Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Surnames derived from water

September voting about surname topic for October showed you are interested in surnames which were derived from water. So let's take a look on such surnames - and see how many of those we have.

Water is voda in Czech and Wasser in German. I'll use both languages as both were used here in the Czech Republic in the past. 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Male first names in Latin

There are thousands of first names today. But our ancestors used just a few tens of them. They wanted to fit in, not to stand out, because anyone who stood out was usually suspicious.

Records in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia are usually writen in Latin between abt 1730 and 1784. And Latin uses declension and has six cases:

  • nominative
  • genitive
  • dative
  • accusative
  • vocative
  • ablative

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Patrons only posts on Patreon

If you have thought about supporting this blog and its authors on Patreon, maybe you hesitated to sign up because you don't know what to expect there. 

Right now you can read the public posts. But there are also Patrons only posts. Curiosities from the parish books and other documents, but not only that. Photos from different places in the Czech Republic (such as Kutná Hora, Praha, Telč etc.). Polls about upcoming posts. Bonuses to the public posts. And of course, free record translation every month if you become Sponsor or Benefactor.

And here is an example of a post I would usually post for Patrons only - one of the curiosities from my own research...

Czech archives collect not only parish or cadastral books and other official materials, but also other documents. 

This one is from the Opava district archives and it's a poster for the exhibition of hunting trophies and dog exhibition which took place in Opava on Sunday 22nd September 1895.

Do you like the drawings? I love them!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Funny surnames

There is a very old blog post about how surnames were created. This blog post describes that sometimes the person received a surname which was funny because of his appearance or behaviour. 

And there are surnames which were considered funny those days - and they still exist until today and still are funny. Here are some examples of such surnames - and I hope you'll have fun reading the explanation.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Moravian land registers of 1656-1676, part II

I mentioned in the previous post how to navigate in these oldest land registers. This time I'll describe the system of the measurements used in these documents.

So - it will be a bit complicated. I have to explain the measurements which were used in the past, as well as three different classes of the soil which were used to calculate the tax burden.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

1968 in Prague

It's been 54 years since the Warsaw Pact invasion to Czechoslovakia. I was born in 1980 so I didn't live throught these events - but my parents and parents-in-law did. I asked them about those events and here is a story of my mother-in-law.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

School chronicles

Mandatory school education was a part of our ancestors' everyday life since 1869. The children were obliged to start the school when they were six and they were expected to complete 8 years of the basic education. And as schools were meant to be "the churches of education" many of them started writing chronicles in the 2nd half of 19th century. Since the first half of 20th century almost all schools had chronicles.

Monday, August 8, 2022

How important is religion for Europeans?

Religion and the church are very important for people in the U.S. To cite Wikipedia article about the U.S. and religion

In one 2020 survey, about 65% of Americans report that religion plays an important or very important role in their lives, 43% report attending religious services at least monthly, 61% report praying weekly or more and 90% believe in God proportions which are unique among developed countries.

As I have already mentioned in the blog post Czechs and religion which I wrote some 7 years ago, religion is not anymore important part of our everyday lives. And today I found this map which shows the importance of religion in the European countries - and the Czech Republic is not the only country which is not religious at all...

The map is based on a research which is 4 years old - and I suppose latest events such as covid pandemic situation, the war in Ukraine and the current rate of inflation could have changed the numbers a bit. We will see when some other research is available...

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Saturday, July 23, 2022

Moravian land registers of 1656-1676, part I

One of the sources I haven't mentioned before are Moravian land registers created between 1656 and 1676 (they are called lánový rejstřík or lánové rejstříky in Czech). It's the oldest Moravian register of dependent farms, houses and plots, from which the taxes were paid. It is similar to berní rula, which is the oldest Czech register of such farms and houses.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Surnames reffering to the physical appearance

Last month poll decided that this month I'll write about those surnames which reffer to the physical appearance of the first person who got that surname. So - what kind of surnames we can find in this "category"?

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Indices to the parish books

Searching the parish books can be very time consuming. When you search for your ancestor who was born somewhere between 1820 and 1830 in one of the largest towns in the Czech Republic, let's say České Budějovice or Příbor, it could take going through hundreds of pages one by one until you find the record you are looking for.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror

It's been 80 years this year since the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the commander of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) and acting governor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, took place. It was 27 May 1942 when two brave men, Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, attacked the head of the German "government" of the Czech lands.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Surnames from German

Czech lands are a place where many different language elements meet - there si Czech language, but there were parts where German was the most common language till the half of the 20th century. How did this happen?

As you most probably know, one third of the Czech lands inhabitants were Germans till the second half of 1940s. This was caused by the large medieval colonisation when owners of Czech estates invited people from quite overcrowded Bavaria and other German speaking regions to come and settle in almost uninhabited regions of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. As these people were living in quite secluded areas (such as mountain valleys) they kept their language and spoke German.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Grooms and brides from Dobrš parish

When I was researching my own family I processed all the records from the marriage book of Dobrš parish between 1702 and 1784. Thanks to that I got a long list of grooms and brides - and I decided to do a word map (or a word cloud) for both male and female surnames out of it to see what were the most common grooms' and brides' surnames in this parish in 18th century.

And I decided to provide these word maps also to you - maybe your ancestors were from this area and you'll find some not-so-usual surnames you know...

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Thursday, April 7, 2022

Death Survey Cards

You have most probably seen such notes in the parish books - cause of death and then a number of a death survey card.

Cause of death: Na sešlost věkem dle úmrtního lístku dto 3. června 1873 Nr. 11
(Senility according to the death survey card from June 3, 1873, no. 11.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Septuagesima Sunday

One of the church "dates" which you can see in the marriage books quite often is the Septuagesima Sunday (neděle devítník in Czech). It's often mentioned as one of the days when marriage bans took place. Marriage bans took place on three feast days prior to the marriage - and the feast day was usually a Sunday.

Pre-Easter period

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Technical: Blog comments

Dear readers, due to the huge amount of spam comments lately I'm forced to manage all the comments and approve those which are connected to the topic of Czech genealogy - and delete those which are just spam.

If you post a comment please wait for its moderation and don't repost it. I usually check the comments every day, so it should take maximum of 24 hours before your comment appears on the blog. 

Thanks for your understanding.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

I starý tkadlec občas splete přízi

It's almost impossible to translate the sentence in the headline. It says "Even the old weaver sometimes weaves a yarn" - but it could be also translated as "Even the old weaver sometimes makes a mistake when weaving" as the word "splete" means both "weaves" and "makes a mistate". And you most probably already know what this post is about - weavers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Surname changes shown on one surname

March poll about surnames on Patreon was won by an option to show surname changes on one surname. I have chosen surname Švejda which provides number of different possibilities how to write it.

Surname Švejda is said to have two possible different origins - it could come from the word Švéd which means Swede or Swedish, or it could originate from a personal characteristic - švejda meant someone who was big and/or clumsy.

There are different ways how to write this surname which is caused by the different ways how to write down letters as explained in one of the older blog posts. Here is an overview of those changes:

  • Š to SCH or SS
  • V to W
  • J to Y, G or I

Thursday, February 24, 2022

When the baptism took place?

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When our ancestors were born one of the first things awaiting them was the baptism. It was one of the most important events of their lives - at least from the church point of view.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Havel, Havlíček, Havlík, Havla...

You have most probably heard about our former President Václav Havel - he is one of the best known Czechs of the end of 20th century. 

His surname comes from the first name Havel. This name originated in Latin - word gallus from which it originated means a person living in the province of Gallia (Gaul in English). This province covered most of France, Belgium, parts of Germany, Switzerland and northern Italy.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Good news everyone! We are on Patreon now

For the last few months we repeatedly discussed our worries that we don't give our blog the attention it deserves. We have many ideas to write about, but each of them requires further research and we also need to do a paid work (like everyone does). As our group works very well as a cooperative community and you all look like you enjoy our blog, we decided to try Patreon and see if it could help us to create more regularly and feel more free to do so. 

You can find us here:

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Levavit litterae baptismales

You can find number of different notes in the birth parish books which were written there later, during the life. Those notes mention different life situations - confirmation, marriage, death, sometimes emigration and other events.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Prague and Vienna Foundlings

Barbora Sallaba, foundling No. 204 from Prague, by the family of Franc Vopravil, blacksmith from Petrovice,
brought here on Dec 11, 1840. 7 months old.

You might have noticed such records in the death books. A small town or a village in the countryside, often in Southern Bohemia. Small children, just a few weeks or months old, not related to the family they died in. Record saying something like "nalezenec z Prahy" or "nalezenec z Vídně". Who were these children?