Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Velkostatek: the Estate

The Czech word for "Estate" is Velkostatek. According to Wikipedia (as translated from Czech to English by Google translate):

"The estate is the name for a farm with an area greater than 100 ha [ha = hectares. 100 hectares = ~247 acres] agricultural area. In the history of this term also denoted a feudal estate .
In the Middle Ages, and especially in the early modern period the estate was the economic-administrative unit defined and managed by one owner or family of noble birth who had administrative and judicial authority over subjects living in the area covered by the estate.
Up to 18 century, the estate did not pay taxes[; these were] paid only from rustic [the countryside - the peasantry] . The imperial patent of 7 September 1848 abolished serfdom and in 1850 moved the political and judicial administration in the newly established district offices and courts. The estate then remained a purely economic entity and the concept of landowner no longer to refer only to the nobility. When land reform, which in Czechoslovakia took place in the 20th century, there were many feudal estates parceled out."
After some sleuthing, I found some a link to maps of the estates as they were in Moravia-Silesia in 1848, apparently just before the end of the abolition of feudalism.
These are available here:
Land Records are extremely valuable and important for Czech genealogical research. According to the familysearch wiki:
"Land records usually contain the following information:
  • A list of serfs with land rights, including their ages and type of obligations toward the estate owner
  • Residences and often relationship to previous landholder
  • Lists of all the inhabitants of the estate, testaments, debts, orphan matters, mortgages, marriage contracts, inheritance, and other matters
  • Changes in ownership of properties, succession of farmstead holders, prices and payments of property and goods"
It is likely that your Czech ancestors were tenants on an Estate. Knowing which Estate could greatly facilitate your search for their land records. As you can see from those map of the divisions of the Moravia-Silesia estates, the boundaries aren't always intuitive, or necessarily by village. 
Almost all of my direct line Czech ancestors are from the Hukvaldy Estate, or more precisely, "the Archbishop of Olomouc's Princely Estate of Hukvaldy, a Fief of the Crown Czech Lands." This article is very interesting; lots of information! 
It also contains the following population demographic table, which is also very interesting to me!
Locations on Hukvaldy estate and the population in 1835 [10]
seatstatusPopulation
BrušperkProtective city2781
FrenštátProtective city4483
Fork and spoonProtective city4760
Moravian OstravaProtective city1712
Místekcity2601
Frýdlanttown1905
Hukvaldyvillage526
Antonínovvillage452
Bezkydvillage433
Bordovicevillage366
Chlebovicevillage488
Celadnàvillage1657
Drnholecvillage219
Fryčovicevillage1197
Hájovvillage354
Hodoňovicevillage318
Klokocovvillage558
Skotnicevillage421
Kozlovicevillage1326
Great Kunéicevillage1311
Small Kunéicevillage342
Koloredovvillage835
Lhotkavillage433
Lichnovvillage924
Lysůvkyvillage139
Metylovicevillage1156
Měrkovicevillage295
Myslíkvillage488
Mnišívillage409
Kopřivnicevillage972
Ostravicevillage1317
Palkovicevillage1662
Prchalovvillage253
Pstružívillage521
Birdwatchervillage128
Rychalticevillage611
Sýkorecvillage110
Sklenovvillage568
Staříč (Old)village1229
New Staříčvillage208
Závišicevillage335
Sviadnovvillage440
Silentvillage1321
Trojanovicevillage1914
Vlčovicevillage283
Vitkovicevillage199
Větřkovicevillage402
Zelinkovicevillage229

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