About the Archives
One of the most important aspects of researching your family history is obtaining information through the various archives. Whether you choose to have the work done by the archives’ staff, through a professional researcher, by relatives living there, or attempt your own work, it is important to know what can be found in each archive and where they are located.
In the Archive Listing page you will find a complete list of State Regional and District archives, along with some special archives.
The most typical research requests are those made for vital statistics records (birth, marriage, death) which are maintained in the various State Regional Archives (Statni oblastni archivy). These records will provide you with information about the names of searched persons, date and place of their birth, marriage and death, information about their parents, grandparents, their parents’ professions (only those listed on the birth certificate), names of their wives or husbands and names of the witnesses of the marriage (only listed on marriage certificate), cause of death (only that listed on death certificate), etc. Another important item found will be the house numbers of the searched person, his parents, grandparents, and witnesses.
Genealogical reseach can be done with respect to documentation older than 50 years (younger information is protected by privacy law). As far as vital statistic records of birth, marriage and death are concerned, only records up to the year 1900 are located in the archives. Research can be done either in the form of a running account or in the form of individual vital statistic records.
Until recently, individuals have had the option of requesting vital statistics information from the archives in both the Czech and Slovak Republics. However, as of early 2003, the archives within the Czech Republic have made some changes in their requests for information from individuals. CGSI is working with the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C. to gain an understanding of the policy changes and its longer-term effect on members. However, it should be noted that professional researchers and individuals can conduct their own research at the archives as in the past. Also, the Slovak archives continue to accept written requests for information.
A request for research through the Slovak archives can be made either to the individual Regional or District archive or by sending your completed request form (see below) to the following addresses:
For the Slovak Republic (Slovakia)
Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic
811 04 Bratislava
If you wish to obtain vital statistic records of birth, marriage or death from the years 1900 to 1920, send the request to the Slovak Republic Embassy in Washington DC as shown.
For the Slovak Republic (Slovakia)
Embassy of the Slovak Republic
3523 International Court NW
Washington, DC 20008
Applications for both kinds of research are attached at the end of this information. It is recommended that the applications be completed using capital letters or typed and indicate all important information to start the research (name of the person to be searched, date and place of birth). The date of birth can be indicated in a close approximation of +/- three years. Attaching copies of personal documents issued in the the former Austrian Empire or Czechoslovakia to the application might contribute to the success of the research.
In your application you can also ask for photocopies or microfilms of the records. Please note that the information on vital statistics is extracted from large church books called matriky that were handwritten by the various priests who served the Catholic or Protestant churches. Original records will be written in either Czech, German, Latin, Slovak or Hungarian depending on the nationality and preference of the priest or pastor. Requests for heraldry can be presented, as well as requests for personal research in the archives.
No deposits are necessary when submitting your research request to the archive. After the completion of research you will be notified directly by the Ministry or from a firm authorized to collect the payment from applicants and upon the receipt of your payment the report will be sent to you. The notification of completed research will come from the Slovak Embassy in Washington, DC.
Please note that the fee for the research is determined on the basis of the amount of working hours and difficulty of the research. In your application please specify the limit on research charges you wish to incur.
- Genealogical research in the form of a running account is based on information about one ancestor. From this information it is possible to trace the parents of the searched person and, under certain circumstances, his or her brothers and sisters (if they were born in the same locality). In order to begin genealogical research about descendants of a known ancestor it is, however, important to know the date and place of his or her marriage or the date and place of birth of the children. Owing to the fact that the research always depends on the accuracy of information specified in the application, in certain exceptional cases it is possible that the report will be very limited or completely unsuccessful. For this reason, please indicate everything which could help to identify the person being researched.
- Genealogical research in the form of individual vital statistics records, is a step-by-step procedure. It is, from the applicant’s point of view, more time consuming.
- Please pay attention to the identification of the exact location of the place of birth, marriage or death. If this information is incorrect, it will be impossible to receive a positive report. Certain localities (small villages, settlements, etc.) can have exactly the same or very similar names. These names could have changed during the last centuries. The misspelling of geographic expressions could happen in the U.S.A. as well. For these reasons it is highly recommended to try to find the name of the county, parish, post office, bigger town or other identifiable locality (therefore, identification within the large area of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Slovakia, Austria-Hungary is not sufficient).
- Because vital statistics records were administered during the last centuries by several churches, the same localities could have several registers. Although the registers of the Roman Catholic Church were dominant, in certain localities other churches were more or less important, too. In light of this fact, the religion of the person being searched is very important to mention in the application.
- Until the beginning of the 20th century, the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, was divided into many subdivisions, each having its own parishes. If your research concerns Prague, it is necessary to know the name of the locality where the person being searched was born, married or died. The most important localities were Stare Mesto, Nove Mesto, Vysehrad and Vinohrady or Josefov (if a Jewish person).
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