Sunday 9 September 2012

Church Records

an example of an 1856 baptismal church record from Reca (Boldog), noting some local noble families mentioned in this blog (Egyhazy, Molnar, Fadgyas, Zamolyi, Pomichal)

I receive a number of requests from individuals researching into their family history in Hungary, sometimes on the basis of similar or identical names that appear on my blog, and sometimes on the basis of the places I mention. Researching into family history is very difficult, and doubly so for those who do not happen to live in the country of their ancestors; and really the only reliable way to trace your ancestry (unless your family happens to be in the latest edition of the Gotha, which, on second thoughts, is not that reliable after all) is to go through archival records.

Happily, many of these records are to be found online, on The best way is to go on through to individual localities and villages, and browse through the individual church records as in a book. A name search is possible, but it is not accurate or reliable and in any case does not present the rich picture of changing generations as browsing does.

It is thrilling news that these records have gone online. The only shadow is cast by the fact that this was done with the resources, energy and capabilities of a U.S. religious faith-group - a source of shame for those countries, such as Slovakia, which does not honour its own history enough to attempt to do it themselves. Not to mention the positively medieval state of the archival system here. For any overseas individuals interested in your ancestry - think twice before flying over to decrepit Mitteleuropa, and browse through the internet archives first.