Karel Kysilka – List of Inhabitants in 1829 Census

List of Inhabitants of Villages on the Municipal Domain of the City of Policka From 1829

By Karel Kysilka – CGSI – Nase Rodina – June 2016 – Vol 28 No 2

The State District Archives in Litomyšl (East Bohemia) keeps extensive files of the queen’s dowry city of Polička dating back to the 14th century. The city of Polička owned its own domain, consisting of several villages – Borová, Cerkytly, Oldřiš, Kamenec, Sádek, Telecí, Pustá Rybná, Sedliště, Trhonice, Nedvězí, Modřec, Makov, Korouhev, Široký Důl and Svata Kateřina. In the 17th and 18th centuries lesser settlements in a hilly region were founded as Damašek, Betlém, Blatina, Bukovina, Jelínek, Mrhov and Landráty. These all were villages, from where several thousands of immigrants came to the US in the second half of the 19th century.

In 1829 the city magistrate ordered to create rolls of inhabitants of all these villages, in order to specify state, age distribution, religious denomination and economic situation of the retainers.

Up to the present the censuses from only 8 villages have been preserved. These are the following: Oldřiš, Borová, Starý and Nový Kamenec, Telecí, (Pustá) Rybná, Sádek, and Široký Důl.

Each village has its own fascicle (tract or cluster) and includes in ascending order all village inhabitants, distinguishing farmers, cottagers, retired peasants, daily laborer and other landless people, including wives and all children.

The individual columns are as follows:

  • a) House Number
  • b) Farmers, i.e. those whose arable land has more than approx. 10 acres (4 hectares)
  • c) Cottagers
  • d) Landless people
  • e) First and Family name
  • f) Age
  • g) Position in family
  • h) Gender
  • i) Marital status
  • j) Actual age as per baptismal registers (if available)

We processed individual village manuscripts on PC and transformed them into one searchable database in MS Excel format.

Demographic Situation:

The database comprises altogether 6322 individuals, of whom 3197 were men and 3125 women. The biggest village was Telecí (together with settlements of Landráty and Mrhov) – 1131 inhabitants. Oldřiš had a population of 1093, Pustá Rybná (including Bukovina, Betlém, Světy, Kobylí and Blatina) 1006.

 Population distribution in specific villages:

The total number of houses was 920, of which 229 were farmsteads, and 691 cottages (including 4 parsonages – 2 catholic and 2 protestant, 5 school buildings, 19 water-mills, 4 game-keeper’s cabins, one distillery and a brewery). The average number of people living in one house was 6.9. The share of farmers’ families was 19 percent, cottagers’ population was 32 percent and share Page 58 Naše rodina June 2016 Vol. 28 No. 2 of local paupers (daily laborers, landless people, etc.) was 32 percent.

As far as the religious denominations are concerned, the number of Protestants was between 2400 – 2800 people, i.e. 40 – 45 percent of the total population. We can only estimate these figures, since the lists of the villages of Nový and Starý Kamenec and of Sádek do not contain this information at all. 100 percent share of Catholics resided in Bukovina, Světy and Landráty. 80 – 90 percent in Kobylí, Telecí, Betlém and Blatina, 75 percent in Pustá Rybná. Protestant majority was in Borová and Široký Důl (more than 50 percent).

The average age of the population was very low – 28.6 years. It was because of high share of children below 15 years – they constituted 31 percent of the total population. The share of people above 60 years was 9.5 percent. The oldest population was in Borová, Sádek and Telecí, on the contrary, the most favorable demographic situation was in Široký Důl and Starý/Nový Kamenec.

It is questionable, if we can speak about “favorable” demographic relations, since large quantity of children (irrespective of high child mortality) formed the thread of overpopulation for the region within several years after, when these children become adults, get married, deliver children, and thus will contribute to further increase of population, mainly of village paupers. This trend found its expression in high share of an overseas emigration during the 1850s and 1860s.

First names:

The first or personal name is the basic identifying attribute of any individual. The lists show in total 39 male and 41 female names. The most common name is Josef (Joseph) – in total 823, which forms more than one fourth of whole male population. Second place has Jan (John) and third one František (Frank, Francis), both with more than 20 percent. They are followed by Václav (Wenceslaus, Wenzl) with about 10 percent. These four names constituted a share of 75 percent among all males. Other popular names were Filip, Tomáš, Matěj (Matthew), Antonín (Anton, Tony), Pavel (Paul), Karel (Charles) and Vojtěch (Adalbert).

The most common female personal name was Anna (Ann) – more than 900, in relative figures 29 percent. More than 10 percent belonged to Kateřina (Cathy, Catherine), followed by Tereza (Therese), Magdaléna and Josefa (Josephine). The sixth rank belonged to Františka (Frances), seventh to Veronika and eighth to Alžběta (Elizabeth)


The proximity of the city of Polička is located in easternmost part of Bohemia, close to the Moravian border. In the past, the country here was covered by a thick forest and each settlement and parish formed a region unto themselves. Therefore lots of original surnames, mostly typical for one village, have been preserved until today. The oldest local family names are for instance Zrůst, Jílek, Pavliš, Hanus, Bureš, Hons, Nunvář, Plíhal, Vosmek, Teska, Troják.

Silver was mined here in the 15th and 16th centuries and many miners from Saxony and southern Germany came to the region. Over the years they changed their nationality, became Czech speaking, but their surnames remained, mostly in mutilated form: Feinemann became Faimon, Lorenz changed to Lorenc, Lohbauer became Blopauer and later Lopour. Other German names were: Anderle (Andrlik), Rouschar (Roušar), Ehrenberger (Empengr, Empenger), Romportl (Portl, Rompot, Lamplot), Feltl (Falt, Falta), Brokl, Haupt (Haap, Hap), Krohlig (Krahlik, Graulik), Strumpfa, Spricar, Peel (Pel, Pajl), Reinemann (Reimann, Rajman), Kunz (Kunc), Zeit (Cajt), Peikert (Pajkrt, Paukert), Lieberschal (Libršal), etc. The surname Vraspier (Vraspír) is of an ambiguous, probably French origin.

The majority of Czech (and German) family names was derived from Christian first names: Břeň (was originally Břetislav), Andrlik and Vondra (from Andreas-Andrew, Ondřej in Czech), Jílek (= Aegidius, Jilji), Paul, Paulis, Pavliš (from Paul-Pavel), Hanus, Janovský (from John-Jan), Bartos (from Bartholomew-Bartolomej), Petrák (Peter), Falta (Valentin), Bureš (Burian), Lexa (Alexander), Nikl (Nicolaus-Mikulas) Jirsa (Georg-Jira, Jiri), Vavra and Lorenc (both from Lawrence-Laurencius, Vavřinec), Hendrich (Heinrich) and many others. Genitive form of surnames is very often: Jindrů, Tomsů, Martinů, Honců (means possessive adjective from Jindras’, Tomas’, Martins’, Johanns’ families). Surname Fil(l)ip(p)i is the latinized form of the name Phillip in genitive too. In no case is this surname of Italian origin, as many think.

Common are surnames derived from one‘s attributes/qualities:

a) physical qualities – Kučera and Kraus (curly), Červený (red), Černý (black), Zrůst (well-built), Holec (bold), Žváček (one who talks too much), Zelenda (green);

b) indicating a personality – Teplý (heat), Švanda (funny), Boháč (rich), Zdvořilý (courteous);

c) derived from past participles of verbs – Koupil (who bought), Navrátil (who returned), Pospíšil (who hurried), Dostál (who received), Vopařil (who scalded), Vomočil (who dipped).

A large group of surnames are those that were derived from toponyms and from names of nations/ regions: Němec (German), Šváb (Swabian), Švejda (Swede), Holenda (Dutchman), Čech (Czech), Slezák (Silesian), Makovský (from village named Makov), Telecký (from Telecí), Borovský (from Borová), Madera (= a hamlet near Telecí), Opočenský (from town of Opočno), Horáček (highlander).

Occupation or craft/trade was another source for surnames: Bednář (cooper), Hrnčiř (potter), Krejči (tailor), Kovář (smith), mlynář (miller), Drábek (warden), etc.

The last group of family names in the Polička territory is names derived from names of some specific thing or set of things, such as living creatures, plants, etc. For instance Kocourek (pussy cat), Sýkora (tit), Kaštánek (chestnut), Votava (second crop of grass), Vrabec or Brabec (sparrow), Kříž (cross), Stodola (barn), Hájek (grove), Smetana (cream), etc.

The total number of surnames mentioned in the Inhabitants’ Lists exceeds 260, and their structure is completely different from common Czech patterns. The most populous Czech family name is Novák. Interesting, this surname does not occur in the Inhabitants’ Lists at all. Novotný is the 3rd most frequent common surname in Bohemia, but here in Polička, its rank is 113th. From the 20 most frequent Czech surnames only 6 can be found here – Dvořák (11th rank), Černý (19th), Kučera (1st), Pospíšil (46th), and Beneš (93rd). This is the proof, that the whole region was remote and unaccessible for migration from other parts of Bohemia, and local surnames are unique.

The following table shows the 20 most frequent family names in the Polička region, as they occurred in the Lists in 1829, and a completely changed situation in the year 2000.

We mentioned that most of the local family names were typical just for this region. Not only for the region, but even for any individual village. The last table shows the rank of family names in each of 7 studied villages (figures indicate relative frequency in percent):