Chance genealogical sources in Bohemia #austria-czech

Paul King <samorai@...>

As JewishGen and its active members mature, their interests are enlarging
from solely filling a family tree to historical settings and understandings
of the life of their ancestors. Recent inquiries about bibliography on
Jewish village life unearthed a few references and I can assure readers that
others will surely appear.

I wish to draw attention to the Prague-based Journal, Judaica Bohemiae,
which is increasingly printing English-language articles about Jewish life
in what was formerly known as the Crown Lands (Bohemia, Moravia and
Silesia). Many of these articles are genealogically-based. They can even be
directly relevant and useful for members who do not read German. I will cite
one example:Lenka Matusikova's "Namensanderungen in Judsicher Familier im
Jahr 1789 . . . Dolni Kounice" JB 1998 (no. 34): 107-34. This list of name
changes for 91 families in a town about 10 miles SW of Brno is of obvious
value to those who have ancestors there, but it also allows the reader to do
his own calculations in order to get a picture of name changes for at least
one place. Thus we see that 2 families kept their original given and
surnames and approximately 60 kept their original given names and adopted a
surname. An article on "genizot in synagogues" (also vol. 34) lists 10
places where scraps of information were found. Over the years, there have
been short articles on cemeteries in various locations and these contain
more often than not "names". The Prague list of names for 1729 is now
available and those with ancestors there will not want to miss the articles
(late 17th and early 18th c.) of A. Putik which lists dozens of families,
their rivalries, religious disputes, and political struggles.

For those close to the few libraries which have a subscription, the effort
may well be worth the candle. I believe that recent issues are on-line and
may be accessed free of charge, but I can't stand firmly behind this
statement. I close with the usual disavowal of vested interest.

Paul King

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