Hungary, Jewish Vital Records Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Hungary, Jewish Vital Records, 1800-1945 .
This article describes a collection of records at
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Record Description
Record Type: Jewish Vital Records
Collection years: 1800-1945
Languages: Hungarian
Title in the Language: Magyarország, Zsidó Anyakönyvek
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What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of vital records of Jewish individuals in Hungary for the years 1800 to 1945. The original 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.

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.

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.

Collection Content

This collection contains birth, marriage, and death records. Birth records are the most common in the collection, making up about half of the total records, followed by death records, with marriage records making up the smallest portion of the collection.

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

The following lists indicate potential information given in each type of record. It must be remembered that every record may not provide all the listed information, as record-keeping practices often varied by time and location.

Birth Records may contain:

  • Child’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Legitimacy
  • 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 the officiating rabbi
  • For a girl, date of naming
  • Witnesses’ names
  • Death date of infants who died in the year of birth

Marriage Records may contain:

  • 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

Death Records may contain:

  • 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

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the full name of the individual in question, as well as an approximate time range for the desired record. When entered into the search engine on the Collection Page, this information provides the quickest, most reliable path to finding the correct person. Of course, other information can be substituted as necessary.

Search by Name by Visiting the Collection Page

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page to return a list of possible matches. Compare the individuals on the list with what is already known to find the correct family or person. This step may require examining multiple individuals before a match is located.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Hungarian. For help reading the records, see the following resources:

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking for, What Now?

  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the index entry for future reference; see below for assistance in citing this collection.
  • Look at the microfilm of the original record, if possible. The online index entry generally lists only the most basic identifying information for an individual; the original record may contain further information which was not included in the index. Save or print a copy of the image if possible.
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the age listed in the record to estimate a year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
  • If in the appropriate period, use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil records. Particularly useful for research in nineteenth-century England are the England Census and the England Civil Registration records.
  • Continue to search the index to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Note that family members often appear on an individual's vital records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage.

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • The index entry might be inaccurate. If possible, look at the microfilm of the actual record to verify the information listed in the index.
  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
  • Check for variants of given names and surnames. An individual might appear under a different name in a record for a variety of reasons:
    • An individual might have been listed under a middle name, nickname, or abbreviation of their given name.
    • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so names were often spelled as they were pronounced. Pay attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try spelling variations that could have that pronunciation.
    • It was not uncommon for a woman to revert to her maiden name after the death of her husband.
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches. Alternatively, try expanding the date range; this is especially useful in searching baptismal records, as it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth.
  • Search the records of nearby parishes. While it was uncommon for an individual in this period to move more than about 20 miles from their place of birth, smaller relocations were not uncommon.

For additional help searching online collections see FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Citing this Collection

Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer to information which has already been discovered; proper citations are therefore key to keeping track of genealogical research. Following established citation formats also allows others to verify completed research by helping them find and examine records for themselves.

To be of use, citations must include information such as the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records, if available. The following examples demonstrate how to present this information for both this particular collection as well as individual records within the collection:

Collection Citation:
"Hungary, Jewish Vital Records Index, 1800-1945." Database. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Magyar Orszagos Leveltar, Budapest (Hungary State Archives, Budapest, and county archives, Hungary).

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Hungary, Jewish Vital Records, 1800-1945.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.