Czech Republic Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450-1889 .
Title in the Language of the Records
Tschechische Republik, Landurkunden 1450-1889
This collection will include records from 1450 to 1889.
Czech land books include declarations of land ownership, land transfers, and land inheritances. The Czech name of land records has varied over time; however, the records listed in this collection are named gruntovní knihy. These books initially were kept at the landholder level, then at village level, farm level, and finally by a district administrator and his scribe. Land registers are written mostly in German, with some in Czech. The available records only cover a very few geographical areas and towns. To see a list of the localities included in this collection, and the images, view the list of the images through the "browse through the images" link in FamilySearch.org. The collection is incomplete and only covers a few towns. Additional images may be added to this collection in the future.
For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
The land books (pozemkové knihy) recorded landholders and land lease titles; they date from about 1600. The oldest land books (pozemkové knihy) listed the location of the property along with the financial obligations of the landholder to the estate owner. Buildings on these lands were often listed by type in land books (cottage, blacksmith’s forge, etc.). Starting in the mid 1600s, some records began differentiating by categories of farmers. Farmers were categorized as follows:
- Sedlák -- serfs who did not own their land
- Chalupník -- gardeners who owned their domicile and a small amount of land surrounding it
- Zahradník -- cottagers who owned somewhat larger tracts of land
Another interesting fact about the land registers is that holders sometimes abandoned farmsteads and moved to another locality. In general, they left to escape high debt, but mostly because of drudgery or oppression. The Thirty Years' War killed many people. Everyone tried to get more land, and the gardener and serf classes decreased. Land registers are in the custody of Regional State Archives.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "Czech Republic, Land Records 1450-1850." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Státní okresní archiv Opava. Zemský archiv v Opavě.
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These land records usually contain the following information:
- A list of serfs with land rights, including their ages and type of obligations toward the estate owner
- Residences and often relationship to previous landholder
- Lists of all the inhabitants of the estate, testaments, debts, orphan matters, mortgages, marriage contracts, inheritance, and other matters
- Changes in ownership of properties, succession of farmstead holders, prices and payments of property and goods
How to Use the Record
To browse this collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Okres, Místo"
⇒ Select the "Record type (Czech)"
⇒ Select the "Volume/Years (Inventární čislo /Roky)" which takes you to the images.
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
These records can enhance the effective use of church records. They establish residence, ages, and relationships, which are valuable for pedigree links or when other records are not available.
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A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450-1889," images, FamilySearch( https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-25632-8350-53?cc=1918632&wc=MMLK-RFX:1178649497), Bílovice > Orphan register (Sirotčí registra) > V. 227103010-0000017-00005, 1655-1798 > Image 65 of 70 Images, Leta Panie, 1782; citing Czech Republic, Opava Land Records, Regional Archive of Opava, Opava, Czech Republic.