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FHL Pilot | Church Records In Slovakia


This page describes digital image resources available from the Family History Library web site.


Slovakia Church Records

Beginning in October, 2009, the Family History Library introduced for the first time to the web the availability of Slovakia church book images, which previously were only accessible on microfilm.  Church books traditionally hold parishoner records of baptism, marriage and death.  This bold new step allows access to many researchers who previously may not have been able to travel to a Family History Library to view microfilm.  This includes those who live in regions and countries of the world with no nearby access to a Family History Center.   A few simple clicks of the mouse allow you to view on your desktop records that were previously seen only by a few.  The new facility employs a state of the art image viewer which can zoom and rotate the image and save copies of the image to your local computer. 


Work is initially limited to Presov regional archive records.  New records are being added daily.  If you are familiar with the Ellis Island Site, you will find it to be a similar but superior experience.


Initial Slovakia Availability

The first records published include the previously-microfilmed church record holdings of the Presov Archive. This is a boom to genealogy researchers, since the largest portion of immigrants to the US and Canada came from this region.  These records include catalog entries with both Slovak (present-day) and Magyar "Hungarian" (pre-1918) village names.  The records are organized first by village, then by religion, and finally by holding.  


Czech Church Records

Church records from the Czech Republic began to be posted to the FHL Pilot system in the year 2009.  This is the first time Czech records have been recorded by the FHL and are being brought online.  Unlike the Slovakia records, there are no microfilm equivalents.  For the Czech records, the image is digitally "photographed" in the archive and posted directly to the web.  Presently records in the Litomerice, Opava and Trebon Archives are being recorded.  These represent the former provinces of Northern Bohemia, Northern Moravia and Southern Bohemia.  These records are being added to on a daily basis, in some cases alphabetically.


Quick Start

Here is a quick outline on how to access and view the records.  The FHL site is clean, simple and intuitive to operate.  If you have been holding back on the purchase of a large-screen monitor, this may be the excuse you need.


1. Begin at the FHL Pilot Site

2. Select "Browse our record collections"

3. Select "Europe" from the drop-down, or click on the map.

4. Scroll to the very bottom

5. Select the country of interest:

  • “Slovakia, Presov Region Church Books” - you have two choices – working with the old Magyar (“Hungarian) names, or with the present-day Slovakia records.  Either one takes you to the same set of records.  If you are unsure of the name, try them both.

  • Czech Republic - Select the archive or region of interest.

6.   View and Select the Religion

7. View and Select the Village

8. View and select the type of records of interest (marriages, baptisms, or deaths)

9. An Adobe Flash rendering of the scanned pages will start.  You’ve arrived!

10. Navigate pages with the “Image” number or left/right arrow navigation.


Research Wiki

The FHL has embraced the concept of Wikipedia "Wiki", an online encyclopedia, jointly authored by the FHL and open for editing by the web community (you and me).   Entries exist for:

Note on record date range

I received a "heads up" note from the chief Slovak/Czech Cataloguer at the FHL about an upcoming FHL directive that may impact your research. Please read this carefully. You may want to turn up the heat on your FHL research activity. The summary below is my own, based on a conversation tonight.

FHL Electronic Slovakia Record Access
Family History Library – Slovak State Archive FHL Patron Access Policy Update

The FHL agreement with the Slovak State Archives is to film only up to 1895. In many cases, the microfilm records extend beyond 1895, sometimes as late as the 1950s.

Effective September 30, 2009, the FHL Slovakia negotiator has directed the FHL Catalog team to remove any post-1895 records from the new, electronic image catalog system “Record Search Pilot”. Because the process is extremely laborious, the catalog, this will be occurring slowing over the course of the next several months.

You should also note the following:
1) Extant village microfilms which contain post-1895 records will not be removed, the editing effort deemed to be Herculean.
2) All new records that are “filmed” will be stored electronically only. No new microfilms.  (There appear to have been some exceptions as of May 2010, so treat this as a general rule).
3) The indices (I call them “card-catalogs”) for electronic records and microfilm/microfiche records will remain separate for the foreseeable future.

a) If the village of your interest contains post-1895 records and are contained in the current online “Pilot” collection, the post-1895 entries will only be viewable for the next few months.
b) If you are lucky, and your village is already on microfilm, any post-1895 records, can still be found on microfilm both now and in the future.
c) Any new village records not previously microfilmed will be put into the Pilot system only and will not contain records beyond 1895.
d) When you are looking for village records, you must separately consult two indices: The Microfilm/microfiche Index and the Pilot Index.

In summary, post-1895 records, if available, will only be on microfilm, after the online purge is completed. You have a short opportunity right now to view post-1895 online.

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Last Update: 15 November 2020                                                    Copyright © 2003-2021, Bill Tarkulich