Monday, October 27, 2014

Slovak Heritage Festival in Pittsburgh - 02 Nov 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hungarian Genealogy: Research Tip #10

The theme of today's tip is: Conducting Research In Church Parish Registers

A pattern has begun to emerge in the Hungary Exchange Facebook group, where members have only been using indexed data found on various websites such as and As fantastic as this information is, you cannot use this raw indexed data as a definitive and primary source. You need to view and analyze the actual documents where the indexed data came from, as it'll hold very important information about your ancestors and it may hold crucial clues to moving your family tree backward. This post will be my way of urging my fellow researchers to view these important records now rather than later. Procrastinating will likely lead you to having a family tree chock full of errors.

Spellings Errors:
We are only human and we make spelling errors all the time, especially when it comes to a foreign language. Data indexed on and is no stranger to this. I come across simple spelling errors so often in the Hungarian baptismal databases that I begin to wonder who actually indexed these records, and it's very clear that non-Hungarian speaking indexers completed the tasks. Always be cautious of entries where your ancestor's names appear with inconsistencies, as it likely may have been indexed or spelled wrong.

Father's Occupation:
Details about the father's occupation will not appear in the indexed data online. This is one thing, along with may others to be found below, that will only be found when viewing the actual records. Knowing the father's occupation could help with correctly identifying various records relating to the family and especially his death record. In most cases, the men of the family weren't always recorded with their wive's names, so it becomes very important to know more details about the individual.

Family's Social Standing:
Information about the family's social standing is not only important, but it could be exciting. Finding that a specific female ancestor comes from a noble family could open up a wealth and variety of records available directly associated with noble families of Hungary. Social standings can often go hand-in-hand with the occupations of family members, but it's not always the case. A very common example is a family of noble origins, yet are simple poor peasants.

Having a family with noble origins opens up documents and records that could span back to the 13th century. Of course, tracking back to these families can be difficult but it could also be very rewarding: you could descend from kings and queens, or you could descend from notable figures such as Attila the Hun.

If a family is of non-noble origins there is still a wealth of information to be found, yet you my be limited with how far back you can research. There are numerous censuses that were taken in Hungary and countless taxation documents exist for all of Hungary, both at the national and county level.

This one is extremely important. Just because a family attended a specific parish does not mean they actually lived in that town. A parish could have presided over numerous neighboring towns and reviewing the actual documents will display what town or village the family were residing in. Other than in larger towns, it was uncommon for an individual town to have a church for each religious denomination. The parish records will usually show not only the town they resided in, but also the exact house number. If it's a much larger town it'll also include either the street name they lived at or both the street name and the house number (like common traditional addresses that we're familiar with now).

Reviewing the parish records could show that the father and mother were of different religious denominations, such as Roman Catholic and Reformed. Inter-marrying amongst different religions wasn't uncommon in Hungary, especially in the highly population areas such as Budapest, Győr, Miskolcz and Debreczen. There was even inter-marriage into the Jewish faith. Knowing the religion of both parents is essential to accurately locating their marriage records, as most marriages occurred in the religious parish that the bride was residing in. Another thing to make note of when the parents belong to different religions is their children's baptisms. In most cases, the sons were baptized in the father's religion and the daughters were baptized in the mother's religion.

Illegitimate Children:
An illegitimate child appearing in your family tree will likely occur. It's very common and it happened to almost every family some way or another: a sibling, an aunt or a cousin may have had an illegitimate child. One thing I have definitely noticed in the databases on and, are that illegitimate children are sometimes being indexed as legitimate children. In some cases a widow will have a children years after her deceased husband has passed away and she would be listed as his widow. An example would be: néhai Nagy István özv. Kis Mária (deceased Nagy István widow Kis Mária). An entry like this does not necessarily mean that Nagy István is the father; it simply means that Kis Mária was his widow. You must pay attention to the legitimacy column and whether it states the child was legitimate or illegitimate. Additional information will be found in the death record for the deceased Nagy István. Finding his death record and determining when he died in comparison of when the child was born, could reflect whether it could be his child or not. If the child was born anytime within roughly eight months of his death, then the child is likely his. But if it's anything more than nine months, then the child is definitely illegitimate and does not belong to Nagy István.

This category could be a gold mine of family information which cannot be found in the indexed records online. Any of the godparents or sponsors could have been a relative of either side of the family: the father's or mother's. They could be an aunt or uncle, a cousin or even a grandparent to the child.

The last column, which is usually a "notes" or "observations" column, could be loaded with details about the individuals. If it's a baptismal record, it could mention the date the person died or details about their marriage, including the date, place and who they married. If it's a marriage record you're looking at, it could provide details about the groom's military service, details about the groom and bride's birth and even possibly details about their divorce later down the road. I've also seen mentions on a marriage record where it talked about the illegitimate children of a couple, that had then become legitimatized after the marriage occurred.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Sale!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter Sale! Save 25%

Winter Sale: Save 25% on all professional research, including the areas of Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic (formerly Bohemia), Germany (and all neighboring Germanic speaking countries), Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia & Hungary) Slovenia and the USA.

You can find more details and information on my professional services, here, and you can contact me at my email address:

This sale ends on Friday, February 7th, 2014 at midnight, so hurry up and lock in your sale price!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Marriage Records Added in January 2014

It's been a busy month for adding new marriage records to the Hungarian Marriage Project. Six new parishes have either been created or updated and over 1,500 marriages have been added. Here's a list of the new marriages that have been made available:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ancestry's Acquisition of FamilySearch Records

Ancestry announced two days ago a partnership with FamilySearch, that would add an additional 1 billion records to Ancestry's holdings via FamilySearch. Here is the press release:

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- announced today an extension of their collaborative efforts with FamilySearch International that will make more than 1 billion additional records from 67 countries available on These already digitized records, provided by FamilySearch, are in addition to the agreement the two largest providers of family history resources announced a few months ago that will help digitize, index and publish an expected 1 billion global historical records never before published online from the FamilySearch vault over the next five years. 
These additional records, which are already digitized collections, represent a significant expansion to, which hosts the largest collection of global records available online. The records also add to the aggressive international digitization efforts already in place by 
As stated previously by the company, has a long-term content strategy, which is committed to investing $100 million to digitize and index new content over the next five years. The company is focused on providing access to a global collection of records and expand family history interest in its current markets and worldwide. 
The additional collections include more than 1 billion digitized and indexed records and over 200 million images containing birth, marriage, death, census and church records from Europe, Latin America, South Africa, South America, Asia and more. These collections will provide customers with rich details that will help them discover new information about their ancestors from around the world. 
"We are excited to be expanding our exclusive, groundbreaking agreement with FamilySearch. In addition to the previously announced plan to together digitize 1 billion records never before published online, we're thrilled to be able to provide our members with access to this additional 1 billion records from 67 countries," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of "These new global records will mean even more discoveries for our members." 
A focus on adding global content isn't new to, who has offices around the world and 12 billion global records already on the website. The site currently hosts record collections dating back to the 1300's that include records around the census, immigration and naturalizations and military, just to name a few. In fact, hundreds of millions of records from Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Eastern Europe have been added in recent years to the billions of records from the company's primary operating markets and record digitization projects are underway for collections from many more countries. These 1 billion additional records are expected to be available on starting in January and fully published over the next few months. To search records from around the world currently available on visit

This press release leaves much to be desired and opens up questions. Since the data being acquired is international information and access to any international databases on Ancestry requires a World Explorer subscription, does this mean that you'll need to pay for this subscription to view these new databases? As far as the three new Hungarian databases are concerned (Hungary, Select Baptisms, 1734-1895; Hungary, Select Catholic Church Records, 1636-1895; Hungary, Select Reformed Church Christenings, 1624-1895), yes, you do need an Ancestry World Explorer subscription to view records from these new databases.

So my ultimate questions are: How is Ancestry getting away with charging for this information, when you can access it for free on FamilySearch? What exactly is FamilySearch benefiting from all of this, considering they charge absolutely nothing for patrons to use their website and access their information? It only seems logical that they received something in return, since Ancestry is going to be making an increased profit because of these new databases.

Another thing that's bothering me: is any of this new information on Ancestry that's coming from FamilySearch, being indexed and transcribed by their FamilySearch Indexing volunteers? In my honest opinion, records that are being indexed by the FamilySearch Indexing volunteers should remain on FamilySearch, and it should remain free. Always. The countless amount of hours that these volunteers, including myself, have put into indexing these records.. and now Ancestry is making money off of it?

I will no longer be devoting any of my valuable time to FamilySearch Indexing, when it means I may be putting money into Ancestry's deep pockets. No, thank you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bihor County, Romania - Archives Re-Opening

Just recently, I have received word from my photographer stating that the Bihor county archives in Romania will be reopening soon. They had been closed for quite a long time due to construction and renovations going on at the archive, thus restricting access to researchers and photographers. We're hoping that the archive will be reopening by March/April of 2014, about three months away. Bihor county, Romania was formerly Bihar county, Hungary.

There were many important towns and areas in the former Bihar county, Hungary, including Nagyvárad (today Oradea). The other important towns were Belényes (Beiuș), Margitta (Marghita) and Nagyszalonta (Salonta).

There was a large mix of religions in Bihar county, Hungary, including: Evangelical, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Reformed and Roman Catholic.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ukrainian Family History Group Spring 2014 Workshop

Please join the Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center for the inaugural event of its new Family History Group and learn about how to research your genealogy.  Expert speakers Michelle Tucker Chubenko and Mike Buryk will offer their unique insights on various topics related to Eastern European and U.S. immigration history, family research, and the archives available in Ukraine and Poland.

When:  March 22nd, 2014 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Location: Ukrainian Cultural Center
135 Davidson Avenue
Somerset, NJ 08873

Contact:  Phone: 732-356-0132


Event Fee(s):  Registration fee $ 20.00 in advance, or $25.00 at the door.

**Hungary Exchange has no affiliation with the Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center or Ukrainian Cultural Center.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In honor of the 600 member mark in the Hungary Exchange Facebook group, I decided another contest would be appropriate!

The winner is Kim Bequeaith!

What You Win:

5 FREE hours of professional research, worth $100.
This includes research, translations, digitized copies of all documents found, as well as pedigree and family group reports that display all information found.


1. You MUST have Hungarian ancestry to be eligible (family with origins within the former Kingdom of Hungary; that means they could be Croatian, German, Hungarian, Romanian, Slavic, etc.).

2. In order to enter this contest, you must post a comment to this blog post. Within your post please leave your email address (I need to be able to contact you, if you win), and some basic details about the family that you're wishing to know more about. This includes names, dates (estimated is fine), places, etc.

The contest ends Friday, October 4th, 2013, at 11:59pm CST. The winner will be chosen and announced here on this blog Monday, October 7th, 2013, the very latest. The winner will also be contacted. If the winner does not claim their prize within five days, a new winner will be chosen.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hungarian Genealogy: Research Tip #9

The theme of today's tip is: Military Record References

Through-out Hungarian research, it isn't uncommon to come across a notation on a baptism, marriage or death record that mention a soldier's military service. A very large majority of the notations mostly appear on the marriage record of the individual. Within this article, I'm going to show you examples and discuss how to interpret these notes.

I'm going to begin with a notation from a marriage record that's very important to me. It's from the marriage record of my 3rd-great-grandparents, József Gombás & Zsuzsánna Gulyás. It was one of the first records I ever found, when I began my own genealogy research well over 13 years ago.

"Férfi, Gr. Pállfy 14 huszár ezred
44 századábán káplár. Szül:
1845. Soroztarver 1866 14/3.
Szabadság levele kelt Marburg
1869 29/10 (:Jelentetett:)"

The above is an image and transcription of the notes from the marriage record of József Gombás & Zsuzsánna Gulyás. Let's analyze the transcription line-by-line:

Férfi, Gr. Pállfy 14 huszár ezred
Groom/Husband, Count (Gróf) Pállfy (actually Pálffy) 14th Huszár (a type of light-cavalry originating in Hungary) Regiment

44 századábán káplár. Szül:
[Corporal in-] 44th Company. Born:

1845. Soroztarver 1866 14/3.
1845. Enlisted 14 Mar 1866.

Szabadság levele kelt Marburg
On-leave letter dated Marburg

1869 29/10 (:Jelentetett:)
29 Oct 1869 (:Published/Recorded:)

All together, it means that József Gombás was a Corporal in Count Pálffy's 14th Huszár Regiment, 44th Company. He was born in 1845. He enlisted on 14 Mar 1866 and was on-leave as of 29 Oct 1869 via a letter from Marburg.

Another great example is for the marriage of a man named Imre Rácz, in 1878. Here is an image of the notation:

"Vl. besorozt. 1875
a 24 gy. ezr. 8 comp."

The above transcription translates out to the following:

Vl. besorozt. 1875
Groom (Vőlegény) enlisted 1875

a 24 gy. ezr. 8 comp.
the 24th Infantry Regiment (gyalog ezred) 8th Company.

All together, it means that the groom, Imre Rácz, enlisted in 1875 into the 24th Infantry Regiment 8th Company.

It's difficult to to make sense of these notations sometimes, because of the confusing abbreviations (such as the ones above: gy., ezr., etc). Here is a list I created to help with the military term abbreviations:

br. = báró = Baron
ddr. = dandár = Brigade
ezr. = ezred = Regiment
fhdgy. = főhadnagy = Lieutenant
gr. = gróf = Count
gy. = gyalog = Infantry
gy. ddr. = gyalog dandár = Infantry Brigade
gy.e. = gyalog ezred = Infantry Regiment
gy.ezr. = gyalog ezred = Infantry Regiment
gy.hdotly. = gyalog hadosztály = Infantry Division
h. = honvéd = Private (in Infantry)
hdgy = hadnagy = 2nd Lieutenant
hdotly. = hadosztály = Division
ho. = hadosztály = Division
hsz. = huszár = Hussar/Huszár
hsz. e. = huszár ezred = Hussar/Huszár Regiment
kat. = katona = soldier
loszd. = lovasszázad = Squadron
lov. = lovasság = Cavalry
őrn. = őrnagy = Major
örv. = örvezeö = Lance Corporal
otg. = osztag = Section
szbg. = szabadság = On-leave
szbglt. = szabadságolt = On-leave
szk. = szakasz = Platoon
sz. = század = Company
szd. = század = Company
szdos. = százados = Captain
tbk. = tábornok = General
t. = tiszt = Officer
zlj. = zászlóalj = Battalion
zszlj. = zászlóalj = Battalion