The State Archive is situated in the Renaissance Palace in Bytča, established by the Decree No. 29/1954 Coll. on archives. The archive currently manages over 600 funds and collections between the years 1263 - 2008. The territorial competence of the archive - territory (central Považie, Kysuce, Rajecká Valley, Orava, Liptov and Turiec) rich in historical events, was a valuable resource for the archive. Among the most extensive and valuable belong the funds from the historical counties of Trenčín (1481-1931), Turiec (1486-1922), Orava (1582-1922) and Liptov (1391-1922), four funds from public service committees of these counties (1876-1918), 22 district office funds (1849-1922) from their territory. The later period is represented by the funds from the Podtatranská county and Považská county between the years 1923-1926, the Tatras and Trenčín county from 1940-1945, and finally documents from the Regional National Committee in Žilina (1949-1960). From justice administration are the significant court funds from the Bach’s era – as it came to be known, documents from the Regional Courts in Ružomberok and Trenčín (1871-1949), the Regional Court in Žilina (1949-1960) and the Regional Attorney Office in Žilina (1949-1960) amongst others.
The archives of feudal estates, family archives, registers
A collection consisting of the archives of 12 feudal estates and 81 family archives is a very valuable and rich resource indeed. Particular attention is due to the estates of Bytča - Strečno (1592-1950), Gbeľany (1618-1943), Lednica (1575-1946), Považská Bystrica (1667-1912), Pruské (1330-1937), Teplička (1737-1912) and Orava compossessorate (1442-1945). Church archives are represented mainly by documents from the Franciscan monasteries in Pruské (1607-1950) and Žilina (1701-1945) and a collection of church registers, which consists of over 1400 volumes of registers from 1628 - 1955.
Registers provide a rich source of data for genealogical exploration, as well as the study of regional history. In the collection is stored one of the oldest registers in Slovakia. It is the Register of the Roman Catholic parish office in Bytča, stored here since 1628 and which includes very valuable information about the Evangelic High School in Bytča. Of special significance are registers for the administration of the state and non-state forests, but also written accounts and estate archives regarding a variety of important people that the archive has obtained through its current acquisition activities. The latest collection of funds is being created from the archives of economic/business organizations (water companies, construction companies, research institutes, engineering, companies and trading companies amongst others), that ceased their operations due to liquidation or bankruptcy.
Exceptional of the archive documents
Each archive document is exceptional and unique in every sense. Nevertheless, many of them are for various reasons more significant than others. The funds of the Bytča archive has a rich representation of such unique documents. For example, the Liptov Register from 1391, which relates to the fraudulent activities of Ján Literát of Madočany and is one of the oldest monuments of county literature in existence. The Slovak document referring to the landlord of Lednice, Bielik, from 1435, is significant from a linguistic perspective.Several family armales (family coat of arms) – Jakabházi (1557), Dubovský (1599), Lamoš (1600) and other families, are remarkable, in their execution. Among the more curious documents belong the diaries of the Palatine George Thurzo and his son Imrich from 1596-1617. They contain various matters of interest, such as information on the earthquake that shook Bytča on 8th November 1607. Of particular European importance is the correspondence addressed to George Thurzo and his family members. The senders of these letters included the very learned and aristocracy from both home or abroad; for example university professors in Wittenberg, the Saxon Earl John George, the Earl Ernest of Austria, Gabriel Bethlen and others. There are also carefully preserved letters personally written by the "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory.
Document about lawsuit with Jánošík, card which was written of Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav...
In the "Urbár" - a land register recording land and estate ownership - of the Lednice estate there are records of the devastation of the Púchov Valley by the Turks in 1663, as well as references to the Czech and Moravian exiles after the battle of White Mountain. Among the rarities of the archive we can include the minutes of the Liptov county from 1710-1714, which records the lawsuit against Jánošík in March 1713. A coloured military map from 1742, showing the Považie region between Žilina and Trenčín, which is most surprising in its detail. From the numerous unique documents of periods following the collapse of feudalism, those deserving of mention include: The demands of the Slovak nation (1848), preserved in a contemporary print form, An invitation to the Memorandum Assembly in Martin (1861), Articles and regulations of Živena (1869), Minutes from the II. General Assembly of Matica Slovenská (1864), Documents on the abolition of Slovak grammar schools (1875). Among the exceedingly rare documents belongs a photo album of the Svatojánsky family from Liptovský Ján, which contains photographs from 1861 and is beautifully bound in an oak wood cover. A very precious card also exists, which was personally written by the Slovak national poet Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav in 1920; there are of course numerous articles of interest besides these.
The archive reading Room is utilized by both domestic and foreign researchers. To assist orientation in the archive, guides, lists, inventories, and catalogues relating to each processed fund are used. Visitors are free to use the archive reference library, which contains over 12 thousand volumes on history, archival science, auxiliary historical sciences, law, regional religious history, philosophy, sociology, geography, demography, linguistics and so on. The archive also organizes field trips, during which visitors can learn more interesting information about the history of the castle and the archive. This lecture is combined with unique archival samples. The Reading Room is open to the public on weekdays from Monday to Thursday from 8.00 to 15.30. On Friday it is closed.