Friday, March 11, 2016

Death notes

You probably know them. Short notes in "cause of death" column in death registries. There is often written something like "Úmrtní list z Radlic č. 21 dne 15. září 1873", "úmrtní ohledací lístek č. 15 dto 28. Januar 1836" or just a simple "č. 21". What do these notes mean? What they looked like? And can you still find them somewhere?

Death notes were sent to parish office for each deceased. When someone died, his body was examined by a priest or local authorities (reeve or councillors). They then wrote a death note about the examination and sent it to the parish office. Those notes contained name of the deceased, her husband, father's name if it was a child, age, residence, cause of death and name of examinatior.

Here is an example of such note. It says: Anjsska France Netoljckj umřela nakrjwotok N 41 ta umřela 12 srpna ta bjla stara 66 let ta ma begt pochowana 48 hodjn prohljžjtel Antonjn zmrakotjna. 
Translation: Anežka, wife of František Netolička from house no. 41, died because of blood stream (hydropsy) on 12th August (1825), she was 66 years old and she has to be buried after 48 hours. Examinator Antonín from Mrákotín. 

Not that much information, right? You can find her death record in Mrákotín death registry - there is hydropsy stated as a cause of death and 66 years as age. As you can see there is no medical examination, no medical terms, no more information about the deceased than you can find in the parish book. Medical examination as we know it today dates to the second half of 19th century - notes from doctors contain much more medical information.

These notes are stored in the parish archives in State District Archives - this one comes from Mrákotín parish archives stored in Jihlava SDA. Anežka Netoličková was my 6xgreatgrandmother and I'm really happy I was able to find such note.


  1. On records what does the "x4" mean after the word invalid?

    1. Could you provide a link to some example? Thanks.

  2. Are the death notes available online?

    Also, what is the term for a "death note" in Czech? Is it something like "úmrtní list"?