Kate Challis is preparing headlines of columns, so I decided to look at their contents and abstract the common patterns that may help you to with basic orientation.
More examples explained in Czech are also on Blanka's site. So there are not mentioned Czech records, but their structure is the same and could by easily abstracted by analogy from the Latin or German ones.
During the time, there were basically three types of record structure:
The first one is a whole text that is common in the oldest books and it's the one that is the most confusing, because formulations may vary even in the same book and then it's hard to find desired information.
Very often it starts with a date, but it's not a date you "need" - e.g. it starts with a date of baptism, but the date of actual birth is mentioned three lines above, after the name of church, priest, father, his occupation, mother, a manor they belonged to, name of the child... and it's hidden as "born yesterday."
The same happens also in the burial records.
In marriage records, it often starts with dates of banns, that mistaken researchers who don't bother to read whole content see as the date of marriage, that is actually in the middle of the record. This might cause more problems than in previously mentioned baptism or burial records, where the differences in dates are only day or two, because here the difference might be three weeks, but also it might happen, that the child they were expecting, was born during the banns and then the marriage could happen even a half of the year later.
It often contains many archaic abbreviations that are hard to decipher.
Baptism record (1736)
Eodem Ego Idem baptizavi infantem hoc die natam Ex leg et Tyna Subd: Conj P. Jacobo Peterže et M Barbara cui na datum e Anna Lev: Anna Joannis Steinbach uxor Wranovio test: Salomena Bartholomaei Steinbach uxor Wostromecžio Paroch Semnloviczensis Joannes Steinbach pie defuncti Georgij Steinbach legitimus Superstes filius et Jacobus Goth Wrano
Abbreviations used here:
leg - legitime
& - et - and
Subd: - subditi - serfs (the manor place is the word before)
Conj. - conjugi - married couple
P. - pater - father
M - mater - mother
na - nomina - name
e - est - is
Lev: - levans - the main godparent (the one that hold a child during baptism)
test: witnesses of baptism (it's a relict from previous times when no written evidence was kept)
Paroch - parochia - parish
Eodem - the same (day) - it means that the date is said in the previous record
Ego - means I (or me) - the priest who baptized the child, his name is probably also in one of the previous records
Idem - the same - there supposedly were another information about the priest and parish (often on this place there is the name and place of the church)
The same day I, the same, baptized a child born this day of legitimate and to Týn manor belonging married couple, father Jakub Peteřík and mother Barbora, whom was imposed a name Anna.
Main godmother: Anna, wife of Jan Steinbach from Vranov.
Witnesses of baptism: Salomena, wife of Bartoloměj Steinbach from Ostroměř, Sémněvice parish, Jan Steinbach, bereaved son of peacefully deceased Jiří Steinbach, and Jakub Goth from Vranov.
Date of baptism - priest - name and place of church - baptized a child - date of birth - information about parents - name of father - name of mother - given name.
Main godparent - occupation and place
Witnesses of baptism - their occupation and place
Date of baptism - priest - name and place of church - baptized a child - name of father - name of mother - information about parents - given name - date of birth.
Marriage record (1731)
Praemissis tribus continuis promulgationibus diebus dominicis quam prima in circumcisione Domini. 2dae primae dominicae: post Epiphanae. et 3 2dae dominicae: post: Epiphanae: Domini, nulloque manifestato impedimento coram me Mathiae Martino Ortner sit Curato in farie Ecclesiae contraxit matrimonium die 16 Januarij Jacobus filius legitimus Joannis Peterschik ex pago Franowa, cum Barbara filia legitima Joannis Riba ex pago Meshols. Praesentibus testibus georgio gireschik ex pago Lohowa, adamo Kraus ex Merschigow et adamo svowoda ex pago Zeirm.
as you can see, there are many abbreviations that use abbreviation signs, some of them look like a little 9 - in the end of the word, it means -us, in the beginning it means con- (or com-)
pra - prima - the first
Dni - Domini - Lord, God
2da - secunda - the second
Dom: - Dominica - Sunday
Epiph. - Epiphanae - Epiphany
impdto - impedimento - impediment (that might prevent the couple from getting married)
Eccle - Ecclesiae - Church
Joais - Joannis - Jan (John)
On the three banns during Sundays, the first one on the Feast of the Circumcision of Chirst, the second one on the first Sunday after Epiphany and the third one on the second Sunday after Epiphany of Christ, noone showed any impediment.
In front of me Matěj Martin Ortner, chaplain of local parish church, was on 16th January contracted the marriage of Jakub, legitimate son of Jan Peteřík from the village of Vranov, with Barbora, legitimate daughter of Jan Ryba from the village of Mezholezy.
Present witnesses: Jiří Jirešík from the village of Hlohová, Adam Kraus from Miřkov and Adam Svoboda from the village of Čermná.
Date of banns (often with names of Feasts, not the dates) - no impediment found / impediment, its kind and dispensation - name and position of the priest - date of marriage - name and information about the groom - name and information about the bride - names and information of witnesses.
I some cases the information about banns could be in the end of the record.
Burial record (1720)
Idem anno die 22 feb: Sepulta est Elisabetha ortnerin Mater Parochi dictae parochiae annorum 83
The same year on the day of 22nd February was buried Alžběta Ortnerová, mother of the vicar of the same parish, 83 years old.
year - day - month - buried - name - information - age
after previous information there could be also some kind of formulation about last rites provided (mostly it starts with provisus, providi). It could contain simple information that it was provided, or longer description what last rites were provided and by whom.
The second type of records are those that strictly follow the order of columns and contain almost nothing more than what is necessary - simple names of parents in baptism records, very few information about origin of fiancées in the marriage record, only name and age in burial records.
I decided to leave this type without examples, because of the length of this article and no real reason of doing so, the headlines themselves form the structure properly.
The third type of records is the one you probably see when beginning with your research.
It's the type that has columns with quite a long texts in it, but often with a predictable structure.
Baptism record (1842)
Date: 1842 Jänner 30.gebor./30.getauft
Baptized by: Ludwig Blucha Pfarrer
Midwife: hebamme Mariana Watza von Tieschetitz HNr 51
House #: 12
Father: Thomas Filipek Bauer in Lubienitz Sohn des + Lukas Filipek Bauers in Tieschetiz, und der + Paulina, gebornen Witasek aus Ohnitz
Mother: Barbara Tochter des Georg Nawratil Bauers aus Ohnitz und der Mariana, gebornen Lischka aus Ohnitz
Godparents: Jiřik Smička Bauer in
Katharina dessen Eheweib
Names written by: Mathias Thorž Namensfertiger
There are no abbreviations in this record, but I can try to mention the most common ones:
gebor, geb. - geborne - born
getft, get. - getauft - baptized
Coop., Koop. - Kooperator - cooperator (kind of priest position in the parish)
Kpl. - Kaplan - chaplain
Pfar., Pfr. - Pfarrer - vicar (the main priest in the parish)
Adm. - Administrator - administrator
Dech. - Dechant - dean (or deacon, I don't know the exact translation)
Heb. - Hebamme - midwife
gep., gepr. - geprüfte - certified (midwife)
ung., ungepr. - ungeprüfte - uncertified (midwife)
eh. - ehelich/e - legitimate (opposite is unehelich)
S.d. - Sohn des - son of
T(ocht). d. - Tochter des - daughter of
n.d. - nach dem - after the... it is used instead of above mentioned "des" in case the parent was already deceased
ver, verst - verstorben - deceased
seel - seelig - deceased
v. - von - from
Herrschgt, Hschft, Hsft - Herrschaft - manor
Bz, Bzrk - Bezirk - district
Kr. - Kreis - region
Nmftg - Namensfertiger - the person who wrote names of signed people (who were illiterate)
Häs, Hsl (and similar) - Häusler - cottager
Ganzl. - Ganzlähner - farmer, owner of a 1hide farm
1/2L, 1/2ler - Halblähner - farmer, owner of a 1/2 hide farm
1/4ler, Viertl. - Viertler - farmer, owner of a 1/4 hide farm
1/2 1/4ler, 1/2 viertl., 1/8ler - Halbviertler - owner of a 1/8 hide farm
Pass - Passeker - owner of the farm/land that had to be cleared before use
(Erb)Richt - (Erb)Richter - (hereditary) reeve
Muhl, Müll. - Müller - miller
Ausg., Ausged. - Ausgedinger - retired farmer
Schulleh. - Schullehrer - teacher
Schenkw., Wirth - Schenkwirth - innkeeper
Web. - Weber - weaver
Bürg. - Bürger - citizen
Inm. - Inmann - farm help
Tagl., Taglöh. - Taglöhner - day-labourer (sort of farm-help that was paid daily)
-gesl - -gessel - journey man (it follows the occupation, e.g. Schuhmachergesel)
ds. - dessen - his (also as "sein")
Ehew., Ehw., Wb., Gemahl. - Eheweib, Weib, Gemahlin - wife
In the collumns of religion, sex and bed, there could be written the same and in the same order as when it is only "ticked"
Cath. - catholic
Ref./Prot./H/Aug. - reformed/protestant/helvete/auspurg confessions (all this could be in the non-catholic column)
mänl./weibl. - male/female
eh./uneh. - legitimate/illegitimate
Date: 30th January 1842 born / 30th January 1842 baptized
Baptized by: Ludvík Blucha, vicar
Midwife: Mariana Vácová from Těšetice # 21
House #: 12
Father: Tomáš Filípek, farmer in Luběnice, son of deceased Lukáš Filípek, farmer in Těšetice, and of deceased Pavlína born Vitásková from Vojnice
Mother: Barbora, daughter of Jiří Navrátil, farmer from Vojnice, and of Mariana born Lišková from Vojnice
Godparents: Jiřík Smyčka, farmer in
Kateřina, his wife
Names written by: Matěj Tchoř
Date: if there are two dates, the first one is birth, second one is baptism. If there is only one, it's the baptism.
Father: Name - occupation - son of - father - occupation - place - mother - maiden surname/name of her father - place
Mother: Name - daughter of - father - occupation - place - mother - maiden surname/name of her father - place
When they are all from the same place, it could be on the end or even omitted.
Godparents: Name - occupation - place
There are only few of them:
The column of religion is often before the column of sex (and not after each parent)
Priest and midwife can have their own columns in different places.
If the child is illegitimate, there could be also signatures of witnesses that prove the father decided to legitimize the child.
There can be often notes:
+ with or without date means the child died - sometimes the date is written even though the person died in old age, so it cannot be seen as a proof the child died soon...
Very often there are dates of issuing a baptismal certificate. It can start with Litt. bapt., Taufschein, Kř.l. etc.
Sometimes, there are notes about marriage (starting with Getraut... Oddán... Cop.) or decision to leave the church (bez vyzn. - without confession, or there are mentioned churches the person chose to be part of). Sometimes there are notes that few years later they decided to come back to the catholic church.
Mariage record (1865)
Date: 1865. November 6.
House #: 20.
Groom: Leonhart Křižek, lediger Häusler in Antlersdorf, Sohn des Johan Křižek, familianten in Topolan und der Barbara geb. Planička in Topolan
Marital status: single
House #: 12.
Bride: Barbara Filipek, ledige, minderjährige Tochter des + Thomas Filipek, Halblahnausgedüngers in Lubienic und der Barbara geb. Nawratil in Ohnitz
Marital status: single
Witnesses: Jakob Dudek Halblahner in Lubenic
Ignac Grumek Familiant in Antlersdorf
Priest: Ludwig Blucha Pfarrer
Notes: Die Heurat=Requisiten des Bräutigams Leonhart Křižek im Archiv Fach C. Fasc. 29. Nr. 14.
Die ober= und vormundschaftliche Bewilligung für die minderjährige Braut Barbara Filipek de dato Olmütz 4. Nov. 1865 Nr. 14639 jud. ist im Pfarr= Archiv Fach. C. Fasc. 29. Nr. 14.
almost the same as in baptism records
Additional and only seen in marriage record could be:
Bew., Bewill. - Bewilligung - permission
(Ober)vorm. (etc.) - (Ober)vormundschaftliche - (High)guardian-office
mindj. - minderjährig - minor
Disp. - Dispens - dispensation
Urk. - Urkunden - documents
Arch. - Archiv - archive (mostly parish archive)
Fasc. - Fascikl - volume
Aufgeb. - Aufgeboten - banns
Verkünd. - Verkündigung - banns
Ehelz, (etc.) - Ehelizenz - wedding document/permission
Taufsch. - Taufschein - baptismal certificate
Date: 6th November 1865
House #: 20
Groom: Leonhart Křížek, single cottager in Andlerka, son of Jan Křížek, farmer in Topolany, and of Barbora born Pláničková from Topolany
Age: 24 years
Marital status: single
House #: 12
Bride: Barbora Filípková, sinlge, minor daughter of deceased Tomáš Filípek, retired half-hide farmer, and of Barbora born Navrátilová from Vojnice
Age: 23 years
Marital status: single
Witnesses: Jakub Dudek, half-hide farmer in Luběnice
Ignác Grumek, farmer in Andlerka
Priest: Ludvík Blucha,vicar
Notes: the marriage documents of groom Leonhart Křížek are kept in parish archive part C, Vol. 29, No. 14.
The high-office- and guardian-office permission for minor bride Barbora Filípková from Olomouc 4th November 1865 Nr. 14639 jud. is in the parish archive part C., Vol. 29, No. 14.
Groom: Name - occupation - place - (il)legitimate son of - father - occupation - place - mother - maiden surname/name of her father - place
Bride: Name - (il)legitimate daughter of - father - occupation - place - mother - maiden surname/name of her father - place
Notes: there could be often four main topics:
1) Permissions of father or guardian or guardian office if any of the fiancées was a minor
2) Dispensation if the fiancées were any kind of family (that means not only in a "bloodline" but also in-law or even if the parents of one of them were godparents of the other one)
3) Information about banns - where and/or when they took place
4) Information about provided documents and where they were kept (those are mostly permissions, baptismal certificates, in case of a widowed person also a death certificate of previous spouse, dispensations)
very rarely there could be also a note about legitimization of illegitimate children of the couple (I've seen it only once, I think)
Burial record (1857)
Date of death / burial: 1857 April 30 gestorben/Mai 2 begraben
House #: 12
Deceased: Victoria uneheliche Tochter der Franziska lediger Tochter des Thomas Filipek Halblahnausgedüngers in Lubienitz und der Barbara gebornen Nawrátil aus Ohnitz
Cause of death: Fraisen
Last rites provided by: -
Buried by: Anton Janaussek Cooperator
Date of death / burial: 30th April 1857 died / 2nd May 1857 buried
House #: 12
Deceased: Viktorie, illegitimate daughter of Františka, single, daughter of Tomáš Filípek, retired half-hide farmer in Luběnice, and of Barbora born Navrátilová from Vojnice
Age: 7 years
Cause of death: child convulsions
Last rites provided by: -
Buried by: Antonín Janoušek, cooperator
Deceased: Name - information - parents
If it is an adult, there might not be parents, but often husband (even if he was deceased yet) or not so often wife. There could be also an information about a length of marriage.
Sometimes there are further information - e.g. date of birth, parish of birth or book and page where the birth is recorded.
In the column cause of death could be also Todtbeschauzettel (or another formulation) followed by number - it means that the body was examined by some authority (not necessarily a doctor, it could be only a priest or mayor) and what number the examination certificate has.
The last rites were not provided to young children and people who died suddenly - in their case the box is empty. When there is one name of priest on both last rites and burial columns, it means he also did both.