Conscriptions were performed anually starting in 1781 on a territorial basis until the quota of recruits for the year was reached. Each military unit had its complementary district, where the garrison was usually located. Therefore fellow-countrymen served in the same units.
In 1868, the general liability for military service was introduced, specifying conscription for all men between 21 and 23 years-of-age. Volunteers were allowed to enlist as young as 17 years-of-age. Each district office maintained a list of potential recruits. Data were provided by mayors, to whom all young men liable for conscription had to report. Conscriptions took place in March and April in the place where an eligible man held the right of domicile. Recruits appeared before a conscription committee, which consisted of the mayor or clerks & a physician from the political district office and officers & physicians of both the Common Army and Home Defense. The role of the commmittee was to determine the physical ability of potential recruits and to classify them into one of four grades: "eligible", "eligible for auxiliary service" (e.g. writer, baker, tailor, machinist, or other position corresponding to their civil profession), "this year not eligible", or "disqualified". If they were classified as "this year not eligible", they were required to return the following two years for reevaluation.
Recruits were sorted by year-class, which were given the designation of their year-of-birth. For example, all conscripts born in 1872 would be designated the 1872 year-class. If a recruit had been classified as "this year not eligible" the first (or second) year he appeared before the committee, but was then assigned to a unit, he would be grouped with the year-class one (or two) years later than his actual year of birth. The order within a year-class was determined by lottery performed at the district office. After the lottery, two duplicate lists of recruits were created - one stayed in the district office, the second was given to the Military Command.
Recruits were assigned to military units according to contingency needs for that year (in 1914 it was 159,000 men), then according to the recruit's order during conscription. In most cases they were assigned to one of the infantry regiments. The Common army was supplemented first, then the Landwehr and finally Landsturm. Since the conscription contingency in Austrial was lower than the male population, only about one-third were assigned to the 3 year service, the other two-thirds were consigned to the reserve of the same military unit and undertook only 8 weeks basic training. Recruits entered the forces each year on October 1st.
The List of Recruits provides insight into the overall health of the population. According to conscriptions from 1896-1897, an average of 37% of potential recruits were rejected for military service due to their very poor physical condition. During conscription, each recruit had a lawful right for relief. Well educated persons (e.g. teachers or high school graduates) could ask to be assigned to one year voluntary service and became non-commissioned officers. Farmers and men who provided for dependent parents or orphaned siblings could ask to be assigned to the reserves.
List of Recruits (District Archive in Uherské Hradiště, Czech language)List of Recruits for men born in 1916 in the village of Horní Němčí. Information contained on the form includes: house number, name, date & place of birth, home language, whether single or married, religion, education, occupation, names of father & mother, occupation of father, present whereabouts.
|WHY were they collected?||Evidence of young men eligible for conscription|
|WHEN were they collected?||19th century - 2003|
|WHO collected the records?||District offices|
|WHAT information can be found?||Name, date & place of birth, whether single or married, religion, education, occupation, names of father & mother, present whereabouts, writing & music, medical deferment or other exemptions from military service, and sentence in absentia from the regional office|
|In which ARCHIVES are they held?||
|In which archive FILES can they be found?||District offices (Okresní úřad), archivy měst a obcí (archives of towns and villages)|
|LANGUAGE of records||Czech, German|
|AVAILABILITY||Many have been destroyed. Surviving lists from pre-1868 are very rare|
|What must be KNOWN before getting started?||Name of village or town where conscript had right-of-domicile, or place where he lived permanently and pertinent political district|
|Czech expression||Seznam odvodem povinných osob|
Collections of records sorted on the territorial basis