Genealogy industry

K, not really an industry when talking about Hungary. Genealogy, probate research services, providers, travel agencies blogged here.

Sunday, September 7, 200818:20:34 CET
Hungary's church registers database in the plans?

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A recently published study on the Society of Hungarian Archivists website (Az egyházi anyakönyvek digitalizálásának lehetőségei) suggests that a digitization of the metrical registers of churches within modern Hungary's borders might be brewing soon. The study was written by Arcanum's Sándor Biszak, and two archivists of Roman Catholic diocesan archives, Andor Lakatos (Kalocsa) and Ádám Vajk (Győr).

The authors go into details about the sources first, their scope of information and calculating the figures involved (chapter 2). A survey of efforts at FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, the Passau R. C. Diocese, The National Archives and two services covering Scottish research follow (chapter 3). This part treats three projects of Hungarian archives, too (Kalocsa, Győr, Nógrád County). Chapter 4 discusses the levels of digitization and service possible, chapter 5 compares these. Pitfalls are listed in chapter 6.

The study has many interesting details and figures involved in such a digitization, such as the change in the research needs at archives (huge growth of family history cases),
the total number of reels of microfilmed registers (about 3.3 millions), the percentage of available original indices (6%) etc.

For a possible digitization the authors suggest that instead of using the available microfilm copies as a source of scanning, the originals should be recorded using high performance professional digital still cameras. However, they have doubts about the feasibility of access to the originals. In contrast to the situation today, we can read about the way the Mormon microfilming in Hungary in the 1960s could be ordered by authorities.

The assessed cost of recording (shooting the images) with minimal metadata added is about 2 million US $. Three levels of textual processing are calculated: 1) personal names index: 2 million $, 2) a database with more information tailored for family historians: 8 million $, 3) a database enabling any kind of historical research: 16 million $.

It's an impressive study, I must say, but there is one weak point in it that, I believe, makes the whole concept questionable. And this is the digitization efforts of LDS. The authors seem like missing ScanStone and the accompanying Family Search Indexing projects altogether.

True, the appearance of Hungarian church registers in Family Search Indexing is anybody's guess, it should not be that far to make a project with similar efforts and offerings reasonable.

filed under: Databases Genealogy industry


Thursday, April 10, 200811:30:36 CET
It's raining genealogy social networking sites in Hungary

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the appearance of three web2.0 applications made especially for family history buffs (MyHeritage.hu, Oseim.hu, Csaladfalu.hu). Now I received a kind notice about the availability of yet another one. The people running the web2.0 generation Ittvoltam.hu (IWasHere.hu) enriching their service has just added the Családfa (Family Tree) feature. It allows users to create and display family trees and family events, to send messages, to use the family calendar etc. One unique feature of this site amongst the genealogy networking sites in Hungary is the ability to up- and download (import/export) GEDCOM and XML files.

With this abundance of sites (see Randy's list for the English language ones) it gets harder to decide where one would settle. And then, will these sites talk to each other? Will there be a search engine that could query all of them?

filed under: Online resources Genealogy industry

Thursday, February 21, 200811:59:07 CET
Genealogy social networking site MyHeritage.com to hit Hungary and E-Europe

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Thanks to a Google ad on my site I was surprised to realize that one of the popular genealogical social networking sites, MyHeritage has launched their Hungarian language site, MyHeritage.hu. Looks like every bit of the interface has been translated to Hungarian. MyHeritage has been available in more than a dozen languages, and now, besides Hungarian, they offer the service in Ukrainian, Czech and Polish, too.

It was only a couple of months ago that Őseim.hu (MyAncestors.hu), an online Hungarian genealogy application started and it was only a couple of weeks ago that Családfalu, a genealogy and social networking service, came out with their beta. Családfalu is operated by Budapest-based professional genealogist, Péter Bárdossy.

Unfortunately none of these two Hungarian sites has proven to be an instant hit. Those Hungarians with experience in genealogy research (e. g. this post on the Csaladtortenet mailing list) haven't been bitten by the social networking bug enough and for those web savvies pampered with feature rich English language sites getting their feet wet in genealogy these two Hungarian sites were not juicy enough. At least this is the bottom line of the comments posted on the dot hu web2.0 cheerleader blog, Webisztán.

Is this the momentum for MyHeritage and similar sites? Paul Allen and others are enthusiastic. Here in Hungary there seems to be a burnout of iWiW users. iWiW is the Hungarian Facebook, an almost monopoly in social networking. Having collected all the possible friends and family users now start to wonder what the further real use of this site would be. Niche social networking activities might be the way go, including, of course, family (history). (Paul Allen's post about MyFamily's lost opportunity.)

The great thing about MyHeritage is the multilingual feature of their site. Thinking of all those gazillions of families with roots in Hungary now spread all over the world, this service has the potential of becoming a success.

Could MyHeritage and the Hungarian sites leave RadixForum in the dust? I don't know. With all the VC coming to MyHeritage, a brute force campaign on their side might be a real bash.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy industry

Monday, February 4, 200821:43:33 CET
25 counties out of Hungary's 1828 national census now online

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Just saw the message by Jim L. on RootsWeb's Hungary-L. WorldVitalRecords.com (Ancestry.com founder's, Paul Allen's company) launched their World Collection today. One of the titles they offer is "Germans and Hungarians 1828 Land Census". According to the short info available on the site this database contains 400,000 record transcriptions from 25 counties. This is certainly the fruit of Martha Remer Connor's work.

There is a one-day 33% off from the price of the World Collection: $99.95 instead of $149.95. The census volumes in their original printed form cost between $15 and $35 each. I'd expect WorldVitalRecords.com them to lower the pricing in a few month's time, just in case the thirst for these Hungarian genealogy records could wait: After leaving Ancestry.com, Allen still felt the need to bring families together and to do it in a way that was affordable to families.

filed under: Databases Genealogy industry

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

Wow!

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

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

Monday, July 2, 200715:18:44 CET
GenoPro to be available in several languages

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Genealogy software GenoPro has earned popularity in Hungary. It might get even more saturation as it might become available in Hungarian. One of our fellows on the Csaladtortenet (Family History) mailing list posted that it might be avaliable soon. Poking on the GenoPro site I could find the Translation/Localization forum, and on this the Hungarian topic. Also, there is a Stats section where you can see how large portions of the GenoPro language files have been translated into various languages. As I write this post 36.8% of the Hungarian version is complete. The XML translation files can be downloaded. They are quite useful assets as they contain translations of good chunks of genealogy vocabularies in various languages. Check this for the Hungarian file.

GenoPro is not included in Bill Mumford's Genealogical Software Report Card (also available in the Nov-Dec 2006 issue of the Digital Genealogist), but, anyway, this program is worth a look for, amongst others, the ease of entering records into it.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy industry

Wednesday, May 2, 200711:31:17 CET
Arcanum stepping up with the DVDs of the 3rd Military Survey and OSZK maps

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Timed to the annual Budapest Book Festival - and as expected for this year - Arcanum came out with the DVDs of the maps of the 3rd Military Survey. They now offer DVDs with two series of the originals: 752 sheets of the 1:75,000 scale series, and 1333 sheets of the 1:25,000 scale series are both available for purchase. The 1:25,000 one covers historical Hungary (Transylvania and Croatia included), while the DVD cover of the 1:75,000 series suggests that it has the maps for Bosnia, as well. (sample of the 1:25,000, sample of the 1:75,000) Both versions are georeferenced.

The DVDs are not cheap. List price of the 1:75,000 is about 200 US$, that of the 1:25,000 is about 330 US$. However, Arcanum does offer discounts at special events, periods or they throw in some free stuff every now and then.

Anyway, there is a shift in their target market. Their relatively cheap (when compared to contents) genealogy and local history publications have been popular with genealogists and other individuals. I can't imagine the situation, though, that someone interested in 4-5 places would buy the map DVD for $200. So, Arcanum is probably selling them to institutions like libraries, agencies and authorities. A couple of years ago I approached Arcanum SEO, Mr. Biszak, letting him know about my interest to licence Arcanum materials to be provided to RadixIndex subscribers. He didn't believed in the profitability of the online service, some way, though, they launched Arcanum Online. Using this service all the textual publications of Arcanum was available for individuals for a monthly fee of about 25 US$. I can't find it on their website now, it seems to be gone (remodelling?).

The other novelty at Arcanum these days is the box with two double-layer DVDs containing the digitized manuscript maps of the National Széchényi Library. Some 3000 maps can be found in the 16 GB capacity of the DVDs. Maps of the Danube and Tisza rivers are not on the DVD, because they are to be published separately. And the next blog entry will reveal the mapping of Danube. Stay tuned.


filed under: Books, mags, CD-s, DVD-s Genealogy industry Paragenealogy

Tuesday, April 24, 200714:32:34 CET
Appetite for Slovakia genealogy

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WorldVitalRecords.com asked their users records relating to what countries they would like see coming to WVR, after U.S., Canada, England, Germany. Top interests are Ireland (19%), Poland (19%), Scotland (10%), Slovakia (10%). The list closes with Denmark and Italy (2%). Hungary is not even mentioned.

I'd better rush to Bratislava or to Martin and collect some content for RadixIndex.

filed under: Slovakia Genealogy industry

Saturday, April 7, 200715:35:23 CET
GDL wins archives digitization competition over Arcanum

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The Hungarian National Archives website has just announced the results of a tender competition for the digitization of old maps and pre-1526 charters in its holdings. The competition started in January earlier this year. My "educated guess" for the outcome was that Arcanum would be commissioned for that job.

The results don't match my expectations. GDL has been named as the winner of the competition. A had some faint memories about this company, who are not really known to the public. Now after doing some digging they turned out to be a past winner of an other National Archives competition, that time for the computer filing system of the archives. They have worked for the Archives of National Security Services in the late 1900s, early 2000s (this archives was called the Historical Office those years).

Obviously this isn't good news for Arcanum. Thanks to the post by one of our list fellows on the Csaladtortenet mailing list, we could read about the Arcanum plans for 2007. Their plans included further volumes of the county nobility series by Márton Szluha, maps from the family archives in the holdings of the Hungarian National Archives, manuscript maps, and especially land ownership maps from the Hungarian National Széchényi Library, old cadastral maps from Hungary's counties and "further charters".

One of the two subjects of the May 3, 2007 Day of Hungarian archivists will be the possibilities of digitization of the archives' holdings in Hungary. I could image that GDL would be one of the guests/speakers at this event.

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums Genealogy industry

Wednesday, January 10, 200718:52:01 CET
WorldVitalRecords.com to publish international datasets

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Paul Allen and his team has been up to something since their public launch back in October 2006. The goal of WorldVitalRecords is to become the number 2 genealogy company in the world.

Paul is one of the founding fathers of Ancestry.com (now The Generations Network), the actual number one family history company. He left Ancestry because it didn't stay "true to the vision that we created for it in the early years." Now he has many from the original team at MyFamily with him.

OK, now to the beef, as much as Hungarian ancestry research is concerned. WVR seem to be aiming at the long tail. In one discussion Paul mentioned that: "I was going to say ... as we launch our locality searching, we will analyze queries to see which locations are NOT giving good results [and then we will focus on content acquisition for those locations...the more obscure the better". And they do mean international records, too: World Vital Records Seeks Individuals to be on International Advisory Boards.

In fact, I contacted Yvette with my tentative interest of the Hungarian side, and I might get their information pack one day.

A month ago WVR blog announced that they began to scan millions of family history records at the Everton library. Beyond the sheer mentioning of Hungary and Romania, the blog entry of Dec 29 revealed more about the nature of the first records to come: Hungarian land records are mentioned there.

One spotted international item already published on WVR is a tip showing how Slovakian family vital records link generations.

It'd be interesting to see if there could be a bunch of people contributing Hungary-related datasets, either on a non-for-profit, voluntary basis, or as business deals with WVR.

filed under: Databases Genealogy industry

Friday, December 1, 200617:53:56 CET
The Ancestry.com avalanche approaching the Carpathian Mountains?

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... or what?

Wishing to get some genealogy entertainment I went to George G. Morgan's and Drew Smith's Genealogy Guys Podcast site. One item in the Nov 19 episode contents caught my eyes: Ancestry.de.

K, checking it turns out that a new site has arisen, Ancestry.de. What makes it different from other Ancestry sites is that this is the first non-English database site of MyFamily.com, Inc.

I recall seeing job postings where MyFamily sought foreign content acquisition managers in BYU's Center for Family History & Genealogy's Newsletter. Well, apparently, these were posted not without reason.

Ancestry.de offers a neat collection of online sources, already. Some of them are available after free registration.

Just for the heck of cybersquatting, I made a search on the domain name ancestry.hu (.hu stands for my country, Hungary). Guess what! ancestry.hu has been registered on Oct 27, 2006 by Myfamily.com, Inc. I don't know if they have plans to develop a site there or it was taken just in case.

filed under: Databases German research Genealogy industry

Friday, June 30, 200622:05:07 CET
Enter Anacleto, open Arcanum

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Just a quickie before we start the second half of the year.

A post on the Csaladtortenet list drove the eyes of list members to the newly started Anacleto version of Arcanum. For one month Arcanum opened its door to the public wide. All of Arcanum's text-based publications are available here for free, no strings attached.

To start its discovery, click on the plus sign on the left side before "Arcanum szövegtár". You'll get the list of areas covered by Arcanum. "Családtörténet, heraldika" opens genealogy and heraldry resources, but there are precious items folded under other headings, too.

To search the corpus by keywords put your query in the space next to "Keresés" in the upper left area.

The vast information opened now had been offered within Arcanum Online, a monthly subscription service. Apparently, Arcanum'd like to introduce their newly acquired Anacleto platform. Before that Arcanum used the Folio Views technology. (The Folio Corporation was founded by Curt Allen, later CEO of MyFamily.com, Paul Allen's brother. And Paul seems to be at our beloved hobby, genealogy again: Everton publishers to team with Provo Labs. OK, rant stops here, just like my post of the day. (I mean of the month, ouch!))

filed under: Databases Genealogy industry

Monday, June 27, 200521:58:17 CET
Arcanum to launch Arcanum Online

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Today my mailbox had the Arcanum Newsletter #23 inside. Not without news! On July 1, 2005 they are going to come up with a new look of their website, and what is more exciting, they plan to launch a new service, Arcanum Online. Yahoo! Arcanum Online will offer all the text based publications (contents of their CD-s and DVD-s) they ever published.

July will be a testing month with free accounts, from August the service should go into a paying one. How much, you'd ask. While I'm not entitled to give out the figure Arcanum CEO Mr. Biszak mentioned in a private talk back in late April (watch out for stuff later here on Radixlog about our meeting), its yearly subscription was then planned to be more than a CD's price, and less than that of an Arcanum DVD.

To claim your free July account you should ask for it via email, call them or visit them in their office.

OK, we have quite much lagging with reporting on Arcanum publications that came out the last 12 months. Should make up for this.

filed under: Databases Online resources Books, mags, CD-s, DVD-s Genealogy industry

Thursday, November 4, 200414:56:52 CET
Arcanum online databases - might be gone in a few days!

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While collecting various items for the blog, I can't withhold this info. Kind of urgent.

I've just got the word from Arcanum Ltd CEO that their huge freely online databases are going to be removed from their site - in a matter of days, or weeks. (He gave permission to share this info.)

Among the other titles interesting for family historians are the ones within the gesta directory. Including standards on Hungarian nobility, the works by Iván Nagy and Farkas Kempelen.

The bottom line: if you use this site, search while you can.

filed under: Databases Genealogy industry

Saturday, June 26, 200400:16:34 CET
Ancestry.com reaching out for Europe?

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A job post in Brigham Young University Center for Family History and Genealogy's newsletter suggests that Ancestry.com is planning to grow their European collections. The title of the job is: Content Acquisition Researcher (European). They were looking for someone with experience in European and/or UK & Irish records.

filed under: Genealogy industry

Wednesday, March 17, 200417:37:33 CET
Hunroots discussion list ended

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List subscribers received a notification yesterday from Miklós Kálló of Family Tree Ltd.:
***
Due to the lack of activity we decided to disband the list.
Tahnks for all who participated, especially those who posted
really interesting stuff. We enjoyed this venture.
***
The list was set up by Family Tree Ltd. back in 1998 (if I'm not mistaken) and saw ups and downs in the volume of messages.

Remember this blog entry about a shift in the company's website? Maybe the list termination is part of the streamlining, too.

Well, farewell to Hunroots!

filed under: Online resources Genealogy industry

Sunday, February 29, 200415:52:41 CET
New Hungarian professional genealogy service with Jewish speciality

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Levéltár.Lap.Hu (site linking to Hungarian archives websites) took me to Hungarian Jewish Roots - new genealogy service in Hungary specializing in Jewish family history research. Good luck with that!

Their introduction page has that they would like to set up a database by mid-2004 that would have all kinds of information about "ordinary and famous Hungarian Jews". Interesting!

filed under: Jewish research Genealogy industry

Tuesday, December 30, 200322:01:27 CET
Family Tree Ltd.'s website gets new look

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Family Tree Ltd. of Budapest, Hungary is "Central and Eastern Europe's leading probate research organization" - according to their website, and I can attest it. They now sport a new design.

Perhaps it's more interesting that it is not only the website that went under changes these last years. The company started as a genealogy research service back in 1988. The changes of their website structure (moments from Feb 2003, May 2002, Jun 2000 - kudos to Internet Archive Wayback Machine) suggest a change in their portfolio. Genealogy looses and probate research gains importance.

Money talks, I guess? I recall an edition of the popular Hungarian programme "Frei dosszié" focusing on heirs research. It was estimated that assets in the value of some 10 bio Hungarian Forints (50 million US$) are delivered to newly found claimants per annum in Eastern Europe - or maybe in Hungary alone? I'm not sure. Either way, not bad :o.

filed under: Genealogy industry

Wednesday, December 3, 200323:55:33 CET
DNA testing service in Hungary

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Quite by chance I came across a company in Hungary that offered DNA tests: Genodia. They concentrate on tests for various health issues (their English pages only list these), but reading the Hungarian pages one can learn that paternity tests and even other tests of relativity are on their service list, as well. I'm far from being well informed about these tests, but their prices seem to be a way too high when compared to FamilyTreeDNA or to GeneTree: a test of relativity level for 3-4 persons costs 200,000 Hungarian forints, which makes something like 900 US$.

filed under: Genealogy industry DNA and genealogy

Wednesday, December 3, 200317:50:18 CET
New titles, DVD-s of Arcanum out - end of line for free Nagy Iván, Kempelen on the horizon?

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A few days ago I had the chance to meet Arcanum's CEO at a computer show. They advertize themselves as the largest electronic content provider - publisher in Hungary. I believe this to be true. They have been teasing Hungarian family historians with their publications for years now. A significant part of their titles are either genealogical by nature or they are used by genealogists, as well - I mean local histories, archival sources, bibliograpical works.

They publish their titles on CD, and recently, they started with DVD compilations. Their new DVD no. 3 and no. 4 are compilations for the local historians and genealogy researchers. Visitors of the computer show had the chance to buy them at half of the normal price - got my copy for sure :P

The CEO told me that in the foreseeable future they continue to focus on CD and DVD products, but they might start with payment based internet content should there be enough interest in this.

He also mentioned that they might consider taking the free genealogy resources on the site (the works by Iván Nagy and Béla Kempelen) off, so, alarm!! do your searches until this happens. Or buy the CDs. Or wait for the pay service %o

filed under: Books, mags, CD-s, DVD-s Genealogy industry
  
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