"I'm tired!" It has been a long journey for this little Hungarian refugee, arriving in Winnipeg following his flight from Hungary.

Genealogy and family history

The first Hungarians (also known as Magyars) to leave their homeland to come to America were mostly farmers. Like many immigrants from other European countries, numerous Hungarians first settled in the United States in the 1880s and 1890s, and then travelled north to Canada to settle across the Prairies.

In 1885, immigration agent Count Paul Otto d'Esterhazy (Johannes Packh) assisted 35 Magyar and Slovak families in their migration from the United States to the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The years 1905 and 1906 witnessed the founding of the town of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, and the colony of Kaposvar, Saskatchewan, named after the Hungarian city. The site of the Qu'Appelle Valley colony and the towns of Otthon, Halnok and Kipling, Saskatchewan, are all legacies of Hungarian heritage in Canada. Although farming was initially the main livelihood, employment in mining towns, lumber camps, and construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway became popular among Hungarian settlers.

From 1926 to 1930, as many as 26,000 Hungarians arrived in Canada. Immigration halted during the Depression years until the end of the Second World War, but resumed in the late 1940s, bringing immigrants from the middle and upper levels of society. As immigration trends shifted toward concentrations of populations in urban centres, Hungarians followed the trend and settled mostly in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. In 1956, a rebellion against Soviet rule marked another pivotal time for Hungarians and some 37,000 were welcomed into Canada.

More than 315,000 people reported Hungarian or Magyar ethnic origin in the 2006 census returns.

Research at Library and Archives Canada

Canadian Hungarian News Company, 1915–1980 (MG 28 Volume 19) (MIKAN 105771)

The fonds consists of papers relating mainly to the Canadian Hungarian News Company and the services it provided to the Hungarian community in Canada from 1915 to 1980. The fonds also contains photographs depicting people and activities related to the Canadian Hungarian News and the Hungarian community.

Ferenc Thassy-Plavenszky, 1953–1981 (MG 32 H120) (MIKAN 203853)

F. Thassy-Plavenszky was born in 1896 in Hungary and served in both World Wars. He was a prisoner of war during the Second World War. The fonds consists of personal documents such as correspondence and autobiographical notes that describe the arrival and impressions of F. Thassy-Plavenszky when he came to Canada in 1964.

Immigration Branch, Central Registry Files (RG 76)

  • Hungarian Immigration – Count Paul Otto d'Esterhazy, New York City, 1903–1913. (RG 76, vol. 20, part 2, file number 347, microfilm C-4678) (MIKAN 1431674)
  • Reverend Koloman Kovascsi, Bekevar, Saskatchewan, appointed a special agent to do some immigration work in the Old Country (Hungary). (RG 76, vol. 382, file 535262, microfilm C-10278) (MIKAN 1433611)
  • Hungarian Immigration, 1923–1948. (RG 76, volume 145, file part 3, microfilm C-7302) (MIKAN 1432258)

Library and Archives Canada holds other records pertaining to Hungarian immigrants to Canada. Consult the Collection Search database using keywords such as a surname or the name of an organization.

Research at other institutions and online

R​esearch in published sources

  • Hungarian-Canadian Literature, by G. Bisztray. (OCLC 18412439)
  • Hungarians in the United States and Canada: a bibliography: holdings of the Immigration History Hungarians in the United States and Canada, compiled and edited by Joseph Széplaki. (OCLC 3710690 )
  • Immigration and urbanization: the Slovak experience, 1870-1918, by Marian Mark Stolarik. (OCLC 19124852)
  • Kaposvar: a count's colony, 1886-1986, by Jean Pask. (OCLC 20636154 )
  • Land of Choice: Hungarians in Canada, by J. Kosa. (OCLC 4391151)
  • Struggle and Hope: The Hungarian-Canadian Experience, by N.F. Dreisziger et al. (OCLC 71386594 )

Search for books on the Hungarians or Magyars in Collection Search, using authors, titles or subject terms such as:

  • Hungarians
  • Hungarian Canadians
  • Magyars

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