Information and explanatory notes

Structure and data sources

Due to a relatively complicated system of archival records in each archives, the source databases are also structured in the same hierarchical way.

The basic building-blocks of each archives are the archive files (i.e. archival fonds and collections). Within this Digital Archives application we use term fonds, for simplification. Each one fond contains archival materials created by one originator. Not all archival materials are accessible. Their accessibility is determined by relevant legislation, as well as status of processing.

What are the accessible archival materials?

Archival materials are available for public study only if it’s allowed by their physical condition and status of processing. As “processed” are considered those archival materials, which are equipped at least with provisional inventory list or handling list. A higher degree of processing is called inventorying (stocktaking). As “inventoried” are considered those archival materials, which are equipped with so-called partial inventory registers, full inventory registers or associated registers, catalog, index, thematic catalog, list of documents or thematic index. All of the above listed types of inventories, catalogs, etc. are commonly called archival finding aids. In case of large archival fonds it is quite common, that archival materials are accessible through several volumes, or multiple types of finding aids.

What are the inaccessible archival materials?

Archival materials which are not equipped with any of these finding aids are understood as unprocessed and in general terms as inaccessible. Access for a research purposes is possible under individual permission of the archives, where these materials are permanently stored.

Simple database of fonds and finding aids is a source of very general information and so to achieve the best clarity of results, this is database disabled in default settings (manual switch-on is possible).

Finding aids contain more detailed information on the archival document or a group of documents. This information is defined as inventory record (description unit). One inventory record within the Digital Archives system is a basic description unit. It is a source of detailed information. On a resembling level as inventory records (source of detailed information) stand also records from so-called virtual databases. These databases are virtually divided according to type of records and provide searching options to get more detailed information across archival fonds and finding aids. These "live" databases are constantly added and updated.

Relation between inventory records from finding aids and records from virtual databases

A virtual record can either expand the information of inventory record or vice versa "make visible" information about archival material which by now wasn’t published in any finding aid. For example, an inventory record of a medieval charter with seal provides only a basic information (description, dating). But corresponding entry from the virtual database “Listiny-Charters” further magnifies this information by connecting it to database “Pečetě-Seals”. Ideally, it is also connected to digital reproductions of documents and seals. The second example is a municipal chronicle, which for some reason is not processed in the inventory record (in finding aid), but it is described in the virtual database “Kroniky-Chronicles”. Researcher in this way obtains information that wouldn’t be normally available in a finding aid. Again, ideally with attached reproduction of chronicle.

Virtual the database library is disconnected from sources of searching (manual switch-on is possible) as it contains no archival records.

Scheme of data structure DIGITAL ARCHIVES:

LIST OF VIRTUAL DATABASES:

Photographic (visual) documents – records of classic "paper" photographs, negatives and slides. In terms of the appropriateness of descriptive fields, there are in this database entered also postcards, although technically they are not a photographic document, but a print. In certain cases you can find there also other visual materials e.g. graphic images, drawings and prints.

Card indexes - this database consists primarily of card indexes designated for a population registers or censuses.

Chronicles – records of chronicles and commemorative books of various types - municipal, civil, parish, association’s, etc.

Charters – records of charters and instruments.

Maps and plans – records of maps, plans and technical documentation.

Parish registers – church and civil records.

Seals – records of seals on charters (letters), collection of seal copies.

Seal matrices – records of seal matrices.

Land records - books were meant for keeping data about holding and changes in land and real estate possession, in towns then about townhouses.

Associations – records of public associations and clubs, their writings, cadastre, database nowadays led only by the Regional Archives in Opava.

Views – records of views, perspectives and panoramas until 1850. Database is going to be spread to years after 1850.

Video/Audio – Records of audiovisual (movies) or audio documents.

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Characteristics of databases

ARCHIVAL FONDS


Database provides an overview of the basic archival records.
(Archival fond is a collection of materials selected from documents originally created by one natural or legal person, organizational unit of state or local self-government.)




FINDING AIDS


Database provides a basic overview of archival records, with the option of browsing the content.
(Finding aid is created during archival processing and is used for registration and orientation within the content and time range of every archival fond or its part. For researchers it’s accessible in both paper and digital form.)




INVENTORY RECORDS


Database offers you the ability to search across all records located in electronic finding aids.




CARD INDEXES


The Regional Archives in Opava accessed a database of Card indexes, a specific archival material in various level of elaboration. This database consists primarily of card indexes designated for a population registers or censuses. Most of them are so called Deportation indexes containing a list of persons transferred to post-war Germany. Database also includes examples of insurance registration cards, German citizenship records (the so-called. Volkskartei), domicil rights agenda, house registers with names of owners and residents, or card indexes to registry offices.




PARISH REGISTERS


The websites of the Regional Archives in Opava allow public access to most of the parish registers correspondent to the former North Moravian region going from the second half of the 16th Century to those volumes from the beginning of the 20th Century. Into this file will be gradually included also books of civil registry offices from Hlučín’s region, held since 1874.

We would like to call your attention to information that in our study rooms in Opava and Olomouc it is possible to study only those volumes which are not accessible on the Internet. These already published registers will be available for study only on the Internet, or personally, in study rooms through microfilms or digital copies.
(Registers can also be studied directly at http://matriky.archives.cz)

For easier access there are two lists of registers available – one list with digital duplicates (last update 30.5. 2014) and other list without digital duplicates (last update 30.5. 2014). Those registers that have not yet been digitized will be available in our study room as usual. The digitization continues gradually, there are no set dates for finishing concrete registers; therefore we recommend checking our web pages for any updates.

Identification of former German or Latin names of actual Czech places is allowed to users by Index of municipalities of Czech Silesia and northern Moravia (compiled by Dr. Adolf Turek et al., published by the Regional Archives in Opava, 2004). It contains in alphabetical order all sites of this region, the development of their names and administrative status (available here).

The geographical orientation is simplified by the map of Roman Catholic parishes and also residences of Evangelical parishes from 1949.




LAND RECORDS


The Regional Archives in Opava published online historical “land records”, which were created as an important part of uncontested judicial agenda among landlord’s and municipal authorities. Generally speaking, these books were meant for keeping data about holding and changes in land and real estate possession, in towns then about townhouses. There were several kinds of books according to their purpose - burgrecht registers, orphan books, rent books, registers of wedding contracts, testaments, etc. Since 18th century appeared also so called “general ledgers”, where each real estate was conducted in a special folder. Leading the land records was not a uniform thing and it varied according to issued rulers patents, various decrees and economy instructions from each year, so the type of recording differs from domain to domain. An important change happened in the year 1850, when the patrimonial administration was abolished and overall leading of the records passed to the district courts. The old land records were also given to these new authorities.

The Regional Archives in Opava received the land records in a several time stages. Before the outbreak of the Second World War the archives achieved to get only the registers from the Principality of Těšín/Cieszyn. The Principality of Opava (respect. Regierungsbezirk Troppau) was received during 1939-1941. Another part of records was transferred to Opava in 1948-1952 from the city of Brno as the territorial competence of Opavian archives changed. After the administrative reform in 1960 it took up also some documents from revoked Gottwaldov region (e.g. Valašské Meziříčí and Vsetín).

The first try to make some registration system among these books reached the deed during the Nazi time when index cards were conducted. In years 1961-1965 a systematic work on inventory lists started in all state archives in Czechoslovakia. The State Archives in Opava published in 1970 a summary called “The Land records kept in the archives of North-Moravian Region (15th-19th centuries)”, in which the books were summarized by its geographical origin. In 2012 overall digitization of these documents began and a new application was designed. We believe that this application will be valuable for economical and social history, to monitor the evolution of land tenure and of course also for genealogical research.




CENSUSES


Zemský archiv v Opavě zpřístupňuje v Digitálním archivu dochované sčítací operáty z veškerých státem nařízených sčítání lidu v rozmezí let 1869 - 1921 (1869, 1880, 1890, 1910, 1921), včetně i tzv. “neúředních” (s přesahem od roku 1830 - 1930), dle tehdejší příslušnosti jednotlivých lokalit do soudního a správního okresu.

Soupis lokalit, u kterých jsou vytěžené informace typu: sčítané osoby a číslo popisné (aktualizováno 5. 9. 2017)

Doplňující informace:

- Místopisný rejstřík obcí českého Slezska a severní Moravy (sestavil Dr. Adolf Turek a kol., vydal Zemský archiv v Opavě v r. 2004). Text publikace podchycuje v abecedním řazení všechny lokality v tomto regionu, vývoj jejich názvů a administrativní zařazení: k dispozici zde.

- Informace o historii sčítání lidu na našem území: stránky Českého statistického úřadu zde.




LIBRARY


Libraries of individual archives offer mostly literature to arts and humanities, exceptionally also to natural and technical sciences. Main attention, however, focuses on books and magazines of individual regions, which can serve as an important complement to archival sources. We began with electronic processing of the classic paper catalog of books in the end of 20th century, hand in hand with improving a technical facilities and software creation. This process is far from over in most of archives. As it is in case of other databases, also library database is not fully completed yet. For example the library of Regional Archives in Opava includes a number of official prints - patents, collections of laws, regulations, etc. in total amount of 55.000 volumes. So if you do not find requested item in our database, it does not mean that it is not physically available in one of our libraries. Do not give up and contact us at the phone numbers or e-mail addresses listed on the relevant pages of the archives in the link "contacts".

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Explanation of terms

What is an ARCHIVAL FOND?

Archival fond is a collection of materials selected from documents originally created by one natural or legal person, organizational unit of state or local self-government.

What are archival materials?

Archival material is such a kind of record, which was chosen - due to the time of creation, its content, origin, external features and permanent value resulting from the political, economic, legal, historical, cultural, or scientific importance - in the public interest - to permanent preservation and was taken into archival records. Archival materials are also seals, stamps and other material items (related to any archival fond of collection) chosen and taken into archival records for the same reasons.

What are the accessible archival materials?

Archival materials are available for public study only if it’s allowed by their physical condition and status of processing. As “processed” are considered those archival materials, which are equipped at least with provisional inventory list or handling list. A higher degree of processing is called inventorying (stocktaking). As “inventoried” are considered those archival materials, which are equipped with so-called partial inventory registers, full inventory registers or associated registers, catalog, index, thematic catalog, list of documents or thematic index.

What are the inaccessible archival materials?

Archival materials which are not equipped with any of these finding aids are understood as unprocessed and in general terms as inaccessible. Access for a research purposes is possible under individual permission of the archives, where these materials are permanently stored.

What is a FINDING AID?

Finding aid is created during archival processing and is used for registration and orientation within the content and time range of every archival fond or its part. For researchers it’s accessible in both paper and digital form. The basic types of finding aids represented in our Digital Archives are:

Provisional inventory list

• a basic list of all the inventory units within one archival fond or its part. It’s made for primal evidence of archival materials and a basic orientation within its content. Since 2012 it is replaced by a handling list, which widely affects the unit’s description.

Inventory register

• a basic list of all inventory units within one archival fond. It’s made ​​for full evidence of archival materials, their storage, orientation within the content, time range and quantity. It always contains opening information about fond’s originator, development, history of archival fond or collection, and the principles of their organization and a brief analysis of its content.

Catalog

• finding aid to archival fond, collection, or their parts, providing the most detailed information on the content and type of archival materials.

Index

• alphabetically structured list of names (e.g. personal, geographical) or subjects, used for detailed orientation within the content of archival fonds, collections or their parts.

What is ORIGINATOR?

The originator is a natural or legal person, organizational unit of state or local self-government, from whose activity the relevant document (archival material) originates.

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