Back in April I wrote about my experience attempting to track down my family lineage in present day Czechia. Through communication with the National Archives of the Czech Republic and the regional archives in Trebon, I was able to establish my family was rooted in that region. The regional archives took on the task of determining just how far down those roots went.
Drum Roll Please
I now have a genealogical profile for the male line of the Verhota (Vrhota) family all the way back to 1604, when Jakob Cinatl took over the family farm from his father Petr. I am not part of a lost line of Bohemian royals, I come from a long line of laborers and farmers.
It has been fascinating to read through the profile, bringing up questions about my family’s progress through history. For instance, most of the records linking the generations of my family were located in the Roman Catholic Church of Trebon’s records. When did my family stop being Catholic? In the profile, under Religion, the legitimacy of a person’s birth was recorded (parents were married at the time of birth). The man who started this hunt, John Verhota (aka Jan Vrchota, my great, great, great grandfather) is the only person considered legitimate in the eyes of the church. What was my family up to, wink wink?
Statni Oblastni Archiv v Treboni
The Regional Archives of Trebon provided so many interesting and valuable details for each generation of my family: date of birth, baptism, marriage and death; who their godparents were; their occupation; place of burial and sometimes a person’s cause of death. For example, Anna Vrchotova, my 5th great grandmother, died of breathlessness—what the heck is breathlessness?
Their Place in History
This process has also widened my thoughts on history. My ancestors lived during some interesting times. My ancestors were subjects in the kingdom of Bohemia. Jakob Cinatl was coming of age towards the end of the Thirty Year’s War. Eventually this religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants resulted in the Battle of the White Mountain, ending the Bohemian reign and ushering in the Habsburg dynasty, absorbing Bohemia into the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Bohemian people fought for centuries against their new rulers. When John Verhota was a teenager, a push to create a new Austria-Hungary-Bohemia monarchy failed and by the end of World War I, Bohemia faded into history becoming part of the newly established First Czechoslovak Republic.
This whole experience has taught me so much about my personal and our global history. As you can imagine, I have now added a trip to Trebon to my bucket list. I plan to visit St. Elizabeth’s Church (Kostel Svate Alzbeta) to see where my family was buried; the church is still there west of the town center. Also, I am slowly learning the Czech language. I encourage anyone interested in the family genealogy to use the national archives system. The results may surprise you.
Encyclopedia Britannica (2019, July 24). Bohemia. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/place/Bohemia
Wikipedia (2019, August 13). Lands of the bohemian crown. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lands_of_the_Bohemian_Crown