Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hungarian Vital Records from MACSE, for English Speakers

MACSE is the Hungarian Society for Family Research.  If you have family who lived in Hungary, it's a great (and growing) resource for finding records on your family.  MACSE has been indexing thousands of Hungarian vital (and other) records which are not indexed anywhere else.  While some limited searching can be done for free, you can join MACSE for $30 a year to get access to everything that they have indexed.  If you have Hungarian ancestry, this is one of the best deals around.  But it takes a bit of experimenting for English speakers to figure out how to best leverage what it has.
Marriage of Pepi Ruttner (my grandmother's second cousin) to Gyula Neuman; August 1945

MACSE has multiple databases which I'll discuss in future posts, but initially I'll concentrate on their index of vital records.  They are quite strong in indexing records from Budapest proper with additional areas being worked as well.  Also, many people from small villages moved to cities like Budapest, so you'll often be surprised to find relatives who lived quite a distance away living in Budapest.  (The above marriage record showed me that Pepi Ruttner survived the Holocaust, as she was married in Budapest in 1945!  But before this, the last record I had for her was her birth in Dulfalva [today's Dulovo, Ukraine], which was quite a distance from Budapest.)

Some MACSE pages are available in English, but the search page for vital records is not.  Here is a tutorial for English speakers, which will work once you have a MACSE membership.

Once you sign in with your membership, go to the Vital Records page.  From there, you can choose to search births, marriage or deaths.  At that point, the primary field you'll need is Családnév, which is surname.  Type in your surname there--noting that the default is to do an exact search.  You can use % to represent 0 or more characters and _ to represent exactly one character.
Searching for Rutners
In the image above, I'm searching for variations of my Rutner surname.  R%tn_r will find Ruttner, Rutnar, Ruttnar and Ruthner, but it will also find Raubetnar.  When you are ready to search, click on Lekérdezést végrehajtani.  Hopefully you will get a list of matches.
MACSE Search Results
If you find a record that looks interesting, click on "Kapcsolat az anyakönyvhöza FamilySearch portálon" to see the original record on FamilySearch.  (You will need to be logged into your FamilySearch account to see the record; if you don't have one, you can register for free.)

Note that MACSE only shows 10 results on each page.  If your search gives you more results, you'll be given the total number of results and the total number of results pages; "Összesen: X találat Y oldalon" means that your search gave you X total results which will be displayed over Y pages.

Once you've reviewed a page of matches, you'll need to choose the next page you want to view.
Pick a page!
There will be a drop-down menu with your current page number and then "oldal."  Pick the page number you want to jump to, and then click on the adjacent "ugrás ide" button, which will allow you to jump to that page.

The above will work for the majority of the searches you'll want to do.  However, there are a few more fields that can help narrow down your search results, particularly for common surnames:

"Közigazgatási terület[budapesti kerület, helység vagy (vár)megye:]" allows you to limit results to particular districts, towns, or Budapest districts.  "Keresztnév" allows you to specify a first name.  The same wildcards (% and _) mentioned above can be used here as well.  If you want to narrow things down even further, click the "részletes" radio button and experiment with additional fields.

Happy searching!  Let me know what you find.  And stay tuned for posts on some of the other MACSE resources.

UPDATE:  Judy Petersen commented on Facebook with a few more helpful hints for searching: 
1) clicking the box that starts with "találatok" enables you to search all 3 databases (B/M/D) at once. 2) clicking on the box with the date (2019.03/31) enables you to just search the most recent upload to the database. Very helpful if you have a common surname! 3) clicking the box "részletes" enables you to do a multi-cell search for a given type of record (B, M or D). If you click on it, you will be redirected to a new page with all the cells for that kind of record. So say you know parents' surnames (for example, papa Deutsch and mama Kohn) you can search for the various combinations of those surnames (say, all marriages for men whose parents' surnames were Deutsch and Kohn). Again, this is really helpful for common surnames and narrowing down potentially hundreds of "hits."

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  1. Lara, am I correct that membership only gets one access to the LDS/Familysearch BMD records that are already online at Familysearch? If that is correct, then the only advantage over accessing the records directly at Familysearch would be if the records were indexed, which is not likely to be the case if one's ancestors lived in different megyes. Have I missed something?

  2. Thank you. This has been on my to-do list and now I'll get on it.

    One question - is the order of the results alphabetical, chronological or what? (Just to get an idea how to jump pages.)