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Czech Republic, Southern Bohemia, Trebon Archive Church Books - FamilySearch Historical Records

This wiki article describes a collection that is posted for free online at FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. To access the collection, see Czech Republic, Southern Bohemia, Trebon Archive Church Books.

Why This Record Was Created

Church books were first created to identify those who had received church sacraments. After 1869 they were also used as an official record of vital events by civil authorities.

The earliest Czech book was created in 1441 (a book of christenings from Horní Jiřetín). Books have been kept to the present, but because of privacy laws, they are available for research only through 1905.

Population Converage

The church books cover a majority of the population.

Record History

The edict of the Council of Trent in 1563, which mandated the creation of church books, applied to Czech congregations. Austrian emperor Joseph II issued the Edict of Toleration on October 13, 1781, which allowed Protestants, Jews, and others to keep their own church records under the supervision of the Catholic Church. Though the Protestants were allowed to keep registers starting in 1771, they were copied into Catholic registers. In 1781 Protestants continued to keep registers under Catholic supervision.

Starting February 10, 1784, Joseph II required that all church birth entries include the full names of both parents and all grandparents, along with their towns of origin and their military conscription numbers or unique address, such as Plichtice č. 5 (č is an abbreviation for čislo, or "number"). The emperor also required that records be kept in Latin or German, though Czech was often used. Column headings, which had started around 1784 (sometimes earlier), were also made compulsory.

In 1790 the Austrian government (under which Czech records were kept) created a law requiring indexes to be kept. In 1802 another law was passed requiring all older matriky (church books) to be indexed. Only rarely are volumes not indexed.

Starting in 1869, the civil authorities took charge of the record-keeping of births, marriages, and deaths. However, individual churches continued to actually record these events. The official legal copy was kept by local officials when many of the clergy refused to perform Catholic rites for non-Catholics. Everyone was registered under this new system, not just those appearing in Catholic or Protestant registers

How to Use the Record

Czech church books are the best source for identifying ancestors from the Czech Republic. So many relatives are listed in these books that you may be able to create a miniature pedigree chart for almost each entry in a church book.

Record Content

Record Description

Entries are usually arranged in chronological order and, after 1784, in a columnar format. During certain times, one book was used to list all the baptisms, marriages, and burials for all the villages in a parish for one year. At other times each village has its own section of baptisms, marriages, and burials, which were listed chronologically. Some records are on preprinted forms, and most records include indexes.

Czech church records are usually in one of three languages: Czech, German, or Latin. Often, one parish consists of books written in all three. Records from one state regional archive (statní oblastní archive) may favor one or more languages. For example, records from Litoměřice are usually written in German or Latin. Records from Plzeň or Třeboň are usually written in Czech, German, and Latin equally.

Baptismal entries contain:
Sample of Baptism Record with translation (click to enlarge).

Names of the child, parents, and witnesses or godparents (often included are grandparents, great-grandparents, and more rarely, great-great-grandparents)
Date and place of birth and baptism (sometimes includes the time of birth and baptism)
Residence and religion of the parents and other direct-line ancestors
Occupation of the father and other males listed
Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate

Sample of Trebon Church Marriage Record right half of book with translation (click to enlarge).

Marriage entries contain:

Names of the bride, groom, their parents, and witnesses (often included are grandparents, great-grandparents, and more rarely, great-great-grandparents)
Date and place of marriage (sometimes includes the time of marriage)
Ages of bride and groom

Sample of Trebon Church Marriage left page of book with translation (click to enlarge).

Residence of the bride, groom, and their ancestors
Religion of the bride and groom
Occupation of the groom and other males listed

Burial entries contain:
Sample of Trebon Church Death Record with translation (click to enlarge).

Names of the deceased and spouse or parents (often included are grandparents, great-grandparents, and more rarely, great-great-grandparents
Date and place of death and burial (sometimes time of death and burial)
Age and residence of deceased
Residences of other ancestors listed
Cause of death

Biblographic Information

Statni oblastni Archiv v. Treboni, Trebon, Czech Republic.

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Czech Republic Church Records

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