The following items contain various reference and language books either in the Czech, Slovak, and/or English. Please note that some books can be downloaded directly if they are out of copyright. For those still within some form of copyright, the link will take you directly to the item on another website. Items are listed in alphabetical order and organized by media type.
TITLE: The Kingdom of Bohemia (Das Konigreich Bohmen)
AUTHOR: Johann Gottfried Sommer
DESCRIPTION: The Kingdom of Bohemia (Das Konigreich Bohmen) is a series of sixteen volumes written and compiled by Johann Gottfried Sommer between the years of 1833 and 1849.
Each volume is a statistical-topographical representation of one of the districts of Bohemia at that time. Each volume is very detailed and begins with a General Overview (Allgemeine Ubersicht) followed by a description of each estate (Herrschaft or Gut) including its ownership history , its size, and how the land is used. At the end of each volume there is a Place Name Register (Register der Ortsnamen) alphabetically listing each estate, community or village in the volume and the page number or numbers where it is mentioned. All of the volumes and Place Name Registers are in Fraktur or German script. The Sommer volumes are available online by clicking on the book link below. Most can be downloaded or viewed through various devices and the links represent two different online sources. The CGSI library has a set of all sixteen volumes as well as a volume containing all the Place Name Registers transcribed into readable German.
TITLE: Popis Králowstwí českého
AUTHOR: Frantisek Palacky
DESCRIPTION: This book is very useful in large part due to the organizational scheme which groups the villages under their feudal estates (as of 1848, just before the abolition of serfdom). The feudal estates were a separate “jurisdiction” from the kingdom-wide system of provinces (kraje), the lords of the estates exercised their feudal privileges over the serfs within the estates (most of our ancestors) but those privileges were those of owners/masters rather than government officials. The original kraje were in effect from roughly the 1400s until the 1860s, and they were, for the most part, reasonably stable during that period, with some boundary changes and a couple of minor reorganizations that increased their number.
Although the feudal estates were thus not truly an administrative division, they are significant for many genealogical purposes. Many gazetteers from the pre-1860 periods do tell you the feudal estate to which a village belonged, but the value of Palacky’s book is that his arrangement makes it very easy to see which places near an ancestor’s village were under the same estate. Serfs were rarely permitted to leave their feudal estate, at least without gaining the permission of the feudal lord, but could readily move about within the estate. So knowing which places were and were not part of the same estate can help immensely in tracing people like farm laborers.
Virtually no translation is needed for this book, as it simply consists of a series of lists of villages grouped under first the old style kraje and then within those under their estates, together with an alphabetical index in the back to all the place names. The book includes both the Czech and German names of the places where applicable (old non-uniform spellings), and provides the number of houses and inhabitants for each place. Symbols identify which places are seats of chapels and parishes, as well as a few other features. The nobleman or noblewoman owning each estate at that time is also named. In the German language.
TITLE: Latin-Czech Dictionary
AUTHOR: Dr. Kamil Furst, 1920
DESCRIPTION: Excellent resource for Latin terms defined in Czech. Easy to translate the Czech definition by using Google Translate. Note that the book was almost 100 years old and in fragile condition resulting in some pages being a bit more difficult to read. Excellent reference tool when interpreting archive records. 392 pages.
KEY WORDS: Latin Czech Dictionary
Download (108MB): Dictionary
TITLE: A Pocket Dictionary of the English and Bohemian Language with Full Pronunciation and Accentuation
AUTHOR: Frantisek B. Zdrubek
DESCRIPTION: This dictionary provides Czech to English and English to Czech with definitions as existed when the book was published in 1886, 2 Volumes. Courtesy of HathiTrust.
TITLE: Slovak English Dictionary
AUTHOR: Paul Kadak
DESCRIPTION: Written in Slovak, this dictionary provides an easy translation of Slovak words to the English language. Published 1905.
TITLE: Bohemian Made Easy, A Practical Bohemian Course for English-Speaking People
AUTHOR: Jonas Karel
DESCRIPTION: Published in 1890. 294 pages. Courtesy of HathiTrust.
Bohemian Made Easy
TITLE: A Grammar of the Bohemian or Czech Language
AUTHOR: William Richard Morfill
DESCRIPTION: Published in 1899. 170pages. Courtesy of HathiTrust.
Grammar of Bohemian
TITLE: Progressive Czech
AUTHOR: Bohumil E. Mikula
DESCRIPTION: A beautiful blend of learning the Czech language and information about Czech life. Published in 1926. 538 pages. Courtesy of HathiTrust.
TITLE: Slovak (Slavish) Self-Taught
AUTHOR: S Moravek
DESCRIPTION: Published in 1917, this grammar provides a view of learning the language as of that timeframe. In English. 126 pages.