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One of my close living relatives was adopted from Hungary at the age of two, in 1991. Unfortunately, the only real information we currently have is the full name of her birth mother and her city of birth.

What can we do to start gathering information, specifically without having to travel to Hungary just to start?

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Do you know where she was adopted to or the names of the adoptive parents? –  American Luke Nov 17 '12 at 0:58
    
Yeah, that's no problem. Even the info GeneJ talked about below should be accessible, though it will require some asking around. –  russt Nov 17 '12 at 4:30
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Clearly we need to know something about Hungarian adoption laws (which may supersede or be subservient to privacy laws). Hopefully others will contribute.

Working from the known to the unknown, and as Luke may have been alluding to in his comment, I assume your close relation knows the names of the adoptive parents (whether you do or not). What basis/knowledge does he or she have for knowing his/her birth date and birth location?

Does he/she know the names of the adoption lawyers/agencies in the US and/or in Hungary? If not, can he/she discover that information (whether or not for a fee)? If the Hungarian agency is discoverable, will they communicate with him/her?

Telephone directories were still quite popular in the US in 1991. Were these directories popular then in Hungary?

Given a surname and a year of birth/birth location for the mother, you then have some basis for extending a separate "fishing" line back in time. You can broadly search as to date/time, but specifically search as to the birth mother's maiden name and birth location. Privacy laws may restrict your access to common records, but again newspapers and directories might be accessible, all of which is quite location dependent.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

P.S. Were I in your shoes, I would frame out a plan and develop a base of information. Once I felt I'd exhausted reasonable access to Hungarian sources, I'd hire a Hungarian professional to advise me on the next steps to take.

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I'm sure with a bit of asking around we could get the information about the agencies and/or lawyers involved in the adoption process. I'd be very surprised if the adoptive parents haven't kept their copies of the paperwork from the whole process. –  russt Nov 17 '12 at 4:34
    
@russt. My thoughts, too. It will be interesting to learn if there were some kind of child/adoption immigration required, too. (Or if for purposes of immigration, adoptive parents are recognized for the purpose of citizenship.) –  GeneJ Nov 17 '12 at 5:20
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A good place to begin research in any geographical area for the first time is the Family Search Research Wiki. In this case try Hungary.

That will provide with an overview of the issues particular to the country and also suggest a number of sources for further study.

You should be aware that, for a person born in 1991, there are likely to be strong restrictions on the information publicly available to protect the privacy of living people.

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