Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Aunt Kateřina's proverbs

Let's finish this year with something a bit more cheerful. Do you know Saturnin? No? It's a story from the writer Zdeněk Jirotka about one wonderful butler whose name is Saturnin. He is a butler of Jiří Oulický, young man with interesting relatives. One of those relatives is Aunt Kateřina who loves to use proverbs. And as Czech is very interesting language, I decided to write a blog post about these proverbs. I translated some of them literally, some of them have English parallels.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

PF 2015

Year 2014 is coming to its end and I'd like to say "thank you!" to you all who are reading this blog. To those of you who are bringing more blog ideas, who help me to better understand needs of foreigners who are researching Czech roots. Special thanks to those who donated - we are writing this blog in our spare time (and there is not too much of it for last couple of months) and we appreciate your help.

This blog was created more than three years ago and it has 120 blog posts published (121 with this one). I know I'm not able to write regularly but I'm trying to bring you more and more information. I (and Michaela too) will try to continue in posting next year but there are quite many issues in my private life which hold me back from writing. 

I wish you many discovered ancestors, no brickwalls and as many hours spent on research as possible. :) No faulty writing, no drunken priests, no missing images and parish books, some black sheep and as much luck as you can endure. 

Let the year 2015 be better than the current one - in every possible way.


Explanation! :) PF means Pour Feliciter (French) and is a widely used wish in Czech Republic meaning wishing you luck in the upcoming year. It's a tradition in the Czech Republic and we send PF cards to our friends and families.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Czech Christmas Traditions (updated)

Well, this is not too much of a genealogy post, anyway I decided to put together those traditions which we are used to keep. There were less of these traditions when I was a child because we were not too "traditional" family, but as I'm growing older, I'm trying to incorporate more old traditions to our family life - just because I like them. And I like them mainly thanks to my own interest in genealogy. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Josef Lada

I don't remember the first time I saw artworks of this artist. But I love them since childhood. I had (and still have) books with his illustrations, I love postcards with his paintings. Josef Lada, painter, writer and illustrator. I bought a calendar with his illustrations to our kids last year - and I think I'll do the same this year.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Using old and current maps in your family history

I'm working on a family history where one of the ancestors in paternal line froze to death "by the holy cross above Snět" in 1855. I decided to use this case as an example how to work with old and new maps together. I used old maps from the Stabile Cadaster mapping and current tourist map available on Mapy.cz.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Czech history timeline - updated

There are several dates which should be remembered because of importance to our ancestors lives. This post was inspired by Czech genealogy website of Lukáš Pěnkava - I have ommited some of the dates and added others as I see some more important. This timeline can be very useful for writing family history. It covers years 1526 to 1918.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fotohistorie.cz, old postcards and photos source

We have gone through parish books, censuses, school registers or maps, but there are many more online sources for Czech history. One of these sources is website Fotohistorie.cz which offers old postcards and photos from all around the Czech Republic. It's not a source covering every village and every town but it can provide very nice postcards for many Czech towns and villages.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My great great-grandmother's cake form

I bake something sweet time to time and I usually use modern cake forms (or just plain baking tin). But there is one cake which is baked in a special form - bábovka. I tried to find English translation and Wikipedia gave me Gugelhupf or Bundt cake, which is correct I suppose.

I have three different bábovka forms at home - one modern which was bought to me two or three years ago by my husband. And two old ones, both about one hundred years old. My mum gave them to me as she got them from her mum, which got them from her mum, which got them from her mum, my great great-grandmother Marie Trojanová, married Musilová (born 1876).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SRA Prague: Map of digitized parishes

State Regional Archives in Prague published a map where already digitized Roman catholic parishes are marked. You can find the map on their website. The map shows digitized parishes in yellow color - parish books from these parishes can be found on ebadatelna.soapraha.cz

State Regional Archives in Prague is publishing newly digitized parish books from time to time (currently every two months) and this map should be updated every time there are new parish books available for researchers.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

House numbers

Once upon a time there was an Empress who ruled in Central Bohemia. Her name was Marie Terezie (Maria Theresia) and she reigned in 1740-1780. She was very wise and made many changes in her empire. One of those changes was based on an act from February of 1770. This act set an frame for new system of house numbering in whole Cisleithania. As Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia belonged under this part of Habsburg monarchy, it also affected every settlement in this region.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rural settlement types

There are just few types of rural settlement all over the world - even the conditions in which the settlements developed were different. Czech environment knows three basic types - linear settlement,  nucleated settlement and dispersed settlement (oh my, it took me too many minutes to find English phrases!). There are almost no villages of clearly one type today, but let's take a look on these types using old maps.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

28th October 1918

It was few days before the official end of the Great War, how was 1st World War called by our ancestors prior to 2nd World War. Habsburg monarchy was falling, mighty Austro-Hungarian empire came to its end. And there were several states which were founded in area which was prevously ruled by the Habsburg family. One of them was Czechoslovakia. It was 28th October of 1918.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Age in registries

I found out that one question is very common in Czech research: "I found marriage/death record of my ancestor and when I looked for his birth record, I found one, but the age counted from that birth record is different from the one shown in the marriage/death record. Is it really my ancestor's birth?" Let's take a look on such issues...

Czech School Registers

FamilySearch published Czech school registers few weeks ago and as these registers are mainly in Czech or German, I have decided to write a bit about them. I already wrote about Czech basic education, so let's take a look on those school registers in this post.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Genealogical conference 2014

Today there was a genealogical conference organized by FamilySearch which took place in Moravian Land Archives in Brno. There were 15 short talks about FamilySearch and its work, resources in Moravian Land Archives which could be used by genealogist, and information about future digitising was provided too. We also took a tour around the archives - even the depositories which are usually not accessible by public. Here are some photos from this event.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

History of Czech basic education

As Czech school registers were published short time ago on FamilySearch website, I have decided to write two blog posts - one about Czech basic education and another about these school registers. So let's get to the first part, history of our basic education system from its beginning to the first half of 20th century.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Legitimization of a child II. - Czech and Latin notes

We have already gone through the German notes which could be written to the legitimization of an illegitimal child. Let's take a look on another two languages used in the Czech Kingdom, which are - Czech and Latin. I originally intended to write two separate posts, one for Czech and one for Latin, but these two languages are often used together - part of the notes in Czech and part in Latin, so I decided to write one post for both of them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Legitimization of a child I. - German notes

I have written a blog post about illegitimate children some time ago, but I totally forgot to mention legitimization notes there. I decided to divide the article to two parts, first German notes, second Czech and third Latin notes as the explanation of the notes tooks some time (and place). So - what is written in the legitimization notes you can often see in the registries? What does it say in German and how to translate it to English?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Karel Šafránek, gossipy priest

It's Sunday afternoon here in CZ and I was thinking what I should write about next. And as it is Sunday and it should be a day off, I decided to write a post about - a death. Ah. No, not a usual one. About two interesting deaths from a parish where my own ancestors were from.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Psotník. Why did so many children die?

Psotník. Božec. Fraiß. Fraißen. These are the most common names for a death cause which is written in many records for dead children. And there were many children dying in the past, almost 50 percent of all children born. Terrible number, I know. But - what this death cause means? What is behind it?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Death causes dictionary

As I was writing a blog post about epidemies, I was already thinking about creating basic dictionary of death causes - Czech-German-English dictionary, because many of parishes in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia had parish books in German. And here it is. These are just those most common death causes as taken from parish books of Horní Záhoří (South Bohemia), Slabce (Central Bohemia), Nový Přerov (Moravia) and Kateřinky (Silesia).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Plague, cholera, typhus. Epidemies in Czech past

You have most probably seen them if you have already browsed through the death registries - tens of deaths in really short time, even in small parishes where are few deaths per year. Epidemies decimated our ancestors from time to time and here is overview of illnesses which caused epidemies in the past.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stabile cadaster maps, part II

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about stabile cadaster, stabile cadaster maps contain many information useful for anyone interested in family history research. So - what exactly is shown on the maps? What information can you find there? And how to use it in your research?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hinds, grooms, day labourers - rural occupations

I have explained who one hide of land owner was in one of the previous posts and it (of course) raised another questions. Who was a "podruh"? What about "čeledín"? And "domkář" or "nádeník"? What these people did, where they lived? Did they own any property? Here are the answers.

Czech Archives on Internet

Updated! All Czech archives are publishing the registries (parish books) online nowadays. The first archives to start was the State Regional Archives in Trebon in 2008 and was followed by the other archives during the following years. Not all registries are available yet, but they should be available in few years time. Here are the links to the digital archives (with comments).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Czechoslovak legions in WWI. and database of legionaries

As I wrote a post about Czech military service in the past I decided to add one more post with similar topic, this time about Czech legionaries serving in the World War I. Many of Czech soldiers decided (or were forced) to leave Austrian army during the "Great War" - how is WWI. called in their memories - and join foreign legions in France, Italy or Russia. And there is database of these legionaries available online.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

History of villages: Křesetice, Bohemia

Křesetice is located in Kutná Hora district in the Central Bohemia region, about four kilometers south from Kutná Hora. It's placed in the valley of Křenovka creek surrounded by fields. Its name comes from the name of laird Křesata - it meant his village, village of his serfs.
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Czech military service in the past

Rose Green asked if I can write a bit about Czech military service history. She had several questions and I decided to answer at least some of them. So, here are Rose's questions: How common the military service was? Was it ever mandatory, and if so, for how long? Did they generally serve locally, or were they sent far away? How common was it for a soldier to marry a local girl? And did the soldiers bring spouses and children along? Let's see if I'm able to answer these questions.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Guide to Ostrava Town Archives - Censuses

As the Ostrava Town Archives website is not available in English, I have prepared a short guide showing how to search for censuses there. Censuses from years 1900 and 1910 are currently available for browsing - no name fulltext, but the censuses are nicely sorted by house numbers - each house number has its own "folder", so you don't have to browse all census sheets to find the proper house number.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Czech Censuses 1843-1921 part III. - online sources

I have mentioned in part I of this mini-series there are censuses for Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia available online. I was asked several times where to find these censuses, so I decided to provide an overview of websites where censuses are placed online.

Friday, July 11, 2014

One hide, half hide - farmers in Czech past

I was asked to write a blog post about farmers - to explain what are the difference between chalupník (chalupner, cottager), sedlák (rusticus, Bauer, farmer), who was gruntovník and so on. I'll try to do my best to explain the differences and introduce different kinds of Czech farmers.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dolní Bojanovice - Feast of Corpus Christi

I was in Southern Moravia region three weeks ago, during the Feast of Corpus Christi weekend. And we were accomodated in Dolní Bojanovice by coincidence - village where the celebration is probably the largest and most traditional. Many people are wearing traditional clothes and costumes. I couldn't help myself and took few photos of those who were wearing it. These photos were taken in front of the church (open the article to see more photos).

 
9th grade class of local primary school

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bohemia or Moravia?

You most probably bumped into that case. Your ancestors listed in census records, obituaries and other sources as from Bohemia - and then you search and search and search to find out they came from Moravia or Silesia. How is it possible? Why Bohemia is written instead of Moravia? What were the reasons?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Immigrants from Nedašov, Moravia

Nedašov is one of those villages which are mentioned in the Immigrants from various place blog post. I however found out there are few more notes in older records mentioning someone "in America", so I decided to write a blog post for Nedašov itself. I added few records extracted from Ellis Island database to have more data. If you are interested in Jakubík family from this village, this blog post is exactly for you. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Prague conscriptions

Many of those who begin Czech research will find out that their ancestors were from Prague - or at least the family says so. Well, not all people could be from Prague, right? But there are ways how to find out if the people were living in Prague or not - one of those ways are Prague police conscriptions which are available online on National Archives of the Czech Republic website.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New web application of Prague regional archives

It seems every Czech archives decided to have its own web application / registry browser. After Pilsen regional archives created PortaFontium website together with Bavarian archives and Austrian St. Pölten archives was included under Matricula-online system, the last one which was still staying in ActaPublica website together with Brno land archives was Prague regional archives. Well, it's not true anymore.

Czech Censuses 1843-1921 part II. - content

We went through the background of the censuses and it was shown how to search for the proper record in the first part of the Czech Censuses. Let's see what the censuses contain, what information can be found there and what not. I'll use 1921 census as an example as it's the census which is widely available online.

Domicile rights between 1849 and 1948

Czech domicile law was quite complicated when it was codified during the second half of 19th century. First domicile law was accepted by Austrian government during the large land administration system reform in 1849 and it was reworked in 1863. Institute of domicile law was in place til 1948 when it was replaced by the residency law.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Funeral Card Friday: Czech funeral notes in newspapers

First blog post ever in "daily blogging promtps" from Geneabloggers. My oldest daughter is sick so I'm spending most of the day with easy work which doesn't need much of concentration. This also includes research in newspapers which are available online in Kramerius system of the Czech National Library.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Czech Censuses 1843-1921 part I. - background

Many of you already know them, some of you are probably still afraid of them - Czech census records. They are available online for some of Czech archives - right now only those which cooperate with FamilySearch. Where can you find them? What those records contain? Is information in them correct? I'll try to answer these questions.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Immigrants from Velký Ořechov parish, Moravia

As I sometimes publish information about immigrants from various villages, I also prepared this post - it's not focused on one village, but on whole parish as there were just few notes about immigrants in the birth registries of this parish. The parish is Velký Ořechov, which is located on border of Zlín and Uherské Hradiště districts in Moravia. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Marriage notes - part II, Czech notes

As I promised before, I prepared a blog post about marriage notes in Czech language which you can find in the marriage registries. Notes mentioned in this article were taken from the marriage book in Horní Záhoří parish, one of my most favorite parishes. Believe me - there is much interesting information included in these notes, so they are worth reading. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Immigrants from various places (updated)

I run into evidence about immigration sometimes, often only one person from whole village. As I see it as nonsense to create a special post for such cases, I decided to create this post which I will update in cases I find some new record.

Military Surveys and Mappings

There is wonderful source of old maps - three military mappings which took place in 18th and 19the century. Whole Hapsburg empire was mapped and Czech maps are available online for those who are interested. And I believe many people are interested in old maps of regions where their ancestors lived. These maps have also on big advantage - the website they are placed on is available in Czech, German and English. I already mentioned them in one of the previous posts, but let's check them in detail.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PortaFontium website guide

As many of you probably already noticed, Pilsen archives moved completely from ActaPublica.eu to PortaFontium.eu website. Website is available in two languages - Czech and German, English is missing and I'm not sure it's planned to be implemented. As many of you don't understand neither Czech nor German, I decided to prepare an illustrated guide through this website.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Immigrants from Tasov, Hodonín, Moravia

Tasov is another small village on Czech-Slovak borders. It's located near Strážnice, well known for its open-air museum and festival of folklore traditions. Tasov is one of those villages where it wasn't easy to live in - poor part of country on the slopes of White Carpathians where the most common way of living was agriculture. Most of the farmers here owned just a small piece of land, usually about 5 acres. Many people from here left to find their happiness across the ocean - here are those whose birth record contain a note about their emgration. The timespan covered is between 1885 and 1900.

Testimonium matrimonii contracti

I'm preparing a blog post about immigrants from Tasov, Hodonín district, in Moravia - and I've accidentally bumped into one document I'd like to show to people who are interested in Czech genealogical research. It is "testimonium matrimonii contracti", which means testimony about contracting a marriage. Such documents were provided to people who wanted/needed to prove they were married. 

My experience is not many people know that church records (which are usually not available online) contain much more information than marriage licences (which are often available online). So if your ancestors were married in U.S. and you don't know where they came from - don't forget marriage church records. :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Most common Czech surnames


When you are searching for a family in Bohemia or Moravia and you don't know where the family was from surname often helps. There are surnames which occur only in a few specific villages and you can determine where the ancestors were from. But then there are those surnames which occur in tens of thousands. Here are ten of those most common surnames - how many people have them, what they mean and so on.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

History of villages: Nemějice, Bohemia

There are many small villages which has long history, but there are is just a little information published online about them. Writing a history of such village is quite complicated task and I'm trying to do my best in such tasks. One of those villages is Nemějice in Písek district - it was problem to find detailed information about this village online, but I have tried to compile at least those few notes I have found. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Marriage notes - part I, German notes

I translated a marriage record today for one client from U.S. and it brought me to idea writing about notes by the marriage records - information about marriage banns, birth certificates or church dispensations. Most people who are searching for family history in Bohemia or Moravia are going to find information about banns in marriage records, but it's often hard to translate and therefor often omitted. So - what could be written there and how to handle such notes?