Sorry for the word, how would you call scrapbooking, oral history, collecting old photos and postcards, coping with language problems, browsing maps and gazetteers by a collective term? Done by the family historian when not coping with the old scripts at repositories?

Sunday, April 20, 200810:59:01 CET
Topographical maps of former Yugoslavia

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Browsing through the site's topics covering history I came across a thread where one of the forum members started to share his collection of 1:75,000 old military maps covering Croatia from the time of Austria-Hungary (early 20th century). If that's not enough, post #221 has a link to a huge collection of topo maps of former Yugoslav republics. The scale for the maps vary. For Croatia the site has 1:25,000 ones (grid), just like for Slovenia (grid), Serbia is covered by both 1:50,000 and 1:100,000. There is also a section for Crna Gora (Montenegro). These maps were made in the 1970s.

filed under: Serbia Croatia Slovenia Paragenealogy

Tuesday, April 8, 200810:03:04 CET
The handbook of (Hungarian) chronology on the web

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Schelly's post on her Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog about Steve Morse's NYC April lecture about the Jewish calendar was an impetus to remind me to post about a great resource that has been on the virtual shelf of the Hungarian Electronic Library since Nov 2007.

Although originally published in 1912 (and revised in 1940), Prof. Szentpétery's Chronologia and Calendar of Diplomatics most of the knowledge and tools they provide still prove to be useful for those digging deep into the history of Hungary or that of families. Mind you, these handbooks are written in Hungarian.

Two of the most common situations a genealogist doing research in Christian sources may want to consult an authority on chronology: 1) to resolve what all those dates referring to church holidays are, 2) the obscurity in the use of the Gregorian (New) calendar and the Julian (Old) calendar.

For 1) you might want to look up the date in the list of Christian feast day starting on page 39. This is a multi-lingual collection, including names in Latin, Hungarian and German. Starting on page 51 there is a collection of special holy days named in old documents in Hungary going through the church year cycle starting in January.

Old documents, charters written in Latin in Hungary often provide the dates in their relation to the closest Sunday (Dominica in Latin), like feria secunda post Dominicam Palmarum - it translates to the second day (Monday that is) of the week after Palm Sunday in English. Then the question comes, given that Palm Sunday is calculated in its relation to the moving day of Easter, what day Palm Sunday was that year. To answer this you could use any of the perpetual calendars available on the web or use the charts in Szentpétery's work covering years 750 through 2059, A.D. For this latter look up the year you are interested in on pages 86-93 of the pdf file, then go the chart number (pages 16-85) found next to the year.

If you are into Islamic or Jewish dates, there are guides for you, too in Szentpétery's Handbook of chronology. The introduction to the Islamic calendar starts on page 33 of the pdf file, and that of the Jewish calendar can be found on pages 35-39.

filed under: Paragenealogy

Wednesday, April 2, 200811:42:26 CET
The Hatsek atlas on the web

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It is so rewarding to read (or at least to keep track of) blogs in the virtual topical neighborhood. (Hint, hint: the links section on the right now sports my former Austria-Hungary genealogy blog roll.)

This is how I found a maps resource that was unknown to me. Lisa in her Take a trip back in time post mentioned the 1880 atlas by Hatsek to be available. She came to know it after reading Juliana (Szucs) Smith's Using Ancestry: Surprises in Great-grandpa’s Naturalization post on's 24/7 Family History Circle blog.

These maps of Hungary's counties in 1880 available on the site were published by Ignácz Hátsek.

The Hatsek atlas is not the only atlas available online. Besides the county maps from the Pallas lexicon there are Gönczy maps, early 1900s, the Görög maps, early 1800s, and the 1800 Atlas Regni Hungariae.

filed under: Online resources Archives, libraries, museums Romania Paragenealogy

Monday, December 3, 200710:47:23 CET
Treasure trove of manuscript maps of Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen County places on the web

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Stefan- on the genealogy topic of Hungary's popular message board made it again. He posted a link to an apparently new resource. The Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Archives website now has various manuscript maps showing settlements in the county. The collection is in excess of 3 GB and divided into two groups: maps with file numbers starting with BMT (240 pieces of them as of now) are various manuscript maps, BMU-s (163 of them) are cadastral maps from the 1850-1860s.

If your genealogy research covers this NE county of Hungary, make sure to visit the site.

For me this new resource will be a great addition to the new site I'm putting together, RadixHub.

filed under: Online resources Paragenealogy

Monday, July 2, 200716:51:12 CET
New Hungarian geogprahical names portal on the horizont

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A new site has been launched a couple of days ago. The Hungarian Toponymic Portal aims at accumulating the largest collection of Hungarian geographical names with locations both in- and outside Hungary. The board of editors is full of Hungarian ontology and thesaurus doyens, still, they count on contributions from their (would-be?) web 2.0 userbase, as well. They already have some interesting files in the download section.

filed under: Online resources Paragenealogy

Wednesday, May 2, 200712:06:59 CET
19th mapping of the River Danube online and on DVD

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Continuing from the previous entry.

Digitized 1819-1833 map sheets of the River Danube from Devin near Bratislava - Pozsony down to Novi Sad are now available online on the Duna-Mappáció site, thanks to the joint efforts of the Ethnography Dept of the Univ of Pécs and the Hungarian National Archives. There is also a DVD that can be ordered for about 50 US$ from the publisher.

To see the sheets Internet Explorer is needed, and also an ActiveX control, Autodesk's MapGuide. No luck for FireFox, Safari etc. users.

With the proper setup one can navigate between the sheets either using the icons on the screen (zoom, pan) or use the list and descriptions of the sheets' contents.

filed under: Online resources Books, mags, CD-s, DVD-s Paragenealogy

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

Sunday, November 5, 200615:14:16 CET
Heirs are sought by the State Department of Hungary

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One of our fellow listers on the Csaladtortenet mailing list posted a page that is a collection of a dozen or so names whose heirs are unknown. The deceased persons were all born in Hungary.

Probate services like Budapest's Family Tree, Ltd. has been in this industry for a couple of years now. They specialize in finding relatives/heirs of persons linked to Eastern Europe.

This posted service of the Consular Service of the Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs contains approaches of foreign legal services trying to establish the links with would-be claimants.

Heirs are sought.

filed under: Paragenealogy

Saturday, September 16, 200613:19:10 CET
Tremendous collection of detailed, topographic maps of Hungary, online

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Browsing through the posts in the genealogy topic of Hungary's most popular internet message board ( I spotted a promising link. And I'm so happy that I followed it.

The link took me to "EDIT", the "Digital Map Collection of the ELTE University". This collection has four interesting sets of maps:
- 1) 1:25,000 scale Gauss-Krüger projection maps covering modern Hungary from the 1950s. These were made for the military and were classified secret.
- 2) The 1:200,000 old military maps from the 3rd Military Survey (late 19th century), which have been available since 2003: digitized maps and which covers most of Eastern Europe.
- 3) The 1:25,000 topographical maps, the sources for the 1:200,000 ones, from the late 19th century. Well, besides the 1950s maps this is the real beef! You can even see houses in settlements.
- 4) The county maps series from the late 19th century, already in use by family historians, and available from this page, as well.

Hereinafter let me concentrate on 1) and 3). Finding the place of your interest is not easy within the site's current navigation system.

Part of the problem is that navigation on the site is in Hungarian. Let me give some guidance, though. When you enter the site choose "50-es évekbeli Gauss_Krüger" for set 1), "3. katonai topográfiai térképek" for set 3) in the "Kategóriák" (Categories) field. Then push the "Keres" (Find) button. You'll get a second frame on the left side, a list of hits. For 1) the list ("Találatok" - Hits) starts with "Matterszburg", close to the Austrian-Hungarian border, Hungary's NW part, and goes there to other towns of Hungary. At 3) you'll get a list of sections. Choose from the hits, and click on "Mutat" (Show). The bottom frame on the left side brings up the thumbnail of the chosen map, as well as the button "Teljes kép" (Whole image). Push it, and you get the high resolution image opening in a new window. (You may have to scroll down in the left bottom frame to see the button.)

To find the section of your interest in 3), you can use at least two overview maps: Lazarus server, Arcanum server.

I'm planning to launch a new site, RadixHub as soon as I can sort things out. One of the features of RadixHub would be linking right to the maps showing settlements. Stay tuned!

filed under: Online resources Paragenealogy Radix labs

Saturday, September 16, 200611:43:05 CET
Finaly's Latin-Hungarian dictionary online, for free

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One of the most used resources of my employer's KlimoTheca project has been an edition of the Latin-Hungarian dictionary by Ferenc Pápai Páriz. According to server logs several of our visitors found their way to us via the search "Latin-Magyar&qout; at Google. Now our top position is gone, and has been replaced by a well respected dictionary, the one by Henrik Finály.

Genealogists' old friend, Arcanum published the CD version of Finály back in 2002. Fast forward to 2006, converted from the CD, the web version of the dictionary sits on the domain of Hungary's main library, the National Széchényi Library.

Finál has been used heavily by history buffs in Hungary because its coverage of Latin words and expressions that were in use in that part of the world in medieval and later times.

filed under: Online resources Paragenealogy

Thursday, August 17, 200615:32:06 CET
The Book of Fathers saga now available in English

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One of the most memorable books of Hungarian fiction writer Miklós Vámos has been the "Apák könyve" (Book of Fathers). Since its come out in 2000 the novel has had several editions in Hungary, was translated to German, French and Italian, and now to English, too.

What makes the novel somewhat interesting to family history enthusiasts is that it's a great family saga, spanning through 12 generations and 300 years. The story starts back in the early 18th century, the time of Ferenc Rákóczi's fight for Hungary's independence and leads up to the 20th century, 1999. During the generations family members convert to Judaism, making lives of descendants of difficult eras really suppressed.

Vámos provides the readers with a lesson of Hungarian history. Interesting to note a similar piece of fiction from the same years (1999), the movie Sunshine, directed by István Szabó, featuring Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz and other celebs. Sunshine depicts the history of a 20th century Jewish family. (If you allow me a personal note, I don't like Sunshine because I feel it too didactic and its shown history is too much common place.)

The Book of Fathers was published in the UK by Little, Brown, and at the moment not directly available at Amazon.

Its first chapter and description are available on Miklós Vámos' site.

filed under: Jewish research Paragenealogy

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

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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

Thursday, March 18, 200419:11:39 CET
Legacy Family Tree software seeks translators

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There is no Hungarian language genealogy software, almost.

J. Gubányi-Kléber wrote on the Csaladtortenet list that he had translated WinFamily to Hungarian, but there is no sign of Hungarian language availability on the website.

Slovak researchers can use the Slovak version of Brother's Keeper.

The Hungarian Ministry of Education would launch its "Family Memory" program in April, and part of it is suspected to be some sort of genealogy software.

Now I read in the Legacy Family Tree Newsletter that they seek translators for their software. I'm not sure if they are interested in a Hungarian version. Well, if you are fluent both in English and Hungarian, why not ask them?

filed under: Paragenealogy

Friday, March 5, 200419:45:05 CET
Profila auction gone, new auctions to come this Spring

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Profila Ltd. (Budapest, Hungary) held one of its larger auctions last Saturday. More than 7000 old postcards of Hungarian places were offered this time. Remaining pieces are still available, so, you might want to take a look.

Every Spring there are lots of book auctions in Hungary. Many of them are listed on the website, on this page. You can join these auctions via the internet, too.

Prefer Ebay? Try this search for Hungary-related old postcards and paper documents.

filed under: Paragenealogy

Thursday, December 4, 200311:12:53 CET
Upcoming Profila auction offers 4000+ old post cards of places in Hungary

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It's again time for hunting down old postcards of Hungarian settlements of your interest - Profila Ltd. of Budapest, Hungary offers 4000+ of those old postcard at their auction on 15 Dec 2003. These cards are not cheap, tough: the less attractive ones start at about 1400 Hungarian Forints (7 US$), average is probably about 13-14 USD.

Starting prices for postcards with synagogues go the sky: cheaper ones start at 35 USD, and I see a corny one of Kápolnásnyék for 80,000 HUF (~360 USD). It just doesn't make sense for me.

filed under: Paragenealogy

Wednesday, December 3, 200317:32:09 CET
Civertan puts 9000 aerial photos of Hungarian settlements online

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I've been looking at this company for a deal. They have on stock more than 9000 aerial photographs taken over 500 settlements in Hungary. Some of their material has been visible on the RadixForum site, and namely, on some settlement pages, like Bátaapáti - and others.

Now they have put their stock to their website: Civertan Stúdió. Click on "Légifotó" and choose (Válasszon) a county you are interested in. You will then have to choose (Válasszon) again the settlement you are would like to see. Happy browsing!

filed under: Genealogy industry Paragenealogy

Wednesday, December 3, 200317:11:48 CET displays streets maps and finds addresses in larger towns of Hungary

permanent link is a new Hungarian site. It has street maps of all the settlements of current day Hungary... and it goes further. Their database can be searched for any address in Hungary: you will get a detailed map of the neighborhood. Wow!

Great resource. If only they could replace the Java applet with something running more smoothly.

To find maps click on the "TÉRKÉP, ÚTVONALTERVEZŐ" tab on the above menu and wait for the Java thing to load. Then zoom into the map - down to the street level.

This website can also find and display an address in one of the 200 larger towns of Hungary.

A nice addition to the Térképcentrum site!

filed under: Online resources Books, mags, CD-s, DVD-s Archives, libraries, museums Jewish research German research DNA and genealogy Paragenealogy Clubs, associations Outstanding personalities RadixLog Foo

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