Census records

With growing international economic activity in the mid-1800s, the Austrian authorities recognized the need for comprehensive demographic and economic data. Based loosely on the recommendations of the 1853 International Statistical Congress, a census was completed in 1857 throughout the empire. The census documented the population as of 31 October 1857 and one census sheet was created for each household, which typically consisted of a family group. Enumerators were sent to each dwelling and filled out the sheet according to the best recollection of the head-of-household. The 1857 census is unique in that it recorded all permanent residents of the household, even if they weren’t present on 31 October 1857. All subsequent census enumerations listed the persons living in the household, regardless if they were permanent residents or not.

The next census, capturing the situation of the population on 31 December 1869, was completed in early 1870. This census greatly increased the type and specificity of the data collected. Similar censuses were taken to reflect the situation on 31 December 1880, 31 December 1890, 31 December 1900, 31 December 1910, 15 February 1921, 1 December 1930, 17 May 1939 (only detached Czech borderland), 1 March 1950, 1 March 1961, 1 December 1970, 1 November 1980, 3 March 1991, 2001, and 2011.

Many of the earlier years of the census records were destroyed over time. The census reports tend to be more completely preserved in Moravia. From 1921 to the present day, the census sheets are essentially complete. We've prepared a database showing which years of the census are available for each town and the name of the district archive where they're held: http://www.myczechroots.com/search-tools/census-records-availability. The 1930 records also include Carpathian Ruthenia (also known as Transcarpathian Ukraine), which, at that time, was part of Czechoslovakia. In the archives, the census sheets are stored in cartons sorted by house number. Towns and villages are grouped according to former judicial districts.

Occasionally a birth register extract is attached to a census sheet. These birth record extracts were ordered on a random basis by the census commissioner in order to control the trustworthiness of information provided by a house owner. Since one of the main uses of the census data was for military purposes, the random checks invariably check the birth dates of young men.

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 1857 Census  (District archive Hodonín, German language)

Completed 1857 census form for Čejkovice (Hodonín district) house No. 3. Josef Masářik, his wife Theresia, and their three sons - Martin, Tomas & Ludwig - lived at Čejkovice No. 3 in 1857. Tomas Masářik (Masaryk) became the first president of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918.
English translation of this record

 1869 Census  (District archive Uherské Hradiště, Czech language)

Completed 1869 census form with Anton Slabinak, his wife Anna, and their son Anton, who were living in house No. 172 in Bojkovice, Moravia. In addition, Anton's siblings Anton, Karel, Franziska & Anna, tanner apprentice Jozef Mazuch, and farm hand Jan Šafařík were also living in the same house. According to this census record, Anton Slabinak had one mare, one draft horse, two cows, one calf, and one pig. He worked partly as a peasant and partly as a master tanner. His brother, Karel, was on active military duty with the 5th Jäger's Battalion.
English translation of this record

 1880 Census  (District archive Žďár nad Sázavou, Czech language)

Completed 1880 census form for house No. 8 in Bratrušín, Moravia. Tomáš Beneš, his wife Antonina, their sons, František & Josef, and daughter, Marie, were living in Bratrušín No. 8 in 1880. The reverse side of the census sheet shows that Tomáš Beneš owned only one bull and one cow in 1880.
English translation of this record

 1890 Census  (District archive Frýdek Místek, Czech language)

Completed 1890 census for house No. 315 in Čeledaná, which shows the family of Tomáš Pavliska, his wife Mariana, and five children. The census reveals that the oldest child, Jan Skryvara, was from Mariana's first marriage. 
English translation of this record

 1900 Census  (District archive Nový Jičín, Czech language)

Completed 1900 census form for house No. 26 in Skotnice. Vincenc Řehák, his wife Teresie son Vincenc Piš and daughter Anežka Piš were living in Skotnice No. 26 in 1900. The different surname of the children indicates they were from a previous marriage or born out of wedlock. The reverse side of the census record gives a detailed accounting of the livestock owned by the household. Vincenc Řehák owned two mares, two heifers, six milk cows, two pigs, sixteen hens, and 5 geese at the end of 1900.
English translation of this record

 1910 Census  (City archive Brno, German and Czech language)

Completed 1910 census form for house No. 20 on Antonínská street in Brno. In apartment V, Armin Szücs (Stein) lived with his wife Ema, their four children, and Ema's mother. From the information on the envelope, we learn that some houses already had personal elevators at that time. Armin Szücs was a shoe merchant and employed a nurse in his house.  
English translation of this record

 1921 Census  (District archive Děčín, German language)

Completed 1921 census form for house No. 1683 in Varnsdorf. The brewery was the owner of the building, which was divided into 4 apartments. Johann Rauch lived in apartment number 4 of the house with his wife, Anna, daughter Martha and son Josef.
English translation of this record

 1930 Census  (National archives Prague, Czech language)

Completed 1930 census form shows the family of Johann Hackl, choirmaster from Nýrsko No. 38, his wife Eleonora, and children Alex, Margarathe & Martha. Johann Hackl provided accomodation for 2 lodgers.
English translation of this record

 1939 Census  (National archives Prague, Czech language)

Completed 1939 census form for Lubenec (former district Žlutice). Emma Lihne, a widow, lived in house No. 168, along with her daughter, Aloisie Gleisner, and son-in-law, Erich Gleisner. All three declared German (Deutsche Reich) nationality. The 1939 census was completed only in the Czech borderland (Sudetenland), which was annexed by Germany after the Munich Agreement in September 1938. The main purpose of this census was to determine the nationality of inhabitants living in the borderland.
English translation of this record

WHY were they collected?  Provides demographic & economic data necessary for government administration 
WHEN were they collected?   1857, 1869, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1921, 1930, 1939 (only Sudeten region), 1950, 1961, 1970, 1980, 1991, 2001, 2011
WHO collected the records? Census enumerators nominated by municipal offices
WHAT information can be found? Complete family groups, Occupations, Birth dates/places, Religious denomination, Livestock, Dwellings
In which ARCHIVES are they held? District archives, rarely regional archives, city archives (records from Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Plzen, and Usti nad Labem). All 1930 records and later are kept in the National Archive
In which archive FILES can they be found?  District offices and city archives
LANGUAGE of records Czech, German
AVAILABILITY  Most census records from 1921 and later survived. Availability of older records depends on locality. See our availability index.
What must be KNOWN before getting started? Name of town or village and its respective judicial district. Exact address in large towns
Czech expression Sčítací operát (Sčítací operáty)