surname Bila

Posted: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:14
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I have been unable to trace back to old country for my Bila family, which emigrated to the US in approx 1908 timeframe; original ancestors were Frank and Agnes Bila:
Frank (Franz) Bila, born 14 Feb 1869- Bohemia; listed Knezdub, Czech as last address on ship records; various dates for ship arrivals: 26 Feb 1892, 17 Mar 1902, 6 Dec 1905; parents names unconfirmed – possibly Paul Bila and Mary Hudacek; Frank’s brother Samuel Bila also came to the US: born 3 Jul 1877, and younger brother Martin Bila born 15 Oct 1889, arrived in USA 2 May 1907.
Agnes Bila, born 29 May 1878- Moravia; arrived in USA 22 Sep 1908 with oldest son Louis Bila, born 21 Jun 1902. Agnes’ maiden name was also Bila, according to family memory.

We know very little about the family prior to their emigration to the USA, other than they spoke Czech and last known residence was in Knezdub.
Could you help me in finding out more, or how best to research further?


Hello Lauren:

You are in luck as you know the ancestral village for your Bila family. That said, ‘Bila’ is the Czech word for the color white, so it has the potential to be a very common surname and you’ll need to be careful and not assume that everyone in your village whose name is ‘Bila’ is necessarily a relative of your ancestors.

Here is the wikipedia link for the village of Knezdub, Czech Republic:

Note that we have made the choice to have the not support Czech language characters (so that all browsers and researchers can more easily connect with our members) and your village name has diacritical marks (over the ‘e’ and ‘z’), so you you will need to copy/paste the village name into the following website:

Where you will need to search the Brno archive by clicking the ‘Vyhledavani’ (search) button and will need to copy/paste in your village name (diacritical marks and all) into the ‘Obec’ box (just searching on ‘Knezdub’ will NOT work for you). There are 10 archive books for Knezdub, each of which has been scanned and the pages are online for your perusal.

I highly recommend that you use the google chrome browser (or equivalent) which has a built-in language translator, to help you translate the free form text on the actapublica website. Note that the online translator functions will NOT help you translate the images of each record book page, that will be up to you to interpret the results. If you would like some assistance with interpreting the archive image scans, please shoot me an email at and we can discuss setting up a research project to support you in achieving your research objectives.

Good luck!
Tony Kadlec
CGSI Corresponding Secretary/Research Coordinator

Thank you, Tony. I found several records for birth and marriage of a few relatives in the Brno archive for Knezdub, and very happy to learn a little more about the family.