Skip to main content

Finding the Village of Origin

If you do not know your ancestors' village of origin, a good starting point would be to ask all relatives for any clues. Interview them and check the attic and basement for old shoe boxes full of papers and pictures.

Often the name of the village is remembered only vaguely. Its spelling is unknown, or is spelled phonetically. The locality catalogues of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) can help in tracking the village of origin. The LDS is the largest holder and compiler of genealogical information on the planet. Many of their collected items are available for use (for a nominal fee) at a local Family History Center (FHC). (Consult the yellow pages of your telephone book under Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to find the FHC nearest to you.)

Villages often were known by at least three names. One name could be in German, another in Hungarian, and a third name in Serbian or Serbo-Croatian. For example, Molidorf is the German name, Molyfalva is the Hungarian, and Molin is the Serbian name for a village which was also spelled Molledorf, Mollydorf, and Mollyfalva. 

Locality catalogues are available at any LDS FHC (Family History Center). Call 801-240-2331 in the USA for information. 
The LDS's locality catalogue is a big help. Villages are listed alphabetically, and the lists include province/county, and alternate spellings.

In Hungary, as with all the countries under discussion, most of the pertinent record are arranged by locality. Hence, you must determine the exact place name.

The gazetteer used by the library to catalog the Hungarian collection is Janos Dvorzsak, comp., Magyaroszag Helysegnevtara (Gazetteer of Hungary) (Budapest: Havi Fuzetek, 1877) (Vol. 1, FHL# EUR REF/943.9/E5d or microfilm 599564; Vol 2, microfilm 973041).

This gazetteer is also part of the Family History Center's (Branch Library's) Core Collection: microfiche 6000840. Microfiche 6000840 is a set of 19 microfiche and is available at all Family History Centers. It lists 807 villages in the three counties that make up the Banat in the year 1877. Many of the villages have more than one name. The names are generally Hungarian but German names are also included.

This usually applies, although not for every case, when the prefixes Deutsch/Nemet, Magyar, Szerb, Gross/Nagy, Banat, and Kis are used. In fact, the "Gazetteer of Hungary" usually puts this prefix in parentheses adds it as a suffix to the root name. Thus Kisorosz becomes Orosz (Kis-), and you find it listed with the O's. Also, for many cases compound names are show both hyphenated and non-hyphenated.

The gazetteer identifies the churches that the residents of a particular village attended in the year 1877. For example it lists Charleville as having 787 Roman Catholics and Seultourn (Seulteur, Szeultour) as having 869 Roman Catholics and they attended the church in Szent-Hubert, which had 1376 Roman Catholics. If a village had its own parish church the religion is in bold capital letters. However, this gazetteer is only valid for 1877. For example, the Szent-Hubert records contains entries from Heufold (Heufeld, Nagy Toszeg) and Masztort (Kis-Toszeg) for the years from 1771 to 1790. After that the data is in the Heufold records.