Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present): - Hungarian -
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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna, Lillia de Vaux, and Alys Mackyntoich

- Hungarian -

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August 2013 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

Hungarian is one of the most popular Eastern European languages with submitters. It's interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it's not an Indo-European language, so it's quite different from most other European languages. Second, the kingdom of Hungary was an important medieval state. This multi-ethnic and multi-lingual state was dominated by Hungarian speakers, but also included large numbers of Romanian, German, Slovak, Serbian, and Ruthenian speakers. Ruthenian was discussed briefly last month; it's the medieval ancestor of Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Rusyn. The other Slavic languages and Romanian will be discussed in the next few months.

In the medieval kingdom of Hungary, Western influences were more important than in Russia or Lithuania. Thus, Latin was an important language of record through the entire medieval period. Vernacular documents existed as well, though Latin dominated until the Renaissance.

One well-known feature of Hungarian is that names do not follow the typical European name order. In vernacular (Hungarian) contexts, the given name follows the family name. In Latinized contexts, the given name precedes it. Thus, a name might be recorded in vernacular form as Andrasfi Lazlo or Nagy Miklos and in Latinized form as Laudislaus Andrasfi or Michael Nagy. As it is often difficult for the non-expert to determine if a name is Latinized or not, and many articles do not distinguish between Latinized and vernacular forms, we allow the registration of Hungarian names in either order. In Latinized names, the given names are Latinized, but bynames are often identical to the vernacular forms. This is even true for patronymic bynames; documentary Latinized forms in Hungary are as likely to look like the 1566 Ioannes Peter as the completely Latinized Ioannes (filius) Petri.

Bynames of relationship are the most common type of byname. Patronymic bynames are most frequently unmarked in Hungarian: they are simply identical to the given name of the person's father, as in Ioannes Peter above. Rarely, they are formed by adding -fi or -fy, shortened forms of fia "son." There are examples of matronymic byname, formed from the given name of the person's mother. Marital bynames are formed for women by adding -ne to the end of the husband's entire name, as in Margit Sos Mathene "Margit, the wife of Mathe Salt." Additionally, occupational, descriptive, and locative bynames are all found in Hungarian.

So, how can you document elements for a Hungarian name? It remains true that books (written in Hungarian, of course) have the largest number of byname elements. If you ask on heraldry lists, you're likely to encounter people who have those books. If you have trouble, it's worth seeking out experts like Kolosvari Arpadne Julia.

Julia's articles that deal with names generally have mostly been published in Known World Heraldic Symposium Proceedings, and are not available online. The exception is her "Names of property owners in northern Hungary, 1427," (which can be downloaded from and her "Ethnic Bynames in Hungarian before 1600 ( For given names, the best sources are Walraven van Nijmegen's "Hungarian Personal Names of the 16th Century" ( and his "Hungarian Feminine Names" (

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