Hungarian research and passports


                                         Sometimes the key to researching your immigrant ancestor from Hungary is right in your own home -  the passport. Many immigrants never throw out their passports because it was their only form of identification in the new country. The passport was usually kept in a special purse or drawer. Sometimes it was brought out because it was a reminder of home. Oftentimes, it may have been retrieved from it's hiding spot when experiencing tough times in the new country. There is no doubt that a passport sticks around, possibly throughout the immgrant's lifetime. 

                                         Ancestry's website has many passport databases. Some are indexed; some can be browsed online. Some examples in the card catalog range from the Emergency Passport Applications to the standard U.S Passport Applications, 1795-1920 which is frequently updated. All are catalogued under the Immigration & Travel section. There is a database you do not want to miss for Hungarian research called the "Emergency Passport Applications, 1915-1916: US Consulate in Budapest". Not only are the applications chockful of vital information about the applicants but the photographs tells a story. They may be the only photographs you can find for an ancestor. As you will notice in these particular examples, there are very few families together. Usually it's the man alone, some women alone or the mother with children. Anyone that researches Hungarian immigrants realizes that it was the pattern of the man going first to the United States, boarding in a rooming house while working at the mills or mines that hired them. When they collected enough funds, they sent for their wives and children. 

                                      These passport photographs from the passport applications were assembled carefully into albums by Louis Takács. Louis is a researcher who studied anthropology and continues his interests in working with records. He did an amazing job of sorting, arranging and collating the passport photographs together. There is a poignant story in each one of them. So much wariness in their faces about their upcoming journey, yet some of them looked to hardly contain their excitement. It was a time when they wore their Sunday best for a studio photograph. Some of the photographs appear to be family portraits that were already snapped outside and brought into the passport office. Some could sign their names; some signed with their mark. Many were unsigned. 

                                      The  "Passport from Hungary, 1916-1925" pictures albums aptly called "mákvirág" are remarkable here at Flicker at :

                                             For separate collections :




            The link to the index for the database is at Ancestry if you want to search through the actual passports yourself  at :

On the right side panel, under "Browse this Collection", is a dropdown menu with many options to explore for your immigrant's passport.

You can also search for them at FamilySearch too at :