It is helpful to know your ancestor's religion because the records of different religions were kept separately.
B. Write your ancestor's name in the children's section of a new family group record. Read through the instructions in this guide. Then follow the steps below to find your ancestor's family.
If you don't know your ancestor's birthplace or birth date:
- See Tracing Immigrant Origins. This publication provides many suggestions about sources that may give you a specific place of origin for your ancestor.
- Start with a more recent generation. You will learn how to do research, and you will probably discover something you didn't know about your family.
- Find the records for the family in the example given. This will teach you basic research skills before you search for your own family. This is a good class activity.
If you are not sure of your ancestor's religion:
- Search Roman Catholic records first as this was the dominant religion of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
- Then search records of other religions, such as Lutheran, Reformed, Greek Catholic, Jewish and Orthodox.
The research process
Case study: Jan Gallo, born in 1893 in Šútovo, Turany Parish, Slovakia or as it would have been known at that time: Suttó, Turány Parish, Turócz County, Hungary.
The following p walk you through the research process. In the case study, Katarína is looking for the family of Jan Gallo. She takes her family group records and pedigree chart to a family history center. Here she looks in the FamilySearch Catalog for the records she wants and orders the microfilms she needs. She makes several visits to the center. Follow these same steps to find your family.
Find your ancestor's christening (birth) record in church records.(See Church Records: Christening.)
A. At the family history center, Katarína searches in the FamilySearch Catalog for the parish in Slovakia where her ancestor was born (Turany Lutheran Parish). If she did not know which parish kept the records of her ancestors then she would use a gazetteer. (See Tips). Then she looks for church records. (See Using the FamilySearch Catalog.)
B. She finds the film number, 2062258, and orders it. When it arrives, Katarína researches the film and finds Jan's birth record on the film. She photocopies the record for her files.
C. Katarína writes on the family group record: (1) Jan's birth information on the front and (2) source information (such as parish name, film number, item number, and page number) on the back.
Find christening (birth) records for your ancestor's brothers and sisteran in church records. (See Church Records: Christening.)
A. Katarína looks for a film which will contain birth records of Jan's brothers and sisters in the FamilySearch Catalog. She finds that these birth records should also be on the film she has ordered. Katarína proceeds to search the records of births before her ancestor's birth date and looks for the children that have same parents as her ancestor. She does not find any siblings. She then continues searching birth records after her ancestor's birth date and locates the birth record of a brother Ondrej. Katarína also finds several other younger Jan's siblings.
B. Katarína writes on the family group record: (1) information from the birth records on the front and (2) source information on the back.
Find the marriage record of your ancestor's parents. (See Church Records: Marriage.)
A. Katarína looks in the catalog for records of marriages performed where the oldest child was born, which was her ancestor Jan. In the church records of Turany parish, the marriage records are on the same film as the birth records, but in another section (film 2062258).
B. Katarína starts with the date of the first child's birth and searches backwards in time until she finds the marriage. Given name of the groom, who is Jan's father, is listed as Andrej, which is another variation of Ondrej. If she couldn't find it, then she would search later records. (If she couldn't find the marriage in this parish, she would try neighboring parishes.)
C. Katarína writes on the family group record: (1) the marriage information on the front and (2) source information on the back.
D. Katarína has the information she needs for this family. However, it would be wise to check death records (zomrelí), where unbaptized children may have been recorded.
NOW YOU CAN REPEAT STEPS 1 THROUGH 3 TO FIND ANOTHER FAMILY. Look for the families of each of your ancestor's parents. Start with a new family group record, and look first for a birth record. You should be able to estimate the year of birth from the age given at the time of marriage.
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