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Title in the Language of the Records
Tschechische Republik, Sud Böhmen, Wittingau Archiv Kirchenbücher 1650-1900
Collection Time Period
The earliest Czech book was created in 1441 (a book of christenings from Horní Jiřetín). Books have been kept to the present. Because of privacy laws, however, they are available for research only through 1905.
Entries are usually arranged in chronological order and, after 1784, in a columnar format. During certain times, one book was used to list all the baptisms, marriages, and burials for all the villages in a parish for one year. At other times each village has its own section of baptisms, marriages, and burials, which were listed chronologically. Some records are on preprinted forms, and most include indexes.
Czech church records are usually in one of three languages: Czech, German, or Latin. Often, one parish consists of books written in all three. Records from one state regional archive (statní oblastní archive) may favor one or more languages. For example, records from Litoměřice are usually written in German or Latin. Records from Plzeň or Třeboň are usually written in Czech, German, and Latin equally.
The key genealogical facts of Baptismal entries contain the following:
- Names of the child, parents, and witnesses or godparents (often included grandparents, great-grandparents, and more rarely, great-great-grandparents)
- Date and place of birth and baptism (sometimes includes the time of birth and baptism)
- Residence and religion of the parents and other direct-line ancestors
- Occupation of the father and other males listed
- Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate
The key genealogical facts of Marriages contain the following:
- Names of the bride, groom, their parents, and witnesses (often included grandparents, great-grandparents, and more rarely, great-great-grandparents)
- Date and place of marriage (sometimes includes the time of marriage)
- Ages of bride and groom
- Residences of the bride, groom, and their ancestors
- Religion of the bride and groom
- Occupation of the groom and other males listed
The key genealogical facts of Burial contain the following:
- Names of the deceased and spouse or parents (often included grandparents, great-grandparents, and more rarely, great-great-grandparents)
- Date and place of death and burial (sometimes time of death and burial)
- Age and residence of deceased
- Residences of other ancestors listed
- Cause of death
How to Use the Record
Czech church books are the best source for identifying ancestors from the Czech Republic. So many relatives are listed in these books that you may be able to create a miniature pedigree chart for almost each entry in a church book.
The edict of the Council of Trent in 1563, which mandated the creation of church books, applied to Czech congregations. Austrian Emperor Joseph II issued the Edict of Toleration on October 13, 1781, which allowed Protestants, Jews, and others to keep their own church records under the supervision of the Catholic Church. Though the Protestants were allowed to keep registers starting in 1771, they were copied into Catholic registers. In 1781, Protestants continued to keep registers under Catholic supervision.
Starting February 10, 1784, Joseph II required that all church birth entries include the full names of both parents and all grandparents, along with their towns of origin and their military conscription numbers or unique address, such as Plichtice č. 5 (č is an abbreviation for čislo, or "number"). The emperor also required that records be kept in Latin or German, though Czech was often used. Column headings, which had started around 1784 (sometimes earlier), were also made compulsory.
In 1790, the Austrian government (under which Czech records were kept) created a law requiring indexes to be kept. In 1802, another law was passed requiring all older matriky (church books) to be indexed. Only rarely are volumes not indexed.
Starting in 1869, the civil authorities took charge of the record-keeping of births, marriages, and deaths. However, individual churches continued to actually record these events. The official legal copy was kept by local officials when many of the clergy refused to perform Catholic rites for non-Catholics. Everyone was registered under this new system, not just those appearing in Catholic or Protestant registers
Why the Record Was Created
Church books were first created to identify those who had received church sacraments. After 1869, they were also used as an official record of vital events by civil authorities.
The earliest Czech book was created in 1441 (a book of christenings from Horní Jiřetín). Books have been kept to the present, but because of privacy laws, they are available for research only through 1905.
Czech church books are extremely reliable, more so than census and other records. Ages, birth dates, and birthplaces found in marriage and death entries are only as accurate as the informant’s memory.
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Related Wiki Articles
- Czech Republic
- Czech Republic Church Records
- Czech Republic Church Books (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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- United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From Family Search Internet(www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006). Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base adn Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71.
- Mexico, Districto Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from Familysearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Bapistm of Adolfo Femandex Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apostol, Cauhimalpa.
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"Czech Republic, Southern Bohemia, Třeboň Archive church records, 1650-1900," images, FamilySearch; from Statni oblastni Archiv v. Treboni, Trebon, Czech Republic."Church Books." Czech Republic, Southern Bohemia, Třeboň Archive church records."
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