Banat Primary Sources
Primary records are original records: birth certificates, death certificates, family bibles, parish records, census data, etc. Secondary sources are published genealogies, compilations of public records, data obtained from third parties, data obtained from electronic media, interviews with relatives, etc.
The principal form of primary data for the Banat (after you've interviewed Aunt Catharina and Uncle Mathias and rummaged through the old shoe box) are
Parish records in the Banat were microfilmed by the LDS in the 1930's. Usually, parish records are kept confidential for up to 100 years. Most parish registers start with the founding of the village (St. Hubert, for example, circa 1772). They end between the 1830's and 1860's, with the birth records ending earliest, and death records containing the most recent dates. Parish records are principally Roman Catholic, and are in three major groups: Baptism; Marriage; and Death.
(See the above section on German Archives for other sources of church records.) Use the Family History Library Catalog on computer or microfiche to look for the order number of the microfilm for the village you are researching.
To find the order number, go to Locality Search and look under Hungary. Then look for the sub-heading Banat, then look for the name of the town in the alphabetical listing. (Or if you feel sure you know the version of the name of being used, simply enter this name at the start of Locality Search.) The town names and some of the description of the contents of the microfilm will usually be in Hungarian, although there maybe some cross-references or further description in German and/or English. The index will list the years for which records are available.
For example, the microfilms for Johannisfeld begin in 1806, the year the village was founded, and end in 1852. The records for small villages will be contained on a single roll, but larger towns will have two or more rolls. The microfilms will usually arrive in two to three weeks. If you are new to genealogy, ask for help from the volunteer librarians for learning how to record data on a standard family history form.
Warning: parish registers are sometimes filmed out of order, film quality is poor, and always, always, the handwriting is in script.
The literacy and legibility depend on the educational level of the parish priest who was making the entries. However, besides being a wonderful source of data, it is fascinating to read the life of a community through its parish. Equally intriguing is the evolution of names and their spelling.
A recommended purchase for reading German script:
If I Can, You Can Decipher German Records Edna M. Bentz
13139 Old West Avenue
San Diego, California 92129-2406
Entries are made principally in German script. During periods of Hungarian rule, given names are often "Magyarized" (Johann becomes Janos, for example), and surnames are listed first, as is the Hungarian
Some birth registers will list mothers by their maiden names (of immense value), and sometimes just as Catharina, uxor (frustrating). Be cognizant of the witnesses and godparents: they not only may be relatives, but they give clues to the spellings of names, when other entries might be illegible. Some parishes list addresses (Haus #73 is the total address -- no street names and zip/postal codes as is the current practice).
Records from 1850 to 1900 are the most difficult to locate. One can usually find relatives to fill in the pieces from 1900 to the present. Parish records will cover the period from the founding of the village until 1830-1850. The interim period is slowly being uncovered in Romania and Hungary. The current war in the former Yugoslavia severely limits the chances of finding any direct sources in that country.
The records for the Romanian Banat are being held in a government archive in Timisoara. Representatives of the Mormon Church and the Arbeitskreis donauschwaebischer Familienforscher (AkdFf) have approached the government about this at various times in the past, but to no avail. Negotiations are currently underway with the new government in Romania, but so far no answer has been received. Many researchers are hoping that this current effort will be successful so that the "missing generations" can be documented.
The "1828 Taxable Census of Hungary"
The "1828 Taxable Census of Hungary" is available on microfilm through the regional Family History Centers (FHC) of the LDS. The census lists the holders of all taxable property in that year along with the extent of their movable and non-movable property. Lists are organized by megye (equivalent to county) and village. Within each village is a list of the names of property owners by house number. This is a method of locating surnames in 1828. The census lists names of the property owner only, and has columns for the numbers of persons.
Several counties have been compiled in typewritten book form for easier reference by Ms. Martha R. Connor. The books are a replication of the names listed in the census, in the order they were entered, and cross-referenced with LDS microfilm numbers. Names are listed by village.
To order, write her at: 7754 Pacemont Court Las Vegas, Nevada 89117-5122
Counties currently available are:
- Bacs-Bodrog (the Batschka)
- Baranya (Schwabische Turkei)
- Fejer (north of Tolna)
- Temes (central part of Banat)
- Tolna (north of Baranya)
- Torontal (eastern part of Banat)
In the Finanz and Hofkammerarchiv (HKA) in Vienna one can find more than 1600 pages of documents dating from 1766 to 1804 that are called "Banater Akten" ... A small portion of these documents are the "Schlafkreuzerrechnungen". Close study of the Banater Akten reveals that there are 93 individual documents. One document may consist of one or several pages in which are contained names and house numbers of homeowner-hosts and the names of settlers in 49 towns in the Banat.
The purpose for writing the SKR was twofold. The Austrian government who had called the new settlers into the Banat before their new homes were ready, had the newcomers move in with the already established settlers. The hosts were paid one "Kreuzer" (a small denomination of Austrian currency) per person per night for the length of stay of their guests. Hence the coining of the name "Schlafkreuzerrechnung".
The records vary considerably in content, but can be helpful to genealogists because they usually contain the name and house number of the host in the particular village, dates of arrival and departure of the new settlers, number of members in each family, and may contain ages and occupations, history of births, deaths, marriages, and the name and housenumber of the new residence of the settlers.
Towns mentioned in the SKR include Sackelhausen, Gr. Jetscha, Hatzfeld, Lenauheim (Csatad), Bogarosch, Grabatz, Jahrmarkt, Mercydorf, Bruckenau, Beschenova, Billet, Lippa, Neudorf, Guttenbrunn, Neu Arad, Albrechtsflor, Arad, Blumenthal, Charleville, Csakowa (Tschakowa), Detta, Engelsbrunn, Fatschet, Freidorf, Gertianosch, Gladna (Deutsch and Rumaenisch), Gottlob, Grabatz, Gross-Betscherek, Gross-Jetscha, Gr. St. Nicholaus, Heufeld, Klein Jetscha, Karansebesch, Klein-Betschereck, Koenigshof, Kutritz (Gudriz), Lowrin, Lugosch, Marienfeld, Mastort, Neu-Petsch, Uybecs-Ulmbach, Ostern, Rekasch, St. Andreas, Segenthau, Schoendorf, St. Huberth, Soultour, Triebswetter, and Werschetz.
Some settlers went to the following towns: Apatin, Adelbach, Daruvar, Denta, Fabrique (Temesvar District), Koeveresch, Kreuzstaetten, Liebling, Moravitza, Nitzkydorf, Orcydorf, Reschitza, Rittberg, and Temesvar.