There’s good news for folks researching their Hungarian roots. A new website has been launched by Nick over at Nick Gombsh’s Genealogy Blog. The site is called Hungary Exchange, and there are some interesting feature on the site like the Hungarian Marriage project, a Hungarian genealogy forum and a surname database, which will help you connect with other people researching the same surnames.
I am sure this will be a valuable tool in researching my Hungarian ancestors. Nick’s blog has some very useful information and tips about Hungarian records, and I’m sure the new website will be just as useful. Let’s head over there and connect!
According to a press release, President Obama and the man who campaigned as the 41st vote against Obama’s health care bill, Scott Brown are related. Here’s an except from the press release:
Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Brown’s mother, Judith Ann Rugg, both descend from Richard Singletary of Haverhill, Mass, who died in 1687 at the age of 102. Singletary, like his two descendants Obama and Brown, held public office, serving as town selectman in both Salisbury and Haverhill, Massachusetts in the 1650s.
President Obama descends from Richard’s eldest son, Jonathan Singletary, who later changed his surname to Dunham. Scott Brown descends from Jonathan’s brother, Nathaniel Singletary. This kinship makes Obama and Brown 10th cousins.
It is always interesting to see connections like this.
It was a cold December evening in 2007. My wife and I were recently married in August, and we had only found out that she was pregnant a few weeks before. We were in the process of gutting and remodeling nearly the entire first floor in our new home. It was a 1927 Sears Craftsman home, and the age was starting to show on the inside. Despite the enormous amount of construction work left to do on the house, I was taking a break, thinking about the many things I wanted to be able to share with our new son as he grew up (yes we decided to find out early that it was a boy).
As my mind wandered from various hobbies and sports that I wanted to introduce to my son, it came to rest momentarily on something a little more enduring. I wanted him to know his family. Not just my wife and I, or even his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I wanted him to know where he came from. I wanted him to know the things I didn’t even know. I wanted him to know who his great-great grandparents were. I wanted him to know the struggles and joys. I wanted him to know the history of our family: his genealogy.
It then began to come back to me: the bits and pieces I had been told throughout my childhood. Admittedly, my parents didn’t know much about their family history, beyond their own experiences and a few stories they had been told about my grandparents. I didn’t want this for my son. I wanted him to have the full story. I made the decision to start looking into our genealogy.
I set out that night on a journey that has not ended yet. I hope it will continue for the rest of my life. I began researching. At first, I didn’t know how to start. I started combing through websites. I didn’t have a system, but it didn’t matter to me then. I was finding little bits and pieces. I came across a tree that had been assembled by a second cousin of mine. I didn’t even know she existed, but it was a thrill. I never thought about the possibility that I had relatives out there that I didn’t know. As it turned out, this second cousin was quite experienced at researching her ancestry, and had built an extensive record of her family history. I was very fortunate indeed to be able to tap into that enormous amount of family history.
The excitement of finding my own history was beyond my expectations. I love history, and I love my family, but I had never imagined that learning about my own family’s place in history would be so much fun. From that point I was hooked on genealogy.
I have since become more sophisticated in my techniques. I finally did get around to setting up a system of storing the pieces of information that I found. Though I still have a lot to learn about my family history and genealogy in general, I am proud of the small amount of information I have been able to gather.
This is the first part in a series I will be writing. I hope to convey not only my own research on this blog, but also my experiences and in doing so, relive the excitement of the journey so far.
Other blog posts in this series:
My Genealogical Foundation
For those of us with ancestors from Hungary, the task of genealogical research might seem daunting. There are a few obstacles that don’t exist with genealogical research for English-language countries. Online sources for Hungarian research are somewhat scant. The major genealogical websites have very limited records online and indexed. To further complicate things, Hungarian is a rather unique language, unrelated to most other language in Europe and North America. It is actually related most closely to Siberian languages. This makes translating the records more difficult for many people.
There is hope, however. As it turns out, Hungary has some very well-kept records of births, deaths, and marriages. Starting in the late 1600’s or early 1700’s most churches in Hungary kept these records rather consistently up until 1895, after which point, the records were kept by each town, though the churches still kept records in most cases. In most cases, however, the records are in Hungarian or Latin.
The parish records can be obtained by visiting a Family History Center and requesting that they be sent from the Family History Library. You can save yourself some time at the Family History Center by looking up the relevant microfilm rolls in the Family History Library Catalog.
Birth and Baptismal Records
Early baptism records generally will contain less information that later records. These records generally include the date of birth, date of baptism, name of the person being baptized, gender, whether legitimate or illegitimate, names and professions of the parents, location and house number, names and professions of Godparents/sponsors, name of the minister of the baptism, and finally notes. Here are the translations of the Hungarian phrases that appear in the register:
||Date of Birth
||Parents’ Names, Occupation, Religion
||Location & House Number
||Godparents’ names, Occupation, Religion
||Name of Baptizer
||a keresztség felvételének
||A szülok neve, állása és vallása
||A keresztszülok neve, állása és vallása
||A keresztelönek neve
||Collati S. Baptismi
||Nomen Parentum, eorum Conditio et Religio
||Locus Domicilii cum Numero Domus
||Nomen Patrinorum, eorum Conditio et Religio
Hungarian Church marriage records include the date of the marriage, the names and occupations of the couple, birthplaces, religion, age, previous marriage status (single or widowed), names and occupations of witnesses, and name of clergy, dispensations, and notes. Here are the translations of the Hungarian and Latin phrases that appear in the register:
||Date of Marriage
||Name and occupation of groom and bride
||Birhplace, Residence with House Number
||Name and occupation of Witness
||Name of clergy
||Number of announcements or dispensation. or other impediments
||Az esketés éve és napja
||neve és állása ugy szintén a szülöke
||születés és lakhelyük, házszám
||nötlen vagy hajadon
||A tanúk neve és állása
||Az esketönek neve és tisztje
||Vajjon voltak-e hirdetve? vagy a hirdetésektõl s más valami akadálytól felmentetiek?
||Annus et dies copulationis
||Nomen et conditio sponsi et sponsae
||Locus originis et domicilii, Nrus domus eorundem
||Nomen et Conditio testium
||Nomen et Officium Copulantis
||Num promulgati vel dispensati, in bannis vel aliquo impedimento?
Death and Burial Records
Death and burial records will be limited in the information listed, but they can be useful. Obviously, the deceased’s name will be included, but the records will also frequently have the age, and residence prior to death.
||Date of Death
||Deceased’s name, occupation, spouse / parents
||Place of Birth and Number
||Illness or Other Cause of Death
||Were the Last Rites Administered?
||Funeral Location and Date
||Name of Clergy Officiating
||A halálozás éve és napja
||Neve és allása, ugyszintén a megholt hitvestársáé vagy szülei-é
||Születése és lakhelye, házszám
||A betegség vagy más halálnemnek megnevezése
||El volt-e látva a halotti szentségekkel
||A temetés helye és napja
||A temtést végzö pap neve
||Annus et dies obitus
||Nomen, et Conditio defuncti item ejus Conjugis et parentis
||Locus Originis et habitationis NumerusDomus
||Morbus sive aliud genus mortis
||Fuitne provisus Sacramentis Moribundorum
||Locus et dies Supulturae
With the translation tables above, a little elbow grease, and a lot of time browsing microfilm, you can find your Hungarian ancestors.
We genealogists sometimes usually spend an extraordinary amount of time researching dates and names and locations, building our family trees. This is one of my joys in particular, but the best part, in my opinion is to be able to apply the data to a photo or a story about the person.
I am slightly jealous of the next few generations, who will find it so easy to browse our digital photos and videos. They probably will not have to go through the tedious process of converting countless documents and photos to digital format like we do.
I am currently in the process of digitizing shoeboxes full of pictures that my parents took throughout the years. I’ve completed about 1000 so far. There are probably at least 10,000 more to go. It has been tedious, to be sure, but the process is actually somewhat fun. As I load each image onto the scanner, I am able to recall events and people from the past. There is an added bonus as well: there are a few really old photos mixed in. I have scanned a few pictures from nearly 100 years ago. There are pictures of my great grandparents. I even have one of my great-great grandparents on my maternal grandfather’s side.
The absolute best find I unearthed in the boxes and drawers of old photos was a marriage preparation book with what appears to be a marriage certificate on an inside front page. The book is entirely written in Hungarian, and is about 85 pages long. My father, whose parents were the couple listed on the certificate, tells me that it contains instructions on how to be a good spouse. I scanned the entire book, using Adobe Acrobat and OCR (Text recognition). The result was a nicely formatted .pdf file that I can now send to the rest of my family. Unfortunately, I know very little Hungarian, so it provides another great reason for me to learn Hungarian.
Needless to say, I’ve been busy scanning, cropping, rotating, and saving. I wish there was an easier, yet affordable way to do this. I know of online photo-scanning services, but with the quantity of photos I have, money would really become an issue. Besides that, most of the services scan at 300 dpi, which is acceptable, but for some photos, I want a higher DPI, since many of the older photos are wallet-size or smaller.
I’ve become quite efficient at this now. I have 2 scanners, each hooked up to their own computer. This allows me to scan a set of photos on one computer while cropping, straightening, and saving on the other. It helps to know your tools. In Photoshop, I set up keyboard shortcuts to initiate the scanning screen, scan a preview, scan the full-quality version, crop and straighten, rotate if necessary, save, and close each image. The only time I find it necessary to use the mouse is to occasionally adjust the scanning area after a preview and to crop an occasional extra border on my images. All in all, I can scan about 60-80 photos/hour, which is not too bad. At that rate, I only have to spend about 135-185 hours on this project.
Hello and welcome to the AncestyChronicles.com blog. It is my hope that this site and this blog in particular will provide valuable insight, resources and techniques to help you advance your genealogy research.