Czech Republic Finding Your Ancestor in the Records

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Czech Republic Gotoarrow.pngGetting Started

Researching in Czech Records can seem like a daunting task when thinking about the handwriting and the records; however, by using the following suggestions and learning a few basic key words and some background information, using Czech records can be quite easy.

Suggestion 1: Learn the Basics of Czech Language and Handwriting

You do not need to completely master the Czech language in order to use the records. Records written before 1918 may be in German, Latin, or Czech. Most of the Czech genealogical records follow a common format and use common terms. Once you understand some of the key words and become familiar with the handwriting a whole treasure trove of information will be open to you. Use the following links for word lists and language.

Suggestion 2: Previous Research Sources

Most genealogists do a survey of research previously done by others. This can save time and give you valuable information. You may want to check the Internet or FamilySearch. Remember that the information in these sources might be wrong, depending on who did the research. Therefore, you need to analyze and verify the information you find from these secondary sources.

Suggestion 3: Obtain Background Information

You may need some geographical and historical information. This can save you time and effort by helping you focus your research in the correct place and time period.

Suggestion 4: Search Original Documents

After surveying previous records, you will be ready to begin original research. Original research is the process of searching through original documents (often copied on microfilm, or available online), which are usually handwritten in the native language. The documents can provide primary information about your family because they were generally recorded near the time of an event by a reliable witness. To do thorough research, you should search each place where your ancestor lived, during the time period he or she lived there. You will be most successful with Czech research if you can examine the original records (on microfilm or online). In some cases, transcripts of the original records are available. Although these may be easier to read, they may be less accurate than the original record.

As you search original records for your Czech ancestors, most of your time will be spend searching:

Probably the most important records you will use when researching your Danish ancestors are the Czech Church Records (Parish Registers). The following is a short summary of the history of Danish church records: