SELECTED PARTS OF THE GUIDE TO THE BOOK:
PARISH REGISTERS IN SLOVAKIA FROM 16th TO 19th CENTURIES
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
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
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
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