Hungarian citizenship through ancestry: Is my ancestor Hungarian or not?

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Hungarian citizenship through ancestry: Is my ancestor Hungarian or not?

When you want to get Hungarian citizenship through ancestry, one of the documents supporting your application might be the birth certificate of one of your ancestors. But what if the place of birth turns out not to be in Hungary?

Example: “I know my grandfather was Hungarian. He was born in 1910 in Kosice – but that is in Slovakia! Can I still apply for Hungarian citizenship based on him?” 

No worries. Hungary used to be a lot bigger, so there are several towns in neighboring countries where Hungarian people live currently, and even more that are accepted as a proof of your Hungarian ancestry.

A historical background

The Kingdom of Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918. After the war, with the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, Hungary was broken up (effective from 1921). The borders you know from maps today were determined then. Hungary lost 72% of its former territory. More than 3 million Hungarian nationals found themselves living in neighboring countries instead of Hungary. Families were torn apart, and many lost sight of relatives.

Countries with towns that used to belong to Hungary include Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, and Ukraine – so basically all neighboring countries – and even Italy and Poland.

Ancestors born in former Hungarian territory

Was your ancestor born in a territory that no longer belongs to Hungary? If they were born before 1921 in a territory that used to belong to Hungary AND they were Hungarian nationals, you can apply for Hungarian citizenship just the same as if their place of birth still belonged to Hungary. You just need to prove that they were Hungarian and that you are related.

There is only one caveat: various nationalities used to live in Hungary. If your ancestor was born in a territory that used to belong to Hungary, but it is obvious from their birth certificate or baptism certificate that they were NOT Hungarian nationals but they belonged to another ethnic group (e.g. they were Czech or Bosnian or Slovakian, etc.), you are not eligible for Hungarian citizenship based on that relation.

Genealogy research for Hungarian ancestors

If your ancestor you had in mind turns out to be born 

  • in former Hungarian territory, but after 1921;
  • in former Hungarian territory, before 1921, but was not a Hungarian national,

you might still have ancestors based on who you might be eligible for Hungarian ancestry. You just need to find them. 

You do not have to do this alone, of course: a skilled genealogy researcher may be able to find long lost documents linking you to your Hungarian ancestors. We have partners operating in neighboring countries like Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia as well as in Hungary. Thanks to their experience, they will be able to find documentation (most probably birth certificates or baptism certificates) of your Hungarian ancestors.

Contact us

If you have any questions about being eligible for Hungarian citizenship, or finding ancestors and documents that can support your application, make sure to give us a call or write us an email. We will be happy to help!