About a million of men from the area of Bohemia and Moravia participated in WWI. Not all of them returned home, many were killed in the battlefields or died because of diseases that spread among the soldiers. Where to find information about those who never returned? There are several possibilities.
Soldiers of WWI - from our family archives
First of all I have to mention that none of the databases is available in English. I know it's sad but hey, you can improve your Czech! ;) And one more warning - not all casualities are included in the databases which are described below. Many soldiers are still not there, but the Military Archives update the database time to time.
Database of casualities in WWI
This database is hosted by the Central Military Archives of the Czech Republic.There are four different databases on the website, one already described in one of previous posts - Czechoslovak Legions in WWI and database of legionaries. But there are also casualities in WWI included on the website
You just have to choose the right database to search - in Czech its called Padlí v 1. světové válce, ie. Casualities in WWI:
Then you fill in the field(s) - Příjmení (Surname), Jméno (Name) and/or Místo narození (Place of birth). So you can search for all Nováks or for anyone born in certain village. Here are examples of such searches:
Search by village
Search by surname
When you click on the surname of the person you are looking for, you will get a page including basic information about the soldier - surname (Příjmení), name (Jméno), date of birth (Datum narození), place of birth (Místo narození), residence (Domovem), to which unit of Austrian army he belonged (Příslušnost k útvaru rakousko-uherské armády), date of death (Datum úmrtí), cause of death (Příčina úmrtí), place of death (Místo úmrtí) and battlefield (Bojiště).
Card index of casualities in WWI
Second source in the Central Military Archives of the Czech Republic is scanned card index of casualities in WWI which is available on website
Card index is sorted (surprisingly) in alphabetical order by surname. When you click on some letter, it will give you one more selection and then you will have to click through the cards to find the person you are looking for. Don't forget that there is letter Ch in Czech which follows after H!
Card index of casualities in WWI
The card then contains information about the soldier - his name and surname, rank and unit, date and place of birth, residence, date and place of death, date and place of burial and where from the information was extracted.
Card of Antonín Ječmínek who died in 1918
Last great source I want to mention today are WWI memorials which can be found in almost every village in the Czech Republic. Yes, really, almost every village. Well, not in ours, but surrounding villages have these memorials. :)
These memorials were built during the 1920s to remember those who died in so called Great War. There is huge database of these memorials on website
This website is administered by the Association for Military Remembrance Places (Spolek pro vojenská pietní místa) and it is regularly updated. There are hundreds of memorials listed in there - and also photographed and names transcribed and so on. The only disadvantage for someone from foreign country is the fact whole website is in Czech only.
The best search is by village so you should know in which village you want to search. You'll need to know the region and the district in which the village is.
First choose region...
Then choose the district...
And now you can choose the village.
When you choose the village, it will give you a page with information about the memorial, transcription of names written there, photo of the memorial and often also links to the card index in the Military Archives. The people behind this project are really doing great job.
I know the last database is a bit complicated, but you can use Google Translator, which will help you to translate the text from the website. :) And if you are lucky enough, you can even find photos of your relatives there. Here is an example - photos on the war memorial in Hradiště near Kasejovice.