Families immigrated to America

As a result of the economic crisis at the end of the 19th century, until the outbreak of World War I, more than 3 million people emigrated from the territory of the Austro–Hungarian Monarchy to America, hundreds of thousands of whom were Hungarians. In fact, the emigration-fever reached Hungary as early as the beginning of the 1880s. According to statistical accounts, between 1899 and 1913, 1.390.525 persons emigrated from the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary, among them 400.000 Hungarians, mostly through the seaports of Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia) and Hamburg. More than 86% of the emigrants settled down in the USA. The third and fourth generations of the emigrants’ descendants give a considerable proportion of foreign family history researchers. Most of them no longer speak Hungarian, and they have only very confused and inaccurate memories about their families (names, places of birth/marriage, dates, etc.). American researchers tend to generalise – e.g. his/her grandfather/great-grandfather was born/died or got married somewhere in the Austro–Hungarian Monarchy, presumably in Budapest; his/her grandfather/great-grandfather served in the Monarchy's army and died in World War I, one of his/her great-great-grandfathers was the soldier of Kossuth etc.

Regarding genealogy, we recommend Hungarian-speaking American researchers the following publications: Puskás Julianna: Kivándorló magyarok az Egyesült Államokban 1880–1940. [Hungarian emigrants in the United States of America, 1880–1940.] Budapest, 1982. (It contains an outstandingly comprehensive literature on the immigrations from Hungary to America, and its political, economic and social consequences.) And Tezla Albert: "Valahol túl, meseországban, …"- Az amerikás magyarok 1895–1920. Budapest, 1987. (the latter one has an English translation, too: The Hazardous Quest. Hungarian immigrants in the United States. Budapest, 1993.) From Hungary the great majority of emigrants sailed to America by Cunard Line through the seaport of Fiume. The smaller part of them, however, departed from Hamburg by the Falk & Társa (Falck & Compagnie) company. The emigrations that occurred through Fiume appeared in a local newspaper, the "Kivándorlási értesítő" [Emigration Report]. This paper, published in Fiume between 1903 and 1907, fortnightly provided detailed lists of the emigrants who embarked at Fiume (name, age, place of birth etc.; microfilm collection: box 47355). Former daily and weekly Hungarian newspapers published in the United States also contain a great deal of information on emigrants (immigrants): Amerikai Magyar Népszava–American–Hungarian People’s Voice (New York, 1899–1942); Bevándorló–The Immigrant (New York, 1904–1911), Magyar Híradó–Hungarian Courier (Pittsburg, 1907–1925); Magyar Hírlap–Hungarian Herald (Detroit, 1914–1933); Magyarok Vasárnapja–Hungarians’ Sunday (Cleveland, 1901–1927) etc. Researchers can find several data in the sub-fonds of the Ministry of the Interior (Reference numbers: K 148, K 149, K 150) in connection with issues of immigrations, emigrations and nationalization occurring at the turn of the century. Unfortunately, numerous records have been discarded. The sub-fond K 26 of the Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office provides information on the people immigrating to America between 1902 and 1918 (Microfilm collection: boxes: 14294–14360.). The Office of Hungarian emigrants and remigrants (1932–1946) dealt with similar matters. Its records can be found in the National Archives of Hungary under the reference number P 1256.

Naturally, apart from these collections, the mentioned sources (parish registers, certain censuses, conscriptions and tithe indexes etc.) are recommended to use as well.

More about the families of Jewish origin