Certified Transcriptions of Vital Records
What is a Certified Transcription? In pre-1895 Hungary, all vital records were recorded only in church registers. There were no birth, marriage, or death "certificates" issued by the civil government, as we know them today. If a person wanted a record of a birth or marriage -- as was often the case when they were planning to emigrate to the U.S. or even another part of Hungary -- they went to the church where the information had been recorded, and paid the clergyman (or clerk) to provide a transcription of the original record. After 1895, certified transcripts of the civil vital records were likewise available from the local notary office. Transcriptions of vital records were usually provided on special forms intended for the purpose. These were church or government forms depending the the context. Typically a document tax was paid in the form of a tax stamp. These transcriptions were "certified" in that the responsible individual signed the form, certifying that the transcription was accurate. Although it is not precise terminology, many people refer to these certified transcriptions as "birth certificates" or "marriage certificates." This section shows four examples of certified transcriptions of vital records.