Czech Republic Land Records - FamilySearch Historical Records
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Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450-1889
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of the Czech Republic|
|Location of Czech Republic|
|Record Type:||Land Records|
|Title in the Language:||Tschechische Republik, Landurkunden (German) |
Česká republika, Gruntovní knihy a Soupisy poddaných (Czech)
|Zemského archivu v Opavě, Olumouc (Opava Provincial Archives, Olumouc)|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues
- 7 Citing This Collection
What is in This Collection?
Czech land books include declarations of land ownership, land transfers, and land inheritances. The Czech name of land records has varied over time; however, the records listed in this collection are named gruntovní knihy. These books initially were kept at the landholder level, then at village level, farm level, and finally by a district administrator and his scribe. Land registers are written mostly in German, with some in Czech. The available records only cover a very few geographical areas and towns. To see a list of the localities included in this collection, and the images, view the list of the images through the "Browse through the images" link in FamilySearch.org. The collection is incomplete and only covers a few towns. Additional images may be added to this collection in the future.
For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
The land books (pozemkové knihy) recorded landholders and land lease titles; they date from about 1600. The oldest land books (pozemkové knihy) listed the location of the property along with the financial obligations of the landholder to the estate owner. Buildings on these lands were often listed by type in land books (cottage, blacksmith’s forge, etc.). Starting in the mid 1600s, some records began differentiating by categories of farmers. Farmers were categorized as follows:
- Sedlák -- serfs who did not own their land
- Chalupník -- gardeners who owned their domicile and a small amount of land surrounding it
- Zahradník -- cottagers who owned somewhat larger tracts of land
Another interesting fact about the land registers is that holders sometimes abandoned farmsteads and moved to another locality. In general, they left to escape high debt, but mostly because of drudgery or oppression. The Thirty Years' War left many people dead. Many tried to get more land, and the gardener and serf classes decreased. Land registers are in the custody of Regional State Archives.
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For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.
Reading These Records
These records are written in German and Czech. For help reading the records see the following:
- German Language and Languages
- German Word List
- Czech Republic Genealogical Word List
- Czech Republic Language and Languages
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Czech Republic Land Records, 1450-1889.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?
The following information may be found in these records:
- A list of serfs with land rights, including their ages and type of obligations toward the estate owner
- Residences and often relationship to previous landholder
- Lists of all the inhabitants of the estate, testaments, debts, orphan matters, mortgages, marriage contracts, inheritance, and other matters
- Changes in ownership of properties, succession of farmstead holders, prices and payments of property and goods
How Do I Search This Collection?
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- Name of the person
- Approximate date of the event
Search the Index
|This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.|
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
- Select District, Place
- Select Record type
- Select Volume/Years to view the images
How Do I Analyze the Results?
Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.
What Do I Do Next?
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and census records
- Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records
- Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents
- To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
- One deed does not usually give sufficient information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all deeds for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information
- For each parcel of land owned, you should obtain two documents:
- The deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family and
- The deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else.
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Consult the Czech Republic Record Finder to find other records
- Look for variant spellings of the surnames
- Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the Czech Republic.
Citing This Collection
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.