The Janeček family traces it ancestry to the village of Týnec. Týnec is a small farming village in Bohemia; the western most portion of the current day Czech Republic. The village sits on rolling plane about 1 km west of the Otava River. The plane is surrounded by mountains in every direction, the nearest mountain known as Prácheň. Where lands have not been cleared for farming, there are heavily forested areas.
The village of Týnec is historically linked to the nearby town of Horažďovice. Going back to medieval times, Týnec and the surrounding farming villages were owned by the noble of the Horažďovice Estate. The Janeczek family, along with with the Hlaváč , Smetana, Kyselo, Marek, and Čada families, were the earliest recorded residents of Týnec.
The earliest recorded members of the Janeček family are Jakub Janeczek and his wife Anna. We have no documentary evidence of Jakub’s birth, but based on what records we do have Jakub was born around 1625 or earlier.
The Janeczek family likely lived in this area for generations prior to us encountering Jakub. Jakub and his family were peasant farmers, and as peasants they were tied to their estate. Without freedom of mobility, a peasant could only move to another estate if granted permission from the noble who owned the estate. A peasant could also move if their noble owned more than one estate, and needed farmers on one of their other estates. However, this was not a common occurrence.
Jakub lived during tumultuous times.
Almost 200 years before Jakub was born, the Kingdom of Bohemia gained some level of religious freedom. This freedom allowed each noble to choose which religion his estate would follow – Roman Catholicism or an early form of Protestantism know as Hussite. In Jakub’s lifetime, the Horažďovice Estate was owned by Ferdinand Karel Švihovský who was a Protestant noble.
The Roman Catholic Church wanted to restore Roman Catholcism in the Kingdom of Bohemia which resulted numerous wars, and culminating in the 30 Year War which started with the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. Ferdinand Karel Švihovský supported the Protestant King of Bohemia Frederick V of the Palatinate. When the Protestants lost this battle, Ferdinand Karel Švihovský fled with Frederick V to the Netherlands. Horažďovice and surrounding villages were sacked twice by Swedish troops around the time of Jakub’s birth. The estate was then sold to the pro-Catholic Šternberk family. The defeat at White Mountain started the Roman Catholic Counter Reformation, and defined the religious and political landscape of Kingdom of Bohemia for the next 300 years.
The war decimated the Kingdom of Bohemia. Nearly 50% of the population died from war, famine, and decease. Castle and churches were destroyed, and nearly 75% of farms were vacant or in a state of disrepair. Some historians have referred to the Thirty Years War as a civilization reset event.
It is the end of this calamity we encounter Jakub Janeczek working as a farmer in Týnec.
Matej Janeczek inherited the family farm in 1682