BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L ArchivesArchiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-06 > 0930578318
Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 18A, dtd 31 Aug 1997 (edited)
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 09:58:38 EDT
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS -No. 18A
(issued bi-weekly by )
August 31, 1997
(all rights reserved)
This edition of the newsletter contains what we hope is a definitive primer
explaining how to interpret those marvelous Burgenland microfilm records
available from the Latter-day Saint (LDS) Library in Salt Lake City. We've
received many questions over a long period of time concerning the definition
of words in those records. If you haven't defined them for yourself, you may
wish to print this article and keep it handy for those days when you're
laboring in an LDS Family History Center. Special thanks to Albert Schuch
for his most scholarly help and to new member Joan Straub for asking the
ultimate questions that triggered the subject.
TRANSLATING BURGENLAND CHURCH RECORDS
(by Gerry Berghold & Albert Schuch, suggested by Joan Straub )
Having spent many hours reading Hungarian Burgenland church microfilm over a
period of years, it is still easy to recall the dismay with which new
genealogists may first view them. Chicken scratches written in a completely
unfamiliar language (Hungarian) liberally sprinkled with what looks like
Latin and German! Column headings in all three languages or none at all.
Abbreviations never before seen and village and family names bearing no
resemblance to what we are seeking. Advancing a few frames we find some
printing instead of script, which helps us translate the script and later,
perhaps village names changed to something we recognize. As we puzzle the
column headings we find one that must mean name, another that is age, one
that has to be mother and father and with dictionary help we slowly proceed.
The above approach to translation won't appeal to everyone and I'm afraid
some give up just when they're on the threshold of finding their first
European record. I remember an individual with an obvious classical education
who told me he had given up on what he called "chicken scratching Babel".
Later, I had cause to view those same records and found clues to three
generations of his ancestors. Upon being advised he soon returned to the
search. To preclude this from happening to any of the Burgenland Bunch, this
article will try to guide you through the penetrable maze of Austro-Hungarian
church records. It is possible that new questions may still arise and new
definitions may later become necessary. I don't have the expertise to explain
German script, that's something you must experience on your own. I have
loaded a German script "pony" in my FTP site as a graphic file called >
Go to > ftp://members.aol.com./gberghold/private/script.pcx < This is
available for downloading. There is much better help available elsewhere.
Fortunately, very little German script was used in the Burgenland after 1800
and Hungarian records, which use the Latin alphabet, are actually easier to
read than those in German script. Latin script can also be appalling but 've
found that if you persevere you will become familiar with each recorder's
handwriting and will eventually be able to decipher it.
Latin used for church records is fairly easy. Only the flowery "boiler plate"
or liturgical introductions used in very early records is difficult. These
follow the pattern "Praise be to God on the feast day of St. XXXX in the YYYY
year of our Lord's glorious resurrection, etc. was baptized by Father NNNN,
ZZZZ, a son, born DMYY to the most worthy NNNN, a citizen of XXXX and his
lawfully wedded wife NNNN, etc." This type of record vanishes about 1828 when
the government or the church decreed a set record format.
German dictionaries are readily attainable and most of the German used is not
difficult. (See "Death Records" for many German terms). Where Latin and
German are used as column headings, they generally follow the same order as
the Hungarian. As the years pass, the record formats expand and contract, but
the basic headings still appear. This leaves Hungarian as the major problem
and the following should help:
These will be found in a very general form both with and without headings.
The most common data found are record number, date of birth and/or baptism,
name of child, sex, religion, legitimacy, place of birth (house number after
1848), name of pastor officiating, father and mother, names of godparents,
comments; generally in that order. Civil records of birth (starting 1896)
have much more data, but the same words used for baptisms apply. By law,
starting in 1828, church officials were given the responsibility of recording
births, marriages and deaths. They were required to submit copies of their
records to government archives. Some of the copies are good, others not. The
copies were stored in the Budapest Archives where they were microfilmed by
the LDS in the 1960's. These are the records most of us see. The originals
(including pre 1828 data) are at many Burgenland churches; while some sent
older registers to central archives. Sometimes in early records, or at the
discretion of the recorder or copier, only date, name of child, parents
names, godparents and pastor will be shown. A cross next to the child's name
signifies infant death as does the name "anonymous" which suggests
The Hungarian equivalents of English baptism terms are:
record numberFolyo' sza'm
date of entry-year, month, dayA bejegyze's ideje (e'v, ho', nap)
date of birthSzu"leke'se napja, month can be Latin
bornszu"l. abbreviation for szu"leinek
date of baptismKere'szteltete"se napja
name of childneve (baptism name, Kereszt-neve),
Latin, Germ. or Hung.
sexneme (lea'ny-female, fiu-male)
"spurius" = illegitplace of birth (house number)
szu'lete'shelye (after 1840's), Hungarian name can be used
name of pastor officiatingA keresztele"me'k neve or
father and mother, name, religion,A szu"le'knek neve, jelleme s valla'sa
residence and statuspolga"risorsok (status, like
religionAg. h. ev. (Lutheran), R. kath.
fatheratya (can be preceded with "Szu"lei")
motheranyja (same as above)
if a parent is deceasedoszvegy, for widow or "nehai", late
names of godparents & residenceA keresztele's samuluch or Kereszt Atya e's
Many baptism terms are also used for marriage records. Albert Schuch was kind
enough to expand on them. Rather than redo his work, they're published here
as he submitted them.
HUNGARIAN-LATIN RC MARRIAGE RECORDS HEADINGS (Albert Schuch)
In this list, the Latin heading is always followed by the (almost
word-to-word) Hungarian translation; in two cases (marked with an * in front)
the Hungarian phrase has been split up, so this became less clear; some
misspellings cause trouble too.
* N(UME)RUS CURRENS (L) = FOLYO SZAM (H) = current number "folyo" = "current"
(another meaning of "folyo" is "river"); "szam" ="number"
ANNUS MENSIS ET DIES COPULATIONIS (L) = AZ ESKETES EVE ESKTES A NAPJA
(H) = year, month and day of the marriage "esketes" = "marriage"; "ev" =
"year"; "nap" = "Tag";
I cannot find a word "esktes", so I think this is just "esketes" again -
"month" would be "honap"
NOMEN ET CONDITIO SPONSI ET SPONSAE (L) = NEV S POLGARI SORSA A
JEGYESNEK (H) = name and status (standing, occupation) of the bride and
"nev" = "name"; "sors" = "status"; "polgari" = "civil"; "jegyes/ek" =
* LOCUS ORIGINIS ET DOMICILE NUMERUS DOMUS (L) = SZULITESUK S LAKASUK
HELYE HAZAZAMUK (H) = place of birth and residence and house number
"szletes/ek" = "birth/s"; "lakas/ok" = "residence/s"; "hely" = "place";
"hazszam/ok" = "house number/s"
AETAS (L) = KORUK (H) = age "kor/ok" = "age/s"
NOMEN ET CONDITIO TESTIUM (L) = A BEZONYSAGOK NEVE N POLGARI SORSA (H) =name
and status of witnesses "nev", "sors", "polgari" = as above; I didn't find a
"bezonysagok", so it will be misspelled; but it has to be "witnesses"
NOMEN ET OFFICIUM (COPU)LANTIS (L) = AZ ESKETO NEVE ES HIVALALA (H) =
name and office (maybe in the sense of rank or department) of the priest you
have to add "copu" to "lantis", then it means "the one who marries them",
i.e. the priest; also the meaning of "esketo"
NUM PROMULGIT VEL PERPENSATI .... VEL ALIQUO IMPEDEMENT... (L)
were the bans (wedding) published (and was there) any impediment (to the
OBSERVATION-L-comment ESZREVETEL/EK-H- comment/s (end of Schuch article)
These are easiest of all, because they are so terse. Two items bear special
attention, however. Cause of death will be shown using medical terms
prevalent at the time of death. Some are very difficult to translate into
today's terms. The list of causes is endless. You may wish to acquire one of
the many good genealogical publications which list Latin or Germanic causes
In addition, while parents of the deceased are rarely shown, spouse
indications (where couples are involved) or father's names (for children)
frequently are shown. Spouse may be identified by "the widower of Name
deceased". Children's names will be followed by "son of Name". Latin "filia"
or "filius" is often used, like "Johannes, son (filius) of the farmer Name
and wife." A death record for the Martin Luther Kirche in Eltendorf contains
the following, Hungarian (H)and Latin(L) terms shown following English
translation of German:
Heading: Todten Protokoll fu"r das Jahr 1830- death register for year 1830,
A' Halottnak or A meghaltnak(H), Protocollum Mortuorum(L) or Defuncti (L)
Der Verstorben-the deceased
Reading Left to Right:
Anzahl-Number-Sza'ma(H)-Nrus (numerus) currens(L)
Sterbetag-Date of death-Hala'la' Napja(H)-Annus Dies(L), year & day
Begrabnisstag-Date of burial-Temete'se Napja(H)-Dies Sepulturae(L)
Namen, Stand und Wohnort-Name, status, residence (note:about 1840 house
numbers came into use and will be found following village names)-Neve,
polga'ri sorsa e's lakhelye(H)-Nomen Cognomen Defuncti (L) Sometimes
"Religio" (religion) and "Conditio" (status) are also shown
Locus originis et habitationus numerus domus(L)-place of birth and residence
(number)-Szu'lete'se s laka'sa helye ha'zsza'm (H)
AnSacramentis provisus(L)-were the sacraments admisistered?- answer is
(variation-Fuit ne provisus Sacramentis Moribundorum?)
Locus Obitus(L)-place of death; Locus Sepulturae(L)-place of burial
Alter-Age, shown as "number jahre"-Kora(H)-Aetas(L) or Annorum(L) or Dies
(days) or Mensius (months)
Krankeit-sickness (cause of death like "fibris" or
fever)-Betegse'ge(H)-Morbus(L) sive aliud genus mortis (or some combination)
Begleisender Prediger-Officiating pastor (name)-Egyha'zi
Two points concerning death records. Remember that they can take you back in
time. If one of your ancestors dies in 1850, age 72, you have just uncovered
an ABT 1778 birth date. Likewise, scan for infant deaths to preclude
duplication of names. As infants died, their names were often repeated for
new children. My grandfather had two "Johns" before he gave up and used
"Julius John" for a third son who survived as my father.
This should cover most of the church records seen from the year 1770 to 1896.
The civil records (1896-1921) are different and have much more data and
different formats. The same words; however, will be found. One important
point. The first name to appear at the top of a civil record is normally the
name of the person reporting the incident (birth, death, etc.). This will be
followed by the name of the notary. Individuals concerned will be found in
the body of the record, male first in the case of a marriage, then his
parents, then the bride, parents and witnesses.
If all of the above is still Greek to you and you're really having trouble, I
strongly urge you to spend a few dollars and get a copy of "Following the
Paper Trail", Shea & Hoffman, Language and Lineage Press, 60 Old Northfield
Road, New Milford, CT 06776. This most informative guide to deciphering
foreign genealogical records covers German, Hungarian and Latin along with
many other languages. Has examples of documents, comments concerning
language and script.
Another is "If I Can You Can... DECIPHER GERMANIC RECORDS", by Edna M. Bentz,
13139 Old west Ave., San Diego, CA, 92129. She inscribed my copy "Happy
This has a very good script primer, terminology and symbols, illnesses and
occupations, Latin terms, and a wealth of other good material. While slanted
toward north German records (it also includes Danish) it is apllicable to any
Germanic area. Cost is minimal.
At the end of each record year, you will find comments by the priest or
pastor. They will include the sum total of baptisms, marriages and deaths,
some ecclestiastical comments and if you're lucky, at the very end of the
records an index. ALWAYS go to the end of the film and look for an index.
They were used to quickly find baptisms. The index will be in alphabetic
order with no secondary alphabetization.
END OF NEWSLETTER-EDITED & DISTRIBUTED BY GERALD J. BERGHOLD, For information
concerning the Burgenland Bunch, contact .