Hungary, Jewish Vital Records Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Hungary, Jewish Vital Records, 1800-1945 .

Title in the Language of the Records

Magyarország, Zsidó Anyakönyvek

Record Description

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.

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.

Record Content  


Birth records may contain the following:

  • 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 who performed it
  • For a girl, date of naming
  • Witnesses’ names
  • Death date of infants who died in the year of birth

Marriage records may contain 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

Death records may contain 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 records vary. Not all of the facts listed above may appear in every record

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

How to Use the Record

Use these Jewish vital records to identify ancestors (individuals, their parents, and their spouses) and make family connections.

For Help Reading These Records

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

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Don't overlook FHL Place Hungary items or FHL Keyword Hungary items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Hungary Archives and Libraries.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from the record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find th record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

The suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article:How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Jewish Vital Records Index, 1800-1945

Sources of This Collection

“Hungary, Jewish Vital Records, 1800-1945,” database, FamilySearch Record Search ([ Record Search]); 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 FamilySearch Catalog.