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CentroConsult - Research in Slovakia and former Austria-Hungary


Published by the department of archives of the Slovak Ministry of Interior, Bratislava 1991

Parish registers - the basic type of records of population - even of the efforts to introduce them since 12th century were widely used in the l6th  century after the Trident council. The acceleration of their introduction was the reformation that had brought the origin of the Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession and the Calvin Church identified as evangelical reformed church.

In Hungary, (Slovakia had been the part of its territory up to the origin of the C.S.R. in 1918) there it has been ordered to keep the register of baptised persons since 1515 by the Church congress in Veszprém, but there were necessary two more synods (1564 and 1611) in Trnava to extend the keeping of registers according to the appointment of the Trident council.
Rituale Romanum of the Pope Paul V. from l614 and according to it elaborated and in Hungary generally valuable Rituale Strigoniense contained except the rules for officiation (at a mass) of Host and liturgy and obligatory patterns for keeping of five parish books; i.e. books of baptised, books of confirmed, books of married, books of the number of people in congregation and last but not least the book of buried.

There was ordered by the form of the note in a book of baptised to write besides the date of baptism also the date of birth and according to this the books of baptised have become for civil law the registers of born persons. This order had not been kept for a long time.

Thanks to persistent interference of public authorities there have been kept Catholic and Protestant registers in almost all parishes in the second half of 17th century. Protestants were at first registered in Catholic registers, but in some places they had the registers of their own which were not considered reliable till the proclamation of the Letter or Tolerance (Reform Law)

Extension of keeping the registers aroused the interest of the state. Absolute-enlightenment monarchs Maria-Theresia, and Joseph II noticed the importance of registers as the precise record of population not only from personal or religious point of view but also from the point of view of public administration for economical, military statistical purposes. That is why they paid to registers the appropriate attention.

Joseph II proclaimed Roman-Catholic registers as the reliable public books. He ordered to keep them according to types in separated books and according to written up rubrics. The Letter of Marriage proclaimed by Joseph II in 1786 which arranged religious-judicial problems of the marriage had also obliged priests and clergymen of all the churches acknowledged by the Letter of Tolerance (20th October 1784) to register all the marriages in the book of married. Joseph II arranged the position of the Jews. He ordered them to accept family names German first names and he ordered to rabbis to keep the registers: or born, married and dead persons in German.

The other important adjustment (arrangements) concerning the registers has been implemented in the first half of 19th century. In 1827 there have been introduced the new register rubrics and there was ordered keeping of registers in two copies. Other arrangements concerned the language of registers. During 1843 According to law adjustments of Hungarian congress there were generally introduced Hungarian register printed matters and writing of registers in Hungarian language. This state lasted until 1853 when the Ministry of Culture and Education introduced new rubrics and new printed forms.

All the changes of rubrics and adjustments of printed forms in registers were made for exacting and increasing data of evidence and identification.

In spite of adopted law measures from 1827 and 1840 the inconsequent keeping of Jewish registers required establishing of Jewish register agenda since 1st January, 1886.

The other important changes were done in 90-ies of the 19th century. The civil marriage was introduced in 1894 and there was proclaimed general freedom of religion and nationalisation of register agenda.

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