Monday, November 14, 2016

Motivation Monday: Breaking Down Czech Land Records One Section at a Time


It can be easy to get intimidated by Czech land records. At first glance, they look like a giant wall of text. By breaking the text into smaller chunks one section at a time, they become much easier to read.

“Land records” are not actually one uniform kind of record; in fact, they are a kind of catch-all category of records, and include such varied content as urbarial records, marriage contracts, purchase contracts, estate proceedings, and even meat collective records! These records were generally kept on the estate level, and so both how they were recorded and what survives is not consistent. In general, the structure across time and various estates follows predictable patterns.

We will start by examining the basic structure of a Gruntovní Kniha record. You can apply these same principles to your analysis of all land records, even though there will be some variation.

The color coding represents how useful various sections of the record are to genealogists; bear in mind that this is just a broad surface-level generalization, and that you might actually find the crucial information to answer your specific genealogical query anywhere in this document, in particular when you start tracing money through time.

Red = crucial information
Orange = relevant information
Yellow = interesting, superfluous information

Example:

So you see, it is not actually just a giant wall of text. With practice, you can get through it, and finally unlock the mysteries of Czech land records!


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