Reading old documents in a foreign language isn’t easy, but old records contain plenty of useful information. This page is a compilation of some of my favorite translation sites and tools. Learn how to recognize some of the most common occupations, causes of death, and much more.

Causes of Death. Rudy’s List of Archaic (medical) Terms

Causes of Death (bottom half of each page) and other common words. Genealogy.RO

Translation of Church Records, Headings. Family Search

Online Hungarian-English DictionaryDictZone – Has a “suggested words” feature and search results show similar words, which is helpful if you only know the first few letters of a word. Also suggests common phrases used with a given word.

Hungarian Genealogy Word List FamilySearch – One-page alphabetical list of the most commonly used Hungarian words on birth, marriage, and death records. 

First Names and their counterparts in other languages. Behind the Names

Occupations. JewishGen list of common occupations, Hungarian to English translations. Includes alternate spellings.

Kinship Terms. – A list of terms for relatives, far beyond “mother” and “father”

Social Statuses, Latin. Understanding words like Colonus and Inquilinus, commonly found on Central and Eastern European records.


Hungarian Typewriter While viewing a document, open this site in a new window. Resize the new window until it’s small enough to fit in a corner of your screen, not obstructing the document to be translated. Now, you can easily type all the special Hungarian accented characters (and standard letters) and then copy/paste into Google Translate

Note: You can do this all in one step for single words or short phrases with Google Translate, but I prefer the Hungarian Typewriter’s interface for entering long blocks of text.

Cezanne Font Although old church records were written in many styles of script, Cezanne font is quite similar to the penmanship styles used in many old parish registers. Not sure of a word? Install Cezanne (or another vintage-style script font you may find online), create a blank document in Word or a similar program, and start typing what you think the word may be.