Austria-Czech SIG #Austria-Czech Familianten, censuses and BMD records - differences #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>

I realise >from two postings in the last week [Jacob Michel & Jan Hellmann] that
there are some SIG members who are still confused re the various Jewish records
that are available in Bohemia and Moravia.

This is quite understandable, as we are all relative beginners in this area and
the more questions that are asked and answered, the better we shall all understand
the outstanding points. Language problems with our non-English speaking members
may also be a stumbling block and lead to confusion. I would like to continue
the debate as follows:

There are four main record types, namely:

- Familianten and "Mannschaftsbuecher"
- birth, marriage and death records [BMD]
- censuses
- tax and land registry

They are completely distinct and they should not be confused with each other.
They are all valuable in their own right and for a complete genealogical study
they should all, if possible, be cross-checked with each other.

1. Familianten: Jacob Michel [Israel] asked which is more accurate, BMD records
or Familianten?

The Familianten books can be thought of as "skeletal" family trees with almost
complete emphasis on the male line, especially the current Familiant and the
first-born son who inherits the Familianten licence. They are not detailed birth,
marriage or death records.

There are comments about the other sons, if relevant. Also, if the first-born son
dies or renounces his "Stelle" [Familianten position/rights] then the line
continues with the next son etc, etc.

In some cases, a number of sons have acquired "Stellen", through various clauses
and/or loopholes in the Familianten act - if so they will all be followed

A normal family tree is drawn just like the traditional spreading Xmas tree -
with all the daughters included; but in the Familianten books, the tree goes
horizontally across a page, filling in various pre-headed columns - and then
onto another page, with the generations. Daughters are not listed.
You can see the headings on:

2. Birth, marriage and death [BMD] records:

Birth records are completely different. They usually give full details of the
baby's name, sex, date of birth, mother, father, midwife, circumcision if a boy,
location and witnesses.

Marriage records are equally complex – and so are death records. They should
both have considerable detail on them [for example, on the marriage records:
names of bride and groom and their ages, parents’ full names and maiden names,
occupations, addresses etc].

These are documents which have a legal status and can be used as such. Thus, if
you look at BMD records, there are often hand-written dated annotations in the
margins, which may refer to requests for copies. They may have arisen when the
person is getting married or needs a certificate for some other purpose [i.e
Zustandigkeit/residency]. I have seen requests >from Vienna sent back to Kolin
or Grossbock, for example!
I very much doubt if you would be able to find such requests in a Familianten
record, which would probably be zealously guarded by Christian authorities.

The BMD records would have been under the safe-keeping of the local Jewish
community. You can see some of these detailed records on our own website:

3. Census records: with specific reference to the 1793 census of the 16 Kreis
of Bohemia and Prague [still to be transcribed]. There are also Moravian censuses;
one in particular has been used to great effect recently to establish LOEFF
family links in Holleschau for SIG member, Harold Chipman [Switzerland].

Censuses are based on households and family heads; the occupation of the
breadwinner is listed. All Jews in Bohemia in 1793 were enumerated and recorded
under their newly-acquired names.

The Klattauer Kreis census of 1793 gives ages as well, but this is the exception.
There are a very few ages scattered throughout the other 15 Kreis and a few more
than usual in the Budweiser Kreis, especially in Kalladey [luckily for SIG members
Ruth Coman, Randy Schoenberg and Jane Reber].

Census records do, however, list for every household:
wives, daughters, widows, much-maligned mothers-in-law, servants, as well as
tutors and teachers, many of whom came >from Moravia and some >from Poland – what
a brainy lot they were!

If the family was very poor, there is often an indication there [e.g. lives on
charity]. Widows, widowers and twins are singled out too. There are sometimes
comments on the whereabouts of a member of the family living outside the family
circle and even, in some cases, mention of ownership of property and future

So there is a vast amount of data here and if only we could compare it with the
1783 census, we could glean even more re name changes.

The censuses give us a glimpse into everyday life over 200 years ago. Paul King
[Israel] gave us an erudite analysis of census-taking in the 1700s and its

4: Tax and land registry records - they could be of great value in establishing
who was living where and at what period. They require a separate discussion.

Moravian records: I ended my first lengthy posting [8 April 2005] on the
Familianten books with the plea: "And finally, what about Moravia? We need a
complete listing of books available and where they are located. That is one of
the biggest problems for Moravian SIG members today."

Charlie Roberts [UK] repeated this, with a special request: “Regarding Moravia
and my interest in Boskovice, does anyone know if Familianten records exist?”
Jan Hellmann's enthusiastic reply: "they are there" [in Prague] in fact referred
to the censuses and Bohemian records and he has now sent us a correction.

The Moravian problem has not really been fully resolved, but Julius Mueller
[Prague] has pointed us the right way and so has Claire Bruell in her article
on her trip to Moravia in the current issue of Avotaynu. Moravia, unfortunately
remains our "problem child". I am not even sure how many Familianten books
[known as "Mannschaftsbuecher" in Moravia] we have to locate. Are these these
the books we are looking for?


Auspitz, Boskowitz, Bruenn, Datschitz, Gaya, Goeding,
Gr.Meseritsc h, Hohenstadt, Holleschau, Iglau,
Kremsier, Kromau, Littau, Maehrisch-Truebau, Mistek,
Neustadtl, Neutitschein, Nikolsburg, Olmuetz, Prerau,
Prossnitz, Roemerstadt, Schoenberg, Sternberg,
Trebitsch, Ungarisch-Brod, Ungarisch-Hradisch,
Walachisch-Meseritsch, Weisskirchen, Wischa u,Znaim.

see also paragraph in German on Moravia {Mahren} which
also points to uncertainty:

Celia Male [UK]

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