Thursday, November 19, 2015

Oh no, that parish book is still in Municipal Office!

How well I know that situation. I need a record from the end of 19th or beginning of 20th century which should be in the archives - but it's still in the parish book which is stored in local municipal office. It's not so bad if the municipal office is near, but if I would have to travel 150 miles to get one parish record, I have to think about it twice. And this is still quite easy for me as I'm living in the Czech Republic. So - what to do in such cases?

You can contact municipal office by e-mail - or you can try to obtain duplicate of the record you are looking for from the district archives. But the second option is often paid.

Municipal offices
If there are no secondary sources which can be used such as census or seigniorial records, you can always try to write an e-mail to the municipal office to see if they are willing to help. This is quite useful in case of small municipal offices, but useless in case of large towns and cities as the clerks there stricktly follow the law.

How to find out which municipal office is respective to the village where your ancestors came from? Well, usually you can just type words "matrika village name" to Google search. This works in case of unique names or if you know under which district the village belongs. You should get similar result:

The result from website www.obceamesta.info is the one you are looking for. There is number of other websites with this information but I find the information most usefull and precise.

When you click on the link, you should get page similar to this one:


There usually is an e-mail address to the municipal office listed there which you can use in contacting the municipal office to try to find out more about your ancestors.

Don't forget the clerks are not bound or obliged to provide you this information. If they do so, it's just their good will - they are often willing to help, but don't be surprised if you don't receive an answer at all. Some of the smaller offices are still not used to electronic communication.

I have prepared a template of such e-mail both in English and Czech, so you can copy and paste it and adjust it to your needs. Those words in bold and in cursive are meant to be adjusted individually, so please when using this template, pay huge attention to it. Google Translator might help - and I will be happy to help too if you leave a comment. 

Notes:
Date format in Czech is d.m.yyyy or dd.mm.yyyy - ie. 20.11.2015 for 20th November 2015, 9.5.1905 for 9th May 1905 and so on.
Male and female form of verbs or pronouns varies.

English version:
Dear Sir/Madam, 

I'd like to ask you for help - I'm tracking history of my family who immigrated to U.S. / Canada / elsewhere in 2nd half of 19th century / beginning of 20th century. I found out that my (great)grandfather / (great)grandmother name surname was born on date in place - I tried to check website of the appropriate archives, but the parish book I need is still stored in your municipal office. 

Would you be so kind to help me with some additional information? I'd like to obtain any information which will help me to move further in my family history, such as names of parents and grandparents of my (great)grandfather / (great)grandmother, places they were from and so on.

Thanks in advance for any information about my ancestors.

Kind regards


Czech version:
Vážená paní, vážený pane, 

chtěl(a)* bych Vás požádat o pomoc - pátrám po historii své rodiny, která emigrovala do USA / Kanady / elsewhere ve druhé polovině 19. století / na počátku 20. století. Zjistil(a)* jsem, že můj (pra)dědeček / moje (pra)babička name surname se narodil(a)* dne date v obci place - zkusil(a)* jsem vyhledat tento údaj na stránkách archivu, ale matrika, kterou potřebuji, je ještě uložena na Vašem úřadě. 

Byli byste tak laskaví a pomohli mi získat další informace? Chtěl(a)* bych získat takové informace, které mi pomohou posunout se v pátrání po rodinné historii dále, jako například jména rodičů nebo prarodičů mého (pra)dědečka / mé (prababičky), místa, odkud byli, a tak dále.

Předem děkuji za jakékoli informace o mých předcích. 

S pozdravem

*male - chtěl, zjistil, narodil, zkusil; female - chtěla, zjistila, narodila, zkusila.

Here are two examples of the first part to make it clearer:

Greatgrandfather Josef Novák, born on 21st May 1905 in Prasklice, immigrating in 1925 to U.S.:
EN: I'd like to ask you for help - I'm tracking history of my family who immigrated to U.S. in the beginning of 20th century. I found out that my greatgrandfather Josef Novák was born on 21st May 1905 in Prasklice - I tried to check website of the appropriate archives, but the parish book I need is still stored in your municipal office.

CZ: chtěla bych Vás požádat o pomoc - pátrám po historii své rodiny, která emigrovala do USA na počátku 20. století. Zjistila jsem, že můj pradědeček Josef Novák se narodil dne 21.5.1905 v obci Prasklice - zkusila jsem vyhledat tento údaj na stránkách archivu, ale matrika, kterou potřebuji, je ještě uložena na Vašem úřadě.

Greatgrandmother Ludmila Oušková, born on 13th November 1875 in Hříšice, immigrating 1898 to Canada:
EN: I'd like to ask you for help - I'm tracking history of my family who immigrated to Canada in 2nd half of 19th century. I found out that my greatgrandmother Ludmila Oušková was born on 13th November 1875 in Hříšice - I tried to check website of the appropriate archives, but the parish book I need is still stored in your municipal office.

CZ: chtěla bych Vás požádat o pomoc - pátrám po historii své rodiny, která emigrovala do Kanady ve 2. polovině 19. století. Zjistila jsem, že moje prababička Ludmila Oušková se narodil dne 13.11.1875 v obci Hříšice - zkusila jsem vyhledat tento údaj na stránkách archivu, ale matrika, kterou potřebuji, je ještě uložena na Vašem úřadě.



Obtaining a duplicate record
Another option you can choose is to obtain a duplicate of the record you are looking for from the district archives. There are duplicates of most of parish books from 19th and first half of 20th century kept in the district archives (or in central archives in České Budějovice in case of Třeboň archives) and you could ask them to find that record for you. 

Anyway this service is often paid and costs about 20 to 25 USD per record. You have to provide the same information which is listed above - name, date and place where the person was born. That is essential information needed to do such research in duplicates of parish books. And you have to state you are willing to cover any expenses connected to this research. 

Sometimes - if you are luck - the archives will provide this information for free, but don't rely on that. Some of the archives are strickly following the rules (but there are still those which will send you the information without payment, so it's always worth a try :)). 

Most of archives are already used to communication in English, anyway if you decide to write them in Czech, I'll be happy to assist.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Blanka. I find these posts very helpful and thank you so much for doing this blog. I love all of the inforation I have read so far. I just found your site this week so I have been fascinated by it. My family names include Mazancova (Mazanec), Schlaiss (Slajs), Bejcek, Novotny, Cechova all from south and west of Prague. Kamyk, Klatovy, Empire of Austria is how my info reads. Any info about towns, names, places of interest would be greatly appreciated.I love your site. Thanks again for this site.

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  2. Hello Blanka,
    Thanks for providing such a great resource! Several years ago I discovered that my Austrian grandmother, born in Hohenau, was actually of Czech ancestry. I've found many records of her family on the Actapublica website. If you could provide info about the Landes Gebaranstalt (which I think was a hospital for unwed mothers) that would be much appreciated. On my great-grandparents' marriage record it states that my great-grandfather was born in the Landes Gebaranstalt in Brunn zustanding nach Brezi, Bz. Gross-Meseritsch. I can't find his birth record in Brezi and wonder where the Gebaranstalt birth records are located.

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