Friday, September 21, 2012

Hungarian Genealogy: Research Tip #3

The theme of today's tip is:  Neighboring Villages!

Today's Hungarian genealogy research tip comes a day after I found a pretty significant discovery in my own family tree. Long have I been a promoter for Hungarian genealogists to check in nearby or neighboring villages for their families. And it continues to pay off.

For the past eight years, I have been working on my Szük family from Taktaszada, Zemplén county, Hungary. Ever since, I have been stuck on my 6th-great-grandmother on that line, Zsuzsánna Fekete. I knew her name from the baptisms of her nine children with her husband, István Szük, but no where in the Taktaszada marriage records could a marriage be found. There was also the fact that the marriage records for Taktaszada didn't begin until 1773; their first child was baptized on 27 Dec 1771. Again, there was also the fact that there wasn't a single Fekete family in the Reformed church records at all. Zsuzsánna obviously wasn't originally from Taktaszada.... so where?

I had searched in several neighboring villages, but not all, for some information pertaining to the large and sprawling Szük family. While searching in these neighboring villages, I would check the marriage records in hopes of finding.. but never had any luck. It wasn't until yesterday when I began searching in the Reformed church records for Megyaszó, Zemplén county, Hungary. I was searching in these records because I knew that István Szük's sister, Zsuzsánna Szük, was married to a man from there; his name was János Olasz. With luck, I was able to find out that János Olasz and Zsuzsánna Szük had four children baptized there. But not long before Zsuzsánna fell ill and died at a young age.

So I'm sitting there with the Reformed church records for Megyaszó, and I did what I also do.. I went to the marriage records. Whenever I start working with a new parish in the general area my family is from, I ALWAYS go to the marriage records. You absolutely never know what you're going to come across or stumble upon. Luckily for me, these marriage records began in 1754. It didn't take long to reach 1771, where I noticed a name on the right side of the page, as it opened up into view. The entry was faded and the handwriting was different, like it was added in later. And it was vague. I immediately recognized that it was a marriage for a Szük man, but it took a few seconds to dawn on me what I was looking at.. it was the marriage I had been searching for, for eight years!

(Click to view larger image)

Above, you can see a clipping from the marriage record from 1771. They were married on "6. Febr.", and they appear as "Szük István" and "Fekete Susánnával". As I said above, it's very vague. There is no mention of the groom's residence (it was NOT Megyaszó; he was born, had his children and died in Taktaszada), so I'm sure some details on the bride is missing too. But I don't care, it's fantastic that I was able to find this marriage at all, and it's definitely a clue to this mysterious Zsuzsánna Fekete!

(Click to view larger image)

Back in March of 2011, I was working in the Ónod, Borsod county, Hungary Reformed church records in hopes of finding a Zákány family I descend from. I didn't find a single mention of the Zákány's, however I did stumble across a marriage from 1723 for my 7th-great-grandparents on my Bódogh family (above image)! I wasn't expecting it at all, and I never would have guessed that the bride was originally from that town.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hungarian Genealogy: Research Tip #2

The theme of today's tip is: Religion!

Knowing the religion of your ancestors is crucial to moving forward with your genealogy research. Most of the time, in old Hungary, people tended to marry within their own religion. But this wasn't always the case, and you must be cautious of this. It can be very easy to overlook the religion column in the baptism, marriage and death registers, by just assuming they were a specific religion. An ancestor having originally come from a different religion, leaves the door open to an entirely new parish and set of records to search in.

One of the most common mixes of religions in Hungary, is Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic (top image; click for larger view). In this image you can see that the groom, Czundra Mihály, was "rom. kath." (Roman Catholic) and from Lenártó. The bride, Bucsko Maria, was "gr. kath." (Greek Catholic) and from Hrabszke. The next example (bottom image) is a case of a Reformed and Roman Catholic marriage. The groom, Joannes Tsontos (Csontos), was "H.Conf." (Helvetic Confessions; commonly known in Hungary as Reformed). The bride, Catharina Tóth, was "R.Cath." (Roman Catholic). In both examples, there are two different towns of residence and two different religions which result in two different sets of parish registers.

Hungarian Genealogy: Research Tip #1

This is the beginning of a new theme that's going to be published here, on The Official Blog Of Hungary Exchange. The purpose of this new theme is to offer advice and tips to Hungarian genealogy researchers out there, with information ranging from beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each new post will highlight one specific tid-bit of helpful information to help you find your ancestors.

The theme of today's tip is: Town Names!

As always, it's extremely important to be very thorough with your research and the records you're working with. The most important part of researching in the Hungarian parish registers is to read through the entire record. There may be tiny pieces of information that could send you on possible leads, if you're stuck at a brick-wall.

A perfect example for this is my own 3rd-great-grandmother, Mária Tóth. According to her marriage record (top image), her birthplace and residence were "Tiszadob 3". Looking for a baptism record for Mária yielded nothing, so I sought out for her death record (bottom image). This time the information yielded additional information; a birthplace of "Szada". Knowing this new information, I was able to locate the baptism of Mária in the Taktaszada parish registers. She was born to parents who constantly moved back and forth, between Taktaszada and Tiszadob. Without having located her death record and finding that "Szada" notation, I never would have found her baptism record.