Conscription lists

A 1753 edict from Empress Maria Theresia ordered a periodic enumeration of the entire population throughout the Austrian empire. The main purpose was to create a comprehensive population register. The enumerations were performed simultaneously by officials from the church and the estates. A standardized form captured the names of individuals along with their age, sex, legitimacy, and marital status. The edict prescribed a periodicity of three years, but, due to an intervening war, the second registration of the population didn't take place until 1760. Conscriptions between 1762 and 1769 were compiled annually.

By a patent dated 10 March 1770, Maria Theresia ordered a new registration of the population, houses, and draught cattle. A reorganisation of military recruitment districts was the main motivation behind this effort. In order to identify all potential conscripts, every house was marked with a unique conscription number, which remains the basis of all addresses in the Czech Republic to this day. The law also prohibited people from changing their first name or surname in order to evade conscription. Any subject avoiding conscription by hiding or escaping from home was to be arrested and sentenced to two years service on fort construction. Undeclared cattle was to be confiscated. New forms distinguished between domiciled inhabitants and temporarily present foreigners.

Since the main purpose of the lists were to identify military conscripts, only the male population was listed in conscriptions collected between 1771 and 1804. In 1780, the scope was extended to cover all domiciled males, including boys older then one year. From 1805, women and all children were included as well. Till 1827 both military and political conscriptions were performed annually; from 1830 in 3-year intervals (1834, 1837, 1840, 1843, 1846). Between the 3-year enumerations, revisions (i.e. births, deaths marriages, emigrations) were made to the most recent list.

Population books were established in 1778 for every manor and town. These lists recorded all inabitants by house number and family. All changes (e.g. deaths, births etc.) were recorded based on the reporting duty of the head-of-household. These lists were the basis for population sumarizations at the village, domain, and regional levels.