Land records

dr. Matevz Košir

I will speak about the tax books (registers) and the real estate books (land books). The oldest tax book (register) is the so called »Gultbuch«. It was introduced in the 16th century by the Diets (State - Province assembly - dezelni stanovi). The count, in principle, could not impose taxes on the nobility. But the nobility had the duty to defend the province. If it did not defend the province in the time of danger then it had to submit to taxes for exchange. This brought an increasing importance to the military mercenaries (vojaških najemnikov) over the nobility army. Because of these the diets voluntarily submitted to taxation. The »gultbuch« was the tax database for the diets.

The book was divided by diets and quarters (cetrti). The »gultbuch« for years 1546-1549 contains the information on ecclesiastical and other lords, knights, parishes, brotherhoods, towns, and freeholders. For the Province of Carniola 27 books are preserved. The oldest is from the year 1539.

In the year 1747 the tax reform was carried out in the Habsburg monarchy. This was the so-called Teresian tax reform (named after the empress Maria Teresia). The aim of the reform was to abolish the unequal taxation and to impose taxes on nobility. The cadastre was introduced.

The cadastre is a description of all the land; it is made by state to be able to determine the criteria for equal taxation of the land. It is therefore the basis for taxation of the land. The introduction of the cadastre was announced by the empress Maria Terezia in a patent (a kind of ruling) in the year 1747. The tax reform separated the »dominical«-(land of nobility) and »rustical« (land of peasants) land. For the first time the principle of general taxation was recognised (including for the nobility). The Terezian cadastre was made in the years 1748-56.

The cadastre contains records of dominical and rustical land, the so-called announcements. Peasants gave their announcements separately from landlords. For the dominical land they counted only the land, which was inscribed in the Gultbuch in the year 1618. For announcements they prepared separate forms for the property and separate for the income. Teresian cadastre had tree parts:

Rustical or peasants announcements (forms E F G)

Dominical or announcements of lords (forms A B C D)

And account tables (obracunske tabele).

In the dominical announcements they reported the income from everything that belonged to the dominical property, including the contributions from peasants.

The form for rustical or peasants’ announcements (E) had four groups of columns. In the first there was the information about the landowner, in the other three there were the announcements from fields, grassland and woods. The lands were not measured but their size was estimated: Fields by the average of sowed winter corn, grassland by the produce of hay expressed in number of carriages, and the size of the woods with the number of day work in woods.

The patent of the emperor Joseph II introduced the next cadastre in 1785. It brought some changes. The basic unit, which was used to describe the land, became the so-called cadastral community. The land in cadastral community was divided in fallow lands, and these further on the land plots. Plots were measured in square qlafters (kvadratnih klaftrah) or orals (an oral is 5,7 sq m). They preserved the announcements of year yields separated for the different crops. These were made for the fields in a year yield of the most important variety of corn – they took the average of nine years as the tax base - the produce of hay was expressed in cents. The basic part of the cadastre still represented the announcements.

After the war with Napoleon the Monarchy started the endeavour to build the so-called stable cadastre. With the patent from the emperor Franc I in the year 1817 the new cadastral surveys began on the basis of cadastral communities. The survey was much more precise than before. The educated surveyors surveyed the land with instruments. They made the coordinate system for all the Austrian provinces – including also the land of current Slovenia. For the Slovenian land there were two important coordinate points. One was Krim near Ljubljana, the second Schoekel near Graz.

This cadastre had two parts: written part, and maps. The first part included register of building plots, register of land plots, register of landowners, description of community borders, and estimating protocol (cenilni operat).

The register of land plots included the number of the map where the plot was drawn, the name of fallow land, the plot number, the kind of ownership (dominical, rustical), the size of the plot in »orals« and »square qlaftras«, the class, the year yield expressed in money, the value of the land, and remarks.

The graphic part of cadastre included the original cadastral maps in colour. It was done in measure 1:2880. Different cadastral crops were marked with different colors. Buildings plots were numbered with black ink, land plots with red ink. Original cadastral maps had the following information: numbers of the land plot, numbers of the building plots, drawings of the buildings, names of the settlements, fallow lands, and topographic marks.

In the beginning of the 1840s the rectified maps were made. They included the corrections and supplements. Corrections were made with red ink on the copies of the Franzian cadastral maps. New cadastre was made in the year 1860.

Therezian cadastre was arranged first by provinces, then by districts, and finally by the landlords. Franzian cadastre was arranged by the districts and then by the cadastral communities.


The other system of books is the real estate books. These are registers that contain the information on legal relation to the real estate. The oldest real estate register is the so-called Landtafel (LT) - translation in English would be something like the country board. It had its beginning in the Czech lands in the 13th century. LT was the real estate register for the land of landlords.

The patent by which the LT was introduced in the Province of Carniola was published in the year 1747. LT was introduced only for diets- this means above all for the nobility. At the beginning the GB was the base for the inscription in LT. However, the differences between the two books were big; GB was a tax register, LT was a real estate register. LT was a proof of the property ownership. LT included the transcripts of documents such as: contracts, wills, wedding contracts, donations, mortgage deeds, etc. These were important for the property ownership. Special »Quatern« were made for each kind of documents. In the quaterns they made copies of various documents. Quaterns were books in different colors for different types of documents. The red Quatern for buying contracts, the yellow Quatern for wills, etc. LT was a public book. Only the real estate, which was inscribed in LT, could be the object of the credit business.

Real estate books were introduced for the legal security of trade with the real estate. They were introduced in the 18th ct. There were three types of real estate books:

LT for landlords

Town real estate books for towns

And real estate books for peasants

Magistrates managed real estate books for towns, landlords managed real estate books for peasants, and the province managed LT. Real estate books are chronological collection of all the documents such as buying contracts, wills, marriage contracts, promissory notes, etc.

In the beginning of the 19th century the main book was introduced. The main book was composed of different inserts. For every property there was a special insert. It contained a letter of the ownership, and a letter of mortgages for the property. In the letter of ownership the owners were recorded in a chronological sequence. In the letter of mortgages the deeds on the property were recorded.

In the main book the summaries were written of the documents that were in the quaterns. The Quaterns were abolished and after 1852 replaced by the originals. These were collected in special chronological series. In 1871 a general law on real estate books was introduced and on its base a provincial law on real estate in 1874. The law required a new main book, which started in 1878. Beside the letters of owners and of mortgages also the letters of property were formed. The main book was ordered by the serial numbers of inserts. Each cadastral community had its own main book.

Since 1851 the real estate books were managed by the district courts. LT was abolished in 1930s. The data was transcribed to the real estate books.