Sommer Books On-Line and Popis Králowstwí českého by František Palacký

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 CGSI library has a set of all sixteen volumes as well as a volume containing all the Place Name Registers transcribed into readable German. All of the volumes and Place Name Registers are in Fraktur or German script. The following Sommer volumes are available for online viewing or transfer to various devices by using the links provided. As a CGSI member, you can access the online information by logging into the Member Home page of this website and then accessing the “Reference and Language” link located in the Education and Webinars section.

Here is a listing of the volumes:

Leitmeritzer Kreis (Vol. 1)

Bunzlauer Kreis (Vol. 2)

Bidschower Kreis (Vol. 3)

Koniggratzer Kreis (Vol. 4)

Chrudimer Kreis (Vol. 5)

Pilsener Kreis (Vol. 6)

Klattauer Kreis (Vol. 7)

Prachiner Kreis (Vol. 8)

Budweiser Kreis (Vol. 9)

Taborer Kreis (Vol. 10)

Caslauer Kreis (Vol. 11)

Saazer Kreis (Vol. 14)

Elbogener Kreis (Vol. 15)

Berauner Kreis (Vol. 16)

Popis Králowstwí českého by 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.

The link to this online book is available on the Members Home page, listed in the Research and Language Tab of the Education and Webinars area.