Hebrew names in Hungarian birth records #hungary #names


Some of the microfilmed Hungarian birth records I'm looking at have what appears to be an additional name (?) column(s)  in Hebrew.   Are these indeed names.  And if they are, are they religious names (if so, whose? the children's or the parents?) It would be wonderful if they are, so helpful for research. Or are they a Hebrew equivalent of the Hungarian name given by the parents?  Or wait, are these in Yiddish, not Hebrew--so they're Yiddish names?  See attachment for a sample of what I'm talking about.

Erika Gottfried
Teaneck, New Jersey

Judy Petersen

     These are the child's Hebrew/religious/Jewish/Yiddish name.  First of all, I say Hebrew/religious/Jewish/Yiddish because they are essentially the same thing.  Whether the name is of Hebrew or Yiddish derivation, it is the name used for religious purposes.  These names may or may not correspond to the secular version of their name, just like in modern times the secular name may or may not correspond to the Hebrew/religious/Jewish/Yiddish name.  Take my own daughters as an example.  Sara Grace has the religious name of Sarah Basha (Yiddish), Alisa Lauren has the religious name of Aliza Lior (Hebrew).  They're just the names we chose.
     In these records you will also notice that not every Jakab is Yakov and not every Simon is Shimon.  I've seen Jakabs given the religious name of Hirsch Tzvi and Simons given the names of Shimson (Samson), Shlomo (Solomon) and Yakov.  :-)
     These names are not found on all Hungarian birth records.  For example, in my ancestral town of Körmend, there are two sets of birth records available on familysearch microfilms.  One set has the religious name, but not the father's occupation or the parents' towns of origin.  The other set has the father's occupation and parents' town of origin, but not the religious name.  So the lesson is to search all record sets, because you might find different information on each register.  In other communities where there is only one register, it may or may not have the religious names.  Sometimes the religious names are on the earliest records for a given town, but that's all.  And sometimes the reverse is true--you might see them on later records, but on the earlier ones.  It's pretty hit and miss.  And if the religious name is included at all, it's usually on birth records.  I've seldom seen them on death or marriage records.
     These names are incredibly helpful for research, but they are not always transcribed.  Maybe capturing religious names wasn't part of the assignment, or maybe the transcriber didn't know Hebrew/Yiddish.  So the other lesson is that it always pays to look at the original record to see if there is additional information there.  Records that were transcribed early on tend to have the least information--the instructions for the project were pretty much just to capture names and dates.  It is now the standard to pretty much capture all the information on a given record--witnesses' names, notations of name changes or conversions, pretty much everything except the midwife's name!  :-)  So again, if the original record is available, it's always a good idea to check it.

             Judy Petersen


Thanks so much, Judy, for the detailed response, which is so helpful.

Two followup questions:

Why would there be two sets of records?  I believe I've heard that after a certain date (perhaps 1895 when civil registrations began) there'd be a local register and then a copy sent to the central register of records in Budapest.  But this was before that requirement.

It's great that the indexers are now capturing most of the information on the original registers, but why not record the midwife's name as well? That's a valuable piece of information, too.
Erika Gottfried
Teaneck, New Jersey

Judy Petersen

Hi Erika,
     To answer your questions:

1) If the records were on two different microfilms, then there were two sets of records.  In addition to the record set that is kept in the local archive, copies were usually (though not always) sent to regional and state archives.  This is true of pre and post 1895 records.

2) re the midwife:  The name of the midwife is important information if you are the descendant of that person.  :-)  But for the rest of us, it just creates too many "hits".  Usually in a town, the same one or two midwives attended all the births.  Their careers could last 20 years or more.  And the midwife's name is recorded on every entry.  So you could get literally hundreds of record hits for "Hani Weisz" if she were the midwife.  Which complicates a person's search enormously as now you have to weed out all these false positives.


On Sat, Jun 27, 2020 at 11:16 AM, <erikagottfried53@...> wrote:

I believe I've heard that after a certain date (perhaps 1895 when civil
registrations began) there'd be a local register and then a copy
1895 is the opposite end: the record-preservation contracts with the Mormons were for the pre-civil-registration vital registers. The law requiring archive copies of registers was enacted in the mid-1820s, but due to various factors, many Jewish congregations didn't start complying with vital records laws until after the 1848 revolution. I keep hearing mention of Jews in Roman Catholic registers before that time, but I have yet to ever encounter an actual example of this. (The closest I've gotten is my godmother's tree, which includes a bunch of events that were completely misfiled on FS: Jewish records from a place in southern Hungary were labeled as Catholic records from northern Hungary, because they were on the same microfilm.)

Julia Szent-Györgyi
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