Using FamilySearch For Slovakia or Czech Republic Records
Presentation recorded during the 2019 CGSI Conference:
FamilySearch is a free website owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. Registration is not mandatory, but may be necessary to view certain images; it is also free. The website contains various forms of genealogical records from across the globe. Some records can be viewed by images (camera icon) and others are indexes only (record numbers given in column) or both images and indexes. The presence of record numbers indexed does not indicate complete indexing of the source (it may only be 10% complete) so don’t make an assumption that indexing is complete. There is currently no way to determine how complete an index is.
These links will take you directly to Slovak and Czech records, or to the Continental Europe listing of records where you can scroll down to either the Czech Republic or the Slovakia church books. You may also just enter the home page of this website with “familysearch.org” in which case you would hover over the “Search” button and select “Records.” Very few names are indexed so you should scroll down to “Browse All Published Collections” and select “Continental Europe.” Further details about the website and selections available are given below.
For Slovak records FamilySearch contracted with the archives of Slovakia to initially film and later digitize these records and make them available online. As of this date the regional archives in Slovakia do not have church books available online. The only source of these records is via FamilySearch. The church books for Slovakia are all under the FamilySearch entry: “Slovakia, Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1935” (over 1.6 million images). This is essentially complete for the regional Slovak archives and also contains records from several district archives as listed. Also, over 11 million names have been indexed from these records so a name search may be worthwhile (not complete, however). Additional district archive records are being added. You will also see that an 1869 Census of Slovakia is also available with over 270,000 images.
The FamilySearch situation for the Czech Republic is a bit more complicated. FamilySearch was required to negotiate and contract with each regional archive separately. To date they have contracted with the regional archives at Litomerice, Trebon, Opava and Zamrsk. Most of these records are found under the FamilySearch entry: “Czech Republic, Church Books, 1552-1981” (over 4.6 million images). This section contains records for Litomerice, Trebon (a few record books), Opava (numerous records) and Zamrsk.
This is the content to date, but digitizing continues for all of these archives so the digitized records are growing constantly and added online incrementally. When FamilySearch started with the Czech Republic records they were using a new process for capturing digital images instead of microfilming.
However, when the digital records were brought back to Salt Lake for processing it was discovered that some of the images were inaccessible. The data was there, but could not be accessed. They called this the “Digital Backlog”. Opava and some Trebon records fell victim to the “Digital Backlog”. Eventually a portion of those records were retrieved and temporarily placed under separate headings: “Northern Moravia, Opava Archive Church Books, 1571-1905” (over 206,000 images) and “Southern Bohemia, Trebon Archive Church Books, 1650-1900” (over 722,000 images). So if you are researching Opava or Trebon records you will have to search both the main section (1552-1948) and one of the latter sections until these records are eventually merged.