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5 Places to Begin a Search for Czech Ancestors

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The present-day Czech Republic in Central Europe borders Poland to the northeast, Germany to the west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east, encompassing the historical territories of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as the small, south-eastern portion of historical Silesia. If you have ancestors who came from this small landlocked country, then you won't want to miss these five online databases and resources for researching your Czech roots online.

1. Acta Publica - Digitized Parish Books

Search and browse digitized parish books (matriky) from southern Moravia (Brno Moravian Land Archive), central Bohemia (Prague / Praha Regional Archives) and western Bohemia (Plzeň Regional archives). This free website is administered by the Moravian Land Archives and is currently available in Czech and German (view the site in Google's Chrome browser for the option to translate the site into English). Find links to other online regional archives at Matriky au Internetu, including the Litoměřice Regional Archive, Třeboň Regional Archive, the Eastern Bohemia (Zámrsk) Regional Archive, and the Opava Land Archive.

2. Czech Genealogy Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch is digitizing and making a variety of Czech records online for free access, including Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1921; Czech Republic, Civil Registers, 1874–1937; and a variety of records from the Třeboň archive, including land records, church books, and nobility seignorial records. Many of these records are digitized only (not searchable) -- use free FamilySearch resources such as the Czech Genealogical Word List to assist you in reading the records. FamilySearch also has a free online video tutorial series titled Using Online Czech Records.

3. Badatelna.cz: Jewish Births, Marriages & Deaths for the Czech Republic

4,000 volumes of the Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Jewish communities deposited in the Czech National Archives have been digitized and made available on Badatelna.cz. This research guide provides a basic overview to accessing the records, which cover the years 1784–1949.

4. Prague Population Registration - Conscriptions (1850–1914)

The Czech National Archives holds the household registration records for Prague and some regional areas, and has been working to digitize and make these "conscription" records available and searchable online. The records cover some areas of Prague (not comprehensive for all of Prague) 1850-1914, and new records are being added semi-regularly.

5. Czech Research Outline

The ability to research online in digitized records is amazing, however researching Czech ancestors also takes a certain amount of basic knowledge. This free research outline by Shon R. Edwards is slightly out of date in terms of online links and resources (last updated in 2005), but provides an excellent overview for anyone new to Czech genealogical research. Additional guidance for researching Czech ancestors can be found in the FamilySearch Wiki: Czech Republic.

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