Hungary Names Personal

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Hungary
Names Personal

Naming Customs

In Hungarian, the surname (or a family name) is used first, followed by the given name. For example:

NAGY János John Nagy
KOVÁCS Mária Mary Smith

Hungarians also celebrate name days (each day in the calendar has one or more designated names.)

  • there is usually just one given name
  • surnames are generally a single names
  • patronymic names were usually not used as a fixed surname
  • his rule is also followed in Hungarian parish registers

Surnames were usually derived from common sources such as trades, qualities, ethnic origins, place names etc.:

SZABÓ Ferenc Frank Taylor
MOLNÁR Lajos Louis Miller
KIS Mihály Michael Little
FEHÉR Erzsébet Elizabeth White
TÖRÖK Katalin Catherine Turk

Titles of nobility are put before the surnames:

gróf NAGY János Count John Nagy

Bynames

Hungarians use a "byname" to help distinguish people with the same given names. The byname might be created from the fathers given name (as a patronymic name.) Other bynames might be created from an occupation or even a physical description. The byname might be used within the village or town, but were not fixed surnames. Further, a person might be known by one byname in a town, and be called by a different byname when traveling (referring to where they are from.) Bynames were not hereditary.

The first major class of bynames were patronymics that were created using the father's given name. It might be created by adding -fi to a father's meaning "his son" but may appear in records as -fi, -fia, -fy, or fÿ. For example:

  • Fodor Jákobfi (Theodore, son of Jacob)
  • Domokos Bertoldfia (Domokos, son of Bertold)
  • Miklós Oszkárfy (Nicholas, son of Oscar)
  • Simon Vilmosfÿ (Simon, son of Vilmos)

Married Women

Names of Hungarian married women take on special forms. Traditionally, the ending -né is added to her husbands given name and indicates that she is married, or Mrs. For example:

  • Nagy, Jánosné means Mrs. John Nagy
  • Kovács Jánosné means Mrs. John Smith
  • Klausenberger Ignáczné Bival Rosália means that Rosália Bival married a man named Ignácz Klausenberger

Further Reading

Excellent articles regarding Hungarian personal names can be found at: