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After you have discovered the name of the town from which your ancestor emigrated, you must still determine its location. Many localities have similar names that may be easily confused. An example would be the place names Kameň, Kameňany, Kamenec, Kamenica, Kameničany, Kameničná, Kamenín and Kamienka.
There is a place called Kamenica. In addition, there are places called Kamenica preceded by an adjective, such as Nižná Kamenica and places followed by a description such as Kamenica nad Cichorou. Slovak grammatical endings can change an actual place name so that the potential for confusion increases. The expression in Kamenica is v Kamienici. Often, many localities have same place names.
Many towns that are located on rivers bear the name of the river as part of the official place name. The term nad (sometimes written as n/) means above or on, thus Kamenica nad Cichorou means Kamenica on the Cichora river.
All localities in Slovakia have names both in Slovak and Hungarian, with many places also bearing German names. In the area of Sub-Carpathian Russia, localities had names in Ukrainian. Place names are often misspelled in American sources. Difficult names were shortened and diacritic marks omitted.
A gazetteer, which is defined as a geographical dictionary, is an essential tool for identifying places. It lists all place names and gives sufficient information to uniquely identify a specific locality, such as variant names, political and church jurisdictions, religions, etc. Use the following gazetteers to locate the place your ancestor came from and to determine the location of the parish or synagogue where records were kept. Once you have determined the location of the church or synagogue, use the Family History Library Catalog to get the film numbers of the available records. You can then order the appropriate films.
Magyarország helységnévtára tekintettel a közigazgatási, népességi és hitfelekezeti viszonyokra
Dvorzsák, János. Magyarország helységnévtára tekintettel a közigazgatási, népességi és hitfelekezeti viszonyokra. (Gazetteer of Hungary with Administrative, Populational, and Ecclesiastical Circumstances). Budapest: Havi Füzetek Kiadóhivatala, 1877. (FHL book 943.9 E5d vol.1-2; FHL film 599564 item 3 vol. 1 and FHL film 973041 vol. 2; FHL fiche 6000840).
Volume 1 is an index that lists all place names in alphabetical order, followed by the name of the historical county and a set of numbers. These numbers refer to the gazetteer entry in Volume 2. The first number is the sequential number of the county (hung. megye, ger. comitat), the second is the consecutive number of the district (hung. járás, ger. bezirk), the last is the number of the locality. The numbers are followed by the location of the post office or by the various symbols. Many place names listed in the index are followed by "=" or "v". These are "see" references and refer you to another version of the place name. Other place names are followed by " ". This indicates a farmstead (p. or puszta), settlement (t. or telep), mill (m. or malom), or other small settlement and refers you to the larger locality it belongs to.
Volume 2 gives specific information about the locality. It is arranged by county and districts. Use the numbers from the index in Volume 1 to find the entry for your town. Counties are numbered at the heads of the pages. Additional names the locality was known by are listed in parentheses. The names of farmsteads, settlements and mills that belong to the locality are sometimes listed within the brackets. Population figures follow according to religion. The following abbreviations are used:
ág. / ÁG.
Augsburg Evangelical Lutheran
If the village had its own parish church or synagogue, the abbreviation for the religion will be in BOLDFACE capital letters followed by the diocese, also in Boldface type. If the people attended church else¬where, the abbreviation of the religion will be in lowercase. The location of the parish or synagogue follows the population figure. If "-" follows the population figure, it means that the specific parish was not known.
More about this gazetteer on-line at http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/dvorzsak_gazetteer.htm.
Jordan Auslander has compiled a handy reference book from these two volumes:
Auslander, Jordan. Genealogical gazetteer of the kingdom of Hungary. Bergenfield, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 2005. (FHL book 943.9 E5a).
Administratives Gemeindelexikon der Čechoslovakischen Republik
Administratives Gemeindelexikon der Čechoslovakischen Republik. (Administrative Gazetteer of the Czechoslovak Republik). Statistischen Staatsamte, Prague: Rudolf M. Rohrer 1927-28. (FHL book 943.7 E5a vol.1-2; FHL film 496719 vol.I and FHL film 496720 item 1 vol.II; FHL fiche 6000787).
This gazetteer gives information on all town and villages in Slovakia as it existed as part of Czechoslovakia after 1918. In addition, it includes places in Sub-Carpathian Russia (Podkarpatská Rus), now a part of the Ukraine, which belonged to Czechoslovakia between the first and second world wars. The gazetteer is arranged by political districts with one index for the entire republic.
Volume I includes all of Bohemia, Volume II includes Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Slovakia, Sub-Carpathian Russia and a main index at the end.
Main index (pages 257-321) lists all place names in alphabetical order, as well as most German and Hungarian versions. It is alphabetized according to the Czech alphabetical order: A B C Č D,Ď E F G H CH I J K L M N,Ň O P Q R,Ř S Š T,Ť U V W X Y Z Ž. (Note that Č, Š, and Ž are alphabetized separately from the unmarked versions, also that Ch comes after H; this means that Sch comes after Sh.)
Each place name in a main index is followed by a volume and page number. This refers you to the gazetteer entry in appropriate volume and page number in that particular volume. The names of localities are listed in Column 2. In many districts both the Slovak and Hungarian versions of a place name are listed, with the Slovak version first. Column 8 lists the Roman Catholic parish. The parishes for other religions may be noted in this column or mentioned in footnotes.
In some instances, especially in the case of smaller villages, obsolete names and various language variations of the place names are indexed separately. These additional indexes should be referred to only if the locality you are looking for is not found in the main index. These little indexes give the standard version of the place name which then can be looked up in the main index.
Slovak Name Index, Volume II (pages 329-331) This index lists the Slovak obsolete place names.
Hungarian Name Indexes Slovakia, Volume II (pages 332-342) Sub-Carpathian Russia, Volume II (pages 342-343) These indexes list the old Hungarian names.
German Name Index, Volume II (page 342) This index lists the German names for localities in Slovakia.
Sub-Carpathian Name Index, Volume II (page 342) This index lists the Czech names for localities in Sub-Carpathian Russsia.
Ruthenian Cyrillic Index, Volume II (pages 321-322) This index lists Ruthenian (Ukrainian) place names using the Cyrillic alphabet.
Názvy obcí na Slovensku za ostatných dvesto rokov
Majtán, Milan. Názvy obcí slovenskej republiky : vývin v rokoch 1773-1997. (Place names of the Slovak Republic over time, from 1773 through 1997). Bratislava: VEDA, vydavateľstvo Slovenskej akadémie, 1998. (FHL book 943.73 E2m 1998; FHL film 1181569 item 1, older edition).
The index on pages 487-667 lists localities by all alternate versions in Slovak, Czech, Latin, Hungarian, German, Russian, Polish, and obsolete Slovak. Each entry in the index is followed by a number. This is a running number and not a page number. It refers you to the list of the standard modern Slovak place names arranged alphabetically as the text of the book. Use this gazetteer to determine the modern standard spelling for any locality in Slovakia. You can also use it to find the Hungarian version of a Slovak place name to facilitate the use of the gazetteer listed as first above.
Standard modern Slovak place name is followed by an abbreviation for the modern Slovak political district and, in parentheses, the historical county. The text of the entry gives other names by which the locality has been known over the last 200 years. Some entries indicate that a village was merged with another.
Slovak abbreviations for historical Hungarian counties:
abov. Abovská (Abovsko-turnianska) / Abov-Turňa
Additional helpful gazetteers
Gardiner, Duncan B. German towns in Slovakia & Upper Hungary: a genealogical gazetteer. Lakewood, Ohio: Family Historian, 1991 (FHL book 943.73 E5g 1991).
Gazetteer of German towns in the former kingdom of Hungary, now in Slovakia, Hungary, and Ukraine. Includes section on doing genealogical research on Germans in Eastern Europe and on Czech and Slovak research.