Monday, September 08, 2014

Nagy the Hungarian Name

Nagy? Ah, the Hungarian Name of Nagy! I am researching the Hungarian family name of Nagy. Looking to connect with Nagy's worldwide!

my grandfather alexander nagy
My research has shown that the Hungarian name of Nagy is much like the American name of Smith or Jones. In other words, the Nagy name was used a lot in Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, probably because it translated to big or great!

This is a picture of me with my grandfather, Alexander John Nagy. He was born on September 7, 1899 in Szatmar, Austro-Hungary. His birth city was later known as Satu Mare, Romania after the border change at the end of World War I. Alexander Nagy died in Cleveland, Ohio on April 21, 1967.

Grandpa, I sure do miss YOU. See you soon! Well, come on in as we explore the Hungarian family name of Nagy. Let's see where this takes us.

Photo Credit: JaguarJulie and Grandpa Alex Nagy. Copyright JaguarJulie.

Do you know a person named Nagy?
  1. Yes I do !
  2. Isn't there a baseball player by that name?
  3. Hmmm
Visiting Cemeteries in Hungary and Romania!

A few years ago, I incorporated a visit to three cemeteries in Satu-Mare, Romania, and one cemetery in Budapest, Hungary to photograph headstones while tracing my families history. I could honestly do more vacations like this.

Check out my Flickr photo slideshows:
* Nagy Hungarian Monuments slideshow on Flickr.
* Satu Mare, Romania slideshow on Flickr.
* Satu Mare Historical Postcards slideshow on Flickr.

nagy coat of arms
The Nagy Name

Nagy means large, super, grand and almighty in Hungarian.

Traditionally, a person with the last name of the name of Nagy was the same as having the title "The Great".

According to, Nagy is "nickname for a large or powerful person, from Hungarian nagy 'big'."

My Grandfather Alexander Nagy's Parents

Alexander Nagy's parents were married October 26, 1889 in Szatmar, Austro-Hungary, located near the border of Hungary. Today Szatmar is known as Satu Mare in Romania!
  • Father: Nagy, Steve [Nagy István at birth] born August 20, 1864 in Hungary. Died September 1930 in Europe. He was thought to be of Turkish descent because of his dark good looks. In an online free family search, I found a 1910 census record of Steve indicating Nagey as the last name spelling.
  • Mother: Vereczki, Julia born April 8, 1873 in Szatmar, Austro-Hungary, [now known as Satu Mare, Romania, located near the border of Hungary]. Died April 19, 1940. Last known address: 1774 W. 28th Street, Cleveland, Ohio. Ashes in Highland Park. In an online free family search, I found a 1910 census record of Julia indicating an alternate spelling of Voreski as the last name.
Nagy István, kinizsi-u. 35, szatmar nemeti, satu mare
Nagy István, Kinizsi-u. 35, Szatmar Nemeti, Satu Mare
I recently found the listing at RadixIndex for my great-grandfather, Nagy István, living at Kinizsi-u. 35, Szatmar Nemeti, Hungary. The city now known as Satu Mare, Romania. It listed the land where he lived as "Timárok közelebbi meghatározás nélkül" which translates to "Timars without further definition." "A timar was land granted by the Ottoman sultans between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries."

Nagy István Grave Stone
I found a photo of a grave stone listed on BillionGraves for a Istvan Nagy showing a death of April 18, 1930. The grave stone is in Hillside Cemetery in Metauchen, New Jersey. A coincidence of a death in the same year of 1930 for Istvan Nagy! Would be a bigger coincidence if this was my great grandfather and that he might not have made it back to Europe as thought.

Hungarian translated: ITT Nyugszik = here rests or here lies; Beke Hamvaira = peace be to his ashes or remains

Nagy Istvan grave stone April 18 1930 Hillside Cemetery Metauchen NJ
Nagy Istvan died April 18 1930 Grave Stone Hillside Cemetery Metauchen NJ
Photographed by Debra, September 12, 2015
Nagy Vereczki Family Tree

My very first attempt to research the Vereczki and Nagy family, I put together this family tree. This was before computers! Remember typewriters? Gosh, this must have taken forever to type to look this good. I'm thinking this family tree was prepared over 20 years ago!

Julia Vereczki - Steve Nagy Family Tree
Julia Vereczki - Steve Nagy Family Tree
Prepared by Julie Ann Brady

My Grandfather Alexander Nagy's Siblings
  • 1893 - Margaret Nagy born January 16, 1893 in Hungary. Died August 1934 in St. John's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, of appendicitis. Ashes in Highland Park. Married Elmer Klimko and later divorced to marry William Roberts. No children.
  • 1897 - Arthur Steve Nagy born October 11, 1897 in Hungary. Naturalized a U.S. Citizen. Honorable Discharge from U.S. Army. Married Florence Polan [born March 16, 1908] on January 12, 1927 in Dayton Ohio. They had 3 children, Florence Margaret [born July 8, 1929], Arthur Raymond [born September 11, 1935], and Connie Elaine [born September 4, 1946].
  • 1902 - Helen Nagy born July 22nd in Hungary. Came to the U.S. in 1921. Married Anthony Linhart on July 11, 1925 in Cleveland. Children: premature daughter died in 1926; Dolores Julia born October 24, 1930.
  • 1904 - John William Nagle born January 28th in Hungary. Married Dorothy Abel on August 22, 1925 in St. Stephen's Church, Cleveland, Ohio. Children: Marilyn Rose [born November 25, 1929] and Patricia Ann [born October 22, 1932]. Moved to Los Angeles, CA in 1941. John William Nagle died on November 1, 1980 in Los Angeles, CA.
  • 1907 - Mary Agnes Nagy born June 8, 1907 in Northside, PA [now Allegheny and located near Pittsburgh]. Married George Searle on August 14, 1926 in Rev. Norris' home on Franklin Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Child: Lawrence George [born June 17, 1927].
  • 1909 - William Nagy born July 15, 1909 in Allegheny, PA. Married Ann Horvath on June 18, 1932. Divorced in September 1935. She married a Mr. Hayek. William moved to California.
Timeline of My Grandfather
  • 1899 - Born September 7th in Szatmar, Hungary [today known as Satu Mare, Romania].
  • 1900s - Alexander often spoke to his daughter about working on his grandfather's estate; his mother Julia Vereczki's father's family.
  • 1928 - Naturalized in the U.S. on September 14th. #2839658, U.S. Dept. of Labor, Northern District of Ohio. Listed as citizen of Romania.
  • 1928 - Married Julia Kovach on October 2nd at St. Mary's in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • 1929 - Daughter Lillian born August 21st.
  • 1930 - His father dies in September in Europe.
  • 1931 - Son Robert John born May 12th.
  • 1949 - Daughter's wedding in June.
  • 1967 - Died on April 21st. Last address: 16605 Chatfield Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio [house sold in 9/1979]. Funeral by Victor Sepsi. Buried: Section 11, Lot 4640, Grave 2 in Holy Cross Cemetary, Cleveland, Ohio.
Alexander Nagy, a Man of European Birth

my mom lillian nagy knudson
In the words of his only daughter! "Being of European birth, Alexander Nagy left the rearing of his children to their mother, not thinking it was necessary to 'bond.' According to foreign fathers, the children were the mother's concern and if he made a wise choice in a wife, everything worked.

He spoke "high" Hungarian language and would not indulge in conversation with people who did not speak the same...there are different levels of language in Europe which indicate the education level of the person.

He would not let my mother teach us any languages, even though she spoke 5, as we were to be only true Americans and not have any accents."

John Nagy Certificate of Declaration 1896

John Nagy Certificate of Declaration 1896

I acquired this from an eBay seller in July 2008. I'm not sure that my grandfather Alexander John Nagy ever signed a document such as this one -- but it is a possibility! I scanned the legal document and have included it above. For those of your historical buffs interested in what that certificate says, I've also transcribed it below:
Certificate of Declaration: The State of Ohio, Trumbull County, ss.

Be it Remembered, that on the 28 day of October A.D. 1896 John Nagy an Alien and native of Hungary personally appeared before me, Samuel B. Craig, Judge of the Probate Court, in and for said County, and declared, on his solemn oath, that he first arrived in the United States in the month of [blank], A.D. 1885, and that it is his bona fide intention to become a Citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any Foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever, and particularly to Francis Joseph Emperor of Austria and subscribed his name to said declaration, which remains on file in the office of the Judge of said Court.

In Testimony Whereof, I hereunto set my hand and affix the seal of said Probate Court, at Warren, this 28 day of Oct. A.D. 1896 S. B. Craig Judge, By [blank] Deputy Clerk.


I've not been able to obtain any further information about the origin of this document as the eBay seller said that this paper was acquired with a number of unrelated documents.

Alexander Nagy 1899-1908

In Hungary, Europe -- "Born in Europe, he was raised by his grandfather while his mother traveled with her husband. He was brought to America by his parents when he was 8, along with his older brother, Art, who was 10 at that time.

There must have been some money in the family, either or both parents' families, to account for this activity."
Update: Speaking with my mother recently, she elaborated about my grandfather's Vereczki mother's family being wealthy and having much land. She also said that my grandfather used to carry an elderly ladies' religious books when she went to Synagogue.

Alexander Nagy 1908-1914

In America-- "He was the one that stayed around his mother and the one she relied on to do her bidding. Since she owned lots of property, rooming houses, rentals, he was the one to do the maintenance on them.

The rooming houses and rental property were located in 'Ohio City,' a very well known historical section of Cleveland, located on the Cuyahoga River.

In America, he went to schools and finally college but when World War I broke out, he was probably of the age to go into military service.

World War I: 1914-1918

"The First World War was a world conflict lasting from August 1914 to the final Armistice on November 11, 1918. The Allied Powers (led by the United Kingdom, France and until 1917 Russia, and, after 1917, the United States) defeated the Central Powers (led by the German Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire).
The war caused the collapse of four empires and a radical change in the map of Europe and the Middle East. Before 1917 the Allied powers are sometimes referred to as the Triple Entente, and the Central Powers are sometimes referred to as the Triple Alliance." --From Wikipedia.


His school years -- "I'm not sure what he studied while in college, but a picture of him with a clarinet, makes me think he got musical training while in college. He probably had to leave school to come home to help his mother, so he never finished or got a degree.

I don't know how he got out of serving in WWI, except that his older brother Art was already serving in the army. It's possible he was officially excused from serving so that he could care for his mother.

By that time, his father had left the family to return to Europe."


alexander nagy as a young athlete
His single years -- "He owned a decorating supply store in Cleveland, Ohio, during the time after leaving college and before he got married. He knew many contractors whom he sold supplies to including Flore. The store was probably financed by his mother.

This picture of Alexander in the swimsuit, of the 'Roaring Twenties' era, [circa 1920] is when he belonged to the Cleveland Athletic Club. His sister, Margaret's husband, Elmer Klimko, was a member there, as well.

As a single man, Alexander also played in his brother-in-law's orchestra while he was in his twenties. You could say he was a musician."

Certificate of Naturalization - September 14, 1928

alexander nagy Certificate of Naturalization September 14, 1928

My grandfather Alexander John Nagy's official document! It is a Certificate of Naturalization No. 2839658, Petition Volume 231 Number 33459. Filed on September 14, 1928 in District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. The paper was recorded on September 14, 1931 at the Board of Elections in Cleveland, Ohio. This original document is affixed with the official seal. B. C. Miller, Clerk.

Alexander Nagy lived at 1697 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113
Alexander Nagy's residence was 1697 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113.
That residence is a multiple occupancy home that contains 2,804 sq. ft., 8 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and was built in 1895. Shown above is the Google aerial image for 1697 Fulton Rd.

Alexander Nagy 1928

alexander nagy wedding 1928 to julia kovach
His marriage -- Alexander Nagy married Julia Kovach on October 2, 1928 in St. Mary's Church in Cleveland, Ohio.

The date October 2nd was of particular interest as Julia's birthday was October 1st, the day before.

And, less than one month earlier, on September 14th, Alexander was naturalized as a U.S. citizen one week after his birthday on September 7th!

The Great Depression: 1929

"The Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn, starting in 1929, after the Stock Market Crash of October, and ending at different times in different countries. Almost all countries were affected. The worst hit were the most industrialized, including the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Canada, and Japan."

"Economic indicators show the American economy reached nadir in summer 1932 to February 1933, then steadily went up until a downturn in 1938." --From Wikipedia.

His first child is born -- His daughter Lillian was born in August of that year.

"He was doing well until 1929 when the depression hit and killed off his business. The stock market crash of 1929 caused him to lose the business.

He then joined forces with the decorating contractor, Flore, whom he had previously sold materials to while he had his own business. He was doing decorating including painting and paperhanging."

His father dies in Europe -- His father Steve, who left the family several years earlier, dies in Europe of unknown causes, at the age of 66.

His second child is born -- His son Robert was born in May of that year.

World War II: 1939-1945

"World War II, also WWII, or The Second World War, was a global military conflict that took place between 1939 and 1945. It was the largest and deadliest war in history. Even though Japan had already been fighting China for several years, the "world" war is said to have begun on September 1, 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland." --From Wikipedia.

Alexander Nagy 1941-1945
The war years -- "During World War II, he changed careers from the decorating business to the food supply transportation business. He drove or helped on the big semis servicing grocery stores.

I think he thought it would be the best move to see that our family would have our needs taken care of while rationing was vogue during the war years.

I remember that he was involved with local politics as we had a candidates sign positioned in our attic window during one election year. I think he was a conservative."

After the war -- "After the war ended in 1945, he then worked as a maintenance supervisor for the federal government's housing projects until he retired.

He celebrated July 4th in a big way with lots of fireworks and always said he would not go back to Europe, even on a visit, as there was nothing there for him. He was a true American.

Later when I was 16, my mother and I were driven, by him to local halls on weekends where dances were held. He later picked us up.

He also drove my mother and me to parks which were popular in the 40s where local bands played. We had a great time dancing while he sat and watched.

He didn't particularly socialize, or seek entertainment outside of his family. But, my mother just loved films so she would take me along for the early evening showing at the local movie house. I grew into quite a movie buff because of this early contact with Hollywood."

Cleveland, OH June 1949
alexander nagy and daughter lillian wedding June 1949
At his daughter's wedding.

"He was very adept and lifted the roof up on the first 2 houses we lived in, making a second floor. Later, after he was in his early 50s he didn't do any more since having a heart attack while visiting out west on a trip.

He was in charge of maintenance on government housing off Rocky River Drive in Cleveland, Ohio, for the last years of his life."

December 1954

Christmas was a time of celebration for the Nagy household. All the children and grandchildren would gather to open presents.

Alexander sure liked to smoke his pipe--you can see the ashtray to the left in the picture.

Photo taken at 16605 Chatfield Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44111. In the photo are Alexander Nagy, Margaret Taylor, David Taylor, Cindy Taylor, Julie Lesteshen, Diane Lesteshen, Karen Taylor.

robert nagy marries margaret gannon 1957

Son's Marriage -- Alexander Nagy's only son is married at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio.

His son Robert Nagy married Margaret Gannon.

Cleveland, OH 1967

His death -- Alexander Nagy died on April 21st, 1967. He was only 67 years old. His last residence was a 2-bedroom brick bungalow on 16605 Chatfield Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. His wife, Julia, survived him and lived in the house until her death. The house was sold in September, 1979.

His funeral service was handled by Victor Sepsi. He was buried in Section 11, Lot 4640, Grave 2 in Holy Cross Cemetary, Cleveland, Ohio.

Istvan Nagy, Budapest Hungary 2004

istvan nagy marriott hotel budapest hungary 2004
Marriott Hotel, Budapest, Hungary -- Could he be related? What a small world indeed. During our visit of Budapest, Hungary, in May 2004, we stayed at The Marriott on the River Danube.

We had returned from a one-day trip to Satu Mare, Romania, to do a little research on my grandfather's parents.

Upon our return to The Marriott in Budapest, we met the doorman there, Istvan Nagy! What a coincidence as my great-grandfather was Steve [Istvan] Nagy! Which just goes to show there are a lot of Nagys out there!!

You know, it was my ex who said, "hey, look at what his name is!" That's when I took a closer look at the doorman.

Dr. Peter Nagy, Slovak Republic

dr peter nagy
Recently doing some online research, I came across the "Eastern Slovakia Research Strategies Website" and found a contact name of:

Dr. Peter Nagy
Cilistovska 20
931 01 Samora­n
Slovak Republic
Faxmodem: +421 31 560 0642
GSM: +421 905 490 552

On April 28, 2006, he emailed me:

Dear Julie,
This is the first time when I receive an email from a Nagy who could be at least a very distant relative.

Actually my Nagy ancestors are from Akos (in Rumanian Acis), what is about 40 miles SE of Satu Mare. For more details see my worldtree entry: Dr. Peter Nagy Genealogy.

I did not manage yet to do progress in Romania myself. The old church records are now not available for research. -- Nagy Genealogy Records.

kinizsi utca road sign budapest hungary
Kinizsi Utca. Sign, Budapest Hungary

2004 -- I've got to tell you that the road signs in Budapest were a tad bit confusing. The day that we were driving to Satu Mare, Romania, to do some research on Alexander Nagy's birthplace, we got so tangled up in the city of Budapest that it was well past one hour before we finally figured out where the heck we were!

This particular road sign shows Kinizsi, Raday, Lonyay, Kozraktar utca. and Petofi HID. We happened to be walking this route to see what building were on Kinizsi utca.

35 Kinizsi utca - Budapest, Hungary

The address that I have for Alexander Nagy's residence in Szatmar, Hungary, is 35 Kinizsi utca.

Imagine my surprise when I actually found a building with this same address in Budapest, Hungary, when we visited there. I think this building was a gymnasium or sports facility.

Famous Nagy's
  • Agnes Nagy - Miss Hungary 1998
  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy - 1895-1946, was a Hungarian painter and photographer as well as professor in the Bauhaus school.
  • Imre Nagy - 1896-1958, Hungarian Communist leader was a symbol of the 1956 Hungarian revolt against the Soviet Union.
  • Ivan Nagy - 1943, born in Debrecen, Hungary. Former ballet dancer, now artistic director of the Ballet de Santiago, Chile.

Nagy Information

Nagy Genealogical Research Links
  • 1828 Hungarian Census
    Download the 1828 Hungarian Census and do a search on "Nagy" you will find 234 results!
  • 1869 Nagy Villages
    Amazing web page! The bottom of the pages lists Hungary Slovak names of villages from the 1869 Census. A lot of Nagy names!
  • 1869 Magyar Settlement Names
    Download a 31-page PDF of Hungarian Settlement names from 1869 census.
  • CentroConsult
    Genealogical research of former Austria-Hungary.
  • Hungarian Census Info
    Magyar (Hungarian) Census--For present day Slovakia and most pre-1918 Hungary territories.

Celebrating my Hungarian heritage with pride!
I hope you enjoyed reading about Nagy, the Hungarian Name! I remember sitting with my grandpa, Alexander Nagy, as a child and often times snapping his suspenders! Oh how he would laugh. I remember him for the hat that completed his dress and his trademark pipe. I remember him for being able to complete the challenging Cleveland Press crossword puzzles along with massive intricate jigsaw puzzles.

He was quite the gardener and would dry marigold buttons down the basement along with other flowering seeds. His flower garden was impeccable and could have been featured in House and Garden magazine.
Spending time with my grandparents was a precious time. I wish that my grandfather had told us grandkids more about his past, his feelings, and his birthplace of Szatmar, Hungary. Looking back, I sure wish I had asked him MORE about his Hungarian heritage.

Today, I am naturally intrigued by anything and everything Hungarian. Gosh, Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and Hungarian Goulash became food favorites of mine thanks to the influence of my Hungarian grandpa Alexander Nagy and my Eastern European grandma Julia Nagy. I am a very proud Hungarian who writes a lot about Hungarian topics. It's actually pretty cool to be of Hungarian heritage. Hungarians can and are sexy too. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will take time to check out the various Hungarian topics I've presented.

In closing, I'd like to say that when I think of my grandfather, I have fond thoughts. Didn't they describe Gary Cooper as a quiet man; well they didn't meet my grandfather. Because he was rather introspective, it made us grand kids pay that much more attention to him.

Are you a Nagy?
I've heard from many who may be a potential relation. Do you like visiting cemetaries to research headstones? Are you into genealogy? Did you enjoy my rather windy article?

History: Nagy : The Hungarian Name was originally created on Squidoo by JaguarJulie on April 8, 2006. Highest lensrank ever achieved: #1,014 overall. Lens #8 in the quest for Giant Squid 100 Club Charter Member 2007.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I new something was up with my family my name is William John Nagy Jr

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