The meaning of most of these names can be either ethnic or locative. For example, Tót can mean both "Slovakian (in ethnicity and/or language)" and "from the northern part of the Carpathian Basin". A couple of names on the list (Tatár, Török) have a third possible meaning: they could be given to those who, like prisoners of war and envoys, were somehow associated with the invaders.
Hungarian onomasticians (names scholars) disagree on when exactly hereditary family names[*] became the norm in Hungary. There is general agreement that family names existed everywhere in Hungary by the 15th century, but that these weren't fixed, and changed regularly and frequently. Legislation requiring fixed family names wasn't passed until 1787. Because of this ambiguity of heredity, we can't tell from his name whether a 15th or 16th century man called Nemeth Miklos actually spoke any German.
Like most things in Hungarian, ethnic bynames apply equally and without change to men and women. The one exception in this list is Móré, which applies to (young) men of a particular social class and nationality. By the 1500s, however, even this name would not be surprising as a woman's byname, because of the possibility of inheritance.
[*] Note that "family name" is different from "surname". Surnames or bynames, which are associated with individual persons, existed in Hungary by the 13th century. Like family names, they were fluid and changeable, especially at first. Surnames developed into family names, which are associated with groups of related people (families), and usually apply to multiple generations. The question under debate in Hungarian onomastics is this type of correspondence between a name and a whole group of people, especially the inheritance of that correspondence by subsequent generations.
Notation: ő stands for modern Hungarian long ö, which has two lines in place of the two dots.
Pronunciation: the headwords, which use modern Hungarian spelling, can in most cases be taken as a guide to pronunciation for the period forms. Consult a Hungarian language course for a full explanation of modern spelling rules. (They're not complicated. In fact, modern written Hungarian is as close to phonetic as a living language gets.) Alternatively, see International Phonetic Alphabet Samples: Hungarian - Magyar for a chart showing the Hungarian alphabet transcribed into IPA. They apparently intend to link each symbol to a sound recording in mp3 format, but it doesn't work yet. In the meantime, the site "A Sound Reference to the IPA" has versions of IPA charts which actually do play sounds, in some browser and OS combinations. See the Academy of St. Gabriel's Member's Guide for a set of links.
|Headword||Translation||Typical spelling(s)||Freq.||First cite|
|Bosnyák||Bosnian, southern Slav||Bosnyak||19||1508|
|Görög||Greek, or any merchant from the Balkans||Geregh, Georeogh||21||1498|
|Kiskun||Cumanian (from Little Cumania)||Kyskwn||2||1503|
|Korontár||Carinthian (Carinthia is Kärnten in German)||Korontal, Korontar||8||1396|
|Mizser||(poss.) a 10-13c. Turkic ethnic group||Myser||27||1398|
|Móc||a Rumanian ethnic group||Mo(o)cz||2||1489|
|Móré||Rumanian servant-lad or Gypsy man||More||29||1443|
|Oláh||Rumanian, Vlach, Wallachian||Olah||73||1418|
|Orosz||Russian or Ruthenian||Oroz||39||1332|
|Székely||Szekler, eastern Transylvanian||Zekel||122||c. 1308|
|Tót||Slovakian, northern Slav||T(h)ot(h)||180||1320|
|Names found only after 1600|
|Ruszin||Transcarpathian Ukrainian (or Ruthenian)||1648|
|Tirpák||Slovakian, esp. from the Nyíregyháza area||1632|
Hajdú Mihály: Általános és magyar névtan (Osiris tankönyvek, Budapest: 2003).
Kázmér Miklós: Régi magyar családnevek szótára (Magyar Nyelvtudományi Társaság, Budapest: 1993).
Országh László, Futász Dezső, Kövecses Zoltán: Magyar Angol Nagyszótár / Hungarian-English Dictionary (Akadémiai kiadó, Budapest: 1998).