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Genealogy Guide: Hungary

Vital and Other Records

Depending on the time period, records may be in several languages: Hungarian, German, Hebrew, or Latin. By decree of the Austrian Emperor, in 1787 all Jews within the Empire were required to adopt German surnames. From 1848 onward, especially after 1867, Hungarian Jews increasingly adopted Magyar names. Although the Emperor also required the rabbi in each Jewish community to maintain registers of births, marriages, and deaths, the rule was often ignored before 1848. Events for smaller outlying towns and villages were recorded in a centralized district register. Civil (government) registration of vital events began throughout Hungary in 1895. A census of the Jews was conducted in 1848, and the first national Hungarian census was taken in 1869, but surviving records are incomplete. Other partial census returns also exist for other years, as well as various taxation and property lists dating back to the 1700s. Starting in 1880, a census was taken every ten years. The last census of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was taken in 1910.

Hungarian Jews were quite patriotic and served as officers as well as enlisted soldiers. The Austro-Hungarian army in Vienna kept muster rolls and various other military records. The two main sources for Hungarian records are the Family History Library (FHL) of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and archives in Austria and Hungary.

Records in Austria and Hungary

Austro-Hungarian military records may be obtained by visiting or writing to:
Address: Kriegsarchiv, Nottendorfer Gasse 2, A-1030 Wien
Telephone: +43 1 795 40-640452
Fax: +43 1 795 40-640109

Some of the military records may also be found at the county archives. Recent records after ca.1870 are likely to be found at the National Archives of Hungary (Orszagos Levelat) in Budapest.

Pre-1895 birth, marriage, and death registers, Census Returns of Jews (Acta Judaeorum) of 1725- 1728-1755, the 1848 Census of the Jews (23 counties and 15 cities), and pre-1918 military conscription lists are available at:

Address: 1014 Budapest, Becsi kapu ter 2-4
Mailing address: 1250 Budapest, P.O. Box 3
Telephone: (+36-1) 225-2800
Fax: (+36-1) 225-2817

A full inventory and finding aids of the National Archives of Hungary is available on their website, in addition to their unified electronic record system (in Hungarian only). A description of the archival holdings preserved in the National Archives of Hungary can be found by clicking here.

Census returns of Jews from 1827-1853 are available at:

MAZSIHISZ Association of Jewish Communities of Hungary
Address: Sip utca 12, 1075 Budapest VII
Telephone: +36 1 413 55 00
Address: H-1077 Budapest, Dohany u. 2
Telephone: (+36-1) 3428-949

Contact the Hungarian Consulate to order post-1895 records.  Access for post-1895 records are limited to the current year minus 90 years for births, minus 60 years for marriages, and minus 30 years for deaths:

Local address: 223 East 52nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10022
Telephone: 212-752-0661
Fax: 212-755-5986

Under the same access limitations, vital records registers and record extracts are available in Hungary at local government offices and regional archives. Haraszti, Gyorgy, Magyar zsido leveltari reportorium and futher information on Jewish ancestries can be found in the National Archives of Hungary.

Images from Hungary

PikiWiki Israel 7710 Hannah Senesh Costume of a Jew merchant Jewish Hungarian country girl in 1928