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I would like to know if someone has any hints about finding Jewish records dated circa 1810 for the small village of Reca, Slovakia. My grandfather was born there in 1812 and moved to Vienna, but I don't have any information about his birth and parents. Any hint would help.

I have already searched for birth registers on FamilySearch, Jewishgen, Ancestry, and MyHeritage.

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    Hello, Fabio -- welcome to G&FH.SE! Do you have any information about when your grandfather moved to Vienna? Narrowing down the time frame might help. Also, I hope you don't mind if I edit your question just a bit to make it a little more clear. Please let us know (and edit your question again) if I have accidentally changed your meaning. – Jan Murphy Oct 9 '14 at 17:12
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    Hi @JanMurphy, no I don't know when he moved. I do know that he had his first son in Vienna in 1837. That's the first registry that I have from him. – Fabio Oct 9 '14 at 21:31
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    It can help to make a timeline and then try to add to what you know in small steps. How do you know he was born or came from Reca? Feel free to edit your question and add this information. – Jan Murphy Oct 9 '14 at 21:51
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    Is this the correct town? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reca – Jan Murphy Oct 13 '14 at 7:20
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    Hi @JanMurphy, yes, it is! I know about his birth place because the Jewish Organisation in Vienna has this information (but without documents). I appreciate very much your answer... I'm still analysing it. Thanks! – Fabio Oct 13 '14 at 8:25
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This is a stub of an answer which will be added to as I find more resources. I'll write out a Research Plan to give you some ideas. You may have done a lot of this already, and if you have, feel free to add to your question. But I'll start from scratch, so the information may also help someone coming along later. Since you asked specifically about Jewish records, I'll assume you already know that 1812 is too early for civil registration in that area.

Make a Research Plan

If you haven't already done so, make a timeline for your grandfather's life and add events as you find out about them, with a note about the source of the information. This will allow you to work backwards from your known event of the first son's birth in 1837 in Vienna, back to when he first entered the country.

You already have at least one source that says he was born in Reca, but you can look for others. Sometimes people move to another town when they were very young, then are known as "from" that second place, and eventually people assume they were born there, when they were actually from another town close by. Sources of Genealogical Information is a useful checklist that says where you might find information about someone's birthplace. One important source missing from their list for birth places is Naturalization Records. If your grandfather was Naturalized or had to register when he came to Vienna, those records might give the place he lived in before he came to Vienna.

Also, sometimes filling in a person's early life, without specifically looking for their birth place, can reveal information you weren't expecting. School enrollment records in England sometimes say whether a student transferred from another school. This can be a clue about when a family first moved into the area.

If your grandfather had siblings, their records also can fill in the picture of the family's history, and give pointers to places where you can find other clues.

Keep notes about the specific record groups you searched and explore the reasons why you didn't find anything. This allows you to keep two separate lists -- one, records that you won't find because they were not created in that time period, like the civil records, and two, the ones that you might be able to find but you don't know where to find them yet, like the church records. It also helps to keep a list of the exact search terms you used, since surname spellings can vary.

Finding Slovakian Records

The FamilySearch Wiki article about Slovakia has a set of guidelines about getting started doing research in Slovakia, and how to find records there. In their article Beginning Slovakian Research, see the section marked Determine the record keeping jurisdiction, where it says:

Not every village in Slovakia had its own parish. Often, several smaller villages belonged to one parish. Use gazetteer to determine the location of the parish or synagogue where records were kept. Once you have determined the location of the church or synagogue, use the FamilySearch Catalog to get the film numbers of the available records. You can then order the appropriate films.

The article Slovakia Gazetteers lists some of the resources you can use to help find out what synagogue might have records for someone from Reca.

It is useful to keep a list of the specific searches you have made already, with a note to yourself about why you did not find anything. For example:

This record contains images of baptisms, births, marriages, and burials from 1587 to 1910, and contains records that occurred in the Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, and Reformed Church parishes, as well Jewish congregations in Slovakia. Included are records from selected archives in Bytča, Bratislava, Košice, Levoča, and Prešov. Records from other archives will be added as they become available.

So it may be that a website didn't have any records from Reca at the time you first searched, but more records may show up online later.

While you are waiting for a more specific answer, you might find some clues in the related question How can I determine what records are available in a particular locale?


Update: seen on a recent 'new records' news item posted by the website Genealogy In Time:

The [genealogy] website GenTeam currently has over 11 million records from Austria and surrounding countries. It covers most of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire .... The website is in English. Access is free upon registration.

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    Per Dvorzsák's gazetteer (which was written in 1877 specifically for the purpose of answering the question "where's the church?"), Réte (Réthe) had a Jewish congregation locally (digitalia.lib.pte.hu/books/…). Unfortunately, there's no trace of the congregation's records in FamilySearch's catalog. – JPmiaou Aug 31 '18 at 22:14
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Searching on JewishGen is not the same thing as asking questions on the (free) e-mail mailing lists of JewishGen. Researchers on the lists may know about sources that no one has bothered to transcribe and put online yet. (There are lots of sources like that…)

I would definitely ask your question on the main JewishGen e-mail list, as well as the Hungary-SIG (Special Interest Group) mailing list there.

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