Dedication of a special archival service – from Archbishop Dr. Balázs Bábel
As the archbishop of the Kalocsa-Kecskemét Archdiocese I am happy and proud to introduce and recommend a special archival initiative. As far as we know, the website of the Archdiocesan Archives Kalocsa is the first in Hungary to offer a new service that enables researching vital records and local history resources of the archdiocese through the internet. As a result of a year long work now the digital reproduction of several thousands of manuscripts (vital records, censuses, protocols, historia domus, etc.) from several hundred settlements of the former Bács-Bodrog county and the current Bács-Kiskun county from the 18-20th century – a total of 250,000 photographs – become available to our registered researchers.
It is an ancient desire of mankind to summarize in a similar form and save the knowledge of individually recorded pieces of information. More than two and a half thousand years ago Assurbanipal, the king of Assyria, also known from the Bible, ordered to copy all records of the archives of churches and schools in Mesopotamia and send them to the capital city, Ninive. This is how the first systematically organized library, actually more like a collection of written documents of mankind was established. Nowadays we know the history and culture of Mesopotamia mainly from these cuneiform clayboards gathered then, and later discovered by archeologist. How many similar, sometimes successful, sometimes resultless similar initiatives could be reported from later centuries!
In the history of human culture it is the responsibility of each generation to take advantage of its abilities, the technical possibilities of its time. At the age of the computers, in the 21th century, we find it important to record and keep the unique, handwritten historical sources of our communities-parishes in digital form, since this collection of documents is an important part of our nation’s cultural heritage, due to the important historical community forming role of the church and religion. Part of the mentioned sources are already very much in demand (just think of the vital records and the related family historian interest), another part is hardly known, even unresearched-unknown. Besides the possibility of summirizing, collecting, and archiving, digital technology makes accessability and processing much easier, this is where the internet opens new perspectives for us.
I wish this cultural mission, and the noble work of researching-analizing the history of our communities that develops from it to be fruitful! I wish a lot of browsers to these unique, irreplaceable documents-values!
I am saying thank you to all who made this service possible. To those who performed the required work processes or helped in any other way. Among the latter, among our sponsors we can mention the Self Governement of Kalocsa and the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. I wish that this collaboration sets an example for the future, because today we publish the first results of our initiative that is only one year old, but obviously very productive and deserves continuation. What has been accomplished until now is neither the result of a several million forint budgets, nor a large-scale grant, but much rather achived by attention, organization, and cooperation. It is an example that good will ready to act can occasionally overcome financial restraints.
I wish success to all browsers, researchers, archivists, participatators, and supporters, and ask God’s blessings to their cooperation!
Kalocsa, October 18, 2010.
Dr. Balázs Bábel
Archbishop of Kalocsa-Kecskemét