Thursday, September 29, 2016

Can't find the record? Use a historic map!

Yesterday a friend sent me a fun jurisdiction problem which I was able to solve quickly, and with her permission I am blogging about it.

The main takeaway is that, at least in the Opava Archives, records are categorized under their current place name. This is very important to understand in Czech research where the same village changed names several times over the last 200 years, depending on whether Germans or Czechs were in charge at the time.

She wrote:

"Are you familiar with the records in the Moravska Ostrava area, particularly Lhotka?  I am helping a friend search for some of his ancestors and I have found them in an index book, but I can't find the corresponding book to find the records.  I can't figure out if I am just looking in the wrong place or if the books are just not available (kind of like those missing Vratimov records).
In Book MO I 41 (Inventory #1840a) on image 43, I found the following:
Hruzek Adolf des Franz - Lhotk. - 1869 - page 196
Hruzek Maria dc. Frantisek - Lhotka - 1870 - page 2
Hruzek Vojteska dc. Frantis. - Lhotka - 1872 - page 15
These are the exact people I am looking for.  Names and dates all correspond to his information that he has from them in Texas.
If you are familiar with this village and can point me in the right direction, I sure would appreciate it!"

Here is my response:

So, inv. č. 1840a, archive signature MO I 41  is not supposed to contain records for Lhotka...but then on ep 43 it totally does, like you said. 

It looks like "Hruzek Adolf des Franz" is actually from a different place, maybe Elgoth? or Elgt?

When I look at the historic map on mapy.cz, I see that yes, there is a teeny tiny village named Ellgoth that borders Moravska Ostrava and Lhotka. 

What I also notice is that Lhotka is totally on the other side of the border with Prussia!

Here's a modern map:



Here's the exact same view on a historic map from mapy.cz:

Here's the map zoomed out a little bit:


I noticed that Ellgoth is in the exact same place as "Mariánské Hory" today. Probably its name was changed when the Sudeten Germans were exiled, and everything German was destroyed or banished. So I looked up the first record under "Marianské Hory" and I found it. There was an error in the index, it is actually page 197: 

N • inv. č. 1856 • sig. MO IV 2 • 1843 - 1869 • Mariánské Hory 

Adolf born 15 April 1869 in Mariánské Hory/Ellgoth 13 to Franz Hruzek häusler, son of Wenzel Hruzek häusler in Elgoth and his wife Anna, born of Franz Ruchni [Kuchni?] of Elgoth, and Johanna daughter of Franz Kuniek, gärlter in Rakovec, and his wife Maria Anna born Pastrnak.
Witnesses: Florian Blahut schmeid of the Nordsahn [northern part? not sure at a first glance] in Elgoth and Johanna Blahut, his wife
Midwife: Elisabeth Herrmann N 182 in M. Ostrau [Moravská Ostrava]

I found the others in this book: N • inv. č. 1857 • sig. MO IV 3 • 1870 - 1889 • Mariánské Hory

Here is Maria Hruzek:

Here's Vojtěška Hruzek:

Here's my hypothesis as to why they were not in this book, where you would think they would have been!

N • inv. č. 2602 • sig. H I 15 • 1860 - 1891 • Hlučín, Bobrovníky, Darkovičky, Dlouhá Ves, Hošťálkovice, Koblov, Lhotka, Lud…

It seems like this area of Silesia that bordered Prussia/Poland had a mixture of peoples and cultures living there. It seems like maybe there was some amount of segregation, perhaps because of prejudice, or maybe simply for more practical reasons like language and culture etc. So maybe the family moved to Lhotka but still attended church in Ellgoth (today Marianské Hory), or maybe the Czech population of Lhotka just always went to church in the nearest Czech speaking parish, which could have been Ellgoth.