Hungarian Ancestry


Most Hungarians who came to America prior to World War I came from the northern Hungary. One of the earliest, Michael de Kovats, was the founder of the United States Cavalry, and was part of the American Revolution. The major emigration (about 600-700 thousand) from Hungary was from about 1880 to about 1920, due to industrialization, urbanization, religious persecution, threats of war, and to avoid conscription into the Austro-Hungarian Army.


Austro-Hungarian Army

Austro-Hungarian Cavalry

“Like many European countries, Hungary has a diverse political history and its boundaries have changed many times. Following World War I, Hungary’s territory was reduced to one-third of its pre-war geographical area. Some territories were allotted to the Austrian area of Burgenland, to Romania and to the former countries of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. After World War II, some of the territory allotted to what was then Czechoslovakia (the Ruthenian area) was given to the Ukraine, which then was in the former U.S.S.R. In cases where an ancestral line is said to extend into Hungary, it may mean the old historical Hungary and one may have to research not only in present-day Hungary, but also in several other countries.

Many Hungarians who immigrated to the U.S. prior to World War I came from the northern part of old Hungary. The major emigration started about 1870 and ended about 1910. Many of them left from the port of Hamburg, Germany. The first Hungarian group of a substantial number to arrive in the U.S. came in 1849, and approximately 800 Hungarians served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. However, most Hungarians immigrated to America between 1890 and 1914.

Hungarian Refugees 1956

Hungarian Refugees 1956

The Family History Library has filmed many records of what is present-day Hungary. These include church, census, nobility and military records and some genealogical charts. Approximately 8,000 rolls contain parish registers of the different faiths, dating from the early 1700s to 1895 when civil registration started. These records are written in the Latin, Hungarian and German languages. Among the records available on microfilm are the parish registers of the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic, Reformed and Evangelical churches covering the time period of early 18th century to 1895. Parish registers cover all of the present-day Hungary, including records from Burgenland, Austria, the Bacska region of old Hungary, 53 places in Romania and 77 places in the former Yugoslavia.

Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began on October 1, 1895 in Hungary. The records are kept at the civil registrars’ offices in the town halls of each city or town and duplicates are located in the county archives or in the National Center of Archives.”

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