Hungarianization of last names in Hungary, 1890s #hungary

Jake Jacobs

I am looking for information on how my g'grandfather chose to change his last name from GOLDMANN to GONDOS in Hungary in the mid-1890s.  As an employee of the Hungarian government (a teacher at a Jewish school in Erdobenye), the government "encouraged" him to Hungarianize his name.  Does anyone know how a particular name might have been chosen?

Decades later, a cousin also was "encouraged" to change his last name, in his case because the name was German/Jewish (EISENBERGER).  The cousin  was presented a list of options to choose among.

Was that also the case in Hungary in the 1890s, that they were presented a list of options?

Diane Jacobs
Austin, Texas

Peter Cherna

If you look at the name change records, there is a very large amount of variation. It doesn't seem like most people were constrained to a list.

It was fairly common to choose name with the same first letter or first sound, which is a plausible way that Goldmann could become Gondos.

In my family's case, Grunfeld became Cserna because the family head who made the decision apparently chose to honor his father's birth town (Csernye, which is now Bakonycsernye). 

Often but not always, members of a family jointly or sequentially adopted the same name.

A PDF scan of a book of name changes with a huge number of entries is at -- sorted alphabetically by new name.

These also seem to be searchable at

Peter Cherna, Exton PA (peter@...)
Researching CSERNA (Budapest, Székesfehérvár), GRUNFELD (Székesfehérvár), BRAUN, REINER (Budapest, Nyíregyháza, Máriapócs), EHRENFELD (Pozsony, Balassagyarmat) BRACK (Ipolykeszi)


I’m not sure how my grandfather from Hungary’s family name changed from the Jewish “Loevinger” to the Hungarianized “Lanye”.  It’s an interesting question.  We always thought the name was changed to prevent anti Semitic treatment, not that it was encouraged.  We thought it was picked by my ancestors because it was the Hungarian equivalent of “Smith” a typical/generic name.

Andrea Gilles Briggs
Beverly Hills, Michigan

Steve Stein

We are aware of at least two NUSZBAUM family members who changed their surname to DIOSI in the 1860s, apparently in an effort to make themselves eligible for admission to medical school. I am told that this is a pretty straight translation (nut or nut tree) from German/Yiddish to Hungarian.

Steve Stein
Highland Park, NJ