3. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY and ONLINE RESOURCES
All printed and on-line resources listed here are in English unless otherwise noted. I own copies of all printed resources listed. No attempt has been made to provide an exhaustive listing of Hungarian Family History-related websites. Only a few key and rather broadly- based websites are included. Each of the websites listed was checked for viability in early 2013, but obviously the Internet is subject to frequent updates, changes, and deletions.
Note Regarding Books: Book titles shown in red are highly recommended. Most of the books listed here are available from time-to-time in used condition from on-line bookdealers. One website that I have used often, with excellent results, is operated by the Advanced Book Exchange.|
GENERAL HISTORIES OF HUNGARY
This 1989 book by Alan Sked provides a good general overview of the ups and downs of the Habsburgs, Austria, and Hungary in their 19th century European context. It reads easily and is useful for anyone without good knowledge of this era in central Europe.
This book is by Denis Sinor, and was published in 1959. While many 56er's are critical of the author's politics, I consider his book to be an excellent, unbiased introduction to the general (mostly political) history of Hungary until the end of World War II. It is extremely readable. I recommend it if you want a basic, traditional, chronological history.
This 1982 book by Anthony Endrey was published in Australia. It too provides a relatively unbiased overview of Hungarian political history. While not quite as readable as Sinor's book, it is a reasonable alternative if you want a traditional-style history.
This 1962 book by C.A. Macartney is another traditional approach to basic Hungarian history. The product of a decidedly British author, it may not be as readable for an American audience as the two similar histories above.
This is a wonderful book and in a very different style than the traditional introductory histories above. It was originally authored by Stephen Sisa in 1983. It does not give a chronological recital of events .. rather it focuses on key personalities. It is extremely well written and well worth reading. Its outstanding photographs make it a nice "coffee table book" also. It is readily available from online book dealers.
This 1997 translation is part of the Atlantic Research series of East European Monographs published by Columbia University Press. It is rather academic, with good indices, bibliographies, etc. (like the rest of the series), but does not make for good reading.
This 1988 book by history scholar John Lukacs walks a careful line between popularizing the subject and telling the story in too much detail. His approach to writing history is rather unique, and sometimes leaves you feeling a little bit lost. But, this book is a must read for Hungarian-Americans whose ancestors lived in Budapest, or who are of Jewish background. Being a recent publication, it is readily available.
This is a nicely translated, popular-style history which was edited by László Kósa and published in English in 1999. Note, though, that you are unlikely to trace your ancestors back to the point in history where it ends. Therefore, think of it as background information, with little relevance to how your identifiable ancestors actually lived.
This 1987 Corvina paperback by Domokos Kosáry has an excellent introduction to Hungarian society of the 1700s. But, its principal strength is the detailed discussion of religion, education, the sciences, art, and literature in Hungary during that period. It is not an easy read. It is readily available from online sources.
This little booklet by Jared H. Suess is part of the genealogy guidebook series published by Everton. It was published in 1980 and is somewhat dated (the form of address comrade never did enter my vocabulary anyway). But, it has nice Hungarian, Latin, and German word lists, and a very good list of Hungarian male and female given names.
This little book was authored in Hungarian by Dr. Imre Revesz and translated to English by George A. F. Knight. It was published by the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America in 1956. It presents a good overview of Reformed Church history, with emphasis on the plight of that church during the counter-reformation era. It is available through online book dealers.
This book was authored in German by János György Bauhofer, the Lutheran pastor of Buda in the mid-1800's. It was translated to English by the Rev. J. Craig of Hamburg, and an Introduction was provided by Dr. J.H. Merle D'Aubigné, President of the School of Theology in Geneva. It was printed simultaneously in London and Boston in 1854. A reprint edition was produced in the U.S. in 2001. Both the original edition and the reprint edition are available through on-line book dealers. The language is stilted, and it is difficult to read -- not surprising since it was written 150 years ago. So why do I recommend it? Because it describes times, events, and a mindset that is difficult for us 21st century Americans to even imagine. But, please read my caution below.
CAUTION!!! -- The reader must understand the times and circumstances under which this book was authored. It was written shortly after the failed Hungarian war for independance of 1848-49. Hungary was defeated and had, in effect, been reduced to an Austrian province and was put under martial law. This was a time of great repression in Hungary, when Magyars were looking for international support for their plight. That is the reason for the book's translation and foreign publication. [Note: the author's name does not appear in the book .. to protect him from arrest.] The status of Protestants was of special concern, since in Austrian leadership circles Protestantism was equated with the defeated revolutionary leadership. The book understandably exhibits a very strong anti-Roman Catholic bias. The quality of its factual information is good, and it contains a level of detail not found elsewhere in English concerning the evolution of the Counter-Reformation in Habsburg lands. But, due to its obvious bias, care should be exercised in accepting its judgemental conclusions at face value.
This little 1990 book -- part of a series all titled "The XXX-Americans" (for about thirty different XXXs) -- is by Steven Béla Várdy. It is not one of his better works. I would recommend it primarily for children and adults who have little knowledge of their ancestors' experiences upon arrival in America, but want to get a "feel" for that era.
This 1999 Atlantic Research series book, edited by Gábor Bona, is exactly what its title implies -- a detailed military history. It will be to your liking only if you are interested in the specifics of battlefield tactics, and the details of the campaigns. It is readily available from online dealers.
This 1910 book in English by Henry Marczali is the classic history text for the period. It was published by Cambridge University Press. While dated in certain respects (eg. it puts little emphasis on the lives of Hungary's largest group, the peasants), it remains a remarkable portrait of the political, social, and cultural history of the 1700s. It is sometimes available from online antiquarian book dealers.
This 1960s-vintage book by Béla K. Király was published as a part of the East Central European Studies series by Columbia University Press (predecessor to the Atlantic Research series). In many ways it is an update and extension of the Marczali book. It has an excellent chapter on Hungarian peasants, but it is strongest in its focus on the reforms of Joseph II and their impact on Hungary. It is available from online bookdealers.
This is an immensely readable 1979 book by Istvan Deak, that was published as a paperback in 2001 by Phoenix Press. Virtually every Hungarian-American will find ancestors who fought in, or were severely impacted by the 1848-9 war of independence. Therefore, this is a must read since it (in a way) is the story of your family. It is readily available.
This 1990 book with a list of town names of historical Hungary, which are no longer a part of Hungary, is an absolute treasure-trove for family history researchers. It was edited by László Sebök, and is in Hungarian. But, the language does not matter, because it is essentially a list of the old and the current town names with separate lists for Austria, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Czechoslovakia = Slovakia and Soviet Union = Ukraine are obvious substitutions. You're on your own separating out Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia from Jugoslavia. A good modern roadmap and this book makes it easy to find most any town or village of historical Hungary .. but this book may be hard to find. A contemporary alternative may be the Internet, which has become an increasingly effective tool for finding pre-World War I town names and equating them to present-day places.
This 1976 book by Thomas M. Tenczar is simply what the title says, a 120-page 2-column list of post office locations in the late 1800s with a minimum of introductory and explanatory information. The only information provided for each postoffice is the country it is currently in (eg. "R" for Romania, "H" for Hungary, etc.) But, you'll find some tiny villages here that you'll find nowhere else. If you want to borrow a copy of this book to look something up, inquire with a stamp-collector friend. That was the intended audience. As above, the Internet has become an increasingly effective mechanism for finding towns and villages of historic Hungary.
I own an English translation of three short Mikszáth novels published in a single volume. They are: The Siege of Beszterce; Gentry Wedding; and The Sipsirica. Mikszáth is famous for his portrayal of the Hungarian gentry (lesser nobility) in the late 1800s, mostly in country settings. I understand that stereotypes lack political correctness in our day and age. So be it! I'll be politically incorrect and tell you that two of these little novels are good, and .. in my opionion .. Gentry Wedding is great. Though a novel built upon stereotypes, I suspect you will learn more about your nemes ancestors from these 70 pages than from all the non-fictional histories in the library. (I did about one of my grandfathers.) My book is a 1982 Corvina edition, but I'm sure many other versions have been published in English.
This book, by János Mazsu, is a translation which is a part of the Atlantic Research East European Monographs series. It is a reference book, filled with charts and tables, and is definitely not a book that you'll enjoy sitting down and reading. On the other hand, if any of your ancestors were teachers, clergy, lawyers, or other members of the intelligentsia in 19th century Hungary, you'll have an opportunity to learn a lot about their lives and times. It is readily available online.
I have not listed the obvious American genealogy websites with their hosts of links. Rather, I've provided a few key, free, and very broad-based websites that have very direct relevance to Hungarian family history research. If you are interested in a wealth of relevant links, go to János Bogárdi's Radix site below. It's set of over 900 links is as good as you'll find anywhere.
This is the new website of the LDS Church's Family History Library. It is rapidly evolving into the major on-line resource for genealogical data. See the FAQ on "Getting Started" for how to access Hungarian on-line resources and to use FamilySearch.org for the traditional searches of the FHL catalog ... including "Place Search" ... and for ordering microfilms for delivery to your local FHC.
This is the place to go to find passenger ship manifests and their accompanying data for immigrants to New York. It can provide the final key link between your ancestors here in America, and their previous lives in "the old country." See the FAQ on "Getting Started" and Ship's Manifests in the tutorial on Hungarian Family History Documents for further information.
This website is based on the map collection of the National Szechényi Library. It permits you to view and/or download two complete sets of maps of the pre-World War I counties of Hungary. I find the quality of the basic set of maps better than the so-called "Gönzy" maps, but the latter have the advantage that they were all created at the same time and therefore have no minor inconsistencies. Those largely transparent inconsistencies are due to minor adjustments to the borders of the counties (megyék) that were made from time-to-time.Try both maps for the counties you need and see which is better for you.
János Bogárdi is a professional librarian living in Pécs who has for years been creating databases of interesting information for family history researchers, and making them available on his websites. I have separated Bogárdi's materials into two basic entry points: one to the free resources, and the second to the pay resources. There are links in both directions between the two.
The free website has many valuable features. Try the Place Locator, the Most Frequent Surnames, and various mapping and informational features. He has over 900 links and almost all are relevant to Hungarian family history research. Try Family Pages for links to other researchers' websites. I have some concern that many of his links are no longer functional.
Bogárdi's "Radix Index" website provides "teasers" as well as access to his pay websites. I have used some of these pay services and have found them very useful. The most popular is the Industry and Trade Directory for the entire nation in 1891. It's where Bogárdi got started, and it is still the centerpiece of the pay site. I got a lead in that directory to a village where I found a branch of my family that had stymied me for years. This lead allowed me to trace that line back to the early 1700s. But, users must be careful that they don't inadvertently access a lot of expensive information that is of no specific use to them. Try out some of the features without paying -- it's essentially a teaser, but you'll get an idea if you are likely to find valuable information if you "spring" with a credit card.
This is the website of the Special Interest Group on Hungarian Jewish Genealogy. This SIG has several on-going projects that would be of interest to people with Jewish ancestry in historic Hungary .. including major projects which are putting the actual source data of the 1848 Hungarian Jewish Census online, as well as the Jewish population identified in the 1828 census of taxable property owners.
rootsweb.com is the free website of genealogy.com .. it hosts the Word GenWeb project which supports many very interesting (for family history researchers) on-line efforts. These include specialized sites of working groups interested in the genealogy of specific countries. This site of the Hungarian Working Group contains many links to useful information.