Czech Republic Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Czech Republic

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Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450-1889
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Czech Republic
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Record Description
Record Type: Land Records
Collection years: 1450-1889
Languages: Czech, German
Title in the Language: Tschechische Republik, Landurkunden (German)
Česká republika, Gruntovní knihy a Soupisy poddaných (Czech)
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What is in This Collection?

This collection will include records from 1450 to 1889. These records are in Czech and in German.

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.

Reading These Records

These records are written in German and Czech. For help reading the records see the following:

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Czech Republic Land Records, 1450-1889.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Land

  • 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

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select District, Place
  2. Select Record type
  3. 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:
  1. The deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family and
  2. 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

Record Finder

Consult the Czech Republic Record Finder Table to find other records

Known Issues With This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection, see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450-1889

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

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.

Collection Citation
"Czech Republic, Land Records 1450-1889." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 5 August 2016. Zemského archivu v Opavě, Olumouc (Opava Provincial Archives, Olumouc).
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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