The Vitosh family dates back to the 1600’s in the Village of Stupno in the land of Bohemia.  The oldest known ancestor is Jan Witauss born in about 1650 in the Kingdom of Bohemia.  The Kingdom of Bohemia was a part of the Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and subsequently the Austro       -Hungarian Empire in 1867.  Following the defeat of the German army and their allies in World War I, both the Kingdom and Empire were dissolved and Bohemia became the major part of the newly formed Czechoslovak.  From 1918 to 1939 and from 1945 to 1992 the land of Bohemia was part of Czechoslovakia.  In 1993, Czechoslovakia was split into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic during the Velvet Revolution.  Today the land of Bohemia is part of the Czech Republic  . 


        My grandfather Joseph Vitosh was born in the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1866. The Emperor of the Austrian Empire at that time was Franz Joseph born near Vienna, Austria in 1830.  Franz Joseph was two years older than my great grandfather Jan Krtitel Vitous who was born in1832 in the village of Ujezd u Svateho Krize near Stupno.  Jan and Anna Blecha Vitous immigrated to the United States in 1867 just as Kingdom of Bohemia was becoming a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  When great grandfather Jan Vitoush filed his Naturalization papers  to become a citizen of the U.S in Iowa City, IA in 1878, he was required to denounce his allegiance to the Franz Joseph the Emperor of Austria.

        In searching the family tree, I have found many different spelling of our name.  In 1650 the name was Witaus.  In the Czech Church records, I have seen the name spelled, Witaus, Witauss, Wittause, Wittaus, Witous, Wittous, Witausch, Vitaus, Vitauss, Vittaus, Vitous, Vitouse and there may be other spellings as well.  Some of this confusion comes from the fact that the church records were written in Czech, German or Latin.  The surnames that start with a “W” are more like the German spelling.  The names that start with a “V” are most likely Czech.  Often the priest who wrote in the church book used the language he was most familiar with and spelled the name the way he thought was correct.  The other problem may be in reading or interpreting the hand written script.  Many times the writing was not legible.  Sometimes an extra “s” or “t” was added to the name.

       On the passenger list on the ship that brought them to America the spelling was Witousch.  On the Naturalization papers my great grandfather signed his name as John Vitoush.  At the end of his life, his death certificate and tombstone the name was Vitosh and everyone from this family in the U.S. spells the name “Vitosh”                  

A similar kind of thing has happened to the first names of my ancestors.  The name Czech name for Vaclav can be Wenceslaus (Latin) or Wenzel which is German.  The English translation of Vaclav maybe James or Jacob.                          

       The church records from the Czech Republic are currently being digitized and put on the Internet.  These records are difficult to read because the records are written in either Czech, German or Latin and to make it even more difficult, the records are hand written. Some hand writing is more legible to read than others.  The most recent records are written in Czech.  Older records are written in German.  The oldest records are in Latin.  However, there are web sites on the Internet that can be of great help to you in searching for some one in the Czech church record books. This is one of the oldest books I found.

Church Book of Radnice 1670-1771

        I have tried to make it easier for you by giving you some links to specific records.  Let me warn you that loading these record images goes through a six-step process.  The progress is monitored in the middle of the screen, as you will see “1/6” and then “2/6” until it is fully loaded.  I have heard that for some people this takes a very long time, but my experience is that the images load for me in well under a minute.

        Here is the image of John Vitosh’s wedding in 1854(click on the Link to see the original record)

        At the bottom left hand corner of the page, you should see this image.  The writing is in Czech.  The wedding took place June (červen) 19, 1854 in Krise  The name is Jan Wittous and Anna Blechova.  The wedding took place in the Krise # 18 home of Anna’s parents Vojtech and Anna Blecha.  The hand writing is very good but I cannot read the small script.  I have had help in reading these records from a distant relative of mine who lives in Germany.

John Vitosh Wedding 1854

         Here is the image of John Vitosh's father.  Frantisek Vittaus birth record September 26, 1795.  At the bottom left hand corner of the book page, you should see this image.   Here the name is Frantz Witaus.  I believe this is the German spelling of Frantisek Vittaus.  I know that is the right record because the house is Stupno # 7 where 7 of his 8 brothers and sisters were born to Vaclav Vittaus and Katerina Kozeluhova.


        Here is the image of Jacobus Witaus’s Wedding record in 1735.  Jacobus is my GGGG grandfather believed to have been born in Stupno # 24.  The records is very difficult to read but in the script you will find the name of his parents Wenceslaus Vitaus from Stupno and Catharina Ssipek from Krise.  The record is the third one down on the right side of the book.

Jacobus Witaus birth

The oldest church record I have found is the wedding of Jan Witaus (Jan Vitouš) and Katerzinau Wawrzinka (Katerina Vavřinková) on September 17 1671.


 Last reviewed and updated August 27, 2020 by Maurice L. Vitosh