Friday, August 31, 200717:42:16 CET
HungaryGenWeb in need of a full-time Coordinator

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I was surprised to see that there is a vacancy on the HungaryGenWeb page at RootsWeb. Suzanne Somodi Jimenez, the creator of the Hungarian Village Finder tool, has apparently stepped down from being an editor of the page.

Maybe someone should announce it at the Hungary Mailing List @ Rootsweb so that interested people might know about the vacancy?

filed under: Foo

Friday, August 31, 200717:32:40 CET
FamilySearch's RFI (RFP) with millions of Hungarian civil records on the list

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Today I had a chance to look into the document that I saw announced on both blogs I visit regularly: Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and Leland Meitzler's Genealogy Blog.

FamilySearch, the LDS sponsored online genealogy site released a document on Aug 15, 2007, in which they invite proposals of genealogy-related companies (providers in the document) to index and then to provide access to scans of originals of various sources relevant to genealogy research. LDS has started to mass-scan their microfilm rolls a few months ago, and besides the volunteer-based FamilySearch Indexing, they now invite commercial ventures to join the party.

What does it have to do with Hungarian genealogy? The documentation of the Genesis Project list (look for Attachment C) includes this item:
Hungary civil registration
2,668,800 images
10,675200 records


I'm not sure what years are covered, though. My guesstimate is that it must be basically 1895 plus 10 or 15 years, that is 1895-1905/1910, or so. LDS filmed heavily Hungary's civil records back in the mid-1990s, early 2000s. Civil records (births) in Hungary get a privacy protection for 90 years.

FamilySearch's suggested fields to be included in the index for these records lack some of the vital ones I'd process for sure. Only in the optional fields list can one find these: child's birthplace, Parents' residences and birthplaces, groom's and bride's birthplaces, witnesses' names and residences, deceased's death place, residence, birthplace.

Indexing the estimated 10 million records is not a small job - and the I'm a bit skeptic about the profitability of the indexer and provider in this venture.

First I thought that I'd submit my proposal for the tender, but reading through the RFI/RFP I changed my mind.

Here is the sketch how this would work. FamilySearch does the scanning. FamilySearch and Provider (indexer) write a contract. In the case of some datasets Provider is to create a contract with the Record Custodian (owner of the originals), as well. This is the case with the Hungarian civil records, too. Provider then starts indexing. FamilySearch would like to get the proposed datasets completed within 24 months. When ready, Provider would start hosting the digital images along with the indexes. Members of FamilySearch (FHCs on their premises, members of LDS, submitters of family trees with a certain number of records, FamilySearch Indexing volunteers with a certain level of performance) plus affiliates of the Record Custodian at each of their premises should be granted with free access. So, at the end of the day, who would really be left without free access? How could Provider reap the rewards of its approx. 50,000-100,000 hours of indexing the Hungarian civil records set, plus setting up and servicing, providing it?

filed under: Databases Genealogy industry Radix labs

Tuesday, August 7, 200713:35:04 CET
Croatian genes and history in a TV series

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To build some skills in the Croatian language every now and then I listen to the programs on Croatian TV (available online as RealPlayer streams). While it was playing in a background window I noticed a program dealing with history.

This program turned out to be a 4 piece series on the genetic history of of Croats. The film on show on Aug 5, 2007 was part 2 of the series. This piece tried - with no success - find descendants of White Croats in the Czech Republic and in Poland. Everyday people in villages were asked about White Croats, and they had no clue.

In Part 3 connections between Ukrainians (Poles?) will be reviewed. The program will be on show at 14:55 local, 08:55 (AM) US Eastern time on Aug 12, 2007.

The last part is scheduled for Aug 19, 2007. No details are available yet, only its title is shown: Genetic origin of Croats: Iranian influences.

Besides the field reports the series also employs experts, including historians, linguists and scientists from genetic laboratories.

filed under: Croatia DNA and genealogy

Tuesday, August 7, 200713:10:24 CET
Hungarian mtDNA research on Dienekes Blog

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Two recent posts at Dienekes' Anthropology Blog relate to DNA research in the Hungarian stock.

The first of the posts refers to a recent mtDNA paper in a Hungarian journal. According to the report the sample of 55 showed that a large majority belonged to haplogroups common in other European populations. Only in 5% of the samples could haplogroup M (common in Asia) be found. One of the comments on the posts also mentions that 3.6% of the sample carries haplogroup B. The WikiPedia human migrations map puts B to Japan and US Midwest.

Is a sample of 55 pieces ample enough to draw conclusions? I don't know.

The other post extracts info from the paper by Professor Raskó's team. They used both current samples (101 from today's Hungary, 76 from Hungarian speaking Seklers in the Transylvania part of Romania) and material found in 10-11th century Hungarian cemeteries (27 samples).

Let me quote an extract from the extract:

"Only 2 of 27 ancient Hungarian samples are unambiguously Asian: the rest belong to one of the western Eurasian haplogroups, but some Asian affinities, and the genetic effect of populations who came into contact with ancient Hungarians during their migrations are seen. Strong differences appear when the ancient Hungarian samples are analyzed according to apparent social status, as judged by grave goods. Commoners show a predominance of mtDNA haplotypes and haplogroups (H, R, T), common in west Eurasia, while high-status individuals, presumably conquering Hungarians, show a more heterogeneous haplogroup distribution, with haplogroups (N1a, X) which are present at very low frequencies in modern worldwide populations and are absent in recent Hungarian and Sekler populations. Modern Hungarian-speaking populations seem to be specifically European. Our findings demonstrate that significant genetic differences exist between the ancient and recent Hungarian-speaking populations, and no genetic continuity is seen."

filed under: DNA and genealogy

Tuesday, August 7, 200712:13:50 CET
Photo shooting in archives in Romania

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There is a slow process of easing of access to archives in Romania. Up to only a couple of months ago foreign citizens had to ask for permission from the central archives authorities in Bucharest, precisely describing the materials (down to the settlement level) they wished to do research on. The permission took several weeks to arrive.

Several researchers reported that the strict rules eased as Romania headed to its a EU ascension on Jan 1, 2007.

A few weeks ago János Kocs of Sfantu Gheorghe (Sepsiszentgyörgy) informed the fellow researchers on the Csaladtortenet mailing list that a central order from the national archival authority allowed taking digital photos of archival materials in Romania. Fees are set per picture. According to him, the price is 0.1 Lei (Romanian currency) per piece, which makes about $0.04 US funds.

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums Romania

Tuesday, August 7, 200711:49:08 CET
Making your own digital copies at archives and libraries in Hungary

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As the demand and expectations are growing, archives (and libraries) face with the issue whether they should allow researchers do their own copies or not. The paradigm gets bigger and bigger as digital cameras become a standard accessory in the average genealogist's toolset.

I think I could collect both the news bits posted here and there and my personal experience in regards this topic. All the prices below are in US Dollars converted from their Hungarian values.

Hungary's national library, the Széchényi Library allows visitors to make their copies with their own digital cameras, after buying a photo pass valid for one day. It costs something like $6. At the beginnings there were no limits set on the number of photos that could be taken, then, from late 2005 there is a limit of about 40 shots/day. One has to sign a bond that the photos would not be published.

The two branches of the Hungarian National Archives (MOL) have different policies. At the old, main building in the castle district one can buy photo passes. Prices for them: 1 day pass about $17, 5 day pass about $67, 1 month pass about $170, according to the price list (pdf file). In late 2006 the other, Óbuda branch, which holds the microfilm collection, installed a self-service Zeutschel microfilm scanner. From then family historians and other researchers can scan the reels with the found records at a price of $0.4/picture plus the nominal fee of the CD. The CD-s are burnt by entitled staff members, and they might not be available at late hours.

The Budapest City Archives introduced their new research policy on Nov 1, 2006. The regulation allows the purchase of duration-based photo passes. Prices: 1 day - $8.5, 5 day - $33, 30 days - $85, 12 months $330.

As for county archives, there is no single ruling policy. County archives are free to set their own rules.

My current visit to the Somogy County Archives was a pleasant surprise. They started the photo pass system in July 2007, so, I was able to secure the digital photos of the records I could find. Prices start at about $2.8 (1 day pass), then day have them for 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, and 6 months. The 6 months pass is available for about $44.

My hometown archives, the Baranya County Archives has the policy that I believe is prevailing in county archives in Hungary. They offer various copies, both printed and digital, but all the copies are to be prepared by the archives and prices are per piece.

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums

Monday, August 6, 200719:37:53 CET
Online database of Gyõr's public cemeteries

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A few days ago one of our genealogy fans on the Csaladtortenet mailing list posted the availability of the database of the public cemeteries in Gyõr. As Gyõr is Hungary's 6th largest city by population, this database contains several tens of thousands of records.

The search interface is in Hungarian, but it's easy to get around. Put your researched name or 3 characters at least into the "Név" (Name) field (stripping off special Hungarian accents is OK) and hit "Keresés" (Search). You'll get the name of the buried person, birth and death dates or years (if known), the cemetery name and a link to the map of the cemetery. Clicking on the link you can find either the section of the cemetery with the tomb of the deceased or simply the map of the cemetery.

filed under: Databases Cemeteries

Monday, August 6, 200713:30:57 CET
Burgenland Bunch featured in RootsWeb Review

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I usually don't read the RootsWeb Review from cover to cover (not much Hungarian stuff there), still, while skimming through the current issue I could spot the short intro of the Burgenland Bunch. Hats off to Gerry Berghold and his fellow enthusiasts for providing a great resource for family history researchers in that province!

filed under: Austria

Monday, August 6, 200713:19:28 CET
Hungarian National Archives invites offers to digitize cadastral maps

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The Hungarian National Archives does intend to continue with its digitizing efforts. Their new tender now invites proposals (see page 27485) to digitize its S 78 collection. This collection consists of old cadastral maps of Hungarian settlements from the period 1851-1918. Amongst the maps there are both handwritten and printed ones. The current tender places the number of items to be digitized between 10,000 and 18,000.

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums Genealogy industry

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