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In the Czech Republic, most records used in family history research are kept on a town or parish level. Therefore the exact town of origin must be known before research in Czech records can begin. Most of the time, the Czech place of origin is found in sources created in the country of immigration. These records should be searched for the ancestor, possible relatives, and other associated persons.
Czech place names are often misspelled in American sources. Difficult names were shortened and diacritic marks omitted. A gazetteer, which is defined as a geographical dictionary, is an essential tool for identifying places. Look up your place name in the gazetteer to be sure that it is spelled correctly. Please note that many locality names are comprised of two or more words. If you cannot find a place name in the gazetteer under the first word try searching under the second word. For example, if you are unable to find in the gazetteer Česká Lípa under Česká you should also check underLípa.
After you have determined the correct name of the town from which your ancestor emigrated, you must still determine its location. Many Czech localities have similar names that may be easily confused. An example would be the place names: Kámen, Kamenec, Kamenice, Kamenička, Kameničky, Kamenka, Kamenná, Kamenné. Czech grammatical endings can change an actual place name. The expression in Kamenka is v Kamence, from Kamenka is z Kamenky.
Not every village in the Czech Republic had its own parish. Often, several smaller villages belonged to one parish. Use gazetteer to determine the proper record keeping jurisdiction. Until the 1900s, vital records were kept by church parishes or Jewish congregations. The records of different religions were kept separately. If you are not sure of your ancestor's religion, start by searching Roman-Catholic records. Catholicism was the dominant religion in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The gazetteer used for historical Czechoslovak localities in the FamilySearch Catalog is: Místopisný slovník Československé republiky.
Administratives Gemeindelexikon der Čechoslovakischen Republik
Administratives Gemeindelexikon der Čechoslovakischen Republik. (Administrative Gazetteer of the Czechoslovak Republik). Statistischen Staatsamte, Prague: Rudolf M. Rohrer 1927-28. (FHL book 943.7 E5a vol.1-2; FHL film 496719 vol.I and FHL film 496720 item 1 vol.II; FHL fiche 6000787).
This gazetteer gives information on all town and villages in Slovakia as it existed as part of Czechoslovakia after 1918. In addition, it includes places in Sub-Carpathian Russia (Podkarpatská Rus), now a part of the Ukraine, which belonged to Czechoslovakia between the first and second world wars. The gazetteer is arranged by political districts with one index for the entire republic.
Volume I includes all of Bohemia, Volume II includes Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Slovakia, Sub-Carpathian Russia and a main index at the end.
Main index (pages 257-321) lists all place names in alphabetical order, as well as most German and Hungarian versions. It is alphabetized according to the Czech alphabetical order: A B C Č D,Ď E F G H CH I J K L M N,Ň O P Q R,Ř S Š T,Ť U V W X Y Z Ž. (Note that Č, Š, and Ž are alphabetized separately from the unmarked versions, also that Ch comes after H; this means that Sch comes after Sh.)
Each place name in a main index is followed by a volume and page number. This refers you to the gazetteer entry in appropriate volume and page number in that particular volume. The names of localities are listed in Column 2. In many districts both the Slovak and Hungarian versions of a place name are listed, with the Slovak version first. Column 8 lists the Roman Catholic parish. The parishes for other religions may be noted in this column or mentioned in footnotes.
In some instances, especially in the case of smaller villages, obsolete names and various language variations of the place names are indexed separately. These additional indexes should be referred to only if the locality you are looking for is not found in the main index. These little indexes give the standard version of the place name which then can be looked up in the main index.
Slovak Name Index, Volume II (pages 329-331) This index lists the Slovak obsolete place names.
Hungarian Name Indexes, Slovakia Volume II (pages 332-342) Sub-Carpathian Russia, Volume II (pages 342-343) These indexes list the old Hungarian names.
German Name Index, Volume II (page 342) This index lists the German names for localities in Slovakia.
Sub-Carpathian Name Index, Volume II (page 342) This index lists the Czech names for localities in Sub-Carpathian Russsia.
Ruthenian Cyrillic Index, Volume II (pages 321-322) This index lists Ruthenian (Ukrainian) place names using the Cyrillic alphabet.
Gemeindelexikon der im Reichsrate vertretenen Königreiche und Länder
Gemeindelexikon der im Reichsrate vertretenen Königreiche und Länder. (Gazetteer of the Crownlands and Territories Represented in the Imperial Council). Wien: Verlag der k.k. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1905-1908. (FHL book 943.6 E5g).
- Vol. IX Gemeindelexicon von Böhmen (Gazetteer of Bohemia). FHL film 1187927 item 1. Also available online at FamilySearch Books Online
- Vol. X Gemeindelexicon von Mähren (Gazetteer of Moravia). FHL film 924736 item 1. Also available online at FamilySearch Books Online and FamilySearch Books Online
- Vol. XI Gemeindelexicon von Schlesien (Gazetteer of Silesia). FHL film 1187927 item 2. Also available online at FamilySearch Books Online
Based on the 1900 census. The volume for each province is arranged by political district, each divided into court districts, with an index to both German and local place names at the end of the book. To use, find the village in the index, which gives the page number in the gazetteer. If you do not find the village on the page listed in the index, check the footnotes. The names of the political and court district are given at the top of the page. The parish or synagogue is not listed in the main index but is given in an appendix, located between the main text and the index of each volume. The appendix is arranged alphabetically by political district and court district. In the appendix section, using the name of the districts and the village, determine the parish town where the church records were kept for your village. The parish and synagogue is given in the last column.
The gazetteer used for historical Czechoslovak localities in the FamilySearch Catalog is: Místopisný slovník Československé republiky. Film number 1183708 item 2, Book number 943.7 E5c.
Sturm, Heribert. Ortslexikon der Böhmischen Länder, 1910-1965. (Gazetteer of the Bohemian Land, 1910-1965). Wien: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1977. (FHL INTL Book 943.71 E5ob v. 1; 943.71 E5ob v. 2). Volume 1. Bezirk Asch - Bezirk Brüx, Volume 2. Bezirk Čáslav - Bezirk Gablonz.
Gemeindeverzeichnis für Mittel- und Ostdeutschland und die früheren deutschen Siedlungsgebiete im Ausland. (Gazetteer of Germany and of German settlements in Europe. Maps on lining papers). Frankfurt am Main : Verlag für Standesamtswesen, 1970. (FHL INTL Book 940 E5g).
Alphabetical listing of settlements with the numerical code next to each locality name. This code refers to the specific country, county and district listed in the beginning of the book.
The JewishGen ShtetlSeeker is a database containing the names of all localities in the 45 countries of Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. The results will display each locality's latitude and longitude, the distance/direction from a reference city, and links to maps.
For each locality, the search results will display:
- The place's name(s), with the native name in bold
- The coordinates — latitude and langitude
- Links to maps
- Country — the country in which the locality is located today
- Distance/Direction from reference poin.
- 10 miles radius — a link to display all places within a 10 mile radius
- This page was last modified on 17 September 2014, at 23:36.
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