Wednesday, August 24, 200523:03:26 CET
Old Hungarian gazetteers scanned and online

permanent link

The Library of the Hungarian Statistical Office (KSH) had the late 19th - early 20th century gazetteers in their holdings scanned and they have been published on the web.

I don't see any links whatsoever to it, I'm not even sure how I found it a few days ago. (Up to today or yesterday the page was not available.) As far as one can tell, it's pretty fresh meat for interested parties.

And here comes the beef: the gazetteers, 1873-1907. They provide 10 gazetteers, with major, well-known ones like the 1877 Dvorzsak (also available from KlimoTheca), the 1898 one. Unfortunately, one of the most important, often referred 1913 gazetteer is not (yet?) on the site. The library plans to have the 1913 and later ones digitized in the future.

The interface is in Hungarian, and has quite a Spartan look. Lack of fancy design doesn't bother me (just look at this blog ), but I had to face at least one navigation issue. Using the Firefox browser it's not possible to jump to the previous or to the next scanned page. The site works OK with Internet Explorer.

Just in case you're not perfect in Hungarian, here is a short guide how to make use of this resource. Choose the gazetteer by clicking on the year it was published. Then click on "Betûrend szerinti helységnévmutató". This will take you to the alphabetical index of settlements. Clicking on a place name brings you the scanned page. Then you can turn pages with the green arrows.

Abbreviations and signs descriptions are behind the "Jelek és rövidítések magyarázata" link.

Great stuff for my imminent new site. More about this in a few days :)

filed under: Online resources Paragenealogy Radix labs

Sunday, August 21, 200511:12:05 CET
Annual meeting of Hungarian archivists in Eger

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Starting tomorrow and ending on Wed, the annual meeting of archivists in Hungary (sponsored by MLE, Association of Hungarian Archivists) is going to be hosted by the Heves County Archives in Eger.

Main tracks are:
1) Preservation and restoration
2) IT in the archives
3) Archives finance
4) Hungary-related holdings in the archives of the Carpathian Basin
5) Publishing of sources

There will be a lecture that is of interest for the family historian. In section 4 dr. Milena Ostrolucka of the archives in Kosice speaks with the title: Genealogical research in the archives of Slovakia.

She gave a similar lecture during the similar meeting of the Slovakian Archivists' Association in Kosice, June 6-8, 2005. She was then followed by Mr. Vladimír Bohinc of Konekta, genealogy and probate services. According to his presentation title, he shared the research experiences in Slovakia and abroad.

(The original quoted page within the domain is no more available. Google had a cached page a few days ago, it's gone by now, too :(. MSN Search has the cached page. Thumbs up for MSN. I've started to lose my faith in the much praised Google a couple of months ago. Some day I'll sum up my complaints here.)

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums Slovakia Events

Wednesday, August 17, 200522:09:34 CET
Basic Slovak genealogy research class - online course by

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You have the opportunity to join an online research course that would cover a region adjacent to Hungary: Slovakia. As up to the end of WW1 both regions were part of the Habsburg empire, chances are that the course is useful for people interested either in Slovakia or Hungary.

These classes are offered by, with select experts being the instructors. The Slovak class is hosted by Lisa Alzo.

The upcoming Slovak beginner class is scheduled to start on Aug 25, 2005. Every week two lessons are provided. There are 8 lessons to be taken. Cost is $29.95. Sounds interesting? Basic Slovak Genealogy Research Class

You don't want to miss the information on other available classes. Lisa is going to host part 2 of the Slovak genie course (Slovak Intermediate Research Class, from Oct 13), as well as beginners' (Sept 1) and intermediate (Nov 3) classes on Eastern Europe research.

filed under: Slovakia Education

Monday, August 15, 200522:32:30 CET
Hungarian National Archives to cut back opening hours

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It's probably family historians, too, who will suffer from the country's high budget deficit. Blame it on politicians: they cut where there are immediate results. It's easy to cut R&D (2003: 0.95%, 2004: 0.88% of Hungary's GDP). Won't hurt their next election too much.

How come it's brought up here? According to one of our Csaladtortenet list members, printed plates are all around in the locations of the Hungarian National Archives, informing researchers about their shortened opening hours. For the period 1 Oct 2005 - 31 March 2006 hours will be: Mon-Thu 8:30-16:00, Fri 8:30-14:00 (closed on weekends). According to the plates, the cut is due to the economizing inclination of Hungary's government.

Currently, the hours are: Mon-Thu: 8:30-17:45, Fri 8:30-15:45 (closed on weekends).

Add to this that up to the mid-1990s, research rooms were open until 19:30 Mon-Thu.

Most folks with dayjobs work 8-16 here in Hungary. They can kiss goodbye to research, unless they take some of their annual vacation days.

Not to forget, I'd expect researchers inspired by the Family Memory Program to rush in the archives from early September, as the school begins. Oops, 5-16 Sept the archives has its annual routine closure.

(smallprint: the Baranya County Archives here in Pécs is a pioneer in cutting back. For at least a couple of years they have been closed on Mondays, open 8-16 Tue-Thu, 8-12 on Fri.)

Damnit! Big Time!

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums

Sunday, August 14, 200509:26:43 CET

permanent link

Similarly to Soroksár, Diósd is an old settlement with Danubeswabian ancestry around Budapest.

Not like the sad news from Soroksár, Diósd has something that would bring a smile on every genealogist's face. Enthusiasts living in Diósd started a website with comprehensive info on the ancestries of their inhabitants. (available in Hungarian and in German) provides B/M/D records from church matricula, hundreds of old photographs showing people, events, buildings - everything connected to Diósd.

Well done!

filed under: Databases Genealogy in the news Clubs, associations

Sunday, August 14, 200509:09:49 CET
Bulldozers over Sorokar's old cemetery

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Soroksár was one of the places around Budapest that was populated by settlers coming from various German-speaking areas in the mid-18th century. It was a small town when in 1950, together with many satellite settlements, the growing Budapest absorbed it. It's now Budapest's 23rd district.

The popular Hungarian website, now reports that the old cemetery had to face demolition. The cemetery was closed in 1986 when the dead were disintered (with some remains apparently left on the spot) and bulldozers shaped the landscape. Tombs, tombstones and even human remains were pulled together then, and they were buried with soil.

About one month ago, the bulldozers showed up once again, and started to "finish the job". Bones and tombstones were turned out. Civil orgs now cast their opposition against the suspected plans (real estate development).

filed under: Cemeteries

Sunday, August 14, 200507:14:24 CET
Family Memory Program - some thoughts

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As mentioned here, the Family Memory Program was launched late June this year. In short, the core of the program is a web application that allows registered users to enter their ancestry data along with related files, like pictures etc. The program would be promoted in secondary schools to encourage students to collect their family memories.

I'm not sure what direction it will take, so far it seems like a "botched" project. Here are my three reasons why.

Communication. The program received wide media coverage at its launch here in Hungary. The news was met with the latent interest of many (adult) people in their family history. So, instead of the expected audience (secondary school students), many and many fellows from older generations visited the site, registered and started to use it. The site missed its target, at least this is how it looks now. OK, let's give it some time, Autumn might bring students to the service.

Word from the ombudsman. One of the main reasons of the late launch of the project was that the ombudsman (employed to protect privacy) entered the scene and expressed his concerns about handling of the information to be entered into the software. Finally, the Hungarian National Archives was appointed as the repository for the database. So far, so good. But. During the talks between the ombudsman and the National Archives the ombudsman was reportedly adamant in his privacy concerns. As of now, a registered user can only see what he/she enters into the software. Several people on the site's message board voiced their wish to see if there are any connections between the data they entered and that of others. Now they get the distressing answer: not allowed, not possible. Wouldn't it be a major benefit to connect families? Probably would. In my eyes, this could be achieved by a simple step: information related to, say, 4 or 5 generations, or 100 years back might be released, while newer data could be protected. I don't think the ombudsman would oppose it. Of course, making the software capable of that would require further Forints to be passed to the contracted developer.

Technical things. Not counting the minor glitches people report on the site's message board, the main shortage of the software is that it is not gedcom friendly: one can't import and export data in the gedcom format. In this closed system the user is bound both in data entry and then in processing and displaying of the records.

On the bright side: during the first month more than 10,000 people registered for the service, and the director of the National Archives would like to sit down with the ombudsman and seek the solution for the privacy issues.

After all, the above bashing nothwithstanding, I wish good luck for the program and hope to report positive developments in future.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy in the news Education

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