chapter  11
20 Pages

Urban communities and their burghers in the Kingdom of Hungary (1750–1850). The possibilities databases offer for historical analysis

ByÁRPÁD TÓTH, GÁBOR CZOCH, ISTVÁN NÉMETH

One of the shortcomings of research into the urban history of the Kingdom of Hungary in the preindustrial period is that, so far, only a few towns and their burgher communities have been studied. The possibility of situating local studies in a comparative context are also limited, because there are no censuses available of the burghers of all of the chartered towns. 1 Therefore, a necessary step in the effort to understand the social and economic roles of eighteenth-and nineteenthcentury burghers in Hungary is to build a national database using nominal data, which we have been doing over the past few years. Based on the burgher rolls ( Bürgerbücher ), this database contains the personal data of the burghers who were admitted into any of the forty-eight free royal towns in the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1750 and 1850. This resource will hopefully make it possible to study the trends in the social composition of burghers at both the macro and micro level. The core aim of this chapter is to demonstrate the potential of this database by publishing our fi rst results. In the second part of the chapter, Pozsony, one of the most important towns in Hungary, is analysed as a case study to show the methodological potential of developing further databases to aid research into the deeper understanding of burghers’ social identities.