Before the start of the Thirty Years' War in 1618, only about 15 % of Bohemians and a third of Moravians were Catholic. When Protestantism was outlawed in the Renewed Land Ordinance issued in 1627, Protestants were given the option of conversion to Catholicism or exile. In order to track the efficacy of the Counter-Reformation, Catholic parishes began recording the names of all persons who received the obligatory Easter confession each year. These confessional lists were used as proof that the Counter-Reformation was successful and that no Protestants remained in the country.
Catholic parishes continued to compile confessional lists even after the end of the Counter-Reformation.
The confessional lists are sorted by village and cover all confirmed parishioners. People of different religions are not recorded. In addition to the confessional lists, summary sheets were usually created for individual villages of the parish.
Confessional list 1821 (District archive Rajhrad, Czech language)This record shows the confessional list for the village of Opatovice in the parish of Rajhrad. Detail shows the family of Kašpar Urbánek, including his wife Mariana and daughter Mariana. They lived in house #37.
|WHY were they collected?||Evidence of parishioners who received the sacrament of confession on Easter.|
|WHEN were they collected?||1656 – 20th century|
|WHO collected the records?||Catholic parish offices|
|WHAT information can be found?||Name and surname of the head-of-household, family members|
|In which ARCHIVES are they held?||District archives, city archives|
|In which archive FILES can they be found?||Archives of parish offices|
|LANGUAGE of records||Czech, German|
|AVAILABILITY||Very rare, mostly cover 18th and 19th century|
|What must be KNOWN before getting started?||Name, town or village, and the parish|
Zpovědní rejstřík (plural = Zpovědní rejstříky)