Litoměřice Regional Archives, Czech Republic Church Records

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Back to Czech Republic PageLitoměřice Regional Archives ► Litoměřice Regional Archives Church Records

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Overview

Litoměřice Regional Archive is in the process of digitizing parish registers (church records) and making them available online through the digital archive. To use these archives you need these skills:

1. An understanding of what to look for in parish registers.
2. How to navigate the archives to find the records of the parish you want.
3. The ability to read a few Czech, German, or Latin words that are found in the records. You do not have to be fluent in any of these languages!
4. A planned strategy for finding all the members of a family.

Parish Registers and the Information They Contain

Parish registers contain baptism (birth), marriage, and burial (death) information and are definitely the best source for identifying one’s relatives in the Czech Republic.

Sometimes, baptisms, marriages, and burials are kept for all villages in a parish, for each year. Other times, each village has its own section of baptisms, marriages, and burials, listed chronologically. Some records are in preprinted forms. Most records include indexes. While the books have been kept to the present, they are only available for research through about 1910 because of privacy laws. The parish registers cover a majority of the population.
Important details that will help identify your ancestors:

Baptismal entries usually contain the following: names of the child, parents, godparents, and sometimes grandparents; date and place of birth and baptism; residence and religion of the parents; whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate.

Marriage entries usually contain the following: names of the bride, groom, their parents, witnesses, and sometimes grandparents; date and place of marriage; residence and religion of the bride and groom; age, previous marital status, and occupation of bride and groom.

Burial entries usually contain the following: names of the deceased and spouse/parents; date and place of death and burial; residence and religion of the deceased; age and cause of death of the deceased.

See also, Czech Republic Church Records and Using Online Czech Records: Introduction].

Finding Your Parish Records in the Archives

Tutorial

Step-by-Step Instructions for Litoměřice Regional Archives

1. Go to: Státní oblastní archiv v Litoměřicích.

2. You may choose English, Czech, or German language by clicking on the Czech or German flag in the upper right corner. However, very little of the information in the register list will be translated. Instructional pages in other sections of the website will have English text.

3. The list you now see is a list of all the parishes for which there are registers. Most entries will have the place name followed by "římskokat", which means Roman Catholic. A register labeled "civilní" means civil registration. Click on the name of the parish you wish to study.

4. Next, you will see a list of all the registers for that parish or locality. Although the list is in Czech, you will be able to pick out the year range. The letters just preceding the year range tell you the type of register: N for births/baptisms, O for marriages, and Z for deaths/burials. Click on the entry that covers the time period and type of record you need.

5. A screen will pop up next with many details about the record, but all you need to do is click on the photograph of the record, which takes you to the scanned images of the register.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Family Search Historical Records

To search this collection using the index:

1. Click on this link: Czech Republic Church Books, 1552-1963
2. Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. <br.
3. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
4. Be aware there may be inaccuracies such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

To browse the images in this collection, you will need to follow this series of links:

1. Begin at the same page that shows the index: Czech Republic Church Books, 1552-1963
2. Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page. This is towards the bottom of the page and reads: "Browse through 4,668,489 images".
3. Select the "Religion"
4. Select the "District"
5. Select the "Place: Subordinate Places"
6. Select the "Event, Years, vol." which takes you to the images
7. Search the collection by image, 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.
8. If indexes are available in the images, check these for the name first. Indexes are usually located at the beginning of a group of images or at the end. They can also be found in individual folders. Find your ancestor's name and look for the locator information next to the name (such as page, entry, or certificate number). This will help you find the record you are looking for in the collection.

Reading the Records

Reading the records will be easier than you might think! Parish registers use only a few basic terms in any language, such as: father, mother, son, daughter, born, baptized, married, died. Personal and place names don't need to be translated, and dates often look very similar to English. More recent records are in columns, and by translating the column title, one can then easily read the pages. The basic vocabulary can be memorized for easy recognition, and other terms, such as occupations and relationships can be quickly translated, by consulting a genealogical word list.

Czech was not recognized as an official language until 1877 in Bohemia and 1905 in Moravia. Except for modern records of the 1900s, records in the Czech Republic were written mostly in Latin and German. These materials for learning to read German, Latin, and old Gothic script will be helpful in preparing you to read Czech church records.

This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:

Building a Family Record with a Search Strategy

Many articles on strategy are available on the Wiki, but here is a simple set of steps to guide you

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth/baptism/christening record, then search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents, and even the names of their parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.


See also: