- Political borders changed many times in Central Europe in the 20th century, that's why we have to decide which political units (i.e. present-day or historical) we choose for the project.
- For the Hungarian case, the historical border of the Kingdom of Hungary (i.e. before 1920) seems to be the most appropriate. It includes the Carpathian basin without Croatia. (Present-day Hungary, Slovakia, the Burgenland Province of Austria, Transylvania - Western half of Romania, Vojvodina Province of Yugoslavia, and small parts of Croatia, Poland, Slovenia and Ukraine.)
- Population censuses are available for this territory for 1785-86, 1850-51, 1869, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910. After the First World War the date of population censuses differs from country to country, but they are always around the year of the end of a decade (1929-1931, etc.). The community-level data are rather scarce for the censuses before 1890. Estimations are needed for the 18th-19th centuries.
- The number of communities changed considerably during the 20th century in the given territory. In 1910, there are about 15,000 communities there as opposed to the c. 8,500 communities in 1990.
- Parish level cannot be used in Hungary, because
- state and (Roman Catholic) church administrative units differ considerably for at least three centuries;
- Hungary is a multireligious country since the 16th century.
- Community is the best unit to create a data base for historical Hungary.
- We already created a community level data base for 1989-1991 including c. 8,500 communities /Hungary - 3,000, Slovakia - 3,000, Transylvania (Romania) - 1,000, Subcarpathian territory (Ukraine) - 700, Vojvodina (Yugoslavia) - 500, Burgenland (Austria) - 100, parts of Croatia, Poland, Slovania - 200.
- The Hungarian Cartographical Institute created a digitised map of (historical) Hungary in 1910. It is available for further research.
Administrative maps were published in every 3-5 years to show boundary changes from the 1870's. After 1920, however, it is very difficult to trace back boundary changes, since political authorities did not wish to publish the creation or merge of communities. The Trianon Treaty, for example, did not allow to establish new communities along the new political borders to preserve the ethnic composition of these areas. Political authorities in Czechoslovakia or Romania did not respect it, and we can witness several new communities in these territories without any written documentation.
From the early 1990's, private companies (e.g.Kartográfia Ltd., etc.) publish national maps on yearly basis. (Scale: 1:500,000).
Boundary changes can be traced back in the Hungarian Gazetteers published by the Office of the Hungarian Prime Minister monthly. They are stored in the Ministry of the Interior from the early 1870's and fairly easy to interpret.
It is the Ministry of the Interior who is responsible for boundary changes from 1873. Decisions are taken centrally.
Digitised maps exist since 1994-95. They were created by private companies (Kartográfia Ltd., Tóth Ágoston Institute of Cartography, etc.). These maps are for sale. They can be used for researching historic boundaries quite well.
Our maps exist in Autocad DXF file format. It is compatible for Mapinfo. Boundaries were captured by hand digitising. Scale for the source map is 1:500,000.
We do not have a clear idea how to create a time-variant boundary GIS sytem. We are ready to learn about it at the conference.
Place-name Gazetteers are published in ten years' time. Every five year an extra number is published for minor changes. Official place-name gazetteers exist since 1873. In 1898-1902, an official place-name register was established not allowing two or more settlements having identical place-names in the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary ("one place name = exclusively one settlement; one settlement = exclusively one place name"). Historical place name gazetteers exist from 1773. (Fairly reliable.) Other historical place name registers for the middle ages exist as well, but they are less reliable.
Authority lists are available from the mid-15th century, but they are hardly reliable because of the several general changes in the system of owners (Turkish rule, wars of independence and repression afterwards in 1703-11, 1848-49, Joseph II's reform, Austro-Hungarian Compromise, Trianon Treaty in 1920, II World War, Communist take-over, compensations from the early 1990's, etc.)
Property issues are to be solved in Hungary. No clear legal regulations.
Our programme is financed by the Teleki László Institute. In addition to this, we have been awarded a four-year grant from this year on by the OTKA Office (Central Scientific Fund). This amount is 1,000,000 Ft per year (1 $ = 280 Ft). We are digitising the westernmost part of Hungary at the moment. (c. 1,500 communities). This grant can cover this project. For the whole Carpathian basin, however, we need some extra financial support.
Gábor Sonkoly (Budapest, 12 May 2000)