Conscriptions (1850–1918)

Residence permit applications (conscriptions) of the Prague Police Directorate (1850–1918)

The database of residence permit applications (conscriptions) of the Prague Police Directorate from the years 1850 to 1918 has been completed and published on the website of the National Archives. In the course of 6 years (2006–2011), we managed to implement a digitization project, which made available to researchers 664,651 police applications. The database contains 2,054,852 records of persons whose names have appeared on the conscriptions. This year, the names of persons from the boxes, in which only “household heads” were edited at the beginning of the project (letters to Bo), will also be added. In the coming years the data will be checked and corrected step-by-step. For the entire team of collaborators: M. Vojáček.

Police registration forms (conscriptions) are deposited in the National Archives in the archival fonds Police Directorate Prague, forming part of files of general registry of this office. It is an independent whole amounting to 739 registration units (cardboard boxes) which represents ca 700,000 registration sheets mostly from 1850–1914. It contains material from several different registration offices of the Prague police district. The registration forms were then centrally deposited in the so called Meldeamt. They are filed in alphabetical order irrespective of original territorial citizenship and chronological succession. The used alphabet was neither rigorously Czech nor German; we could call it a “police” alphabet. The territorial scope of the police headquarters in Prague was from r. 1853 defined as follows: New Town, Old Town, Lesser Town, Hradčany and Josefov, Břevnov, Strašnice, Karlín, Libeň, Vyšehrad, Podolí, Dvorce, Nusle, Pankrác, Vršovice, Michle, Smíchov, Košíře, Bubeneč, Podbaba, Šárka, Holešovice and Bubny. In 1874 Dejvice was added, in 1884 Holešovice and New Libeň. This territorial scope was valid until 1918.

To characterize individual registration sheets, we can state that they are loose sheets of quarto size with pre-printed boxes. Using these applications, either individual persons or whole families applied to reside in Prague. A head of household was written first, followed by his wife, children and other relatives with whom the family shared the common premises. Besides the date of registration to reside, number of the house, and profession of the person concerned, we can also learn the year and place of birth, religion, in case of a married woman her maiden name. The sheet may contain entries concerning marriages, deaths in the family, home certificate or reference to the file, if kept about any person, etc. (Foreigners and their company staying in Prague over a longer period were also registered.) In cases when the person concerned moved out from Prague, a note was usually made of to which place. Moving to another Prague quarter meant that a new sheet was filed and thus one person might have more of them. The sheets do not always correspond with each other.

The data gathered in conscriptions are of great researchers’ demand because they enable to follow stays of particular persons, changes of residence, family background, and the like. The higher researchers’ interest and the bad physical condition of records led to closing this archival fonds for researchers, who harshly opened fragile and delicate sheets that were stuck at different places. Considering the preservation of a unique collection of records and the necessity to make them accessible, the fonds has been digitized.

All persons stated in the registration form are indexed, women have their maiden name attached (also their former last names). When transcribing, we use a method of transliteration. In that way, different variants of entries of often the same persons may be preserved. Keep this in mind when searching a particular person: e. g. Adamec, Adamez; Bach, Bachova, Bachová; Cihelka, Cyhelka, Zihelka; Čapek, Czapek, Tschapek; Čech, Čeh, Čieh, Cech, Czech etc.

Questions, comments and suggestions on digitized conscriptions should be directed to the e-mail address