Genealogical Recording of Bohemian Birthplaces

Posted: Sun, 07/26/2015 - 13:16
Author Email: 
mkburesh@aol.com

What is the correct way to record our ancestor’s birth places in our genealogical databases? My ancestors were born in South Bohemia which is now the Czech Republic and was relatively recently Czechoslovakia with definite dates. However, my great-grandparents were born in 1843 and 1849 and some historical documents list them as born in Bohemia and some in Austria. Should their birth places be recorded as Bohemia, the Austrian Empire or the Austrian-Hungarian Empire? Thanks!

Comments

It somewhat depends on where you are recording them. For example, if you are in Family Search, they seem to want it to say Czech Republic regardless of the fact that it didn’t exist 150 years ago.

In my own database, I simply say Village, Bohemia or Village, Moravia.

I agree, it would be nice if someone who is a top-level expert would state the preferred style.

It somewhat depends on where you are recording them. For example, if you are in Family Search, they seem to want it to say Czech Republic regardless of the fact that it didn’t exist 150 years ago.

In my own database, I simply say Village, Bohemia or Village, Moravia.

I agree, it would be nice if someone who is a top-level expert would state the preferred style.

Oh the joy of Bohemia not being an actual country! If I am reading your comment correctly, you are asking how to record the information you have found about ancestors in your personal database. If that is the case, in my opinion it is going to depend on how you want to structure your information. Bohemia is around today and has been for centuries past. The Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia/Austria-Hungary/Germany, etc. have been countries that “owned” Bohemia over specific time periods. So, there is no simple answer. Personally, I have chosen to record Czech births, marriages, and deaths using the following system: village, parish, country. For country, I am using CZ since that is the current country “owning” Bohemia. I include both village and parish because there are potentially many villages with the same name, but less often a village and a parish with the same names (although it can occur). I do not include the “province” since I try to keep the number of characters in the database field to a manageable size.
At one time, I started listing the country that was in power for the year of the event, but then I would end up with the same village being listed as part of Germany or Austria, etc, but it was still the same village and was confusing to family members I was sharing my data with. I now have chosen to just include a paragraph with a file I send to a family member explaining that various countries controlled Bohemia over time (stating the dates of ownership) and further explaining that all village listings are stated as being in the current Czech Republic. It seems to work. But, it is a matter of personal preference, at least from my opinion.