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Tip From the Pro

Unusual Hungarian names for the months.

© by Felix G. Game

Which month did you say? "Well, it says here Boldog Asszony Hava, whatever that means."

Those of you who do your own cranking and reading through Hungarian microfilms probably do so because you understand at least a bit of Hungarian, or think that surely you will recognize the family name when you see it. You probably will.

The more seasoned among you will have made the acquaintance of the Latin shorthand of 7bris, 8bris, 9bris and 10bris. Not knowing, or not being able to read the squiggles behind the 7, 8, 9 and 10, some of you probably plugged in the equivalent months for 7, 8, 9 10, and got July, August, September and October. Right? Wrong! This shorthand is based on the name of the Latin numerals of septem (7), octo (8), novem (9), and decem (10). Decoded, 7bris stands for septembris, and means September, 8bris stands for octobris, and means October, 9bris stands for novembris and means November, and 10bris stands for decembris, and means December. If this is news to you, perhaps you will want to check your records for a possible misinterpretation.

English Hungarian old, ecclesiastic Hungarian
January január Boldog Asszony hava
February február Böjt elsö hava
March március Böjt második hava
April április Szent György hava
May május Pünkösd hava
June junius Szent Iván hava
July julius Szent Jákob hava
August augusztus Kis Asszony hava
September szeptember Szent Mihály hava
October október Mindszent hava
November november Szent András hava
December december Karácsony hava
So now that you have graduated from Latin, lets go back to Hungarian. If that sounds safer than Latin, don't bet on it. Go back to the first line. Have you ever heard of Boldog Asszony Hava? Well, let me whisper it to you: neither have I. Yet the other day I was cranking through a film from Borsod for a client, and was completely taken by surprise. The priest had one of these names for every month of the year. I checked their sequence, and then double checked, and this is what I assembled.

A complete date for 20 Nov 1840 would look like this: "1840 Sz. András hava 20". For anyone who wants to see it with his own eyes, the LDS film to get is #0639224 (Borsod RC).


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