As the Hapsburgs began to reassert their power after the end of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), they sought to re-Catholicize the Protestant-leaning Bohemian Crown lands. In order to determine where best to focus their proselytizing efforts, they required a detailed inventory of church resources. A patent was issued in February of 1651 that directed the Bohemian Estates to record the names and religious denominations of all persons within their dominions on standardized forms, referred to as the List of Subjects According to Their Faith. For non-Catholics, a notation was to be made as to their prospects for conversion. Clergymen and soldiers were exempt from the enumeration. In addition, a report on the condition of the local church was to be appended to each list.
Most of the estates returned their completed lists within a few months. A second patent was issued in June of 1651 that greatly reduced the scope of the census: the revised instructions only required a brief list of non-Catholics. Therefore, some estates are well represented in the List of Subjects According to Their Faith and others are not.
The Czech National Archive has published these records in a total of 23 volumes as follows:
Soupis poddaných podle víry z roku 1651
Loketsko; compiled by E. Čáňová, published 1993.
Boleslavsko; (2 volumes) compiled by A. Pazderová, published 1994, 2005. 180 Kc
Berounsko; compiled by H. Klímová, published 1995, 2007. 235 Kc
Rakovnicko; organized by A. Pazderová, published 1996, 2007. 175 Kc
Žatecko; (3 volumes) organized by M. Zahradníková, E. Štrejnová, published 1997.
Bechyňsko; (3 volumes) organized by H. Sedláčková, Z. Kokošková, M. Zahradníková, published 1997.
Kouřimsko; organized by H. Klímová, published 1997, 2008. 134 Kc
Čáslavsko; (2 volumes) organized by M. Zahradníková, E. Štrejnová, published 1999.
Hradecko-Bydžovsko; (4 volumes) organized by L. Matušíková a kol., published 2000.
Chrudimsko; (3 volumes) organized by A. Pazderová, L. Matušíková, published 2002.
Plzeňsko-Klatovsko; (2 volumes) compiled by M. Zahradníková, published 2003.
List of subjects according to their faith 1651 (region Kouřim, published by The Czech National Archive)
|WHY were they collected?||Rigorous control of spiritual life in the Kingdom|
|WHEN were they collected?||1651|
|WHO collected the records?||Landloard or clerks os the suzerain's offices|
|WHAT information can be found?||Complete family groups followed by subtenant farmhands living in the house, Occupations, Year of birth, Religious denomination. In some cases it is impossible to to specify the structure of the family or a household because they were not separated within the village. Sometimes the description of the estate, church property and notes on war damages are added.|
|In which ARCHIVES are they held?||All regions of Bohemia|
|In which archive FILES can they be found?||Czech National Archive (entire data were compiled and published)|
|LANGUAGE of records||Czech, German|
|What must be KNOWN before getting started?||Name of town or village and its respective region.|
|Czech expression||Soupis poddaných podle víry z roku 1651|