Czech Republic Archives and Libraries
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Archives collect and preserve original documents of organizations, such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and sources for the Czech Republic. When one of these institutions is referred to elsewhere in this outline, return to this section to obtain the address.
If you plan to visit one of these repositories, contact the organization and ask for information about their hours, services, and fees. When writing to an archive in the Czech Republic, you may write in English.
In the Czech Republic there are several types of genealogical repositories:
- National archives and libraries
- Regional archives
- Military archives
- Church parish offices
- University and public libraries
- Historical and genealogical
Most of the Czech Republic records are now available online. Click here for the archive map showing their jurisdiction boundaries and the links to the online databases.
In the Czech Republic there are seven regional archives. Former Bohemian Region is served by five regional archives in Litoměřice, Plzeň, Praha, Třeboň, and Zámrsk. Former Moravian Region is served by two regional archives in Opava and Brno. The seven regional archives are the repositories for most pre-1900 parish books and, therefore, are the archives of primary importance to Czech genealogical researchers. In addition to early parish books, the regional archives house an enormous amount of important material including early cadastral records, maps, architectural plans, historical documents, court records, administrative papers, etc. The archives maintain extensive catalogs of their holdings but, so far, these catalogs are not available online. The regional archives of the Czech Republic are open to the public.
For contact information please see The Czech Archive Society Web site and click on the Directory of archives in the Czech Republic link at the bottom of the page.
Since most ancestry research is done at the regional archives rather than the district archives, the inventories of the district archives are far from well known. For example, censuses before 1930 (1869, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1921) are housed at the district archives.
Personal Visit to the Archives
The archives are accessible to the general public. It is necessary to reserve a place in the study (or research) room in advance. You can call or write a letter/e-mail. You are asked to fill out a questionnaire and to show your ID or passport when you arrive. Foreigners require no special permit. Archival materials can be used free of charge. There are special request forms on which to write the call numbers of the items requested. Material for research is retrieved only at certain times. The number of registers one can borrow a day is limited (does not apply to number of microfilms). There are lockers outside of the research room for the storage of large bags and coats. Laptops and digital cameras are allowed (you cannot use flash). Some restrictions may be imposed on picture taking depending on the content and physical condition of particular documents. Archivists are available to answer questions about archival material. They will, however, not help with the research, read the text of the records or translate.
Please note that you may work with documents deposited for fewer than 30 years only exceptionally and only with the permission of the archive director.
Published Archival Directories
Inventories of vital records in the Czech Regional Archives have been published and are available through the Family History Library:
- Dictionary of Bohemian parishes in the Czech Republic, FHL INTL Book 943.71 E22g
- Register of vital statistics in the Czech State Archives pertaining to Bohemia, FHL INTL Book 943.71 K23gg vol. 1-5
- Register of Jewish vital statistics in the Czech State Archives pertaining to Bohemia, FHL INTL Book 943.71 K33g
- Dictionary of Moravian parishes in the Czech Republic, FHL INTL Book 943.72 E22g
- Register of vital statistics in the Czech State Archives pertaining to Moravia, FHL INTL Book 943.72 K23g vol. 1-2
- Register of Jewish vital statistics in the Czech State Archives pertaining to Moravia, FHL INTL Book 943.72 K33g vol. 1-2
The above listed directories my be search on the Internet at http://www.ihff.at/indexstarte.htm. Click the gazetter and picture cards link on the left and then click continue link at the bottom of the page.