Application of Familiant Laws in early 19th century Moravia - #austria-czech

Jeremy Schuman

I have a question about the application of the Familiant Laws, which I’m hoping someone might be able to help me with.

For several years now, I have been working on the family tree for the MASSARSIK / Mazarzik / Mašařik family of Bučovice, Moravia. My primary sources of information are the Jewish BMD records available through the Badatelna website and also the 19th century census records recently made available via the Moravian Provincial Archive (MZA) website.

There were four Massarsik men living in Bučovice in the 19th century who had Familiant certificates (Markus Massarsik, Jakob Massarsik, Moises Massarsik and Joachim Massarsik). As expected, all the Massarsik births registered in Bučovice while the Familiant Laws were still active either had one of these four men listed as the father, or the father was listed as “unknown”. However, in the Bučovice death records, there are two puzzling entries:

1) On 20 May 1805, the death of Jakob Mazarzik, aged 16 months, is recorded. He is described as the son of Johan Mazarzik (“aus Hungaren” I think it says).

2) On 16 Sept 1826, the death of Markus Massarzik, aged 1 month 5 days, is recorded. He is described as the son of Abraham Massarzik, and the death occurred in the nearby village of Kunkowitz.

Neither of these two infants appears in the Bučovice birth registers.

I was wondering whether any other researchers have come across records like this in the past. Is it possible that the death of a child born to a non-Familiant was sometimes registered under his father’s surname? Or is it more likely that the two fathers (Johan and Abraham ) were Familiants in another town? Johan died in Bučovice in 1840, so he appears to have been a Bučovice resident. Also, Abraham’s wife Fanni appears in the 1865 Bučovice death records, so I assume Abraham was a Bučovice resident too. And yet neither Johan nor Abraham was a Bučovice Familiant.

I would be very interested to hear people’s thoughts on this.

Many thanks,

Jeremy Schuman,
Buckinghamshire, England

Eva Lawrence

While I'm not familiar with Moravian laws, I wonder if the two puzzling children's deaths  could in fact have occurred in the home town of the mother's family?  Perhaps the grandparents were caring for an ailing infant or, in the case of the very  young baby, a woman had 'gone home to mother' for her confinement.  
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.

I have been researching family in Moravia and am unfamiliar with two websites you mentioned.  Could you please
give us the links for these websites?  I have been using, in addition to Familysearch, jewishgen, etc.

Thanks so much for this information!  

Avivah Pinski
near Philadelphia, USA

Avivah R. Z. Pinski ,  near Philadelphia, USA

Jeremy Schuman

Thanks Eva. That could well be the case, but it still begs the question of why the fathers' names appeared in the records when they weren't Familiants. According to the law at the time, the two children were regarded as illegitimate, so I wouldn't expect to see the father's name listed.

Jeremy Schuman

Hi Avivah,

The link for the birth, marriage and death records is as follows:
If you expand the first plus sign you will see all the available records.

The link for the census returns is as follows:
If you start typing the name of the town you are interested in in the box, it will prompt you with all the available towns. make sure the one you select has the word "zidovska" in it so you get the Jewish records.

Just to warn you, both websites are in Czech, but hopefully you can navigate them.

By the way, if you're interested in Moravian records, I suggest you look in the various guides in Geni, such as the one here:



Eva Lawrence

Yes, what I was suggesting was that the fathers were Familianten from another town, and a way of tracing them would be through the married daughters of the family where the death occurred.
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.

Daniela Torsh

The Czech Nat Archives also has the Familiant books and they are also available online. Not sure if that helps but worth looking at. Lenka Matusikova is the expert on the Jewish records. Ask her. You can find her contact on the Cz nat arch site.
Daniela Torsh