Mag. Sonja Anžič



Presentation and development of the Historical Archive Ljubljana

The Historical Archive Ljubljana is one of six regional archives which operate on the territory of Slovenia. The seat of the archive is in Ljubljana, Mestni trg 27 (beside Rotovž or the Town Hall). It is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Ljubljana, having developed from the Ljubljana Municipal Archive, which was found 103 years ago, in 1898. The then mayor, Ivan Hribar, deserves much of the credit for the founding of the archive and thus for preserving the rich archive material which testifies to the history of the city. The first to occupy the post of Ljubljana city archivist was the well known Slovene poet and priest, Anton Aškerc, who worked in the archive until his death in 1912. The words he wrote about the archive and which can today be read on the memorial plate in the entrance hall of the Historical Archive Ljubljana are significant: “All local history …, moves past our eyes if we look at our municipal archive”. The task of the Ljubljana City Archive or the work of the city archivist at first only covered arranging, inventoring and preserving documents which had either already been created in past centuries or contemporaneously in the framework of the operations of the administrative authorities of the City of Ljubljana. After the Second World War, especially in the sixties, the activities of the Ljubljana Municipal Archive began to expand. Its responsibility to protect the archive material was broadened to include other sources of archive material, not merely the city administration, which operated in the area of the City of Ljubljana. Territorial expansion then followed: initially to the surroundings of Ljubljana, and then still wider throughout the central part of Slovenia, from Jesenice in the north-west to Metlika in the south-east. After completion of territorial expansion and the implementation of changes in organisation, in 1973 the name of the archive was also changed, into “Historical Archive Ljubljana”. It carries out its activity in the framework of six professional units. Each of them covers a specific territorial region. Two units operate in the area of the City of Ljubljana and the wider Ljubljana region: the Municipal Archive Ljubljana Unit and the Wider Ljubljana Region Unit. Both are located in Ljubljana, at Mestni trg 27, which is also the seat of the entire archive. The Unit for Gorenjska, Kranj, based in Kranj, covers Gorenjska, the Unit in Škofja Loka, based in Škofja Loka, covers the Škofja Loka area, the Unit in Idrija, based in Idrija, covers the Idrija area, and the Unit for Dolenjska and Bela krajina, Novo mesto, based in Novo mesto covers Dolenjska and Bela krajina. All these units contain reading rooms in which archive material that has originated in the area of the relevant unit can be ordered and examined. The entire archive preserves more than 8 thousand running metres of material, and employs a total of 39 people, The material preserved, or the content of the material preserved, is given in the Guide to the Historical Archive Ljubljana, which was published in 1992. The entire text of the guide is also available on the internet, accessible through our home page at: Other information about the archive is also available at this address, both a short presentation of the history of the archive, the addresses of all of our units (including electronic addresses) and the official business hours of the archives for clients as well as information or announcements of new events or developments in the archive, in relation to either exhibition or publicist activities. The presentation of the territorial division of the archive and the addresses of all units contains among other things also a short presentational leaflet of the archive in English, which is available to anyone interested.

Archive material of interest in genealogical research

Among the rich archive material we preserve in the archive, the following are of interest in the area of genealogical research: population censuses, registration forms and, to a certain extent, also school registers, or registers of pupils.

Population censuses

Population censuses, also known in the past as “people counts”, were carried out as today for the practical needs of the state administration, which requires various data about its citizens. A variety of historical sources say that censuses have a considerable tradition, since they were already carried out in the centuries before Christ. It is worth mentioning that although we know that censuses were carried out, and that summary data obtained on the basis of censuses was preserved, concrete material originating from censuses was not for the most part preserved until the 19th century.

During censuses of the population, forms were completed which had specifically defined items, or sections. The oldest preserved census forms preserved by the Historical Archive Ljubljana, go back to 1830 (Annex 1) and bear the mark “Aufnahms=Bogen”. They cover people who then lived within the area of the City of Ljubljana and its suburbs. The section headings of the census forms are written in German. The first item contained personal data about householders or family members of specific families. One census form was completed for each family individually. The census forms are classified in relation to successive house numbers, first of the City of Ljubljana, followed by the census forms of houses in the Ljubljana suburbs. In the annex is shown an example census form from 1830 for the house at Mesto 8. The first five headings are of most relevance: house number, name of the owner of the house, name of the resident (here is also entered the kinship or other relationship with the head of the family), year of birth (occasionally also day and month) and profession.

The next population census was carried out in 1857. The census forms carry the mark “Anzeigezettel” and are similarly written in German. The census method was the same as described above (by successive house numbers, first the City and then the suburbs). Annex 2 again shows the example of Mesto 8 (family: Valentin Zeschko). More important headings: successive number of residents in the context of a single family, name and surname of residents, date of birth (year, month and day), religion, profession or kinship with the head of the family and status.

A new census was carried out in 1869, which did not differ a great deal in content from the previous one. The census forms, again called “Anzeigezettel”, were bi-lingual, written in German and Slovene. The section headings were the following (Annex 3): successive number of person, name and surname, sex, year of birth, religion, status, profession, place of birth. An important innovation with this census is the statement of the place of birth of a particular person, which can sometimes help open the way to further research.

Population censuses were then carried out every ten years, in 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1921 and 1931. The items of the census forms did not essentially change from the point of genealogical research in the following censuses. After 1880, when street names were introduced in Ljubljana and suburbs, census forms were also classified in relation to the alphabetical order of streets, and within that, successive house numbers.

The census forms described and shown were the same throughout the Austrian state. Unfortunately, only few of them have been preserved, so that the census forms preserved for Ljubljana are an exceptional example in the region of Central European. This kind of archive material, because of the mass of data which it provides, is very important and interesting not just for genealogical research but also historical research of the social and economic conditions of a particular place at a particular time.

In relation to use, it is worth noting the following: census forms for area of the City of Ljubljana are preserved in entirety. For other places in the wider Ljubljana region and areas in which units operate, with few exceptions is preserved fairly modestly. In relation to what is preserved it is most relevant to know which unit covers the place in which you are interested. It must also be stressed that censuses show the state on the day on which the census was carried out. We are sometimes unable to find any continuity between two censuses, although the people covered by the census lived in the same place throughout, since events that happened in the interval between censuses are hidden from us. Indexes have been made for a considerable part of the preserved censuses, in which the censused persons are listed alphabetically, together with their residence (Annex 4). For censuses for which an index has not yet been made, it is necessary to know where a particular person lived in order to find the census form.

Registration forms of the population

Registration forms for the population started after 1850, when modern municipal administration began to develop. All the inhabitants of a particular municipality or town had to be reported, or registered, at a specific municipal office. They also recorded there any change of residence, even if the people concerned remained in the same municipality. A registration form was therefore filled out for each family in a particular municipality. An example of a registration form for the City of Ljubljana is shown in Annex 5. It consisted of the headings: name and surname, religion, status, profession or the work that someone performed, place and date of birth, right of domicile and statement of the document which proves their domicile. These headings are followed by notes of all changes of residence of the persons in question. Two series of the described registration forms are preserved in the unit of the Municipal Archive Ljubljana: an older one which covers the Austrian state, and a later one from the time of old Yugoslavia. They ceased to be kept after the Second World War (from 1945). There is a more modest preservation of registration forms in other regions (except Ljubljana) that our archive covers. They are classified alphabetically by surname and name of heads of families. Registration forms are more useful for genealogical research than census forms, since they show the continuity of development of a particular family and contain more data about family members.

In using this material, clients must state the name and surname and date of birth of the specific person for which they wish to see the registration form.

School registers or registers of pupils

To a certain, probably lesser extent, school registers or registers of pupils are also relevant for genealogical research, especially if no other sources have been preserved. School registers were and are created in schools. An enrolment sheet is completed for each pupil that attends a particular school, which contains the following headings (Annex 6): name and surname of pupil and date of birth, place of birth, data on father (name, profession and residence), religion, etc. School catalogues are classified in the framework of a specific school by year. Students are entered in the register according to the class that they attend in a specific year, and normally within that, alphabetically. It is thus important in searching to know the name of the school and the year in which a particular person attended classes.

I have presented three important types of archive material of interest in genealogical research and preserved in the Historical Archive Ljubljana.

I will end with a recommendation to all those seeking data in the archive: state all data known to you in connection with the person in whom you are interested, to help us find the desired data in the archive more easily and quickly. The name and surname of the person is not enough, it is necessary to state also the place and as exact a time as possible in which the person lived, or their birth data.



Ljubljana, June 2001