“Our Famil y”
Quarterly of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International
Volume 22 Number 1
A Genealogist’s View of Czech Family Names
By Miroslav Koudelka
Family names constitute an important part of our heritage. Handed
by generations for centuries,
the name symbolizes the family,
identifies each of its members and
his or her relationship to other members of the kin. It is a phenomenon
that is of interest to any person engaged in genealogy.
And yet, family names have not
been accompanying our society for
the whole history, they are a relatively young aspect of human lives.
People originally had just one name,
the one we today call forename (given, first name). For a long time that
was a sufficient way to determine
a person. And if someone needed
to be more precise, they added the
father’s name. References such as
“Simon son of Jonah” are known
already from the Bible. With growing population during the Middle
Ages, however, the range of given
names was becoming less and less
satisfactory. At first nobility started
using various kinds of epithets (such
as Richard the Lionheart, Charles
the Great, Procopius the Bald). The
attribute used most often was the
name of the place the family had
originated from – either actually or
just by a legend – or where they had
the main seat (Rudolph of Habsburg,
George of Poděbrady).
As for common people, not belonging among nobility, the process
of adding a surname started in bigger cities. A large number of people
living in a small closed up area, with
dozens and hundreds of men named
Jan, Martin or Václav and women
named Marie, Anna or Kateřina,
those were the reasons calling for a
more particular way of referring to
individuals. And then, step by step,
the use of these “additional” names
was spreading out into the country,
among lower classes as well. In the
Czech Lands it was a matter of the
1300’s thru 1700’s. Originally there
were no strict rules to use surnames
at that period, people simply followed traditions – and they were
different in various areas, as we will
see below – or a person may have
been called with a personal nickname, completely different from the
surname of his or her father.
A breaking point in the process
of constitution of family names was
an edict issued by Emperor Joseph
II on November 1, 1786. It established that surnames were hereditary
and unchangeable, every child was
supposed to get the names after fa-
ther and a wife after her husband.
Like everything in that period, it
took years and in some areas even
decades till these rules became commonly used by every clerk or priest
– and every common person – in
everyday life. Anyway, because the
edict bound a person’s surnames to
the family (rather than the house,
Continued on page 3
Theme of This Issue:
Czech and Slovak Surnames
1 – A Genealogist’s View of Czech
2 – President’s Message
14 – CGSI 2009 Conference – A Re warding Experience
16 – Etymology of Selected Slovak
Surnames and Their Latin and
20 – St. Peter and St. Paul Orthodox
Church in Burr Ridge, Illinois
26 – The Name Game: Five Tips for
Researching Slovak Ancestors
30 – Recipe for Finding a Cousin: How
a 3 x 5 Card Helped Me to Find a
Relative at the 2009 Conference
34 – Bostonians Finally Succeed in
Discovering Their Czech Roots
36 – The Surprise of Genealogy
38 – Czech Name Days Calendar
41 – They Came to the Heartland:
CGSI’s 2010 Symposium in
42 – The Librarian’s Shelf
Quarterly Newsletter for the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) members
CGSI Board of Directors (at large)
Mary Jane Scherdin
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
CGSI Committee Chairs
Library and Archives
Naše rodina promotes genealogy of the ethnic
groups that comprise Czechoslovakia as it was
formed in 1918. We accept articles of historical
and cultural information, but they must have
genealogical significance and all are subject to
editing. The deadlines for submitting articles to
Naše rodina are:
Naše rodina (Our Family) (ISSN 1045-8190) is
published quarterly by the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, P.O. Box 16225, St.
Paul, MN 55116-0225, a non-profit organization.
Copyright 2010 by Czechoslovak Genealogical
Society International. The publication is not
responsible for the return of lost or unsolicited
manuscripts, photographs or any other material
not submitted with a self-addressed, stamped
envelope. Advertisements, manuscripts, articles,
and photographs for the Naše rodina may be
submitted to Czechoslovak Genealogical Society
International, Attn: Paul Makousky, P.O. Box
16225, St. Paul, MN 55116-0225.
Permission to copy, without fee, all or part of the
material is granted, provided that the copies are
not made or distributed for direct commercial
advantage. The CGSI copyright notice and the
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the date of the publication. Also, indicate that the
copying is with permission by CGSI. Abstracting
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The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International does not endorse the products that we sell
nor the items or services, including translators
that are advertised in this publication. Neither
does CGSI guarantee the quality or results of any
services provided by advertisers.
by Ginger Simek
Have you checked out the new CGSI website yet? The site was launched
without any major glitches on November 20, 2009. The new site is easier
to use, navigate, and has greater updated content. The Home Page blends
some of the old with the new. There are color defined areas and a handy Research subject menu on the left hand side of the screen. On the right hand
side of the screen is an easily accessible listing of the Latest News. Perhaps
the biggest advantage is we now have the framework and tools to add research information important to our members. Initially there are two online
searchable databases: Leo Baca’s Czech Immigration Passenger Lists and
the St. Paul (Minnesota) Archdiocese Church Records. We will be working
hard to make more volumes and church records available as soon as possible. Some of the process requires getting the records we do have into the
right format to put online and some requires finding willing volunteers to
extract information. A big step has been taken and it is exciting to think of
the many possibilities ahead.
An online Surname database is at the top of the major projects list. Information from nine published volumes of surname indexes and four unpublished will be made available online. Members can now update and add
their surnames online under My Surnames. What a terrific networking
opportunity for members. If you have not done so, go to the CGSI website
www.cgsi.org , click on Member Log In, follow the instructions to create
your Member Profile, and add your family surnames. Don’t miss out. If
you are not online and feel this is of little interest to you, it does benefit the
Society and its members. The website is a tool to provide valued information and services to members and is useful in attracting new members. New
and more members means a growing, stronger Society with a larger pool of
knowledge. That benefits us all in learning more about our heritage.
“They Came to the Heartland” is the theme of our upcoming symposium
in Lincoln, Nebraska on Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1, 2010. Friday’s focus will be on personal research using the CGSI Traveling Library
or researching at the Nebraska State Historical Society Library (if their
renovation plans permit). Another Friday option is an all day tour, The
Czech Spirit Survives in Saline County to historic sites foremost among
them being the Czech Capital of the US; Wilber, Nebraska. Saturday’s session topics cover homestead records, the Czech language for genealogists,
Czech-American freethinkers, and much more. The Nebraska Union on
the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be the site for the
program sessions as well as the CGSI Traveling Library, CGSI sales table,
and an exhibition first presented at the National Archives in Prague. For
symposium registration materials please see our website, contact Wayne
Sisel at [email protected], or write CGSI, PO Box 16225, St. Paul, MN
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
The emphasis this year is on growing CGSI membership. You are needed to help spread the word about the
benefits of belonging and participating. Tell others with
Czechoslovak area family background about CGSI. Get
them interested and started on their unique family journey.
See you in Lincoln!
Czech Family Names...continued from page 1
the estate or a nickname), we can say that since then we
can speak about actual family names.
The number of family names used in a country is
certainly not fixed, especially in the recent period it has
been growing because of migration. But it is quite interesting that the basic range of family names constituted
both in Czech and English was quite similar – around
40,000. It will be interesting, I believe, to take a look at
the way surnames in the Czech Lands were created, in
other words, what their sources were and what their semantic interpretation can be.
Before we start, let me underline that “can be”.
We have a number of surnames in Czech the origin of
which is obvious, but on the other hand, in many a case
there are more possible explanations of a name’s source
and its meaning. So, the original meaning of the most
frequent Czech family name, Novák (derived from the
adjective nový/new) is unambiguous – it referred to
a newcomer and had the same meaning as Newman
in English. But for example, as for my family name,
Koudelka, the source is quite obvious too – the word
stem, koudel means oakum or tow, and koudelka, literally translated, is tow yarn. But if the ancestor of mine
who first got that surname was a tow yarn maker or
dealer, or if, let us say, the grayish light brown color of
his hair resembled the color of oakum, that will remain
in the mist, I am afraid. And if we go on and take the
name Klíma, there even the source is not certain: It may
have been derived from the given name Klement, or
from the verb klímat (to be drowsing, lazy). Besides, in
some cases the names may have actually been ironic:
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
A person known as Šikula (the skillful one) could have
been a local jack-of-all-trades, as well as a local fumbler
Father’s Given Name
The first source of surnames has already been foreshadowed above – the father’s given name. This way
was widely used in other languages too – compare, for
example, names like Peterson or Johansen in Nordic
languages where the relation between the suffix -son/sen and the meaning “son of Peter” or “son of Johan”
is obvious. In the Czech society it had a somewhat different form. Our language – unlike English, let me add
– offers a large range of suffixes to make diminutives.
And this way of word formation was used very often
to create surnames. If there was a need to refer to a son
of Jan, he was taken as the small/young Jan and got a
surname with one of diminutive suffixes. Most productive were suffixes -ek, -ec, -eček, -ka, -ík, -íček. So, the
surname with the meaning “the young Jan” could be
Examples of combined ancient Czech-German spelling of
family names. Notice the feminine forms (with the German suffix -in/-yn added to purely Czech names) Holubin,
Sedlaržin, Kowacžkin, Zatopkyn, etc. - column with the white
background. (Provincial Archive in Opava, Collection of
Vital Registers, Roman-Catholic Parish Office in Kozlovice,
vol. P-VI-5, birth section p. 14.)
names derived from this foreign form of that given name,
particularly from its middle
part -han-: Hanuš, Hanus,
Hanousek, Hanoušek, Haniš,
Hansal, Hanýsek, Hanele…
This way the number of Czech
surnames derived just from the
given name Jan goes well beyond a hundred.
If we take into account the
period when surnames were
constituted in our country (as
mentioned above, approximately 14th to 17th centuries),
it is obvious that a vast majority of these surnames were
derived from the names of
Christian saints – in addition
Double spelling (Czech and German) of a family name in the 1876 marriage record for
to Jan, Martin and Pavel menAugustin Lacl/Latzel. (State Regional Archive in Zámrsk, Collection of Vital Registers,
tioned above they were bibliRoman-Catholic Parish Office in Hořice, vol. 47-3324, fol. 280.)
cal names, namely Petr (Petřík,
Petráš, Peterka…), Tomáš
(Tomášek, Tomek, Tomeček,
Janek, Janeček, Janečka, Janík, Janíček, Janka. And sur- Tůma…), Jakub (Jakubec, Jakoubek, Jakubů, Jakubčík,
names derived the same way from other frequent given
Kubeš, Kubíček…), Marek (Marek itself, Mareček,
names are, for example, Martinec, Martínek, Martinka,
Mareš, Marko…), Lukáš (Lukeš, Lukšík…), Matěj/
Martiník, as well as Pavelec, Pavlík, Pavlíček, Pavelka,
Matouš (Matějka, Matějů, Matějovský, Matoušek,
and the like. A similar sort of surnames of this kind are
Matocha…), Šimon (Šimek, Šimůnek, Šíma…), and
those that originally had the form of possessives. They
then the names of Czech saints Václav (Václavík,
adopted the possessive suffix -ův or -ových, sometimes
Vašíček, Vacek…), Prokop (Prokopec, Prokeš, Průša…)
preserved it (Janův, Janových) but often dropped off the and Vojtěch (Vojta, Vojtek, Vojtíšek…). Fairly produclast -v and have been preserved as Janů, Martinů, Pavlů, tive was the name of a saint from the 6th century, Beneetc.
dikt: Beneš, Benda, Bendl, Beneda, Benák, Baňačka,
Beniak, Benko, Benšík, Bína, and the like.
Out of all Czech family names, those derived from
Multiple Variations of a Common Name
given names make the biggest group. Linguists dealThe derivation of surnames from given names could
ing with this phenomenon write that up to one third of
have gone another way, however. Sometimes they used
Czech surnames were constituted that way.
various forms of the same name – as for the varieties of Jan (and their diminutives), it could have been
Janda, Jandáček, Jandačka, Jandoušek, Jandák, Jandas, Jandásek, Jandera, Janderka, Jandát, Jandourek,
Janďourek, Jandovský, Janák, Janáček, Janačík, Janko,
Janouch, Janoušek, Jansa, Janza, Jašek, Jansta, Janata,
Janota, Janžura, Jeník, Jeníček, Jeništa, and so on. When
speaking about the name Jan, in Latin and German it is
Johannes. And there are a large number of Czech family
An important characteristic of a person was his profession or the position in the local society. That was
why this feature often became the source of a person’s
surname too. And it was a very productive source too,
the social characteristic must have played a role more
important in the past than today: In the general index to
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
the 1654 “Berní rula” (Tax Roll) – which can be taken,
among other, as the oldest survey of surnames in Bohemia – we can learn that seven out of ten most frequent
surnames were derived from professional/social statuses. Most frequent was Kovář (blacksmith), second was
Krejčí (tailor), fifth was Švec (shoemaker), sixth was
Svoboda (free man, i.e. not a serf), seventh was Kolář
(wheeler), eighth was Tkadlec (weaver) and tenth was
Dvořák (free owner of a larger farm, or a man working
at a bigger estate or even at a noble’s court). And let me
add that in eleventh position was Rychtář (village Justice of the Peace). The role of professions as a source of
family names must have been decreasing over time, because today just the names Svoboda and Dvořák remain
among the top ten (see the chart on page 13).
A subdivision of surnames based on professions
is made by those referring to tools used by particular
craftsmen or their typical products. These would be
names such as Jehlička (needle – a tailor), Sekyra (axe
– carpenter), Bič (whip – a coachman), Žemlička (bun
– baker), Pivec (derived from pivo = beer – barkeeper),
and so on.
Another big group of surnames are those referring to
geographical phenomena. First of all they referred to the
person’s place of origin. A man who had moved into a
town from a village of Lhota started to be called Lhoták,
a man from Prague was called Pražák, a man from Makov became Makovský, a man from Palačov was known
as Palacký. In these cases, a city/town/village name became the source for the surname. And similarly, it could
have been the country, province or region the person
was coming from as well: Němec was a person coming from Germany (in Czech, Německo), Polák from
Poland, Bavor from Bavaria, Moravec from Moravia,
Hanák from the lowlands named Haná. In some other
cases, the reference to a country may have had another
connotation – for example, a person named Tureček
(little Turk) may have been a child of a Turkish soldier
who had taken part in one of the invasions and assaults
of Central Europe rather than a “civil” man of shorter
stature having come from Turkey. To be fair, we should
add that it may have been a person somehow looking
like a Turk, too…
One more section of surnames has a geographical
aspect – those referring to the person’s location in a
community. Kopecký (kopec = hill) was a man living
on/under a hill, Zápotocký (za = across, potok = creek)
was someone living on the other side of a stream running down the village, Dolejší
(dole = down) in the lower
section of the town. A special
subset are nouns derived from
house signs. Located usually
just above the front door or in
the gable, house signs were
the way to mark houses before
the 1771 introduction of house
numbers. So the name of a Mr.
Anděl may have originated
from the place he was living at,
generally known as the house
“at the angel” (or he may have
been a man very nice to others
– like an angel).
Examples of family names in tombstone inscriptions in a country cemetery (Rozseč,
Jihlava County, Moravia): Rodina Ježkova, Rodina Grünwaldova, Rodina Rodova.
Photo by Hana Koudelková.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Many surnames were derived
from personal characteristics.
The most striking feature of a
person was if a man or a whole
family moved in from another
Another group of
to natural world.
Most of them
meaning. Some of
them were derived
birds, insects, etc:
a person furious
like a hamster?
or a furrier?),
short and lively?),
The place named “U Šťastných” (west of Vsetín, south of Ratiboř). Notice the number of names of that
same kind in the whole area: U Pavlíků, U Dorniců, U Záhumeňů, U Košutů, U Adámků, U Dukátníků, strong? or a farmU Mrázků, U Kvočků… (Autoatlas Česká republika 1:100,000. Česká Lípa, Brno : Geodézie ČS, a.s. a
er raising cattle?),
Geodezie Brno, a.s., 1997, ISBN 80-7206-045-7, p. 136.
the like. Trees,
plants or their parts gave birth to surnames as well, for
place, if they were new to local people. That is why
Novák has been for a long time the most frequent family example: Dub (oak: magnificent stature?), Lípa (linden
tree), Růžička (rose: handsome? or pink-cheeked?),
name in our country and its variation, Novotný belongs
Fiala (violet), Petržela (parsley: a gardener?), Jahoda
among the top three too. Names with similar meaning
(strawberry: small and rounded?), Ječmínek (barley: a
are frequent in other languages as well – compare the
farmer?) Kořínek (root: thin?), Větvička (branchlet).
names Newman and Neumann in English or German
Inanimate objects and phenomena became sources for
respectively. The reasons for this name in our country
surnames too: Skála (rock: high-principled? or ruthwere multiplied by the disaster of the 1618-1648 Thirty
Year’s War when plenty of farms were found abandoned less?), Hora (mountain: big?), Křemen (flint), Potůček
and had to be re-settled by newcomers from other areas. (creek), Mráz (frost: heartless? or sturdy?), Větr (wind:
fast moving?), Mráček (cloud: glum?), Voda (water),
A big number of surnames were created by the
and the like.
shape of the person’s body or a distinguishing feature.
They most often have the form of adjective with the
masculine/feminine endings -ý/-á: Malý (short), Dlouhý Names from Verbs or Entire Sentences
(tall), Černý (black-haired), Hlavatý (big-headed), Holý An interesting category of Czech surnames are those
(bare/bald), Hrbatý (humpbacked), Tlustý (fat/big), and
that actually represent verbs or even whole sentences.
so on. Or it could have been the person’s nature, temMost of them end with – “l” which indicates a verb in
perament, way of behavior that became the base for his
past tense. They occur in Bohemia but more frequent
surname: Šťastný (happy), Pokorný (humble), Veselý
they are especially in Moravia: Pospíšil (he hurried),
(merry), Tichý (silent), Hrubý (rude), Moudrý (wise),
Navrátil (he returned), Smékal (he dragged), Musil (he
Neruda (surly), Hlas (voice), Doležal (having a nap:
had to), Chladil (he cooled), Běhal (he ran), and also,
lazy), Otčenášek (paternoster: pious), and many other.
Drahokoupil (he paid a high price), Přecechtěl (he still
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
wanted), Potměšil (he sewed in the dark), Skočdopole
(Jump into a field!), and many more.
Names derived from Foreign Languages
A special group of surnames in every country are those
adopted from foreign languages. Most of them in the
Czech society come from German because contacts
between the Czech Lands on one side and the neighboring German and Austrian Lands on the other side have
always been very close and because a considerable
number of German speaking people lived right in the
territory of this country for centuries. Some of these
surnames have preserved their original (foreign) spelling, others have been more or less Czechicized. And we
can say that their sources are the same or very similar to
those of Czech origin – given names, professions, geographical or natural phenomena, personal characteristics, and the like: Franzel/Francl (Frankie), Hansel/Hanzl (one of diminutive forms of given name Johannes),
Müller/Miler (miller), Schmidt/Šmíd (smith), Schuster/
Šustr (shoemaker), Bayer/Pajer (Bavarian), Böhm/
Bém (Bohemian), Treutnar/Trajtner (from the city of
Trautenau/Trutnov, North Bohemia), Vieweg/Fibich
(grazing ground), Hübel/Hýbl (hillock), Strauss/Štraus
(ostrich), Knoblauch/Knobloch (garlic), Schwarz/Švarc
(black), Zehrmann/Cerman (spending much for food
and drinks), Lustig (merry), Habenicht (I don’t have),
and thousands of other names.
A special sort of surnames were those belonging to Jewish people. There was a Jewish minority in our country
and they had just one name each for quite a long time.
A common way to make the name more specific was
bounding it to the father’s name: David, son of Samuel.
Another edict issued by Emperor Joseph II in July 1787
ordered Jews to adopt permanent surnames. They had
a selection of around 1,500 names (about 10% of them
This restaurant at one of the best known pilgrimage places in Moravia, Svatý Kopeček near Olomouc is named after the Macek
family: U Macků. Photo by Miroslav Koudelka.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
were highlighted as especially suitable), and because
German was the official language in the then Empire,
they had a German form. Even a couple of those that
had been of Czech origin got German spelling (Benesch, Libusch). That way the names of a majority of
Jewish society in our country were Germanized. We
have mentioned a selection, but of course, it very much
depended on the willfulness of the recording clerk. If
he was in good mood (and/or a richer man was able to
bribe him), he assigned the applicant a fragrant name
such as Rosenfeld (rose field), while on the other hand,
if the clerk was disgusted, the poor Jewish man could
have got, for example, the name Kanalgeruch (sewage
But of course, German was not the only foreign
language surnames have been adopted from. The neighborhood of Slovakia resulted in a number of Slovak
names to our country (Kováč – smith, Kramár – merchant, Trnavský – from the city of Trnava), and because
Slovakia belonged to Hungary in the past, a number of
Hungarian names too (Farkaš – wolf, Nagy/Naď – big,
Fazekaš – potter). Italians were known as excellent
craftsmen and artists who were frequently coming to
Central Europe namely in the sixteenth thru eighteenth
centuries and bringing names of Italian origin (Sorbi,
Chittussi, Gambetta). The expansion of the Turkish Empire to the Balkan in the late Middle Ages pushed many
Slavic people from there (namely Croatian but also Serbian and Slovenian) to Central Europe in the sixteenth
century. Some of them ended up in Southern Moravia
and brought their surnames to the Czech neighborhood as well. Most of these surnames have a suffix -ič:
Drobilič, Malinkovič, Lukačovič, Ožanič (or its Czechicized form, Ošanec), and the like. There are surnames of
French (Le Breux, Davignon), Spanish (Dekastello) or
Scandinavian (Jensen) origins occurring in our country
too. Most of them originally belonged to noblemen who
got properties and settled here especially after the 1620
Battle of the White Mountain, their courtiers and servants, or soldiers of foreign armies who stayed behind
here because of some reasons (love, injury).
Things in this field have been changing faster
particularly in recent period as one of the results of
globalization. A growing Vietnamese minority in our
country, workers from the Ukraine or Mongolia, students from African countries, businessmen from Russia
and other ethnic groups enrich Czech society with their
surnames too. That is why the present statistics of the
Ministry of Interior listing all the surnames occurring in
the Czech Republic (including foreigners living in this
country) already contains more than 60,000 entries – see
aspx?q=Y2hudW09Mg%3d%3d (scroll down the left
side and find the “příjmení ČR + cizinci”).
On the other hand, mobility was not a typical aspect
of life in the past. Virtually up until the 1848 abolition
of mandatory labor and other remainders of the feudal system, farmers were subject to their feudal lords,
bound to the ground and the dominion to perform their
feudal duties there and therefore they could not freely
move. Thanks to that, some surnames were typical
more or less just for a certain area or even a certain
town, namely those that were rather rare.
One of my friends from Nebraska is Gary
Zabokrtsky and his family came from Slemeno, Eastern
Bohemia. The concentration of that surname had been
so high in that little town that I found records where a
man named Žabokrtský married a young lady named
Žabokrtská in the presence of two witnesses named
Žabokrtský, the priest marrying them was Žabokrtský,
and when they gave birth to a child, the midwife’s
name was, of course, Žabokrtská. Anyway, in the whole
Czech society it does not belong among very frequent
family names, the ministerial statistics lists 53 men
presently bearing it. During the years we have been
working on Gary’s genealogy we have not talked to
all of them, however, the ancestors of those we managed to contact had come from that same little town
and the preserved documents indicate that they all are
most likely descended from one man living there in
the 1590’s, Jan Pavlíků of Zabokrky. Another example
is the name Orság (and its spelling variations Orsák,
Ország, Országh). When a community presently named
Nový Hrozenkov, Eastern Moravia was founded in
1649, it was then created by six colonists one of which
was named Orság. He must have had a number of male
descendants because in the 19th century the name was as
frequent in Nový Hrozenkov as Žabokrtský in Slemeno.
Similar cases are the name Dušák, occurring especially
in the area around the town of Třeboň, South Bohemia,
or the names ending with -le (Heckele, Bieberle, Pimperle…) referring us to the island of German speaking
population (descended from medieval colonists coming from Swabia, South Germany) on the Bohemian/
Moravian frontier between the towns of Svitavy and
Knowledge of this “surname geography” can be
helpful if someone is unsure about the place his or
her ancestors came from. Certainly, only if we are so
lucky that the researched family name is not a Novák
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
or Svoboda, so it does not occur in every other village
or town like Smith in English. Anyway, if all the documents referring to your ancestors you found on your
side of the Big Pond only say Bohemia/Moravia or even
Austria as their place of origin, in other words – if you
have no idea where in the Czech Lands your ancestors
came from, it does not hurt to consult some tools that
are available. You can start with the current telephone
directory (see http://en.zlatestranky.cz or hard copies of
telephone directories at the CGSI library) to see where
the family name appears today. And in the next stage
you can take it from the opposite side – to research the
above mentioned general index to the 1654 Berní rula
(available at the CGSI library as well) – there you can
learn where in Bohemia particular surnames occurred
around the middle of the seventeenth century (i.e. which
towns/villages and dominions). It may be a useful hint
as for where to start your search.
All right, we have made a survey of the main sources of family names occurring in Czech society. All the
examples included so far have been presented in their
basic form (nominative singular). But everyone engaged
in Czech genealogy comes across family names written down in many more forms. They are nouns from a
grammatical point of view, and Czech as an inflective
language provides nouns with a number of suffixes
and endings. Some of them even change the word stem
spelling. A foreigner not mastering Czech language may
have problems with them.
The most frequent variation of a family name is its
change according to gender. Most of the Czech family
names create their feminine forms by adding the suffix -ová: Nováková, Dvořáková, Prokopová, Hanáková,
Větrová, Doležalová, Schwarzová, Sorbiová, and the
like. The adoption of that suffix in some cases causes
a change of word stem: Names ending with -a or -e
drop off that final vocal (Koudelka – Koudelková, Svoboda – Svobodová, Skočdopole – Skočdopolová), in
some other cases a middle -e- is dropped off (Janíček
– Janíčková, Marek – Marková, Vrabec - Vrabcová,
Ošanec – Ošancová).
The history of that suffix is quite interesting. Like in
other Christian countries in the Middle Ages, a woman
in the Czech Lands was actually not considered a fullfledged individual, she was “just” someone’s daughter
or someone’s wife. The form of her surname simply
referred to that fact, it was the possessive case (because
she was his) which was expressed by the suffix -ova.
Later on, to be “politically correct” instead of male
chauvinist, we added a diacritical mark (little slash)
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
over the last vocal (-ová instead of -ova) – and it is not
any more the possessive but the feminine form. Very
simple, isn’t it?
Another way to turn a Czech family name to its
feminine form refers to the names having the form of
adjectives ending with -ý (Novotný, Černý…) – they
turn the ending to -á (Novotná, Černá…). And finally,
there is a small group of names that remain unchanged
– those ending with -í (Krejčí, Hořejší) or -ů (Martinů,
One more note regarding feminine forms. A similar
suffix expressing the change according to gender exists
in German too – there it is -in. Today we can find it in
feminine appellatives (e.g. Lehrer/Lehrerin – man/woman teacher). In the past, that suffix was added to family
names too – Mrs. Bayerin, Straussin, Lustigin, etc. And
in the period when German was declared as the official
language in the whole Austrian Empire (including the
Czech Lands) and all records had to be conducted just
in German (approximately late 18th and early 19th centuries), that suffix was used for Czech family names too.
Then a ggg-grandmother of yours may have been recorded as Mrs. Nowakin/Swobodin/Skočdopolin… (instead of Mrs. Nováková/Svobodová/Skočdopolová…).
To conclude the passage about feminine forms of
Czech family names, let me add that the amendment of
Vital Statistics Registers Act passed in 2004 somewhat
loosened the rules. Especially foreign names do not
have to absolutely necessarily change their form according to gender. So, for example, the Czech wife of
a Mr. Nguyen Van does not have to spell her last name
Nguyen Vanová, she can simply be Mrs. Nguyen Van.
Needless to say, she can preserve her maiden name or
her husband can turn to that maiden name of hers, too.
Location of ancestral graves and collection of data
from the tombstones belong among regular parts of genealogical projects. And there we come across another
form of family names. Let me say in advance that cemetery research is harder in the Czech Republic compared
to the United States because our cemeteries are somewhat different. We do not have so much vacant space to
bury every body individually, in our country we have
family plots in some of which there are several generation buried at one place. That is also why not everyone
can be listed on the tombstone. Sometimes we can find
there only the names of last one buried or two generations, in some cases the tombstone only says the family
name: Rodina Novákova, Rodina Svobodova, Rodina
Markova, Rodina Novotných, Rodina Martinů, etc.
Readers of this quarterly know, I guess, that the Czech
noun rodina means family. But not everyone is such a
good student of Czech. Once I brought a client of mine
to the cemetery in his ancestral town, he looked around,
and seeing the number of inscriptions Rodina so-and-so,
he said: That “Rodina” must be a very frequent given
name here. (smile).
But back to these forms of family names. We can
see that on the tombstones they have actually preserved
the possessive form, i.e. in most cases with the suffix
-ova without any more diacritical marks. The names
having the form of adjectives adopt the ending -ch (Rodina Novotných, Rodina Krejčích) or remain unchanged
(Rodina Martinů, Rodina Pavlů,).
That same formula is also used in regular mail
address. So, if you want to send a letter to your relatives in the Old Fatherland and want to address it to a
whole family rather than just an individual, on the envelope there should be “Rodina Novákova/Novotných/
Martinů…” But of course, our postal clerks understand
“Novák Family” as well.
Let me repeat that children were supposed to “inherit” their family names after fathers (except illegitimate children inheriting the mother’s maiden name) and
wives after their husbands. But sometimes we can come
across family names not following the rules of their preserving and handing down.
Cottage or House Names
A phenomenon that every researcher can get fairly
flummox about are the so-called “names after cottage”. Here and there they appeared in many areas but
most frequent and long surviving they were (and have
been) especially in South Bohemia. People in a village
knew that a certain family lives at a particular house.
And if another man took over the property (by marriage
or purchase), along with the property he took over the
surname – in other words, he lost the surname after his
father, and instead, inherited the surname after the farm/
house/cottage. For example, we may in our research
find a man who was born as Mr. Kubeš and got married (to Miss Kalátová) as Mr. Kubeš, but having taken
over the Kalát family property, he gave birth to children
as Mr. Kalát. This mess was supposed to be removed
by the 1786 edict, but as a matter of fact, it took not
years but decades until the edict’s principles of family
names (rather than cottage names) prevailed in official
documents. Some priests started using correct (family)
names in vital statistics records as late as the middle of
the 19th century. So, if we return to our example of the
man who turned from Kubeš to Kalát upon his marPage 10
riage and movement into the Kalát’s place, we can add
that when he died, he was recorded as – yes, Mr. Kubeš
again. And of course, the children of his, born with the
name Kalát, were in marriage registers recorded under
the name Kubeš too… That way the appearance of cottage names and then their “correcting” actually cause a
double obstacle in genealogical search. If we are lucky,
we may come across a record (e.g. for one of the man’s
children) where both the names – after cottage and after
father – are used. Or we may be able to figure out the
name change from the land register record – if an owner
is recorded as the previous owner’s son-in-law, it is obvious that his original family name was most likely different. Then, when looking for his actual family name,
we know that in marriage register we have to locate the
record not by the groom’s family name (Mr. Kalát) but
by the bride’s one (Miss Kalátová).
And yet, people in some villages have been using
those cottage names so far in colloquial speech. If you
are looking for the house where the above mentioned
Mr. Kubeš once lived in that village, you may hear: “Go
to the house just across the street – they are the Kalát
family but they sign as (it means, in official contact they
use the name) Kubeš.” Genealogy can be pretty colorful, do you agree?
We already know that the names after cottage were
not just a matter of village lore, they are reflected in
official documents too, namely in land registers. Records in them were bound to particular properties – if
we say it in a simplified way, one by one they always
listed the owners of a farm and their duties. And before
houses were numbered in 1771, each of the properties
was specified according to the name of the founder or
oldest recorded owner – Statek Jana Nováka (Farm of
Jan Novák) or Novákův statek (Novák’s Farm) or simply U Nováků (At Novák’s). And then everyone living
“at Novák’s” was called Novák. One of these forms of
cottage names can still be found in detailed maps to
date. Many of the farms in South Bohemia and Eastern
Moravia (by the way, both areas where emigration for
America was very frequent in the late 1800’s and early
1900’s) standing isolated, far from town centers remain
bearing names of that kind: U Nováků, U Dušáků, U
Březovských, and the like. A good friend of mine from
Austin, Texas, John Stasny has ancestors coming from
Rokytnice, Moravia. But when I researched his ancestry
down to the mid-1700’s, it lead me to a little town of
Ratiboř, particularly to one of those isolated farms belonging to that town but standing some three miles apart
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
and named so far – yes, U Šťastných! When the next
year I brought John to that place on the slope of a hill
dominating the whole neighborhood, he was proud to
return to the nest of his family after some two and a half
And there is another chance for us to come across
the use of family names that same or very similar way
in the Czech Republic – in the names of hotels, restaurants and taverns. We can compare it to the names such
as Murphy’s Tavern/Bar/Steakhouse or even McDonald’s in the United States. So, for example, if you want
to visit the oldest beer bar in Pilsen, go to U Salzmannů,
in Prague you can taste good beer at U Pinkasů, in
Prostějov you can stay at a B&B place named Penzion
Kubíček, and so on. The family name in the name of the
business is supposed to imply to a potential client the
idea of family atmosphere.
Official Name Changes
Marriage and converting to the name after a cottage
have not been the only cases when someone’s surname
got changed. In the “modern” period it has become possible for an individual to have their name changed on
request. Most often these changes were performed if the
person had been bearing a name he felt as inconvenient
or even offensive – such as the one meaning “sewage
odor”, mentioned above, or a name referring, for example, to a less decent part of human body. No wonder
that they have almost completely disappeared from the
present repertory of Czech family names.
Ethnic Relation Name Changes
Another kind of change in family names refers to ethnic relations in the history of our country. In the late
18th century, when the Czech Lands belonged to the
Austrian Empire, the ruling circles wanted to enforce
the unification of the whole empire by language. Czech
actually disappeared from official documents, they all
were conducted in German, and because there are differences between the spelling in Czech and German (we
have diacritical marks, in German they do not exist)
many a Czech surname was fairly crooked: Ošťádal was
recorded as Oschtiadal, Hlaváček as Hlawatzek, Coufal
as Zaufall, and the like. And of course, there was an opposite trend from the Czech side too – some Czech patriots Czechicized their German-looking names. Many
readers of this quarterly are familiar with the Sokol
gymnastics organization, founded in 1862. But not everyone knows that its founder was baptized as Friedrich
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Emanuel Tirsch, but later on, to demonstrate his Czech
patriotism, he turned to Miroslav Tyrš. Another wave of
Czechicizing family names took place after World War
II. Some Czech people no longer wanted to have their
names look German and they transformed the spelling
(Šmíd instead of Schmidt, Macek instead of Matzek)
or in some case they even “translated” the name – from
Schmidt to Kovář, from Schwarz to Černý, and so on.
Variations in Name Spellings
The spelling of names often varied, it many times depended on the particular person writing down a record,
his education, mother tongue, age, and the like. Many
common persons were practically illiterate, could not
check what the priest had recorded, and if he was new to
that place and did not know his parishioners very well
yet, he simply wrote down what he heard. Besides, we
have to realize that grammar principles both of Czech
and German as modern languages were still developing
at that time. That was why we can find the name Jílek
spelled as Gjlek, Václavek as Wacslawek and Bouček
as Bauczek. In addition, there were a number of surname forms influenced by local dialects in the past and
some of them have been preserved: Mlynář, Mynář,
Minář, Mlnář. Or an example from my own family. The
maternal root of mine leads to Eastern Bohemia and
they were named Treutnar there. One of my ancestors
moved to the Moravian city of Prostějov and the name
got changed to Truetner and then Treitner. And when
my great-grandfather married into the Czech speaking
village of Přemyslovice, the spelling of the family name
was Czechicized to Trajtner. From Treutnar to Trajtner,
and yet the same family.
Americanization of Surnames
Researchers from the United States have to take into
account one more kind of surname change that might
have taken place in their families – “Americanization”
upon arrival to the New World. Omission of diacritical
marks was a matter of course in the English speaking
(and writing) country but some of the names were rather
butchered by immigration officers or other clerks – usually simplified or made look more “American”. Besides,
some more changes were performed by (or upon request
of) the immigrants themselves. Most of them tried to
continue with the written form of their family name
(and put up with its crooked pronunciation, different
from what they had been used to in the old country), but
if they wanted to preserve the name’s original sound,
they had to conform its spelling to the rules of pronunciation in English. This way the family name Šandera
became Shandera, Krejča turned to Kracha, and the like.
Ending Changes by Declension
I have already indicated that Czech as an inflective language has prepared another trap to foreigners dealing
with our family names – their endings used in declension. They are very useful, they express the function
of a noun or adjective in a sentence. Compared to four
possible forms of nouns in English (nominative and
possessive, both in singular and plural), in Czech we
have seven declension cases both in singular and plural,
and as for names, if we add their possessives and multiply it by two because of feminine forms, we are facing
dozens of possible forms. It does not mean that each of
our names has dozens of ending – some of them repeat,
used for more than just one case. But it makes the whole
matter even more complicated to a foreigner. Let me
give you a couple of examples of family names in various cases a researcher may find in main documents for
genealogy (birth/marriage/death records, land registers
and census sheets).
(widowed after) Havlovi/Havlové;
(son of) Havla/Havlové;
Havlův/Havlova/Havlovo/Havlové (=Havel’s/Havlová’s, e.g. cottage, garden, field);
(to Mr. and Mrs.) Havlovým;
(to stay at the house of Mr. and Mrs.) Havlových,
And we could go on, showing names of different
declension with different endings (son of Svobody,
Němce, Černého…), or those recorded in German with
the feminine suffix -in/-yn (Sedlaržin, Zatopkyn, Svobodin…).
Already this brief survey shows that a foreigner not
speaking Czech (and German) who comes across one
or two of these forms of the name may have a hard time
to determine what the basic form should actually be.
And to present one’s Czech grandfather’s family name
as Havlové would be rather odd, wouldn’t it? It is definitely better to turn to someone mastering Czech and
possibly even acquainted with genealogy.
To conclude our excursion to the world of Czech
family names, let me add a curiosity. You may know
that we have given-name days in our calendar. (Editor’s Note: See named day calendar elsewhere in this
issue). For example, Josef is celebrated on March 19,
Anna on July 26, Václav on September 28, as Miroslav
I celebrate on March 6. And recently someone came up
with an idea of family-name days. They published a calendar where the most common Czech family names are
attached to particular dates. The authors tried to add explanations, if possible, why just that day is determined
for a certain name. For example, they suggest that
Kostka (cube) is celebrated on January 23 – the date
when sugar cube was patented in 1843, Láska (love)
on February 14 – Valentine’s Day, Boháč (rich man) on
April 4 when Bill Gates established Microsoft in 1975,
Holub (pigeon) on October 9 – International Postal Day,
or Černý (black) on October 24 – the anniversary of the
1929 “Black Friday”. It is a matter of course that 365
days of year are not enough for the whole range of family names occurring in our society. So, by that special
calendar, all of those who do not find their family name
attached to a particular date can celebrate on April 30.
There always is a reason to party…
BERNÍ RULA: Generální rejstřík ke všem
svazkům… (Tax Roll. General Index to All Volumes…) compiled by Václav Červený & Jarmila
Červená. Praha: Libri, 2003. 2 volumes. 2188 pp. ISBN
JMÉNA TAJEMSTVÍ ZBAVENÁ (Names Rid of
Mystery) by Vladimír Mates. Praha: Knižní klub, 1998.
176 pp. ISBN 80-7176-731-X.
NAŠE PŘÍJMENÍ (Our Family Names) by Dobrava Moldanová. Praha : Agentura Pankrác, 2004. 232 pp.
NĚMECKÁ PŘÍJMENÍ U ČECHŮ (German Family Names of Czechs) by Josef Beneš. Indexes made by
Marie Nováková. Ústí nad Labem: Univerzita J. A. Purkyně, 1998. 2 volumes. (242 pp. + 359 pp.) ISBN 807044-212-3.
About the Author:
Miroslav „Mirek“ Koudelka (bearing the 218th most
frequent Czech family name) from Olomouc, Moravia is
a professional Czech genealogy researcher and personal
tour guide, the CGSI Regional Representative for the
Czech Republic. He is a frequent speaker at our genealogy conferences and the author or translator of a number of publications.
More at http://www.czechfamily.com.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
A family name with an
Skočdopole (Jump into
field!) in the 1707 birth
record (4th from the top)
for “Maržena, daughter
of Martin Skoczdopole…” (State Regional
Archive in Třeboň, Collection of Vital Registers,
Office in Bechyně, vol. 1,
A survey of the most frequent family names in the Czech Republic in July 2009
Name, number of persons bearing it (the “meanings” are at right):
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Name, its “meaning”, number of persons bearing it:
Dvořák (free farmer)
Horák (from upper section of town)
Pospíšil (he hurried)
Hájek (broadleaved forest)
Jelínek (little stag)
Růžička (little rose)
Beneš (derived from Benedikt)
Sedláček (little farmer)
CGSI 2009 Conference −
A Rewarding Experience
By Donna Fitzsimmons
I was a first time participant at the CGSI Conference
in Cleveland. Kudos to the Conference Co-Chairs and
volunteers for an outstanding conference. There were
so many highlights: the excellent presentations, the
wonderful Baine/Cincebeaux Folk Dress Collection, the
great hospitality of the hosts at the tour venues, the warm
camaraderie among the participants, and the perfect opportunity for networking with others of similar interests.
This conference was also responsible for a breakthrough
in my personal family research.
I had the additional pleasure of visiting with Roy
Rushka, who gave a conference session on the Chod,
Guardians of Bohemia and I was happy to be introduced
to fellow Chod clan members, Agnes and Mildred
Hallama of Grande Pointe, Manitoba. Roy Rushka is the
‘patriarch’ of our Chod clan in the Canadian Prairies,
from whom we have benefitted by his thirty-five years of
Chod research. Roy has documented the genealogy and
told the story of our ancestors, the approximately twenty
Chod families who migrated 1000 km by ox-cart (circa
1833-40) from the Chod villages surrounding Domažlice
to found the village of Komorowka, District of Galicia,
Austrian Empire. Komorowka was about 3 km from the
Russian border and situated north of the district town of
Brody in the Lviv Region of the Ukraine.
After more than fifty years of experiencing hardships
in Komorowka and other surrounding villages, many of
these Chod descendants were again on the move in search
of land and freedom. The families of my Tochor and
Hruska grandparents were among these immigrants who
travelled to the New World.
Many years ago, Roy Rushka had discovered
most of these Chod immigrants entering through Ellis
Island and a few coming into Halifax, NS, Canada. My
grandfather Tochor’s family had not appeared with any of
these groups and their Port of Entry remained unsolved.
Recently, as I began to take an active interest in my
family history, the main focus of my research was to
locate my grandfather Tochor’s, Port of Entry into North
In 1837, my Tochor family relocated to Komorowka,
District of Galicia, from Stráž, one of the eleven
privileged Chod villages of Bohemia and a lookout point
for guarding Chodsko. Some years later, my grandfather’s
grandparents were among those families persuaded by
the Byzantine Monks at the Parish of Lesznionvie to
relocate from Komorowka to Berestecko, to help spread
the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. However,
life here proved more difficult since control of this village
vacillated between the Russian and Austrian Empires.
My grandfather, Joseph Tochor, was born in Berestecko,
Russia. Joseph’s parents, Johan and Elizabeth Tochor,
became tired of the harassment and hardship created by
the Russian soldiers so in 1891, the family became one of
the first in their clan to emigrate to Canada.
The Tochor family boarded a train in Brody which
transported them to the port of Hamburg. Ship Passenger
List records indicated that my Tochor family departed
Hamburg on Oct. 26, 1891; Destination: Winnipeg;
Ship: Lincoln; Port of Arrival: Grimsby (America via
Liverpool). The Tochor family, like many other immigrant
families would have made the short trip from Hamburg to
Grimbsy by ship and then proceeded by rail to Liverpool
which was a popular point of departure to the New World.
My research challenge was to pinpoint the exact ship
which my grandfather’s family boarded in Liverpool.
Frank Soural’s CGSI presentation entitled, “Eastern
Canadian Ports of Entry for Immigrants…”, provided
me the clue necessary to locate my Tochor family’s ship
from Liverpool—the Allan line Steamship Company
of Canada. Frank spoke about the Allan Line which ran
scheduled crossings from Liverpool to the Canadian
ports of Halifax and Quebec City. He explained that
many European immigrants, bound for both Canadian
and U.S.A. destinations, boarded the Allan Line because
of reasonable fares and good transportation connections.
Frank candidly remarked that many of our ancestors
provided “the ballast” for the Allan Line steamships
voyage to Canada since Canadian lumber was the primary
cargo returning from Canada. The port of Quebec City
was well connected by rail or inland waterways to
Montreal and Western Canada and, many parts of the
U.S.A. surrounding the Great Lakes.
As Frank spoke, I had a strong hunch that my
Tochor family probably boarded an Allan Line
steamship from Liverpool to come to Canada. I Googled
“Library and Canada Archives” [On your browser type:
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca.], and then clicked on
“Ancestors”. I then scrolled down until the heading
“Immigration and Citizenship” and then clicked on
“Passenger Lists, 1865-1922” and clicked “Search”. The
only information which I supplied was “Year of Arrival”
since I was positive that my grandfather arrived in 1891.
A long list of ships came up on the screen, the majority of
them belonging to the Allan Line. I kept in mind that my
Tochor family had left Hamburg on the 26th of Oct., 1891.
Frank had indicated that the “turn around time” for the
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Allan Line was about three weeks so I planned to search
Canada. Esterhazy operated from Pittsburgh and he
all Allan Line steamships departing Liverpool within a six established the Hungarian Immigration and Colonization
week time period from the Hamburg departure.
Aid Society to assist in the recruitment of Hungarian
The search didn’t take long! I looked down the
miners from Pennsylvania. My great-grandfather Hanis
column of ships checking the Dates of Arrival. Ship
and his new wife, joined this group of mostly Hungarian
#23, Circassian, arriving 1891-11-10 was the first ship
and a few Czech and Slovak miners who were recruited
to appear within the correct time frame. I clicked on
by the immigration agent, Paul Oscar Esterhazy, to create
Circassian and noted that the Departure Date was 1891a settlement of homesteaders in Western Canada in 1886.
11-01. Considering that the Tochor family left Hamburg
Later, a town was established nearby this settlement
on Oct. 26, 1891, this ship was a definite possibility. I
which was named Esterhazy, after the immigration
clicked on “View Image” for the Circassian Passenger
agent who had taken a keen interest in the success of his
List and started to peruse the list of names. The Tochors
were there--page four, half-way down the page! My
I can say unequivocally that the 2009 CGSI
Tochor family appeared on the Passenger List for the
Conference was a very rewarding experience for me.
Allan Line ship, Circassian, departing Liverpool on Nov.
I sincerely hope that other conference participants had
1, 1891, and arriving in Quebec/Montreal, Nov., 10, 1891. similar stories of success with their research. I’m looking
The family would have disembarked in Quebec City and
forward to St. Louis 2011!
travelled overland to Montreal where they would have
cleared Canadian Customs. My grandfather’s family
Slovak Historical Sources:
continued on to Western Canada on the Canadian Pacific
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
Railway. The last 60 km of the journey was made by
Canadian Plains Research Center
ox-cart to the final homestead destination of Esterhazy,
Saskatchewan, Canada. Frank Soural’s CGSI presentation Chod Historical Source:
was central in helping me to bring my search to a
Roy Rushka’s personal collection of documents
I’ll now be able to concentrate on some of the hints
Shown here is a screen print of the internet search
from CGSI’s Cleveland Conference to search for original
on Library and Canada Archives made by Donna on
genealogical sources for my paternal ancestors of Slovak
Passenger Lists, 1865-1922.
descent. Family sources
indicate that my greatPassenger Lists, 1865-1922
grandfather Hanis (Hanics)
was born in the village
of Šiba (near Bardějov),
Return to results | Search | Search Help
Šariš County, Slovakia.
At eighteen, he emigrated
to America where he
worked in the coal mines
of Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
Allan Line Steamship Co.
A lifetime in the coal mines
did not appeal to my greatDeparture Port and Date Liverpool, England - 1891-11-01
grandfather Hanis and
he longed for land of his
Port and Date of Arrival: Montreal, Que. own. In 1885, the colorful
Quebec, Que. - 1891-11-10
historical figure, Paul Oscar
Esterhazy, was employed by
Remarks: List Number: 80
the Canadian government
and the Canadian Pacific
Railway company to
assist in the recruitment
immigrants from the United
Suggest a Correction
States to relocate to Western
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Etymology of Selected
and Their Latin and
- ček – usually the sign of diminutive (small) –
(e.g. Chovanček, Kopček, Chlapeček
- čik – usually the sign of diminutive (small) –
- ko – usually the sign of diminutive used mainly
in surnames created from given (first) names,
(e.g. Danko, Ferko, Jurko, Maťko)
By Michal Razus
A surname is similar to a face, we do not choose it, we
inherit it from our father and it usually accompanies us
during our entire life. A surname has the same feature as
a face - it can tell something about our ancestors.
The goal of this article is to attempt to explain the
origin of selected surnames (especially those that the
readers of Naše rodina may be familiar with), their
meaning and features connected with geography, occupation, nationality or other signs. In the second part I
would like to compare the language variants of the surnames derived from the professions.
The surname, together with the given name has officially been mandatory in Slovakia since the end of the
From the beginning it is important to realize that
until 1918 Slovakia belonged to the multi-national Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the area of present Slovakia
most people were Slovaks, but there were important and
significant Hungarian, German, Rusyn, Jewish and Gypsy minorities. Therefore it is possible to find the surnames typical for all of these nationalities.
Particular to the Slovak language is the use of suffixes to express the gender of the person, which can be
important when working with the surnames. Especially
women‘s surnames contain these suffixes. There exist
two variants: -ová, and –á (this suffix is being added in
case the surname is also an adjective that has form in
male and female gender).
Senko – (Senková)
Rusnák – (Rusnáková)
Kopanič – (Kopaničová)
Porubský – (Porubská)
Veselý – (Veselá)
Krivý – Krivá)
Other suffixes that might help with defining surnames are:
- ovič – Šefčovič, Gašparovič, Bilkovič – the
origin of the surname is possibly from former
Another fact is that the surname of immigrants were
sometimes changed by the authorities or by the immigrants in order to sound more English, or due to error.
Many surnames have their root also in a dialect word or
historical word which is no longer used. Origin and meaning of some surnames remain unclear – in those cases.
Alzo (Slovak Alžo) – this surname can be found in
East Slovakia. There are about 30 Alžos living in about
12 localities presented especially in Košice and Vranov counties.
Chmiko (Slovak Čmiko) there are about 70 Čmikos living in about 18 localities mainly in central Slovakia
in Prievidza county.
Chovancek (Slovak Chovanček)- surname of Slovak
origin, means little inmate or ward.
Dzugan – (Slovak Džugan) in the dialect of Upper Šariš
it means: “the one that jostles“ there are about 200 Džugans in about 60 localities in northeast Slovakia.
Ference – surname created from Hungarian Ferenc, Ferencz which is actually male first name Francis or Franciscus.
Figlar – derived from the east Slovakian, dialect word
designating “jester.” Present spelling can be Figlár,
Figľar, Figľár or Figlar and it is possible to found
in Košice, Michalovce, Poprad and Kežmarok counties
in east Slovakia.
Gabuzda (Slovak Gabužda or Gabužďa) – surname
with very rare occurrence with unknown origin. Occurrence of this surname is tightly connected with the village Raslavice and two localities in Brezno county. Harcar (Slovak Harčár or Harčar) – from the Šariš dialect word for „Potter“. There are about 400 Harčárs living in about 70 localities mainly in Prešov county.
Hornack – (Slovak Horňák) very common surname
with frequency of about 2,500 in about 450 localities.
Surname is derived from the adverb “up” - probably the
one that lived in the “upper side” of the village or town.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Hudak – even more frequent surname, there are more
than 4,200 Hudaks living in more than 500 localities
around Slovakia, however majority of them are living in
the eastern part of Slovakia. Hudak is musician in dialect.
Kopanic – Slovak Kopanič – very rare surname with
only about five people living in Malacký county
in the western part of Slovakia. Derived either
from Kopanice – region in the northwest part of
Slovakia, or from the verb “kopať” to kick.
Ondrusko – diminutive derived from the male first
name Ondrej. There are about 30 Ondruškos mainly
in Poprad county.
Pafko – there are about 50 Pafkos in several regions all
Lukacs – Lukáč – there are about 5100 Lukačs living in
more than 800 localities in all Slovakia.
Michalek – surname of Slavic origin, can be Czech,
Moravian or Slovak and is derived from the name
Michal. Michalek is its nice or childish form. There
are about 1000 Michaleks mainly in western part of
Mojko – it can be a Slovak diminutive derived from the
the pronoun “moj” which is “my”. It is being used in
meaning similar to “my dear.” There are only about 11
people with this surname in Nové Zámky.
Porubsky (Parupsky in USA) – derived from the
name of locality poruba – place of the chopped forest.
In Slovakia there are about 900 Porubskýs in 200
localities. There are also about 12 villages including the
Rajec – There are about 90 Rajecs living mainly
in the Žilina and Bratislava regions. There is also a
10 Most Common Surnames in Slovakia as of 2003
In the year 2003 there were 185,288 male and female surnames in use in Slovakia. The Slovak population of
approximately 5.4 million averages one unique surname for every 29 people.
City with highest #
As previously mentioned, in Slovakia there lived several nationalities, and their language reflects also in the
present surnames. One of the best examples is the group of surnames that were created from the professions.
Shown below is a table which offers a view of some professions which are used also as surnames.
(Hrnčiar, aka Harčár)
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
village Rajec. Rajec itself is probably derived from the
word raj – paradise.
Ratica – there are about 100 Raticas living mainly
in Orava region (north Slovakia) and Prešov county. Ratica means hoof (or ungula)
Rusnak - surname designating Rusyn in Slovak dialect.
There are more than 3000 Rusnaks living in various
areas of Slovakia
Sefcovic (Slovak Šefčovič) – there are about
60 Šefčovičs living mainly in Bratislava. Origin
of the surname is possibly in former Yugoslavia.
(typical suffix -ovič).
Senko – this surname can be found in more variants –
Senko, Šenko or Seňko – it is probably derived from
word seno – English hay. Together there are about 500
people with this surname.
Szabo – this Hungarian word means tailor. One of the
most common surnames in Slovakia – there are about
Sabol – variant of previous surname with about 2000
Sabol around the whole country.
Semancik - there are more than 400 Semanciks living
mainly in the east part of Slovakia.
Finally I would like to encourage you to send any
questions concerning your surname to [email protected]
gmail.com. Space permitting, we may include additional
information on the author’s responses to member surnames in a future issue of Naše rodina.
A valuable source for finding the location of your
surname and its current frequency in Slovakia is the
online dictionary produced by Jazykovedný ústav Ľudovíta Štúra SAV, which can be found at:
The dictionary is using the following database: Databáza priezvisk na Slovensku.
P. Ďurčo a kol.: Databáza vlastných mien a názvov
lokalít na Slovensku. Podklady k projektu: Copernicus Programme, project COP-58: ONOMASTICA–
COPERNICUS DATABASE. CD ROM. Paris: ELRA
About the Author:
Michal Razus majored in History and Slovak Language
and Literature at the University of Prešov in 2005. In
2009 he received a teaching degree in English language
and literature. Since 2006 he is a professional genealogist and has conducted family research for more than
120 clients from the USA, Canada, Slovakia, France
and Australia. He also provides tour guide services in
Slovakia. Michal is a member of the Slovak Genealogical-Heraldic Society (SG-HS) and the CGSI, where he
serves in the capacity of Regional Representative for
Future Themes for Naše rodina:
June 2010...Glass Production Industry
September 2010...Family History and Documentation
December 2010...Slovak Lutherans in America
March 2011...Guilds - Masters and Apprentices
Your articles are welcome, although not all can be published
E-Mail articles or inquiries to Paul Makousky at [email protected]
or send by U.S. Mail: 8582 Timberwood Rd., Woodbury, MN 55125-7620
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Our special thanks to the following people whose cash donations
and sponsor memberships help us build for the future.
Aksamit, Eugene and Marjorie
Blecha, Henry R Buffington, Elizabeth L Chezik, John J
Cook, Dennis E (Skip) Corcoran, Carolyn Drever, Mary Jean Dwyer, John D Ferreira, Nicole
Griskavich, Marcia Manning
Hajic, Earl J Hamouz, William and Elaine Holoubek, Joseph V Korvas, Anthony C and Cathy A Krier, Donna Krikava, Alton and Marie Licht, Edward Mares, Gale and Kathryn Marshall, Harold Matusinec, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mostek, Jerome Munro, Edith Nekoranik, Richard P Nelson, Jenifer M
O’Connell, Leo Aaron
Pavelka, Dr. Donald and Barbara Pavlish, Bern
Peters, Lewis Pleticha, Mark C
Porth, Guy P Roberts, Joan Klecka
Rudolph, Cheryl A Sembach, Leon Simecek-Ogilvie, Nancy Smith Jr., George Soukenik III, Mr./Mrs. Joseph J Tegen, Mary Ann
Versnick, Dr. Henry Vyskocil, Emil Winsauer, Howard
Nasta, Margaret Pollock, Joy
Richter, Geraldine and Roy
Swoboda, Dr. Joseph and Mary
Rocky River, OH
Saint Paul, MN
Camano Island, WA
Qualicam Beach, BC
Santa Barbara, CA
St. Louis, MO
Glenville, MN Garfield Heights, OH
Schuyler, NE Virginia Beach, VA
Michigan City, IN
Windsor Heights, IA
Pine Bluff, AR
Medford Lakes, NJ
Dickinson, ND Marquette, MI
Locust Grove, VA
Mayfield Heights, OH
Rockville Centre, NY
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
In Memorium, Marcella “Marcy”
Vasko Bigaouette, 1930 - 2010
Photo from 1997 CGSI Conference.
Cincebeaux, Helene B Kostell, James M Lomsdal, Wendy
Matusinec, Mr. and Mrs. Frank March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Forest Hills, NY
Edgar Springs, MO
St. Peter and St. Paul
Orthodox Church in Burr
Orthodox Church in America
By Church Members (written in 2007)
Seventy-five years ago, on July 4, 1932, St. Peter and
St. Paul Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic
Church was solemnly blessed, and the cornerstone dedicated. This was the culmination of the organizational
work of the Very Rev. Peter N. Semkoff beginning on
August 3, 1931, when His Eminence, The Most Reverend Theophilus, then Archbishop of Chicago, gave
his archpastoral blessing for the establishment of a
new parish. This parish, on the southwest side of Chicago, was composed mainly of former Greek Catholics
whose origins were from the Carpathian regions of the
According to one church source about 135 families
from St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church formed the
nucleus of the new St. Peter and St. Paul Parish. Why
they left their original parish is not altogether clear;
however, we do know that the infamous Papal decree
“Cum Data fuerit . . .” was issued by Pope Pius IX on
February 9, 1929, and later promulgated by the Greek
Catholic bishop, the Most. Rev. Basil Takach. The decree forbade any importing of married priests from Europe for ten years. This document was seen as breaking
the original provisions of the “Union of Užhorod,”
which guaranteed all Greek customs remain intact.
Ownership of church property and the introduction of Roman Catholic practices such as the rosary,
the Stations of the Cross, three-dimensional statues
and devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus were other
signs of Latinization. The original reason for the split
from the Catholic Church were rarely agreed upon, but
church members may have perceived that “naše Ruska
vira,” our Rusyn faith, was in danger of being lost and
they were willing to sacrifice and fight to preserve it.
The inaugural membership meeting of the new parish
was held on September 20, 1931, in St. Michael’s Orthodox Church at 44th Street and Paulina Avenue. In an
affidavit from this meeting, the new parish adopted St.
Peter and St. Paul Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek
Catholic Church as its corporate name.
The first church trustees were elected and sworn
into office during the Vesper worship service. These
trustees were Joseph Novak, Mitro Prokop, Peter Korinda, Ignatz Bihun, Michael Yurcisin, John Halko,
Peter Spak, Andrej Bacha, Peter Dennis, John Demko,
Andrew Tkach, Michael Sutko, John Bodenchak, John
Krajnak, and Michael Mihalkanin. The following were
elected to office: Joseph Novak, Starosta; Mitro Prokop,
Assistant Starosta; Peter Spak, Treasurer; Peter Korinda, Secretary. The appointed choir director was Ignatz
Construction in progress on St. Peter and St. Paul Church in
Chicago, IL in the first half of 1932. Photo courtesy of Andrea
Fash Valasek of Chicago, IL.
During the winter of 1931 and the spring of 1932,
the newly formed church met for Sunday liturgy in a
vacant A & P grocery store at 51st Street and Rockwell
Avenue. The first Easter baskets were blessed at the
converted grocery/church building. Membership in St.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Peter and St. Paul Church grew as more people transferred from St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church on Seeley Avenue and St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church.
On November 5, 1931, a general church meeting set
membership requirements and adopted by-laws. Each
family and unmarried person over the age of 18 was assessed $1 per month, $12 annually. At Sunday liturgy,
two collections were taken. The usual donation was a
dime at first collection and a nickel at the second collection. In the mid-1940s, only one collection was taken
with the average donation being a quarter.
Early church council meetings and annual meetings were in the Rusyn language, the dialect of the first
parishioners. Council members were generally elderly
males, but in 1939, Dimitry Wanda, 25, was elected to
the council. After 1940, more changes were enacted;
council meetings were conducted in English, and other
young men were elected.
On December 1, 1931, a quarter acre lot at the northwest corner of Western Avenue and 53rd Street was
purchased for $5,300 in cash from William J. Holsinger
and Felix B. Janovsky. This lot would be the site for the
new St. Peter and St. Paul Church. A ground breaking
ceremony was held on December 26, 1931.
Peter Kalinak, a general building contractor and
church member, built the church at a cost of $22,908.64.
Mr. Kalinak hired many unemployed parishioners as
laborers while other employed parishioners volunteered
their services on Saturdays. Master carpenters Mitro and
Stephen Lazo built the iconostasis and assisted other
carpenters with the pews and window frames. One of
the most dramatic architectural features was a large
choir loft across the back of the church. The first Divine
Liturgy was celebrated on Palm Sunday, April 20, 1932.
First Ten Years
In its first decade, the membership of St. Peter and St.
Paul Church grew from 536 people in 1932 to approximately 834 people in 1942. A record book from 1936
lists 616 parishioners.
During these ten years, Rev. Semkoff baptized 169
children, married 66 couples, and conducted 50 funerals. He performed the congregation’s first three baptisms
on July 10, 1932. The new additions to the parish were
Peter Edward Bubanik, Pauline Loritha Rozdilsky and
Helen Dorothy Milas. The first couple to be married was
George Motel and Mary Bodenchak on June 11, 1932.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
The first funeral was Anna Petrigala on June 25, 1932.
Burials from June 1932 to July 1935 were at Elmwood Cemetery in Elmwood Park, a northwestern
suburb of Chicago. Sometime during 1935, the church
obtained a section in Evergreen Cemetery at 87th Street
and Kedzie Avenue in Evergreen Park, a southwestern
suburb closer to the church. The first burial in the new
cemetery was Helen Kutchamar on July 2, 1935. In
1938, a stone cross marking the church’s section in the
cemetery was dedicated.
During the spring of 1932, the first group of children received first confession and communion in the
new church. Present-day member Lillian Juhas Novak
was a member of this group.
On Sunday, October 6, 1940, the church was dedicated.
Divine Liturgy began at 10 a.m. and was led by His Eminence Metropolitan Theophilus, His Grace Bishop Leonty and the clergy of the Chicago diocese. Two choirs
sang the liturgy responses: St. Mary’s Church Choir of
Gary, Indiana led by S. Nester and the St. Peter and St.
Paul Choir led by I. Bihun.
Sixty Years of Events
In July 1932, the parish held its first Kermesh honoring
the feast day of the congregation’s patron saints. The
feast day tradition of Kermesh continues to this day.
In 1939, a crystal chandelier was hung in the
church. Donations towards the cost of the chandelier
were collected from various sources: parishioners, the
Russian Burial Aid Society, choir members, the Windy
City “R” Club, and local businesses. The “R” stands for
Federated Russian Orthodox Club.
On Sunday, March 2, 1941 a set of silver vestments
was blessed and presented to Father Peter Semkoff after
On October 10, 1954, a set of new carillon bells was
dedicated. The original church bell was given to a Russian Orthodox Church in Ohio. That year, the sanctuary
vigil lamp was also donated. In 1996, it was removed
from the Chicago church and in 1998 it was hung in
front of the altar of the Burr Ridge church where it continues to watch over the congregation.
In January, 1963, a holy water font, which a parishioner designed and constructed, was blessed. In the
spring of 1972, a wooden “tomb” made in Greece was
donated for use on Good Friday.
The Russian Millennium 988-1988 gave church
members an opportunity to celebrate throughout the
year. Events ranged from an exhibit of icons on the
Sunday of Orthodoxy in February to a class on the art of
pysanky (Ukrainian easter eggs) painting. Other Sunday
displays presented traditional Easter basket foods and
embroidered basket covers, Russian dolls, enamel tea
holders, wooden utensils and family prayer books. Two
millennium banners, “A Thousand Candles” and “Let
the Bells Ring Out,” were designed by Matushka Mary
Semkoff (Nicholas) and created by Sunday school students and church members.
After she was elected to the church council on
March 16, 1988, Susanna Michalic became the first
woman church council president. She served as president until March, 2001.
St. Peter and Paul “O” Club
The Windy City “R” Club, Chapter 96, was founded
in 1937; in the 1980s, its name was changed to the St.
Peter and St. Paul “O” Club. It is a local chapter of the
fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America (FOCA),
an official organization of the Orthodox Church in
The club’s mission is to provide educational, cultural, social, and athletic activities for the people of the
The “Ladies Club” was organized in 1957 by and for the
women of the church. The purpose of the club was to
fundraise for the church. Profits from various fundraisers and activities enabled the club to donate $1000 for
the first commercial kitchen stove. The first president
was Mary Pinkowski and the last president was Ella
Sutko. The club disbanded in 1973.
The Men’s Club was started in the early 1960s and was
in existence for about six years. The club was a social
organization that met once a month and also held fundraisers for various projects needed by the church.
World War II Red Cross Chapter
During the fall months of 1942, three members, Anne
Lazo (Mrs. George), Stephanie Bregin and Ann Novak,
decided to organize a Red Cross Unit. In order to be
granted a Red Cross charter, an initial membership of
25 persons had to enroll. The charter was granted on
November 16, 1942. The first meeting of the Russian
Chapter of the American Red Cross Unit of St. Peter
and St. Paul Church held was on November 28, 1942.
The unit met every Monday evening in the church
hall to make surgical dressings and sewing kit bags. The
kit bags were then issued to the men in the Armed Forces before they were deployed overseas. At the end of
September 1945, the group had rolled 65,000 bandages,
and the members made 450 kit bags. Mrs. Ann Shumovsky is credited with completing 250 of those bags.
The unit was also active in other war time efforts.
They purchased the church service flag and a stainedglass window in honor of all servicemen and women.
Members attended requiem ceremonies and sent Easter
and Christmas cards to the service men and women.
They also purchased funeral wreaths for deceased service men. The Unit, 38 women strong at war’s end, disbanded on October 27, 1945.
During the summer of 1948, Dorothy Novak approached Father Peter Semkoff with a proposal to
establish Sunday school classes for the children in the
parish. The Windy City “R” Club agreed to adopt this as
their major project. Lutheran Church literature adapted
to an Orthodox lesson plan was utilized. Classes began
in September of 1948 in the church hall with students
in kindergarten through high school. For the next eight
years, Dorothy Novak Prokop directed the Sunday
school. Funding for student materials came from the
church council, the Windy City “R” Club and the church
choir. Classes began after the first service at 10 a.m. and
lasted a half-hour. In 1954, Orthodox Sunday School
religious materials became available for the classes. In
February 1957, Matushka Mary Semkoff (Nicholas) became the director of the Sunday school.
Mitred Archpriest Rev. Peter Nicholas Semkoff
Since the organizational meeting of St. Peter and St.
Paul Orthodox Church, seven priests have led the worshipers of the church. The first priest was Rev. Peter N.
Semkoff. He was pastor of the church for 47 years, having organized the parish on August 3, 1931, after a year
as pastor of St. Michael’s.
Peter Semkoff was born April 23, 1895 in Prusy,
Galicia, which at that time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After WWI it belonged to Poland, and
currently is part of Western Ukraine.
He immigrated to the United States on March 21,
1912, arriving at Philadelphia aboard the SS Frankfurt
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
under the name of Piotr Semkow. Peter completed his
studies at the Orthodox seminary at Tenafly, NJ. He was
ordained on October 11, 1916 in St. Nicholas Cathedral
in New York City. He received his license as a minister
February 7, 1917, in Erie County, OH.
Peter Semkoff married Matushka Mary Petrovna
Milley (note: Matushka = Mother of the Church, and all
Eastern Rite Church priests’ wives have this title). They
were married September 23, 1916 at Kelley’s Island,
In the mid-1950s Father Peter was recognized
for his outstanding service to the church and awarded
the honor of Mitred Archpriest. He was appointed a
member of the Metropolitan Council of the Russian
Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America in
December, 1963. He was also Dean of the Chicago and
Midwest Diocese during the mid 1960s. He was again
awarded the honor of Mitred Archpriest and presented a
jeweled mitre in recognition of his outstanding services
by the Conclave of Bishops of the Orthodox Church of
America in 1966. On Sunday September 4, 1966, Father
Peter and his wife, Mary celebrated his golden jubilee
as a priest and their 50th wedding anniversary.
In 1977, Father Peter retired and became pastor
emeritus. He performed 62 years as a priest, serving the
congregation of St. Peter and St. Paul Church for the
majority of those years. Father Peter died on November
18, 1978, in Oak Lawn, IL and was buried November
22 in Evergreen Cemetery.
Very Right Rev. Nicholas Peter Semkoff
Nicholas was born December 9, 1917 in Wolf Run, OH
to Rev. Peter Nicholas and Mary Petrovna Milley. He
graduated from Lindblom High School, received his
liberal arts education at the University of Illinois and De
Paul University, and studied philosophy, theology and
canon law with private tutors at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
He was ordained by Archbishop Leonty in July,
1941, as deacon and assigned as choral teacher in September to St. Michael’s. Father Nicholas was ordained
a priest by Metropolitan Theophilus on December 20,
1942 at St. Peter and St. Paul. He served his first Liturgy
on February 7, 1943 in his home parish, but was then
assigned to Mishawaka and Hammond, Indiana churches. At the request of the parish council of St. Peter and
St. Paul, he returned as an assistant priest and choral
director in May 1943. Father Nicholas served with his
father, Rev. Peter Semkoff for 33 years until his father’s
retirement in 1977.
Among his contributions to the congregation was
the introduction of new hymns and litanies by various
composers into the traditional prostopinije (plain chant)
sung in services. Father Nicholas also started a music
library in 1945 and continually added to it throughout
his time in the parish, including many new English
translations of Church
Father Nicholas served
his first Divine Liturgy
in English in 1949.
On July 16, 1967,
during a Hierarchical
Divine Liturgy celebrated by Archbishop John
at St. Peter and Paul
Church, the Council of
North American Bishops conferred upon Father Nicholas a jeweled
pectoral cross to honor
him on the 25th anniversary of his ordination
to the priesthood. The
parish also observed its
35th annual feast day, or
The Very Right Rev. Peter N. Semkoff and his son, The Very Right Rev. Nicholas Peter SemOn January 1, 1991
koff. Photo courtesy of Andrea Fash Valasek, Chicago, IL.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Father Nicholas retired as pastor from St. Peter and St.
Paul church. At his retirement dinner on February 10,
1991, Father Nicholas celebrated 50 years as a priest
and 47 years as an assistant pastor and pastor of the parish. He and his wife, Matushka Mary also celebrated
their 50th wedding anniversary. They moved to Michigan City, Indiana after his retirement from the church
and lived there until their deaths. Matuska Mary Semkoff died September 29, 1992. Her funeral was held at
St. Peter and St. Paul Church on October 3, 1992, and
she was interred in Evergreen Cemetery. Father Nicholas died October 27, 1999. His funeral service was held
at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago and
he also was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
The Burr Ridge Church
In 1992, it became evident that in order to continue
growing, St. Peter and St. Paul Church had to move to
a new location. This was a very emotional decision as
the Chicago church was the congregation’s home for
60 years. A committee was formed to search for a new
property in the western suburbs. During 1994, the committee located a two-acre lot at the corner of County
Line Road and Harvester Drive, just north of Interstate
55 in Burr Ridge. The committee purchased the property, and after several Burr Ridge Village Board meetings,
the church building plans were approved.
On July 23, 1995, a ground blessing service was
held; the ground breaking and Cross planting services
took place on October 15, 1995 at the new building site.
By April 1996, the Chicago church was sold, and
the final Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Sunday, April
6, 1996. The Carmelite Spiritual Center in Darien was
the congregation’s temporary home from April 13, 1996
until February 8, 1998.
The Burr Ridge church incorporates modern and
traditional design elements. A rectangular building,
it features a cupola and three-bar cross as well as the
stained-glass windows from the church on 53rd and
List of Charter Members
(copied from the original parish book of St. Peter and
St. Paul Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic
Husband / Wife Bacha, Andro and Anna
Bancak, Michael and Anna
Behun, Ignaz and Anna
Bilas, John and Julia
Bodencak, Petro and Zuzana
Bodencak, John and Maria
Bodenchak, Mitro and Paraska
Bodnar, Vasil and Helena
Boka, Michael and Paraska
Chuchta, Mrs. Anna
Cuprisin, Andrew and Margita
Demko, Andro and Helena
Demko, John and Maria
Dennis, Mitro and Maria
Derbas, Michael and Paraska
Dickey, Michael and Suze
Dzendzel, Michael and Maria
Dzupin, Andry and Anna
Fedoronko, Peter and Suze
Gorun, George and Anna
Gula, George and Helen
Halko, John and Helena
Halko, Stefan and Anna
Harvish, Michael and Maria
Hirujak, Frank and Maria
Hkorro, Bacurue and Maria
Hobalik, Nikolai and Helen
Hricok, Georg and Maria
Hvizd, Mitro and Helen
Ivancisin, John and Maria
Jakochka, Michael and Anna
Juhas, Sandor and Maria
Kacsmar, Mihal and Helena
Kalinak, Petro and Maria
Kopca, John and Helena
Korinda, Peter and Anna
Krapnak, John and Katheryna
Kundrat, Frank and Anna
Kundrat, Joseph and Maria
Lazo, Mitro and Susana
Lazo, Stephen and Maria
Lesondak, Sam and Julia
Macko, Mike and Anna
Mihalkanin, Andro and Anna
Mihalkanin, Mike and Maria
Mihalkanin, Vasil and Julia
Milas, Andros and Helena
Mikulisin, George and Maria
Miskiv, Peter and Helena
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Motel, John and Lilian
Olesovich, Andrew and Paraska
Parlishinitz, Mapiel and Mary
Patrick, Johan and Anna
Petrigalla, Mike and Maria
Pilip, Peter and Anna
Pitlivka, Andro and Helen
Plachek, John and Anna
Polacek, Andro and Mary
Polacek, George and Maria
Polacek, Peter and Anna
Pragit, John and Maria
Prihar, John and Helena
Prihara, Peter and Maria
Prokop, Mitro and Anna
Prokop, John and Anna
Prokop, Mike and Maria
Rozdilsky, Andrew and Eva
Rozdilsky, Peter and Anna
Saroinsky, John and Paraska
Savcak, Andro and Anna
Spak, Peter and Ellene
Stefaniko, Vasil and Paraska
Surdenik, Peter and Suzanna
Sutko, Michael and Anna
Tkach, Andrew and Julia
Vanko, John and Helen
Volcko, George and Anna
Volk, Mitro and Anna
Wanska, John and Helen
Warilenko, Peter and Maria
Wolk, John and Paraska
Yurcisin, Josef and Maria
Yurcisin, Michael and Maria
Zoscak, Andrew and Anna
Zovoda, Peter and Maria
These families and single people
are listed as original charter members
in the membership book. The names are
spelled as written by Rev. Peter Semkoff. Most of the parishioners had their
roots in Šariš county, Slovakia. Many
of the families originated from the villages of Dubová, Hrabovčík, Kečkovce,
Mlynárovce, Nižný Orlík, Rovné, Roztoky, Vyšný Mirošov, and Vyšný Orlík.
Over the winter and spring of 1932
more families joined St. Peter and St.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Paul Church, transferring from St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church, South Seeley Avenue in Chicago, IL.
The family names were provided on three typed
pages by Arlene Dremak Gardiner of Racine, WI. If you
have roots in this church and would like to contact Arlene her e-mail is: [email protected]
Another contact with knowledge on this parish is
Andrea Fash Valasek of Chicago, granddaughter to Rev.
Peter Semkoff. Her e-mail is: [email protected]
Nearly completed St. Peter and St. Paul Church of Chicago, IL in about
July 1932. Photo courtesy of Andrea Fash Valasek of Chicago, IL.
The Name Game: Five
Tips for Researching
By Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.
One of the key steps to success when tracing your Slovak roots is to identify the immigrant’s correct surname.
It sounds like a pretty simple task, but many times the
surname can be a stumbling block if your ancestors
don’t turn up in searches of online databases or indexes,
or are spelled differently from source to source. For this
issue’s Genealogy360 column, I’m providing five tips
for researching Slovak surnames.
1. Check Home and Family Sources. Turn first to
your family members for clues to surnames and
supporting documents such as a family bible,
diaries, photographs, or letters/envelopes from
the old country. It is important to identify your
ancestor’s name both pre- and post-immigration.
Be careful not to base your research solely on
the way your name is spelled or because a
family member insists that a surname has
“always been spelled that way.” Surname
spellings often vary in grammatical context,
depending on the area. You can find general
information at Behind the Name <www.
behindthename.com>, and The Foreigner’s
Guide to Slovakia <www.fgslovakia.
com/2007/11/23/slovak-surnames>, or check
Ancestry.com’s Learning Center <www.
ancestry.com/learn>. Click “Get Started,”
and “Find Family Facts.” Enter the surname
from the drop-down menu, then choose
“Name Meanings.” It’s also important to
remember that even “official” documents
can contain errors and names can be listed
differently from one document to the next.
Image below: Documents found in the closets or attics
of family members can provide valuable information
about surnames. But even “official” documents can
contain errors or inconsistencies. Shown here are two
pages from the passport belonging to the author’s
grandmother. Notice the differences in the spellings of
the first and last names. One reads “Veron Straka” and
the other “Verona Sztraka.”
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
2. Go to Google. Simply searching for your surname on Google
<www.google.com> may turn up
some interesting results. Remember when using search engines, or
any online database for that matter,
always search on both the traditional and Americanized spellings.
The first names and given names
you find in North American records
may be altered versions of their
traditional European equivalents,
or even altogether different. Many
immigrants “Americanized” their
names upon arrival. Some adopted
the English equivalent, while
others made the spelling appear
more American, or chose a similarsounding name. Some immigrants
even had bosses or teachers assign
names that were easier to spell or
say. Consult “The Mutilation of
Eastern European Names” <www.
pgsa.org/Notebooks/fred_noteAs this tombstone shows, women’s surnames can include the suffix –ova.
book.php> by William F. Hoffman
for more in-depth information on
East European naming practices
lore Society International, and edited by Helene.
and changes. Just don’t buy into family folklore
You can also try Cyndi’s List <www.cyndislist.
that Ellis Island immigration officials changed
com/surnames.htm> or RootsWeb’s Surname
peoples’ names. This was not the case. Learn
Resources Page <http://resources.rootsweb.com/
more at <www.ilw.com/articles/2005,0808-smith.
surnames> to find others who share your name.
shtm>. You may also want to search for females
on the commonly added suffix –ova (e.g. Fenca4. Utilize Message Boards. Post a query about your
kova), when using online databases and search
surname to the CGSI website/message board
(you’ll need to be a member) <www.cgsi.org/
research/queries>. Also, check out the Slovak3. Check Surname Websites. Surname sites often
Roots group on Yahoo! <http://groups.yahoo.
contain pedigree charts, photographs, or other
com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS>: “For genealinformation, or connect with others researching
ogy research, queries and assistance in locating
the same name. Submit your surnames to Helene
information on ancestors who were from areas of
Cincebeaux’s Slovak Pride Database <http://
the former Austria-Hungary Empire and/or the
slovakpride.homestead.com/>. The Slovak Pride
former Czechoslovakia” (you’ll need to register
Database is sponsored by the Slovak Heritage &
as a member to post items). Find other groups
Folklore Society International, and currently has
and message boards on GenDir (Genealogy
more than 28,000 surnames and villages. Visitors
Directory & Message Board) <www.gendir.com/
to the site browse surnames from Slovakia and
neighboring countries, as well as add their names
to the list, and request a free sample copy of the
5. Search Slovak Telephone Directories. There’s a
SH&FSI Slovakia newsletter - a 12 page quargood chance you could have relatives still living
terly published by the Slovak Heritage & Folkin Slovakia. Try searching the Slovak Telephone
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Partial screen print of CGSI member queries on website, www.cgsi.org
Directory (Telefonny Zoznam Slovenskej Republiky) <http://telefonny.zoznam.sk/>. Just be
aware that the site is in Slovak (there used to
be an English tab you could click on but it is no
longer there). You can also try checking foreign
telephone directories such as Infobel <www.infobel.com/World>, Numberway <www.numberway.com>, or the European Address/Telephone
Directories from the Library of Congress (some
are in print; a few are digitized) <http://loc.gov/
rr/european/tel.html> for surnames to determine
if you still have living kin in your ancestral town
When searching for Slovak surnames don’t let the
“name game” become an obstacle to discovering your
past. By getting the name right at the start you can
hopefully avoid repeated fruitless searches, and perhaps
some of the frustrations that often lead to larger brick
walls. In William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Juliet
asks the question, ““What’s in a name?” Well, when it
comes to Slovak genealogy the answer is: “Everything!”
About the Author:
Lisa A. Alzo is the author of nine books, including Finding Your Slovak Ancestors and Writing Your Family
History Book (both by Heritage Productions), Three
Slovak Women, Baba’s Kitchen: Slovak & Rusyn
Family Recipes and Traditions (both Gateway Press),
Pittsburgh’s Immigrants, Slovak Pittsburgh, and Sports
Memories of Western Pennsylvania (for Arcadia Publishing), and numerous magazine articles. . Lisa serves
on the CGSI Board of Directors, and teaches online
genealogy courses for The National Institute for Genealogical Studies <www.genealogicalstudies.com>.
Her two most recent books include Cleveland Czechs
and Cleveland Slovaks (Arcadia Publishing), were coauthored with Cleveland Native and fellow CGSI board
member, John Sabol. Lisa can be reached via her web
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Recording Voices and Documenting Memories
of Czech and Slovak Americans
By Rosie Johnston
Hundreds of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks fled
their homeland during the communist era, many
risking their lives in the process. Their stories
are sometimes dramatic, sometimes tragic, and
essential to our understanding of the events that
shaped the 20th Century.
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
is launching a major new project to try and capture
some of these stories. Over the next 18 months,
the NCSML will interview over 150 Cold War-era
Czech and Slovak émigrés about why and how they
left their homeland, and why they made America
their new home. In the first phase of a project
which the museum hopes will span the nation, the
NCSML is focusing on émigrés who settled in
Chicago, Cleveland and Washington DC.
takeover in 1948 and those who fled as a result of
the Soviet-led invasion in 1968.
Through assembling these first-hand accounts,
the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
will foster a better understanding of the conditions
under which life was lived behind the Iron Curtain,
as well as why some American cities became
centers of Czech and Slovak migration.
And you can help! If you know someone with a
story to tell, or if you have any information that
could help with our research, then please contact
us. You can email Project Coordinator Rosie
Johnston at [email protected] or send a letter
to: National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library,
87 Sixteenth Ave SW, Cedar Rapids IA 52404.
None of this would be possible without the
generous support of the Institute of Museum and
Library Services. The NCSML would also like
to thank the Office of Slovaks Living Abroad for
additional funding for this project.
Interviewees came originally from the whole of
the former Czechoslovakia. What’s more, they
emigrated to the United States at different times.
In particular, the NCSML is focusing on those
who left Czechoslovakia following the Communist
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Recipe for Finding a Cousin: How a 3 x 5 Card
Helped Me to Find a Relative at the 2009 CGSI
By Annette K. Thompson
Usually 3 x 5 cards are used for recipes, but a posting
of a 3 x 5 card on the information board at the October
2009 CGSI Conference in Cleveland was a recipe for
finding a third cousin I did not know about and continuing my family genealogy!
While thoughts of my grandparents and their background had percolated in my mind for years, it was
only when I retired that I started to get serious about
researching my Slovak ancestry. The past seven years,
I concentrated on researching my grandfather, Stephen
Trop, who was born in Lapsanka, Spiš County, Slovakia
(now a part of Poland) and migrated to the village of
Ľubica, Slovakia before emigrating to Western Pennsylvania. From his obituary, I knew he was one of seven
children. My goal was simple---to find the names of his
siblings. Never did I think that I would wind up going
to Slovakia and Poland in 2005 and again in 2009 and
discover so much more. With the help of Vlado Flak, a
genealogist in Slovakia who helped me by researching
my European Slovak family and the assistance of Karen
Melis, Group administrator of the Zamagurie Region
Dual Geographic DNA project, and my own passion to
learn more, I not only located both my grandmother’s
and grandfather’s roots but met second cousins and
added many branches to the family tree. During my tour
of the region, I trod the same area that they walked and
visited the churches they were baptized in and attended
as children prior to emigrating to the USA in the early
1900s. My initial goal was more than attained; it was
exceeded beyond my wildest expectations!
Finding the names as well as the dates of births,
marriage and death for my maternal grandparents was
just the beginning. I was curious about the region and
history where my ancestors were from, the possible reasons why they came to the coal mines of Pennsylvania,
and why others remained behind. A chance meeting
with a 78-year-old second cousin in Ľubica this summer provided critical clues from his recollections of
attending a funeral when he was only three. Following
his clues, I located the death and burial records for my
great-grandparents, Thomas Trop and Maria Budz Trop.
When I learned that the CGSI Conference was going to be within 400 miles of my home, I joined the
organization and attended my first conference in October. I wanted to learn more from the speakers and their
outlined sessions. Perhaps I could learn something about
the Austrian military records which would lead me to
my grandfather? Maybe I could gather some tips about
writing my family history for my siblings and their children. There were so many topics of interest.
Thursday evening at the conference, I located the
information board. Here, people posted 3 x 5 cards with
their surnames of interest, villages being researched,
and contact information. I was astounded to see a 3 x 5
card tacked on it with surnames similar to those on my
family tree, though they spelled them Bucs and Pavylik but we spelled them Budz and Pavlik. The village
listed was Vyšní Lapse which had to be Wysne Lapsze,
the village next to Lapsanka where many of my earlier
ancestors were recorded! Coincidental? I scribbled my
room number on the note, hoping that the person, who
had only given an email address, would contact me
while at the conference.
I checked in with the Conference registration desk
to see if they could provide a list of attendees with contact information to compare against the email address
on the index card. After hearing the reason, they provided the name of the person who had posted the 3 x 5
card - Carol B.! And so the search to locate Carol began
on Thursday. During Friday and Saturday’s sessions,
I went back to the information board hoping to see a
message from Carol and checked the registration table,
just in case she had left a message there. Nothing! So I
kept scanning peoples’ name tags, hoping to see a Carol. Nothing! I added a cell phone number to the card,
hoping to hear back from Carol.
Heading to the last lecture on Saturday morning, the
cell phone rang! It was Carol calling from about 50 feet
away. What a first meeting. We started to discuss similarities and surnames. When I mentioned the surname
Trop, she exclaimed, “I know that name. It is related to
us.” Carol’s relatives were also from the Connellsville
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
area where my relatives settled. Some of our relatives
were buried in the same cemetery. Our mothers were
born in the same tiny coal-mining town in Pennsylvania. The connections multiplied. Not only were we related but my friend, Karen Melis, had her computer and
genealogy database which showed just HOW we were
Seated in the main lobby, Carol and I both began
calling relatives to confirm the connections and stories. Carol called her mother and learned that her mother’s
godmother was my grandfather Trop’s brother’s wife! I
called my mom’s 85 year-old cousin in Texas and asked
him about the Kovalchik surname and learned Mrs.
Kovalchik used to take him to St. Polycarp Church in
West Leisenring on Sundays. No one really knew how
they were related back then but they knew they were
related somehow as cousins.
Continuing to compare notes, we soon discovered
that my great-grandmother, Maria Budz Trop, and
Carol’s great-grandfather, Bartholomew Budz, were
siblings, two of three children that I knew were on my
family tree! Again, from the database, we made the connection. Carol and I were third cousins--cousins who
had both traveled to their first CGSI conference to learn
more about family history and found FAMILY!!!
Working together, we could continue to build on
the shared branches of our family tree. I could provide
photos and information from the trip to the villages
this past summer and Carol could share photos of the
Fayette County area church and information about reunions held in the area every couple of years. Also, we
have more common Budz descendants to be traced both
here and overseas. We have even extended this effort
by participating in a DNA project focused on the very
geographic regions where our shared ancestry is from
(www.familytreedna.com/public/zamagurieRegionDNAProject/). The project goals include collecting samples here and overseas for surnames specifically linked
to the Zamagurie Region (former Spiš/Spisz County) in
Southern Poland and Eastern Slovakia. The DNA sampling along with the corresponding pedigrees generated
by conventional genealogy are a powerful tool to finding genetic cousins).
So, by attending the CGSI Conference in Cleveland
this year and discovering a simple 3 x 5 card with the
Budz and Pavlik surnames from the village of Vyšní
Lapse not only brought third cousins together but also
transcended generations of a common past. Carol and
I eagerly anticipate completing more branches on our
shared family tree!! Hopefully other attendees at up-
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
coming conferences will post their family names on the
information board and be just as lucky. Serendipitous
things can and do occur in genealogy!
About the Author:
Annette K. Thompson is a retired educator. She has a
B.S. in English Education from Edinboro University in
PA, a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from
Millersville University in PA, and post-graduate credits
from Queen’s University in Belfast, Millersville University and Marywood College. She was also the recipient
of a U. S. State and Education Department’s Fulbright
Exchange Grant to Northern Ireland. Since retirement
after 34 years working in high school education, she
spends her free time involved with the genealogy of her
Slovak family and her husband’s family and is involved
with Life Long Learning, an educational speaker series
held in Pennsylvania.
If there are CGSI members who might have the
names Budz, Trop, Trope, Tropp, Trzop or Wagner
and Kalafut from the Rudnany area in their family
lines, please contact her at [email protected]
New CGSI Telephone
Effective March 15th the CGSI will
have a new telephone number where members can
leave messages if they do not have internet access.
The new number is (651) 964-2322. Phone messages
are checked on an irregular basis by a volunteer.
Your message may be routed to another volunteer
depending on the subject of the message. Please be
patient, someone will return your call.
If you do have e-mail access, an e-mail is preferable,
and the information will be easier to decipher than
most phone messages. If you have a question about
a specific topic you now can select the appropriate
contact from the CGSI website by clicking on
“contact us” in the upper right hand menu bar. For
instance you can contact someone about “research,”
“membership,” “publications,” “sales,” “treasurer,”
“library,” “lending library,” “publicity,” “conference
chair,” “symposium chair,” and “president”.
Tips for Searching the
New CGSI Databases
By Al Kranz
With the launch of the new CGSI website in November,
2009 two new searchable databases were made available; Leo Baca’s Czech Immigration Passenger Lists
and “Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis MN Church
Records.” These databases are designed to help members quickly locate ancestors. This article should help
you to get the most out of your searches and minimize
the chances of missing important data.
The databases can be accessed from the Member
Home Page under the Member Features column. Clicking on either of the database selections will take you to
an introduction screen that provides information about
that database, brief instructions, and, most important,
a listing of what is currently contained within the database. Eventually, all nine volumes of Leo Baca’s Czech
Immigration Passenger Lists will be available; at present Volume IX for Baltimore 1880-1899 is available.
Approximately half of all baptismal, marriage, and
death records for Czech and Slovak churches within the
St. Paul Archdiocese are now available. These records
cover the period from the beginning of the church books
up to and including 1934 (deaths may go beyond). We
recommend that you print (or screen capture) the instruction page so you know what was available when
you did your initial search. When ready to search, click
on Search the database near the top of the instruction
page. This will take you to a search screen where you
are ready to enter your search parameters.
TIP 1: Entry of a surname is required in either database with a minimum of 3 characters of the name. You
will notice that the drop-down box above the surname
box is defaulted to “Starts with.” Due to spelling variations it is recommended that you nearly always use this
search option or the “Contains” option. For example, in
researching families with the rather common surname,
Dvorak, the author found an astounding 43 variations in
spelling. The records in these databases use the spelling
exactly as shown in the passenger lists volumes and the
way the priests entered them in the church books. Using Dvorak as an example; you would likely start with
a search of “Dvo” and then “Dwo”. Do both searches to
find all possibilities. When doing a search of a surname
which is consistent in the middle or the end of the name,
you should try the “Contains” option. The “Sounds like”
option may work well in some cases or as a third option,
but when dealing with foreign names and wide variations in names you could be missing pertinent records.
TIP 2: Entry of a CAPTCHA code from a human
readable image was necessary to prevent mining of data
and malicious use by individuals or entities. Note that
numbers and only upper case letters are presently used.
If you misinterpret the code, just try again.
TIP 3: Do not enter additional criteria for your
initial search. The more parameters you enter, the narrower the search results. You may miss pertinent records
and initially you will likely want to know “what is out
there.” If the search locates more than 200 records it
will indicate such and you can then add more criteria in
a second search. Depending upon what you know about
your ancestor, you may then want to narrow the search
to an “Arrival port” or “Arrival date between” for passenger lists and to a “Church name” or “Record Year
between” in the church record database. Also, be aware
that only the head of the family or primary family member’s complete name is searchable in the passenger lists
database. Those travelling with the primary person are
listed in a separate column, “Other Family Members.”
TIP 4: Search results are returned to you in a column and row format. You may sort all of the rows by
clicking on any column heading that is underlined (also
color different than black). Clicking on that column
heading again, reverses that sort. When you locate a
person of interest (in a given row) click on their surname. This will give you another page that shows all
data for that individual, including any “notes” that could
not be displayed in the list. These notes may show such
critical items as maiden names, age at death, spelling
variations of names (see also ----), or the parish/diocese
overseas where an individual was baptized.
TIP 5: In the passenger lists database when viewing
the page that shows all data for an individual (see TIP 4
above) an option is provided within this page to “View
ALL passengers that arrived on this specific ship.” Selecting this returns a report in column and row format
enabling you to search for other family members or
friends/neighbors travelling with your family of interest.
TIP 6: Keep in mind that for further analysis you
may print each of the search result pages at the various
levels using your browser’s print function.
We hope that these tips have helped you get the
most out of your search for ancestors. Keep in mind
that these databases will be expanded as new data is
extracted or formatted for addition to these databases.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
You may still purchase the actual volumes of passenger
lists by sending a check for $19.95 to Leo Baca at 1707
Woodcreek, Richardson TX 75082. For church records,
the actual images may be viewed on microfilm available
at the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) Library
in South St. Paul (no charge to CGSI members). The
actual image will show all information for that record.
Copies of the individual record images may also be obtained by sending your request to Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, P.O. Box 16225, St. Paul,
MN 55116-0225. Our standard CGSI Library Research
Policy and charges will apply.
Another upcoming project for this website is the addition of a searchable “Surname” database, along similar lines, enabling members with common surnames or
ancestors to network. In preparation for this new capability, members may currently enter their surname data
by going to “My Surnames” on the Member Home Page
and following the instructions.
We invite your feedback for improvements to these
databases via email to our webmaster at [email protected]
Also, we would be willing to work with anyone interested in starting an extraction project for other Czech/
Slovak parishes, archdiocese, or denominations. Again,
please email our webmaster and a starter kit and instructions will be provided.
Good luck in your ancestor search!
On the back page of this issue, your membership number and expiration date is printed on the top of the address label.
If your membership is due within the next three months, fill out the following form and return to CGSI.
Renewal New Membership No. (on top of mailing label)_________________________
City/State_________________________________________________ Zip Code*_ ___________ Telephone (
)___________________ Email_ ___________________________________________________ *Please add your nine-digit zip code. If you don’t know it, look for it on a piece of junk mail.
Make checks payable to and mail to: CGSI, P.O. Box 16225
St. Paul, MN 55116-0225
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Term Individual HouseholdSponsor
Membership Fee $ ______________
First Class Postage $ ______________
Library Donation $ ______________
USA Funds Only
Foreign and 1st Class Add $10 for 1 year;
Add $20 for 2 years; Add $30 for 3 years
Except for Canada
- Copy this form as necessary -
Succeed in Discovering
Their Czech Roots
By Stephen Hrones
My sisters and I have for several years been searching
to discover where our Hrones relatives came from in
Bohemia. All we knew was that the marriage and death
records of our great-great-grandfather and his children
only indicated “Bohemia”. They arrived in New York
about 1870 and settled in the Lower East Side where
they both lived and worked as cigar makers in the same
tenement. Eventually, three of the brothers went to the
Dakotas, one to Boston, and the other remained in New
One problem that made our search seem futile was
that each parish in Bohemia kept their own records
(which were eventually sent to one of the five State Regional archives1, including Prague), thus there was no
way to obtain any information from that source as we
didn’t know the parish or even if they came from Praha.
For years we pulled up most of the marriage, birth, and
death certificates here in the U.S. of our ancestors only
to have them list the place of birth as “Bohemia”.
The big break came when my sister googled2 my
great-great-grandfather’s first name spelled slightly different, Josef rather than Joseph, and it revealed a Czech
address of his. He came to the states from the small
town of Dobřichovice, some 20 minutes west of Prague
and slightly east of Karlštejn3. With that information I
retained one of the genealogists who advertised in Naše
rodina to trace our family tree. She could now do so
with the name of the town of origin. As a result we discovered our family went back to 1600 in the small village called Srbsko, which is west of Karlštejn and about
9 kilometers or 5.5 miles from Dobřichovice.
While teaching at the law school in Olomouc4, in
the eastern Czech Republic, (which is a beautiful historic town with a huge square, the 5th largest in the Czech
Republic) as a visiting professor I used the opportunity
to visit the small town of Dobřichovice. With the help
of a citizen of the town, who had been referred to me by
an American-Czech who had been there earlier, I traced
the various addresses where the family and in-laws had
lived. Most of the original houses, with the exception
of one with the portion of the old house intact, had been
replaced with relatively modern homes.
We could find no evidence of a Hrones family in the
town or anyone who remembered them (they had left
about 1870). However, I decided to make one last effort
to find someone who knew of the Hrones or at least find
house #4 in Srbsko. During the period of 19th century
emigration there were no street names, instead each
house in the village was numbered in the order by which
it had been built. One of my law students at Olomouc
Law School volunteered to take me to Srbsko in her
own car. On arriving in the village, we inquired of the
location of house number 4. The mother of the family
giving directions said her beautiful 11 year old daughter
would show us the way. We have kept up a friendship
with this family via the internet. My sister followed up a
few months later with a visit there also.
The Hrones house was still standing. We met the
owner who told us the interior had been radically
changed but not the exterior. He related the history
of the house including the fact it had once been a bar.
When we inquired as to whether anyone recognized the
name Hrones a next door neighbor remarked that his
father had done some research as to the prior ownership
of the property. He thought the name Hrones sounded
familiar and went to his house and returned with a
packet of documents. Lo and behold there was the name
Hrones transferring property at house number 4 to another party around 1870.
All our work had been rewarded. We had found
not only the village from whence our relatives came,
but also the very house my ancestors had resided. We
still have been unable to discover when and on what
ship they arrived. The search continues! What fun? It is
almost as if the search is as exciting as finally reaching
Tracing my ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s
side was much easier as the name of the small village
she came from was listed on my great-grandfather’s citizenship papers. What a break! They came from Štolmíř
which is just north of Český Brod and about 20 miles to
the east of Prague.
A Czech friend who was a professor at Harvard
Law School, after being forced to leave Prague with the
otherthrow of Alexander Dubček, volunteered to help
search our past. He wrote the archive in Prague requesting a search. The archive performed a complete one
going back to the 1600s. The charge was ten dollars (in
1972). This research performed in the archive revealed
large families of ten or so with several dying near
birth. On occasions when a child died young, a child
born later was given the same name. We were initially
stumped by the fact that the children were born in dif-
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
ferent homes, numbers 11, 7 and 17. It seemed strange
they changed houses so often until we realized they
were serfs who lived in very modest circumstances on
the land behind the house of the particular land owner.
He hired them for that season, thus, explaining the different addresses.
We received a tour with the kind invitation of the
owner of one of the houses where our great-grandfather
was born. The town had changed little in 200 years. The
original old church (no longer in use) was still there as
well as the original houses. The family left Bohemia
about 1850 and settled in Vienna where there were
many Czechs and still are today. Great-grandfather
became a tailor and eventually arrived in this country
around 1900 and settled in Boston where there were
very few Czechs and still few today.
About the Author:
Stephen Hrones is a Massachusetts criminal attorney
and partner in the law firm Hrones and Garrity LLP with
offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Londonderry, New
Endnotes provided by Paul Makousky, Editor of
1. The five State Regional Archives located within the
former province of Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic are Třeboň (south), Plzeň (west), Praha (central),
Litoměřice (north), and Zámrsk (east). For further information on Archives of the Czech and Slovak Republics go
to www.cgsi.org under “Using Archives.”
2. Googled is a verb meaning to perform a google search
on the internet at www.google.com. When you type
the aforementioned you get a screen with two choices,
“Google Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky”. If you type
the name Josef Hrones and click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”
your browser will immediately take you to a list called
“International Genealogical Index” or IGI. This is an
on-line card catalog of family names with birth dates,
etc. entered by members of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints (i.e. LDS). Try your own family
3. Karlštejn is a town known for the Karlštejn Castle
founded by Karel IV (Charles), Holy Roman Emperor
and King of Bohemia. It is about 30 kilometers southwest
of Prague. It is one of the top tourist stops in the Czech
Republic with frequent tours leaving from Prague.
4. Olomouc was formerly the capital of Moravia prior to
the Swedish capture of the city during the period of 16421650. The institution of higher education in Olomouc is
called Palacký University after the famed Czech historian František Palacký.
The Hrones family emigrated from the central Bohemian village of Dobřichovice located at the end of this black arrow. Map by
Velký Autoatlas Československa 1:200,000. Vydal, zpracoval a vytiski Geodetický a kartografický podnik Praha, 1990. ISBN
80-7011-077-5, page 13.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
The Surprise of Genealogy
also secretary for the United Dairy Cheese Factory for
twenty-four years. He helped in the operation of Kadlec
Park (now known as Blazek Park) which was the site of
by Kristine Kadlec
the annual Bohemian Day celebration. He created and
played violins and also produced snowshoes. He married Rose Kalchik and together they raised five children:
As a self-taught genealogist for about the past twenty
years, I have been a member of various genealogy orga- Earl, Leo, Allen, Alfred and Gladys.
The Wisconsin Historical Society also suggested
nizations. While a member of the Oconto County Genethat I contact the Wisconsin Postal History Society for
alogical Society (OCGS) which is based in Wisconsin,
further information. They sent me the name, address,
I ordered a copy of a past issue of their newsletter and
and email for Frank Moerti, President of the Society,
was pleasantly surprised to find a one-page biography
along with information about the free United States
about my great-grandfather Joseph Kadlec. The biograPostal Service publicaphy had been written by
tion, The United States
Ray Kadlec, a former
Postal Service: An
president of OCGS. In
American History 1775the same newsletter,
2006. A free copy can
Ray Kadlec requested
be obtained by writing
a copy of the postmark
to Megaera Ausman,
from the village of
Postal Service Historian,
Kadlec, Wisconsin from
1905 or 1906. I had no
475 L’Enfant Plaza
idea that a city or village
S.W., Washington, D.C.
existed in Wisconsin
20260-0012. I contacted
with my last name!
Frank Moerti who was
I decided to write to
kind enough to sugthe Wisconsin Historical
gest that I attend stamp
Society located at 816
shows in my area and
State Street, Madison,
hunt for Wisconsin postWisconsin 53706 to
inquire if they had a
While perusing my
copy of the Kadlec city
copy of the publication
postmark. They sent
The United States Postal
me a copy of a page
Service: An American
from their publication,
History 1775-2006, I
Wisconsin: Its Territocame across the followrial and Statehood Post
ing website: www.usps.
Offices. The information
indicated that there was
It is an online list of
a Kadlec Post Office
Antone “Tony” F. Kadlec (1883-1955) in background, and his
former postmasters but
established June 2, 1905
son, Alfred Kadlec (1911-1941), foreground. Both are standing
does not appear to be
and discontinued Octoin front of Kadlec’s Tavern in Spruce, WI. Date of photo: uncomplete at this time
ber 15, 1906 with Anknown.
as I did not find any intone “Tony” F. Kadlec
formation regarding the Kadlec post office. I also came
(b. 1883 – d. 1955) its only postmaster. Tony Kadlec
across a listing of publications housed at the National
was my great-uncle! In the immortal words of Gomer
Archives in Washington, D.C. including Publication
Pyle, U.S.M.C. - “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”.
M841,Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-SepTony Kadlec was a multi-talented man. With his
tember 30, 1971. I visited their website at www.
father Joseph Kadlec, he operated a sawmill busiarchives.gov and found information regarding Publiness, farm and dance hall/tavern. For eleven years, he
cation M841 which is actually 145 rolls of microfilm
served as a supervisor for Spruce, Wisconsin and was
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
containing records of appointments of postmasters. I
located Roll 143 indicating that it contained information
for Wisconsin counties from Green to Pierce Counties
which is the one I needed since Kadlec, Wisconsin was
located in Oconto County. I found their website rather
confusing when it came to the cost of getting a copy of
this information so I called them at (866) 272-6272 and
was told that each page would cost $2.90.
I decided to put my request in writing and mail it to
the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration,
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. I
included all the information I had so far including the
publication number, the microfilm number, the name
of the former post office and the county in which it had
been located. I also included the exact wording contained in the page from the Wisconsin Historical Society
publication. I mailed my request on February 14, 2009.
They sent me back a pre-printed form Quotation for
Reproduction Services which showed the copies I was
requesting and also asking that I return the form along
with a check in the amount of $15.00. I did so on February 27, 2009.
By April 13, 2009, I had not yet received any information from the National Archives and decided to
make a follow-up phone call. I found out they had installed new check scanning equipment and were having
trouble processing my personal check. I was told my
request and check would be processed as soon as possible. On April 23rd, I received three pieces of information. The first was the Location Paper from the Office
of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, Division of
Appointments dated April 18, 1905 and completed and
signed by my great-uncle Tony Kadlec. The second was
the proposed diagram for the Kadlec, Wisconsin Post
Office also completed by Tony Kadlec. And the third
appears to be a copy of a large ledger page listing several post offices and their respective postmasters including
Kadlec, Wisconsin and Antone F. Kadlec.
The forms did not really provide any further information than I already had obtained. I was hoping to
find out how much money my great-uncle was paid as
a postmaster. But it was somehow comforting holding
a copy of the same document signed by my great-uncle
over one hundred years ago! I started out this search
looking for a Kadlec, Wisconsin postmark and found so
much more - such is the surprise of genealogy!
About the Author:
Kristine is a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, a former
resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and now lives in Los
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Angeles, CA. She has studied art, fashion and accessories design at Pasadena City College, Otis Parsons,
UCLA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Kadlec has won numerous awards for her fiber art and
also designs and creates furniture collage and wearable art garments. She honors her deceased ancestors
by naming some of her artwork after her female Czech
relatives. Kristine has spent the past several years doing genealogical research and has discovered that her
Kadlec surname means weaver. Further information
about the author can be found on her website: www.
kristinekadlec.com or www.dailywriting.net/KadlecStudio.htm
Abbreviations Used in Queries
also known as
Roots in Southeast Jones County, IA?
Small Towns website has had a facelift! Welcome to
this website for genealogists and historians of the small
towns in SE Jones County in eastern Iowa. Czech it out
at: http://www.oxfordjctgenealogy.com or
Looking for More Queries?
The CGSI website, www.cgsi.org has a permanent listing of member queries. So, if you either want to post a
query to find something on a family or a town, or to
help answer a query give it a look.
Village of Mestecko History book
The CGSI library has a copy of the book Mestecko,
Okres Rakovnik (Frgn Cze 982 Koc) in the Czech
language. We would like to have the book translated by
pooling funds from people who have relatives from this
town. Contact: Diann Biltz [email protected]
or Rosie Bodien [email protected]
Czech Name Days Calendar
1. Nový rok
(New Year’s Day)
6. Tři králové (The Three Kings)
2. Nela, Hromnice
1. Svátek práce (Labor Day)
5. Květnové povstání českého lidu,
1945 (The Prague Uprising, 1945)
8. Státní svátek: Den osvobození od
fašismu, 1945 (National holiday:
Liberation from fascism, 1945)
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
11. Svatava Den matek (Mothers’
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
29. Petr a Pavel
5. Státní svátek: Den slovanských
věrozvěstů Cyrila a Metoděje
(National holiday: Introduction of
Christianity by Slavonic Missionaries, Cyril and Methodius)
6. Státní svátek: mistr Jan Hus,
1415 (National holiday: John Hus,
28. Státní svátek: Den vzniku
státu, 1918 (National holiday: Origin of the Independent Czechoslovak State, 1918)
2. Památka zesnulých
(All Souls’ Day)
17. Den boje studentů za svobodu
a demokracii, 1989 (Students’ Fight
for Freedom and Democracy, 1989)
24. Štědrý den (Christmas Eve)
Adam a Eva
25. 1. svátek vánoční (1st Christmas Holiday) Boží hod vánoční
26. 2. svátek vánoční (2nd Christmas Holiday)
To find out the English equivalent of the Czech male and female
names you can visit the website:
on the main page go to the left hand
side and “Culture” link. There you
will find the link to Czech Name
Days. Click on the Czech Name
Days hyperlink and beneath the
Monthly List and Alphabetical List
of Name Days you will find English and Czech name equivalents
Svaty Mikuláš (St. Nicholas) at Czech and
Slovak Sokol Minnesota, December 2002.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Coming to Lincoln, Nebraska April 30-May 1, 2010:
“They Came to the Heartland,” CGSI’s 2010 symposium
City Campus Union, University of Nebraska
Day 1, Friday April 30, Research or Tour, a choice:
• CGSI Traveling Library – experienced volunteers will be available to help participants explore a
wide variety of CGSI’s most useful resource materials,
• Nebraska State Historical Society Library – located next door to the Union, this newly
remodeled research library offers a wide variety of Nebraska materials,
• Back to One’s Roots – Our Ancestors’ Everyday Lives Shown in Archival Documents, the exhibit
from the Czech National Archive will be open, its first viewing outside Minnesota.
• The Czech Spirit Survives in Saline County, Nebraska, an all-day tour (includes kolač break and
Czech-style lunch) led by historian and Czech heritage enthusiast, Janet Jeffries. The tour will
visit a historic Sokol Hall, Czech cemetery, museum, a library’s heritage room and other historic
sites in Saline County and the “Czech capital of the US, Wilber, Nebraska.”
Social Mixer event at the Union is included for all symposium registrants.
CGSI Sales Table featuring unique Czech maps and books will be available both days.
Day 2, Saturday, May 1, Lecture Sessions
Czech Immigration Passenger Lists, Leo Baca; Czech Language for Genealogists, Dr. Mila SaskovaPierce; Czech-American Freethinkers, Dr. Bruce Garver; Homestead Records as a Genealogical
Source, Jason Jurgena, Homestead historian; Using the Internet for Genealogical Research, Tom
McFarland; Czechs in Kansas, Steve Parke; Czechs in Iowa, Mike Prohaska; DNA and Genealogy,
Leo Baca; Traditions and Customs in Czech Rural Life, Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce; Searching for Your
Czech Ancestors -Emphasis on Nebraska Czechs, Margie Sobotka.
Also available on Saturday: CGSI Traveling Library and Prague Archive exhibit.
Saturday Evening Dinner and Entertainment: A “pork dinner with an ethnic twist” (optional) will
be served at the Nebraska Union with entertainment provided by The Kramer Sisters, who have a
Czech repertoire including singing and various folk instruments.
Hotel Accommodations: A block of rooms at the Holiday Inn Downtown (historic Haymarket District)
has been reserved for symposium attendees. Call 402-475-4011 early to reserve at a “special CGSI rate”
of $104 per night. CGSI will provide a shuttle from the hotel to the Union (7 blocks away) on Saturday.
Registration: Registration form and packet are available at www.cgsi.org or by request to Wayne Sisel
([email protected]), or by mail c/o CGSI, PO Box 16225, St. Paul, MN 55116.
AND THERE’S A Day 3! On Sunday, May 2, although not part of the Symposium, the Nebraska Czechs of
Lincoln will hold their 41st annual festival at the Moose Lodge Center, 4901 N 56th Street, Lincoln. It’s open
to the public, admission is free and there will be Czech food, demonstrations, exhibits, and music.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Other Books that can assist you in your
research or contain surnames:
First Steps in Genealogy, A Beginner’s Guide to Researching Your Family History. By
Desmond Walls Allen. Published by Betterway Books,
Cincinnati, OH,1998. A good basic overview of getting
started, this book has an appendix that includes a guide
for source citations, and a list of resources.
m Ref 038 All
By Suzette Steppe
A Handbook of Czechoslovak
Genealogical Research. By Daniel M. Schlyter. Published by Genun Publishers, Buffalo Grove, IL. Third
Printing 1987. This book focuses on researching immigrants from the Czechoslovak lands. There are chapters
on history, immigration, places, records and sources,
Czech, Slovak, German, Latin, and Hungarian word
lists. Many useful keyed maps are included, depicting
political, provincial and archival districts.
m Frgn Cze 022 Sch
Theme of This Issue: Czech and
Books: There are only a few books in the
CGSI library that deal with Surnames.
m Frgn Cze 031 Hor Surname Location Reference
Booklet: Surnames of Immigrants to North America
and their Roots Location as per Slovakia Presently.
Compiled by Joseph J. Hornack. No publisher 1989.
Czechoslovak Surname Index. Compiled by Paul Makousky, Joyce Fagerness and
other volunteers. Published by Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, St. Paul, MN, 1989-2006.
These volumes contain the surnames that are being researched by CGSI members.
m Frgn Cze 56 Vols. 1-9
Čtenío Jménech. By František Kopečný. Published by Okresní kulturní středisko,
Prostějov, 1988. This book lists the common Czech given names with various names derived from them. It
also lists surnames that were derived from given names.
m Frgn Cze 199 Kop
m Frgn Cze 378 Mol 1.1 Naše Příjmení / Our Surnames. By Dobrava Moldanová. Published by Agentura
Pankrác, s.r.o., Praha, 2004. This is an update of the
author’s 1984 book, which gives an alphabetized list of
Czech surnames and their derivation. There is a table
of the most common Czech names as of 2002 and their
relative frequency given in percentages, and a list of abbreviations and lesser known terms. In Czech.
Německá Příjmení U Čechů. By Josef Beneš. Published by Univerzita J.
E. Purkyně, Ústí nad Labem, 1998. This book contains
extensive discussions about the derivation of Czech surnames from German. It includes notations of the earliest
m Frgn Cze 800 V.1 and V.1 Ben
Genealogical Research for
Czech and Slovak Americans. (vol. 2). By Olga K.
Miller. Gale Research Company, Detroit, 1978. Although some information may be out-dated, there is still
some good basic information for the beginning genealogist.
m Frgn Cze 073 Mil
History of Czechs in America. By Jan Habenicht, translated by Miroslav Koudelka. Published by the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, 1996. The author describes the historical development of Czech settlements on a state-by-state basis, includes numerous photographs and illustrations. Maps of states settled by Czech immigrants,
showing counties, are included in the appendix. Also included are a listing of Czech-American organizations,
surname and geographical indexes.
m Frgn Cze 350 1.2 Hab
poddaných podle víry z roku 1651. Published by Státní
ústřední archiv, Praha. Register of serfs according to faiths from 1651. Towns in each region are listed with names of inhabitants, their relation to each other, marital
status, ages, and whether Catholic or non-Catholic. In
German and Czech.
m Frgn Cze 533 Var (Multiple volumes)
m Frgn Cze 554 1.1 Hor Ancestral Tree, Slovakia
Roots. By Joseph J. Hornack. No publisher, 1995. Surname Location Reference Project.
m Frgn Cze 554 1.2 Hor Ancestral Tree, Slovakia
Roots. By Joseph J. Hornack. No publisher, 1995. Surname Location Reference Project.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Slovak Pride. Compiled by The
Slovak Heritage and Folklore Society International. November,1996. This publication contains a list of family
names and ancestral villages.
m Frgn Cze 659 Slo
m Frgn Cze 694 Sob Index of Names found in the
periodical Hospodář (Farmer) 1906- 1930 (February issues only). Abstracted and compiled by Margie Sobotka, Elkhorn, NE, 1997. The index is in three sections: (1) articles, (2) photos, (3) names, location of residence and year. The abstractions were from the February issues only, where most of the personal articles were
Obtaining Genealogical Information From the Czech and Slovak Republic Archives.
Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International,
m Frgn Cze 715 Cze
m Frgn Cze 880 Ben Legionari a československá
obec legionarská na Králové hradecku: Bibliografie /
Legionnaires and Czechoslovak legionnaires of Hradec Králové: Bibliography. By Jarmila Benyšková, and
Jana Šaurová. Published by Okresní knihovna v Hradci Králové, Hradec Králové, 2001. This is a bibliography containing 1,968 entries pertaining to legionnaires,
and, in particular, the legionnaires of Hradec Králové.
m Frgn Cze 881 Juz Československý legionari okresu Rychnov nad Kněžnou, 1914-1921 / Czechoslovak
legionnaires from the region of Rychnov nad Kněžnou, 1914-1921. By Josef Juza. Published by Okresní úřad Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Rychnov nad Kněžnou,
1998. In Czech.
Vol 1: general chronology 12 May 1914 through
May of 1921. Historical data of Russian, Serbian,
French and Italian legions including, maps. Register
of names of legionnaires with date of birth arranged
according to places they served.
Vol 2: biographies of legionnaires, listed alphabetically, A to L.
Vol 3: biographies of legionnaires, listed alphabetically, M to Z.
Husitská tradice a
československé legie 1914-1920 / The Hussite Tradition and the Czechoslovak Legion 1914-1920. By Petr
Bratka. Published by Husitské muzeum Tábor, 1999.
A brief history of the Czechoslovak Legion, written in
Czech, followed by a register, by towns, of legionnaires
from the region of Tábor. Following that is an alphabeti-
m Frgn Cze 882 Bra
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
cal list of legionnaires by name.
Českoslovenstí legionari z
okresu Hradec Králové 1914-1920 / Czechoslovak legionnaires from the region of Hradec Králové. By Jaroslava Pospišilová. Published by Muzeum východnich Čech v Hradci Králové, Hradec Králové, 2000. The
book opens with a brief history of the Czechoslovak Legion, interspersed with photographs and a few personal
recollections. Then there is a register, by towns, of legionnaires from the region of Hradec Králové. Following
that is a register of legionnaires by name. In Czech
m Frgn Cze 883 Pos
Legionari Berounska 19141920 / Legionnaires of Beroun 1914-1920. By Jiří Topinka and Martin Hampl. Published by Státní okresní archiv Beroun, 2001. This is the history of the organizing of legionnaires from the Beroun area. There are
a few recollections of veterans, and lists of legionnaires
which give name, occupation, date of birth, date they joined, name of legion. There is also a list of men killed
with date and place of death. In Czech.
m Frgn Cze 906 Top
Kniha. By Miroslav Karný. Published by Melantrich,
Praha, 1995. These are memorial volumes of the Jews
who were deported to Terezín from Bohemia and Moravia. Volume 2 contains an alphabetical index of the
m Frgn Cze 987 V. 1 and 2
V. 1 and 2 Berni Rula Index
(Vol. I A-L, Vol. II M-Z). Compiled by Václav Červený
& Jarmila Červená. Published by Libri, Praha, 2003.
These volumes will help ease the genealogist’s search
in the Berni Rula microfiche files for surnames in Bohemia (Moravia is not included) in the mid-17th century. The Berni Rula of 1654 was a census of land parcels,
farmsteads that paid taxes, or contributions and serfs.
Data that was recorded: all farmsteads, town homes,
furnishings, land under crops, farm animals, and occupations of those who maintained them, recorded by region, sovereignty, and locality. There’s a wealth of other
information and statistics in tables, explanations, footnotes that is all in Czech.
m Frgn Cze 1035 Cer
m Frgn Cze 1194 Alz Finding your Slovak Ancestors. By Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A. Published by Heritage
Productions, Toronto, CA, 2005. This new book fills
a real need for those that are looking for assistance on
how to research Slovak ancestors. It answers the basic
question of “where to begin” and then leads the reader
to the many sources to be found in the U.S., Canada and
Slovakia. Internet research is included as well as a listing of related websites. The LDS continues to microfilm
Slovak vital records and this book describes how to
access those records. Reflecting the author’s personal
approach, the book also emphasizes networking and
finding Slovak “Cluster Communities”.
Czech Family Histories. This four volume set contains stories about Czech
family genealogy, biographies and memories of early
Czech life in the United States, Bohemia, Moravia and
Silesia. Indexed by surname and village. Includes photos. Published by Texas Czech Genealogical Society.
m Frgn Cze 1260 V. 1-4 TCG
m Frgn Cze 1267 Cul History of Slovaks in America. By Konštantín Čulen, translated by Daniel Nečas,
edited by Dr. Michael J. Kopanic, Jr and Steven Potach.
Published by Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, 2007. Konštantín Čulen paints a vivid portrait
of early Slovak life in the U.S. He records in detail the
experiences of Slovak-Americans, their struggles and
triumphs, their strengths and failings, their passions and
prejudices, and their fight to achieve unity and justice
for the Slovak nation, both in America and in their oppressed homeland. Through his rich an extensive use of
early newspaper accounts, letters, eyewitness narratives
and other original source materials, Čulen enables us to
hear the voice of the Slovak immigrant generation. The
result is an absorbing and often dramatic chronicle of
the Slovak-American experience. This book provides
an indispensable resource for understanding the foundations of Slovak life in America. All surnames and place
names are fully-indexed.
m Frgn Cze 1281.1-1281.7 Var Soupis židovských
rodin v Čechách z roku 1793; Vols. 1 – VI. Published
by the Státní ústřední archiv, Prague, Czech Republic,
2002. The seven books (volume VI is two books) contain the 1793 census of Jewish names. Each volume is
organized by specific kraj’s and within each kraj by village. Each Jewish family is listed, the names of head of
household, wife and children, whether the family owned
any property and occupation. In Czech and German.
Are You a Weekend Genealogist?
Are you only able to work on your family history on
the weekends? Are you frustrated that you are unable
to visit the CGSI Library nights on the 2nd Thursday?
Good news, CGSI has added a Saturday afternoon library shift for those who are unable to visit the library
during the week. Now on the 1st Saturday afternoon of
each month, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., there will be members of CGSI available at the MGS (Minnesota Genealogical Society) Library to assist you. This gives you
the opportunity to check out all of the resources of the
Library, ask questions, and get help with your research.
Remember the 1st Saturday afternoon of each month –
we hope to see you at the library!
CGSI Lending Library
A list of the available books along with a printable
Patron Request / Agreement Form is available on the
CGSI website (www.cgsi.org), and in the March 2007
issue of Naše rodina. The list and form will be mailed,
upon request to members, who may not have internet
access. Patrons may borrow a maximum of 4 books at
one time for a period of 3 weeks and will pay all postage, handling and return charges. The lending library is
staffed by volunteer, Linda Berney of Grand Island, NE.
Lending instructions, policies and other information is
posted on the website, or will be mailed to members
Library Volunteers Needed
There are many opportunities to volunteer and no experience is required, library training will be provided. This
is a great opportunity to become familiar with all of
the resources available in the library and to assist other
members with their research. There are many great
programs that the CGSI and MGS volunteers are responsible for putting together for their members and the
Genealogical Library is the largest of these programs.
As such it requires a number of people who can donate
their time to keep the library maintained and open to its
members. You can volunteer as often as you like, once a
week or once a month, day or evening shifts. For further
information please contact [email protected]
net or [email protected]
We have issues of various periodicals that have been donated but are not on the shelves due to space limitations.
These are stored in the CGSI office and if you have
an interest in examining them, please contact Suzette
Steppe. The periodicals include Hospodář, Ženské Listy,
Jednota, Hlás Národa, Česká Žena and Přítel.
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Library Collection Research Policy
CGSI will do research on selected books and reference
material in our library collection. Mostly, these are
books with name indexes or are indexes themselves,
such as Leo Baca’s Czech Passenger Arrival Lists, the
ZČBJ (Fraternal Herald) Death Index, the Nebraska/
Kansas Czech Settlers book, and the telephone directories of the Czech and Slovak Republics.
A nearly complete list of the CGSI’s book, microfilm/fiche, and map collection is available on the website, www.cgsi.org. The collection is searchable by part
or all of the title by using any of the following parameters: “Is equal to”, “Contains”, “Starts with”, and “Ends
with.” The books can also be sorted by title and author.
Another feature of the on-line library collection is
the special notation of those searchable for a fee under
the research policy (discussed later). The notation is
identified with a capital letter “S” in the far right margin
of the book record.
Books may also be searched according to the following categories: “Any”, “Family History”, “Foreign”,
“Maps and Atlases”, “Microfilm/Microfiche”, “Minnesota and United States”, “Tapes”, and “Telephone
We cannot accept open-ended research requests such
as “tell me what you have on the Jan Dvořák family of
Minnetonka, Minnesota.” When making a research request you must specify which book you want researched
and what family, castle, town, etc, for which you want
The fees for various research are as follows: Telephone Directories of Czech and Slovak Republics
- $5.00 for each surname provided (per directory) per
member, or $10 for each surname provided (per directory) per non-member, plus 25 cents for each address
we find and extract from the book.
Other Sources/Books - $5.00 per half hour of research for members or $10.00 per half hour of research
for non-members. Expenses for photocopies and additional postage will be billed. The minimum charge of
$5.00/member or $10.00/non-member must accompany
the request for information.
Research is conducted by CGSI volunteers. They
will not be able to interpret any information for you that
is found in a foreign language.
The CGSI Library holdings are housed within the MinMarch 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
nesota Genealogical Society (MGS) Library which is located at 1185 Concord St N, Suite 218 in South St. Paul,
MN* (Across the Street from the Marathon Gas Station). Parking is available in lots on the north or south
end of the building and on the east side of Concord St.
MGS Library telephone number:
MGS Library hours:
Wed, Thurs, Sat 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Tue, Thurs 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M.
The second Thursday night of each month is Czech
and Slovak night. The first Saturday afternoon of the
month has been recently added as Czech and Slovak
day. During these hours, the library is staffed by CGSI
volunteers who are there to assist you in locating the
resources you need in your research.
*Please do not send mail to this address, instead continue to send it to the P.O. Box.
Remember to visit
us the 1st Saturday
of each month at
our new location!
We will accept limited advertising. We
generally do not accept ads for products,
only services. The rates for the following
approximate ad sizes are: full page (7” x
9”) - $150; one-half page (7” x 4½”) - $90;
one-half column (3a” x 4½”) - $50; and
column width (3a” x 2”) - $35. Prices are
per issue. All submitted advertisements
must be camera-ready. Queries are free
Ads must be approved by newsletter committee
Sales Order Form
(All Items Include Shipping Costs)
To Reap a Bountiful Harvest (Czech Immigration Beyond the Mississippi, 1850
to 1900) by Stepanka Korytova-Magstadt
Czechoslovakia: A Short Chronicle of 27,094 Days by Miroslav Koudelka, 20 pgs
Brief History of the Czech Lands
Tales of the Czechs – History and Legends of Czech people
Gateway to a New World – Czech/Slovak community in St. Paul, Minnesota’s
West End district
Map of Czech Grammar, 8 pages showing
nouns, verbs, cases, etc
New Prague, Minnesota Cemetery inventory, over 200 pgs
Children’s Illustrated Czech Dictionary, 94 pages
Pioneer Stories of Minnesota Czech Residents (1906-1930)
Beginners Slovak by Elena Letnanova, 207 pgs
Czech Heritage Coloring Book
by NE Czechs of Wilber
Slovak-English & English/Slovak Dictionary and
Phrasebook by S. & J. Lorinc, 155 pgs
History of Slovakia – A Struggle for Survival by Kirschbaum
Slovak/Eng & Eng/Slovak Dictionary by Nina Trnka, 359 pgs
History of the Slovaks of Cleveland and Lakewood, OH, 301 pgs
Česká Republika Auto map,
Slovakia in Pictures, Lerner Publications, 64 pgs
Czech Republic Hiking maps
(97 maps in series) 1:50000 scale
Slovakia – The Heart of Europe, 55 pgs hardcover
Czech Republic Tourist maps
(46 maps in series) 1:100000 scale
Visiting Slovakia – Tatras by Jan Lacika, 136 pgs
Czech Republic Auto Atlas, 1:100000 scale
By Sidonka Wadina and Toni Brendel
Slovak-American Touches by Toni Brendel
150 Slovak recipes, dance groups, etc. 192 pgs.
Bohemian-American Cookbook by Marie Rosicky in 1906
Cherished Czech Recipes by Pat Martin, 143 pgs
Czech and Slovak Touches by Pat Martin
Czech Dictionary and Phrasebook by M. Burilkova, 223 pages
Beginners Czech by Iva Cerna & Johann Machalek, 167 pgs
Czech/Eng & Eng/Czech Dictionary
by Nina Trnka, 594 pgs
Czech/English & English/Czech Dictionary
by FIN, Olomouc, CR 1102 pp, hardcover
Czech Phrasze Book by Nina Trnka,
ideal for tourists, 149 pgs
My Slovakia: An American’s View
by Lil Junas, hardcover, 56 pages
Album of Bohemian Songs
Slovak Republic Hiking maps
(58 in series) 1:50000 scale
Slovak Republic Tourist maps
(29 in series) 1:100000 scale
Slovak Republic Auto Atlas, 1:100000 scale w/postal codes, 176 pp.
$ 29.50 21
History of Czechs in America
by Jan Habenicht, 595 pgs
Czech and Slovak Folk Costumes by Jitka Stan-
kova and Ludvik Baran. In Czech with English
summary. 152 pgs w/ color photos.
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 1, May 1989 (946 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 2 Feb 1990 (1250 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 3 June 1992 (1719 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 4 Feb 1993 (1700 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 5 May 1994 (1509 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 6 March 1995 (1745 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 7 Jan 1999 (1520 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 8 $ 6.00
Sept 2002 (1423 surnames)
Czechoslovak Surname Index Vol 9
March 2006 (1451 surnames)
Finding Your Slovak Ancestors
by Lisa Alzo, 385 pgs.
Czechs in Chicagoland by Malynne Sternstein,
History of Slovaks in America
by Konstantin Culen, 411 pgs.
Total Amount Paid
City________________________ St _____________ Zip___________________
Make check payable to CGSI, and mail to Czechoslovak Genealogical Society Int’l.,
P.O. Box 16225, St. Paul, MN 55116-0225. Prices subject to change without notice. Items
may not always be available on demand. Refunds will be made for items which are
not available. Note: Depending on weight, postage outside of the U.S. will generally be
higher. We will bill for any difference in costs.
To see photos of these items and
some additional information please
visit our website: <www.cgsi.org>
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
Calendar of Events -Mark Yours
If you have a question write the webmaster at [email protected] or call our number (651) 964-2322 to leave a voice
mail message. Your call will be returned.
June 2009 – June 2010
Treasures from the National Collection
Folk Costumes, ornate crystal, porcelain, etc.
Where: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
410 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA
Further info: www.crma.org
May 2, 2010 (Sunday)
Nebraska Czechs of Lincoln Festival
Moose Lodge Family Center
4901 N 56th St, Lincoln, Nebraska
Further info: Deb (402) 438-1903
CGSI will have a sales table here!
March 27, 2010 (Saturday) 12:30 – 4:00
CGSI Quarterly Membership Meeting
Becoming an American: Immigration – The process, the
law and the records.
Our immigrant ancestors became Americans – somehow. Learn where to find these records and what they
can tell us about our family history.
Lecture by Thomas K. Rice, CG
1185 Concord St N, South St. Paul, MN
Further info: www.cgsi.org
June 11 -13, 2010 (Friday – Sunday)
Czechoslovakian Collectors Association
Annual Convention and Auction
Hilton North, Castleton, Indiana
Special Guest: Jiri Harcuba, Czech
Glass engraver, demo and lecture.
Further info: www.czechcollectors.org
March 27, 2010 (Saturday) 11 am – 8 pm
Annual Czech Festival
American Czech Educational Center
4690 Lansdowne, St. Louis, MO
Further info: (314) 752-8168 or
April 7 – 10, 2010 (Wednesday – Saturday)
Czech and Slovak Americans: International Perspectives from the Great Plains
Center for Great Plains Studies
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Further info: [email protected]
April 11, 2010 (Sunday) hours 11-4
Omaha Czech/Slovak Folklore Festival
Omaha Sokol Hall, 21st & U Sts
Sponsor: Omaha Czech Cultural Club
April 30 – May 1, 2010 (Friday, Saturday)
CGSI Lincoln Symposium
City Campus Union at University of NE – Lincoln
More details on Page 41 in this issue
Registration form on website: www.cgsi.org
Further info Wayne Sisel: [email protected]
March 2010 Vol. 22 No. 1
June 17-19, 2010 (Thursday – Saturday)
Tabor, South Dakota Czech Festival
62nd Annual Czech Days Celebration
Info: Tabor, SD Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: (605) 463-2476
Further info: www.taborczechdays.com
June 19-20, 2010 (Saturday, Sunday)
27th Annual Czech-Slovak Community Festival
Phillips High School, 990 Flambeau Ave
CGSI will have a Sales table here!
Further info: http://czech-slovak.tripod.com/
September 4-5, 2010 (Saturday, Sunday)
150th Anniversary of St. Wenceslaus Church
Spillville, Iowa Community Celebration
CGSI will have Traveling Library on Saturday
CGSI sales material will also be available
Info: Eileen Tlusty: [email protected]
October 26-29, 2011 (Wednesday – Saturday)
CGSI’s 13th Genealogical/Cultural Conference
Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel, St. Louis, MO
Call for Papers due on April 30, 2010
For more info on the Call for Papers visit the
CGSI website at: www.cgsi.org or contact,
Paul Makousky, 2011 Conference Chair at:
Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International
P.O. Box 16225
St. Paul, MN 55116-0225
PERMIT NO. 7985
ST. PAUL, MN
Address Service Requested
Coming In The June 2010 Issue Glass Production at Slovglass Poltar, s.r.o.
History of Bohemian Glassmaking
Made in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia Perfumes 101
Five Strategies for Finding Female Ancestors
Hennepin County, Minnesota Marriage Records
Don’t Forget to Register for the
2010 Lincoln Symposium!
A great educational and networking opportunity.
Further information is
shown on page 41.
Display window near the front entrance to Beranek Glassworks in Škrdlovice, the Czech-Moravian Highlands in Czech Republic. Photo courtesy
of Paul Makousky, 1995.
CGSI website: www.cgsi.org