Emigration documents of Bohemian people in the archival fund České místodržtelství (Elench)

by Tomáš Biskup & Jan Pařez - 2003-12-09
The archival fund the české místodržitelství (Bohemian Government), or so called "Elench" is deposited at the State Central Archives in Prague. Among the many various affairs it is concerned with, section No. 20 was dedicated to the agenda permitting emigration, immigration, confirming issuing of domicile certificates, and incorporating people into and releasing them from citizenship.

Most applicants had only to submit their request at the local political (district) office. Most of these documents were discarded. Nevertheless, in the event the district office was not able to process the request, for whatever reason, it sent the application to be judged by the české gubernium.

Concerning emigration, only a portion of the total number of requests for emigration was resolved by the české gubernium. A major part of those requests was also discarded, however, the books listing incoming mail were preserved. These books contain concise entries, including the names, place of origin, the date, and in most cases the destination of the applicant is mentioned. In some cases, there is a reference to applications which have also survived.

These books of incoming mail cover the entire period from 1856 to 1910, which is ideal for the purpose of genealogical research. Research in this source, however, is complicated by a number of entries dealing with different topics.

Nevertheless, when the research of these documents is complete, we will be able to create a database which will include information about those people who got permission from the české gubernium to emigrate from Bohemia to America. With this database we will be able to locate the places of origin for many descendants of Bohemian immigrants to the US, Canada and elsewhere.

Furthermore, although in some cases the place of origin may be specified but of little help, as in the case of Nova Ves or Lhota. In these cases it may only be necessary to know a district or region. Also – with the support of passenger lists – we can estimate the probable place of origin of people from different families traveling together. Finally, we could use these materials for some special demographic data – e.g. tracking the numbers of people who emigrated by specific areas and dates.

The following are a sample translated list and a sample page from the original data which we are currently extracting from the archival fund české místodrIitelství: