Hungarian Census Returns
Daniel M. Schlyter, 1995
With special appreciation to Eva Liptak, Hungarian Cataloger at the Family History Library, without whose cataloging efforts this information would not be possible.
Hungarian Census Returns
Hungary has many excellent sources for genealogical research. Researchers accustomed to research in the U.S. and Canada often rely heavily on census records, but this is largely due to the fact that there is often nothing better available. In Hungary the availability of vital records greatly improves the research climate. From throughout modern Hungary the Family History Library has acquired records of births, marriages, and deaths created by churches and Jewish communities. Yet census records can be a valuable genealogical source for Hungarian research. They can provide a periodic look at the family, can help find people who have moved from one place to another and can supplement information from church records or in cases where the vital records have been lost the census information can provide a vital link to previous generations.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire periodically took a census of its people for taxation, conscription, and statistical purposes. The first population enumeration was made in 1696 after the liberation of Hungary from the Turks. This counted only the residents of the city of Buda to determine how many Hungarian families had survived the 150 year Turkish occupation. The first country wide tally was done in 1715, followed by one in 1720. Another count was taken in 1728, but this one has not been preserved in its entirety. The next enumeration was an ecclesiastical count taken in 1747; it is almost complete, especially for the western counties of Hungary. These early efforts were usually simple headcounts, but later population counts were done by name.
The nobility of Hungary controlled most of the land which in turn was leased to the peasants who had feudal obligations to their Lords. These obligations could be satisfied in labor, in kind, or in money. Among the nobility records of Hungary are the Urbaria, kept as early as 1750. A large part of these records were concerned with the nobility themselves, but the Urbaria also contain lists of peasants by name with their land rights, occasionally including names of family members, with amount of obligations of the peasant toward the estate owner, the conditions of payment, services owed to their lord by the peasants, and the size of the estate. They may also include age and relationship to previous leaseholder. Thus, in some ways, the Urbaria are similar to a census. The first general Urbarium register was made in 1770 to determine how many of the land-owning nobles had made employment contracts with the peasants. Other Urbaria were done in the 1780s and 1790s.
The Emperor Joseph II decreed in 1784 that a census be taken in 1785-1786. This was the first official census [Népszamlalas] of Hungary. This census included names and ages of the male population, required for conscription purposes. But this enumeration was resisted by the Hungarian nobility, who did not wish to divulge personal details to an Austrian monarch. Ultimately much of this census was destroyed and the records remaining are of rather poor quality. Beginning in 1805 through 1880 censuses were taken at irregular intervals in both Austria and Hungary. Some of these counts were general like the 1828 census of property owners; others, such as the 1848 Hungarian census of the Jews, were taken of specific areas or for specific purposes. Beginning in 1880 a census was taken every ten years. The last census of Austria-Hungary was in 1910.
The information provided in these records varies according to census. Some list only head of household, conscription number of house, and taxable property. Many of the censuses of the 1800s give house number, head of household, names of members of the household (including servants), ages, occupations, religions, and relationships to head of household; some also give date and place of birth.
Many of the census returns are preserved in Hungarian county and city archives. Not all census returns have been preserved however. In some cases the statistical information was extracted and census records themselves have been lost. A number of census returns for Hungary are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. These include the census of 1828, parts of the 1848 census of the Jews and parts of the 1857 and 1869 enumerations. Whereas vital records filmed in Hungary are almost entirely for areas within modern Hungary, these census records cover areas now in. Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and bits of Romania and Yugoslavia. A careful search of the library catalog can often uncover limited additional local census material for specific areas. This paper indicates how to look up film numbers in the Family History Library Catalog available on microfiche or on FamilySearch.
The 1828 Hungarian Census
This was a land and property census with conscription information. The Family History Library has acquired microfilms of the returns for most of Hungary including parts of Croatia. Film numbers are in the Library's catalog under Hungary -- Census, 1828. This census, written in Latin, gives names only of property owners with very little information about the household.
The records of several counties have been transcribed. These transcriptions are listed in the catalog under Hungary, [County] -- Census -- Indexes, or in the Author-Title section of the catalog under the name of the compiler Conner, Martha Remer
The 1848 Hungarian Census of the Jews
This census gives a wealth of information about Jewish households. It gives not only the age of all members of the household but also the specific birthplace which can be extremely valuable in continuing research on a family which has moved in from another area. Many of those enumerated had moved in from ,other countries.
Jewish Census returns are available on microfilm for the following old counties:
*A better filming of Turócz and Esztergom county returns are available on film no. 754,368. These are the second item on the film, about half way through the roll.
These county census returns are not necessarily complete because many larger cities were enumerated separately from the county they were in. Census returns for the following free-cities are on film number 719,823.
|Debreczen, Hajdú county||Pécs, Baranya county|
|Eperjes, Sáros county||Sopron, Sopron county|
|Göngyös, Heves county||Szakolcza, Nyitra county|
|Gyr, Gyr county||Ujvidek, Bacs county|
|Miskolcz, Borsod county||Temesvár, Temes (fragments)|
|Modor, Pozsony county||Trencsén, Trencsén county|
|Nagy-Szombat, Pozsony county||Zombor, Bacs county|
The census is in Hungarian language. For some areas printed forms were used as shown in the example. In other areas the headings were handwritten versions of the official format which may vary slightly in wording from the printed version shown. Columns in the example shown are numbered for convenience in translation.
Several counties may be on one film. Counties are filmed alphabetically with the county [megye] name written at the center top of the page. The community name [Közseg neve] is given at the top right. The example shown is for Bés in Ung county.
Translation of Headings on the 1848 Hungarian census of the Jews
|Column 1:||Registration number.
|Column 2:||Name (family members listed in order) [neje = wife / gyermek children / fia = son / lánya = daughter / szolgáló servant)|
|Column 4:||Place of Birth a) Country, b) Community. [Magyar = Hungary / Lengyel = Poland (may include Galicia, Austria) / Német = Germany / Orosz = Russia / Porosz = Prussia / Bajor = Bavaria / Cseh = Bohemia / Morva = Moravia / Szilésia = Silesia / Steria, Styria = Steiemark / Gács = Galicia / Románia = Romania / Erdély = Transylvania / Külföldi = foreigner]|
|Column 5:||If foreigner, does he have a residency permit? [igen = yes / nincs = no]|
|Column 6:||If he does not have a permit how long has he lived here? a) in Hungary, b) in this community [éve = years / esztendeje = years)|
|Column 7:||How employed.|
|Column 8:||Behavior [jó, jól = good / becsületes = honest / jambór = meek / trhet = bearable / rossz = bad / gyanús = suspicious / csalá = deceitful]|
The 1857 Hungarian Census
This was a census of complete households. It indicated all members of the household and gave the relationship to the head of the household. It provides data on birthdates, religion, and sometimes place of origin. There were two types of printed forms: one with headings with German and Hungarian; the other with headings in German only (see examples).
Census returns are microfilmed only for the old counties of Csanád, Esztergom and Zala. Film numbers are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under Hungary -- Census, 1857.
Translation of Headings on the 1857 Hungarian Census
Hungarian - German (two page form)
|House number and||Locality||1857 Census||Householders name|
|Column 1||Residence number|
|Column 2||Surname and Christian name with any titles
|Column 3||Year, month and day of birth|
|I. Religion||1. Roman Catholic||2. Greek Catholic|
|3. Armenian Catholic||4. Greek Orthodox|
|5. Armenian Orthodox||6. Lutheran|
|7. Reformed||8. Unitarian|
|9. Jewish||10. Other|
|IV||Marital Status||Columns 58 and 60 -- present|
|Columns 59 and 61 -- absent|
|V.||Whether present at the residence|
German (one page form)
|Column 1||Consecutive count of persons|
|Column 2||Number of the house/of the residence|
|Column 3||Birth, years, month, day|
|Column 6||Marital status|
|Column 7||Hometown, county, country|
|Column 8||Passport, date of|
1869 Hungarian Census
This census gives considerable information on all members of households including birthplace and birth date. Unfortunately census returns are available only for the old Hungarian county of Zemplén and parts of Esztergom county. Microfilm numbers for these census returns can be found in the Appendix to this booklet.
Column headings are in the Hungarian language. In some cases they are given also in Serbian or in German. (See illustration).
Translation of headings on the 1869 Hungarian census
|Column 0:||Consecutive number of residence.|
|Column 1:||Consecutive number of individual.|
|Column 2:||Surname, give name, title and rank of the resident to be recorded in the following order;
1) head of household, 2) wife, 3) child, grandchildren according to age, 4) relatives, 5) guests, servants, apprentices, etc. 6) roomers and lodgers.
|Column 3:||Sex [férfi = male / n = female]|
|Column 4:||Year of birth.|
|Column 5:||Religion [római-katholikus = Roman-catholic / görög-katholikus = Greek-catholic / örmeny-katholikus = Armenian catholic / keleti egyházbeli = orthodox / helvét-evangelikus = Swiss evangelical, reformed / ágostai-evangelikus = Augsburg evangelical / unitárus = unitarian / mózes = Jewish].|
|Column 6:||Marital status [nótlen = single male / hajadon = single female / házas = married / ns = married man / férjezett = married woman / özvegy = widow, widower, elvált = divorced].|
|Column 7:||Occupation or......|
|Column 9:||Birthplace (country, county, town)|
|Column 10:||Citizenship [helybeli = native / idegen = foreigner]|
|Column 11:||Residency [innen ideiglen = temporary / túl huzamosan = prolonged]|
|Column 12:||Absence [innen ideiglen = temporary / túl huzamosan = prolonged]|
|Column 13:||Literacy [olvasni = reading / irni = writing / tud = knows how / nem tude = doesn't know how]|
There may be more Hungarian census material available in the Hungarian National Archives but details on additional census records have not been determined. You may wish to try writing to the Hungarian archives with a specific request:
Magyar Országos Levéltár
(Hungarian National Archives)
1250 Budapest I
Bécsi kapu tér 2-4
Those wishing to inquire about further Jewish census records may benefit by contacting the following:
Magyar Zsidó Levétár
(Hungarian Jewish Archives)
József Krt. 27
Appendix -- Microfilm Numbers for the 1869 Census of Zemplén and Part of Esztergom County
This appendix lists localities in Zemplén and Esztergom counties according to the standard Hungarian spelling as found in the old 1880 Hungarian gazetteer,
|Magyarorszag Helységnévtára (FHL book Ref. 943.9, E5d; Vol. I on film no. 599,564, Vol. II on film no. 973,041).|
Localities on this list are in Zemplén county unless otherwise indicated. You will note that some localities in Zemplén county are noted as being in Sáros county. This is because of slight shifting in the county borders between the time of the 1869 census and the 1880 gazetteer.
Many of these localities have been known by several additional names, especially those localities which are now in Czechoslovakia. If you have only the Slovak place-name of a locality or perhaps a German or alternate Hungarian version it will not appear on this list. For localities in Czechoslovakia an excellent gazetteer is available listing all variant place-names for all localities in Slovakia. This is Názvy obcí na Slovensku za ostatných dvesto rokov (FHL book Ref. 943. 73 E2m; film no. 1,181,569 item 1. Instructions for using this gazetteer are given on the flyleaf of the book in English. The Hungarian spelling used in this appendix usually corresponds with the spelling which Názvy obcí indicates with the date 1863.