This collection includes a combination of civil and church records from Transylvania, focusing on German populations. It contains extensive family history information from areas in Romania that formerly belonged to the historic Hungarian Habsburg Monarchy (excepting Bukovina).
In this case "German" refers either to Lutheran Saxons in Transylvania or to Roman Catholic Swabians and Berlanddeutsche from the Banat and Partium regions. Cities in the region, particularly in the 18th century, experienced heavy German influences as they became targets of the migratory flow of urban workers. Documented here is an exodus to South-East Europe that parallels the great German emigration to America in the 19th century.
The records cover ethnic Germans in Transylvania. They include urban Catholic populations as well as the Jewish community which, during the first half of the 19th century, had a particularly great affinity for German language and culture. The first signs of intermixing with diverse populations began to appear in the late 19th century, a trend that has continued until today.
Beginning in the 12th century, ethnic Germans began settling in Transylvania, invited at the behest of the king of Hungary to serve as a buffer zone for its southeastern border. Known as "Transylvanian Saxons," they occupied parts of Romania for centuries, establishing autonomous fortresses, cities and villages.
Beginning in 1627, Jews were granted the right to settle, at first exclusively, in Karlsburg. In the 18th and 19th centuries Sephardic and Orthodox communities emerged in the Banat and the Partium regions as a result of increasing urbanization throughout all Transylvanian cities and villages. In the second half of the 19th century, the initial preference for German language and culture gave way to Hungarian (Magyarization).
This collection includes a combination of civil and church records from the Transylvanian Saxon cities and villages of Brasov (German — Kronstadt; Hungarian — Brassó), Deva (German — Diemrich; Hungarian — Dèva), Sibiu (German — Hermannstadt; Hungarian — Nagyszeben), and Targu Mures (German — Neumarkt, Neumarkt am Mieresch; Hungarian: Marosvásárhely) in the historical region of Transylvania in present-day Romania.
With the German reformation, all Transylvanian Saxons converted to Protestantism, and most of the religious records are Protestant or Lutheran, although there are also Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish records included. The records are in German, Hungarian, Latin, Romanian, Hebrew, and Old Cyrillic.