Some time ago there was a discussion as to what the CGSI had in their library
for these two resources. Each has several volumes that other listers had
difficult in locating in their library holdings. The following is from the CGSI
website April 2006 quarterly meeting notes.
The Thirty Years War was fought from 1618-1648. Prior to the war Bohemia was
primarily dominated by protestant noblemen and overlords with serfs to perform
the work. The Czech army was defeated by the Habsburg’s imperial armies at
the Battle of the White Mountain in November 1620. Although the war ended for
the Czechs in 1620, the Thirty Years War was not completed until the Treaty of
Westphalia was signed on 24 October 1648. However, from 1620 to 1648 various
armies including those of the Swedes, Danes and Germans periodically overran
Bohemia, creating immense devastation. Many Protestants fled the country and the
Czech Kingdom lost about 25% of its population as a result of the war. But in
the end, the Habsburgs had defeated the Protestant rebels and as victors set
out to change things.
First, the Habsburg monarchy set out to re-Catholicize the protestant
sections of Bohemia. As part of this process, the “Register of Subjects According to
their Religion” (Soupis poddaných podle víry) was compiled in 1651. Second,
because of the devastation in the country, it was very important for the
Habsburg monarchy to know who remained and what property existed for their tax base.
To determine this the Berní rula tax cadaster was completed in 1654.1651
Register of Subjects According to their Religion
This register was ordered on 4 Feb. 1651, and was to be completed in 6 weeks.
This order covered Bohemia only so Moravia was not included. The Estate
owners were responsible for its compilation. A standardized form was directed but
was not always followed. Entries included subjects as well as overlords,
manorial officials and residents of towns. Clergy and soldiers were excluded. The
original registers are currently stored in the Czech National Archives in
Prague. There are gaps in the files for example no register exists for the regions
of Prachensko and Litomericko or for the city of Prague. The registers for the
regions of Kouøimsko and Rakovnicko are incomplete.
The CGSI Holdings (and what has been published) on the 1651 Register of
Subjects According to their Religion
Starting in the early 1990s, the Czech National Archives began to publish the
“1651 Register of Subjects According to their Religion”. That effort has now
been completed and books for the following regions have been published (and
can be found in the CGSI Library):
Genealogical Research Significance of 1651 Register of Subjects According to
This census is the most comprehensive data base of genealogical information
for this time period. It precedes the start of keeping vital (parish) records.
This census is an alternative and/or supplement to land records in finding
families in this time period. However, connecting families can be an issue
because of the time gap between the earliest parish records and the 1651 census. It
is also estimated that up to 50% of persons were missed during the 1651 census
1654 Berni rula “Tax Cadaster”
This tax cadaster was formulated during the reign of Ferinand III (Habsburg)
as of 1654. This included census of land parcels, farmsteads, & serfs for
purposes of taxation. Land, homes, furnishings, crops, livestock, occupations,
were recorded by region, sovereignty, and locality. This tax cadaster included
Information in the 1654 Berni rula
Included in the Berni rula are; the name of taxpayer, how many fields each
taxpayer owned, how much each farmer sowed in autumn and spring, and how many
deserted fields and houses were in each town or village after the Thirty Years
War. Also included were; names of newly settled farmers (between 1651-1653),
burned down villages, burnt out farmers, occupations of taxpayers (if other than
farmers), and a listing of livestock for each taxpayer. The social hierarchy
of Bohemian farmers was listed (sedlak, chalupnik, or zahradnik). The quality
of land (related to productivity): rich, medium, or poor was also recorded as
were shepherds and Jews in some regions.
CGSI Berni rula Collection
Included in the collection is a two volume Index (General Register to all
volumes): (compiled & published for genealogy use) and a user guide to the index
(in English), The collection also includes microfiche for the regions of
Plzensko, Čáslovsko, Hradecko, Kouřimsko, and Podbrdsko, and books for the regions
of Prácheňsko, Podbrdsko, Čáslovsko, Boleslav, Kouřimsko, Plzensko, and the
city of Prague.
The Berni rula Volumes include;
the city of Prague
Genealogical Significance of Berni rula
The Berni rula includes a data base of 183,319 surnames from 17th century of
Bohemia. Statistics that were reported give us an indication of physical and
economic conditions after the Thirty Years War.
Cadastral Map Historical Background
The Cadastral Maps were the result of an 1817 order by the Austrian Emperor
for land tax reform. This was the first systematic surveying and mapping of
towns and villages in the regions of the present Czech Republic. These “
Indication sketches” (1824-1835) served as the basis for making written records of land
plots (legal descriptions), and for valuing yields of properties as a basis
for taxation. The Bohemian originals are housed in the Archives in Prague. The
Moravian originals are in the Archives in Brno.
CGSI Cadastral Map Project
Prior to the 2005 Back to the Homeland conference, attendees had the
opportunity to obtain Cadastral Maps for their ancestors villages. The cadastral map
project includes asking the attendees to make copies of their cadastral maps &
donate them to the CGSI library map collection. CGSI will maintain the maps
and a list of cadastral maps, locations, & donors for use by all members.
Key to map features
The plot numbers are shown in red. The owner’s name and house number are
shown in black, stone buildings are shown in red, brick buildings are shown in
pink, and wooden houses are shown in yellow. Water features are shown in blue,
forests are shown in dark gray, gardens are shown in dark green, meadows are
shown in green, fields are shown in brown, and ways (roads) are shown in dark
Genealogical Significance of Cadastral Maps
Owner surnames often indicated on land plots along with owner’s house number.
The size and number of plots the farmer owned are an indication of
socio-economic status. We are also given an insight as to the topography and physical
features of village and culture/use of land (field, meadow, forest, garden) and
names of field plots, structures, roads, etc.