Slovakia Jewish Records

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For more information about Jewish Genealogy Research see Jewish Genealogy Research Main Page

Introduction

Brief History

From the Middle Ages to the 1800s, the lands that now make up the Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia) and the Sloavk Republic were provinces of the Hapsburg Empire (later known as the Austrian Empire). In 1867, the Hungarians gained greater autonomy and the territory of Slovakia. The Austro-Hungarian Empire lasted until the end of WWI, when Czechoslovakia was formed from Bohemia, Moravia, Sloavkia, and parts of Silesia. In 1993, Czechoslovakia divided into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.[1] When searching for Slovak Jewish records, also search Hungarian Jewish records. Many can be found on the FamilySearch Catalog.

Maps of Slovakia

  • To view present-day Slovakia at Google Maps, click here.
  • For a Jewish population density map of Europe in 1900, click here.

Slovakia Gazetteer

Links to Slovakia Church and Synagogue localities:

Slovakia Jewish History

  • Read the Wikipedia.org article History of the Jews in Slovakia by clicking here.
  • Visit the Slovak Jewish Heritage Center online by clicking here.
  • Explore The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe by clicking here.


JewishGen.org Family Finder

Find others, possibly cousins, searching for your family name in the same countries, cities, and villages. Search by clicking JewishGen Family Finder. Free registration required.

  • Learn more about available Jewish records by clicking here.
  • Access the Slovakia 1869 Census
    by clicking here.
    Note: Records are not yet indexed. Use the browse feature.
  • Search Slovakia, Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1910 by clicking here.
    Note: Not all records are indexed. If your family is not found in the index, then use the browse feature.

Help with Slovak Jewish Research

  • Access the JewishGen.org Austria-Czech Special Interest Group (SIG) by clicking here.
  • Access the JewishGen.org Hungarian Special Interest Group (SIG) by clicking here.

Slovakia Jewish Records

Jewish Records [idovské matriky] refer to records about Jews (non-vital) and records of Jewish births, marriages, and deaths (vital). Non-vital Jewish records were created as Jewish communities kept account books, bought property, or had dealings with rulers and local governments. Records pertaining to Jews and Jewish congregation exist from the 1500s. Jews in Hungary generally did not keep vital records unless required to do so by law. Beginning in 1788 Jews were required to keep records of births, marriages and deaths in German under Catholic supervision. Because these records were required for conscription and taxation purposes, Jews often evaded registration. The law was reemphasized several times during the early 1800s. Most Jewish communities did not actually start keeping records until the practice was again codified into law in 1840. In 1885 the Hungarian Royal Ministry of Cults required that Jewish vital births, marriages, and deaths be recorded in vital registers which included several congregations in a sub-district obvod rather than in registers of each individual congregation obec. Exceptions were allowed when individual congregations paid to have their own registrar. With the beginning of civil registration in 1895 Jewish registers ceased to be official state documents.

Written evidence proves the existence of Jews in Slovakia in the tenth century though they likely were present as early as Roman times. Until the 1700s they were regularly expelled from the Hungarian Kingdom, but were always allowed to come back again. Their legal status was determined by specific royal decrees. Hungary experienced a great influx of Jews from Poland and Russia in the early 1800s, many of whom settled in the northern Slovak counties. The Jewish religion was not officially recognized in Hungary until the Toleration Patent of 1781. This began the gradual process of Jewish emancipation. Jews did not use fixed surnames until 1788 when another patent required them to adopt and use German surnames. In the mid 1800s a Jewish prefect was established. He represented the Jews before the Hungarian royal administration and was responsible for the regular collection of the Jewish tax. The Jews had to pay extra taxes for their protection. After 1840 Jews were allowed to settle in the whole territory of Slovakia (with the exception of mining towns). In December of 1867 Hungarian law recognized the Jews as fully equal in both civilian and economic life. Most of Slovakia’s Jews were forced out or murdered during the Nazi Holocaust.

These records are a prime source for information about the vital events in an individual's life. They contain information that can be used to compile pedigrees and family groups. They identify children, spouses, parents, and sometimes grandparents as well as dates and places of vital events. They establish individual identity and are excellent sources for linking generations and identifying relationships.

Contents:

Non-Vital: These generally contain information about royal dealings with specific Jews; also information about Jewish congregations, rabbis, names of members of the congregation; and economic activities.

Vital:

  • Births – name; sex; date and place of birth; parents’ names (sometimes grandparents) with occupation, age and residence; names of witnesses.
  • Marriages – names of groom and bride, date and place of marriage, age, place of birth, residence, previous marital status, occupation, often parents’ names for both groom and bride; names of witnesses.
  • Deaths – name of the deceased, date and place of death, cause of death, residence, age, occupation, marital status, spouses' name, often birthplace of the deceased.

Location:

Vital records and some non-vital are in state archives. Non-vital Jewish records are found in district and city archives.

Accessibility:

The Genealogical Society of Utah has been microfilming Slovak archive vital records since 1991. Although the microfilming is not complete (Bratislava, the last archive, is currently being filmed), most of the films are now available through the Family History Library. Slovak church registers are also accessible to those who hire a private researcher to visit the archives for them or who can visit the archives in Slovakia themselves and research the records in person.[2]

Jordan Auslander has compiled an index to Jewish vital records in Slovakia which is arranged by town name. It indicates what years exist for births, marriages, and deaths. It also gives the archive where these records are held:
Auslander, Jordan. Index to Jewish vital statistic records of Slovakia. Teaneck, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 1993. (FHL fiche 6414537).

The Slovak National Archives address is:

Slovensky narodny archiv
Drotárska cesta 4072/42
811 02 Staré Mesto
Slovakia
Phone: +421 2/628 011 87
Email: archiv@sna.vs.sk

Here are other resources to help find Slovak Jewish records:

  • Jewish Vital Statistics Records in Slovakian Archives.
  • Kollarova, Zuzana and Jozef Hanus. A Guide to the Slovak Archives. Universum, 1999.
  • Saramanyova, Jane. Cirkevne Matriky na Slovensku Zo 16.-19. Odbor Archivnictva Ministerstva Vnutra SR, 1991. Provides a list of parish registers (including Jewish registers) in Slovakia from the 16th to the 19th century.

Some sources are also available at the Center for Jewish History (see Jewish Archives and Libraries#Center for Jewish History).

  • Rabbinical and Historical Manuscripts Collection, 1567-1930. This collection contains rabbinic bound and unbound manuscripts, correspondence, responsa, and other documents. It also includes tombstone inscriptions from Mislic (1785-1877) and Prague (1740-1785).

The JewishGen Hungary Database

  • Includes Slovakia. More than 1.2 million records for Hungary and former Hungarian regions (Slovakia, Croatia, northern Serbia, northwestern Romania, and Sub-Carpathian Ukraine) from many different sources: vital records, census records, property tax records, etc. Requires free registration. To search, click here.

Facebook Research Community

  • Get ideas and help with Slovakian Genealogy here.

Slovak Jewish Heritage Site

The Slovak Jewish Heritage Center has an Internet site that is devoted to providing information about major Jewish sites in the Slovak Republic. The material covers a range of topics including synagogues, former educational and other communal buildings, cemetery chapels, and selected cemeteries.

You can download a brochure, Slovak Jewish Heritage Route,which provides colorful photographs of Jewish buildings in 21 Slovak towns.

Websites

Helpful Resources

Here are a few printed resources for Jewish research in Slovakia. Some of these books can be found at the Family History Library and some can be accessed at the Center for Jewish History.

  • Auslander, Jordan. Genealogical gazeteer for the Kingdom of Hungary. Bergenfield, New Jersey : Avotaynu. (FHL call no. JGS 943.9 E5aj)
  • Buechler, Yehoshua Robert. "The Jews of Slovakia: Some Historical and Social Aspects." Review of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews 1 (1968-87): 167-176.
  • Czechoslovakia: Official Standard Names. Division of Geography, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1955.
  • Dvorzsák, János. Magyarország helységnévtára tekintettel a közigazgatási, népességi és hitfelekezeti viszonyokra / szerkesztette Dvorzsák János = Ortslexikon von Ungarn mit Bezug auf die politische und kirchliche Eintheilung der Bevölkerung. Budapest, Hungary : Havi Füzetek Kiadóhivatala, 1877. (FHL call no. 943.9 E5d)
  • Heřman, Jan. Jewish cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia. [S.l.] : Council of Jewish Communities in the ČSR, 1980s. (FHL call no. 943.7 V3)
  • Heřman, Jan. Jewish community archives from Bohemia and Moravia : analytical registers to the catalogues of archive materials from Jewish communities with the exception of that of Prague. Prague, Czech Republic : Státní Židovské Muzeum, 1971. (FHL call no. 943.71 A3h)
  • Iggers, Wilma Abeles, editor and translator. The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia: A Historical Reader. Wayne State University Press, 1992.
  • Lelkes, György. Magyar helységnév-azonosító szótár. Baja, Hungary : Talma, 1998. (FHL call no. 943.9 E5Lg 1998)
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert. Historical atlas of East Central Europe. Seattle, Washington : University of Washington Press, 1993. (FHL call no. 940 H2ho)
  • Majtán, Milan. Názvy obcí slovenskej republiky : vývin v rokoch 1773-1997. Bratislava, Slovakia : VEDA, vydavateľstvo Slovenskej akadémie, 1998. (FHL call no. 943.73 E2m 1998)
  • Mokotoff, Gary and Sallyann Amdur Sack. Where once we walked : a guide to the Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust. Teaneck, New Jersey : Avotaynu, 1991. (FHL microfilm 940 E5ms)
  • Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews. The Jews of Czechoslovakia. 3 volumes. Jewish Publication Society, 1968-1984.

References

  1. "Czech and Slovak Republics: Jewish Family History Research Guide". Center Genealogy Institute (March 2006), www.cjh.org.
  2. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Slovakia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1991-1999.