Thursday, September 7, 2017

Czech Birth Matrika Templates

A request was made on the Czech Genealogy Facebook group for a some templates for Czech matriky records. Here is my work in progress, which you may freely use. It is not complete. I welcome any additions and corrections. 
To add: anything from the 15th*-17th centuries, early 18th century, 20th century

*It is not common for matriky records to go back this far. But I have heard that they do in some places. Maybe you know where?

Mid 18th century before house numbering and matriky reforms of Josef II ca 1780
Example 1758 Frenštát

Late 18th century right after house numbering and matriky reforms of Josef II ca 1780
Example 1784 Klimkovice

Early 19th century printed form in German spanning two folios
Example 1813 Šumavské Hoštice

Mid 19th century printed form in Czech spanning two folios
Example 1864 Rakovník

Late 19th century printed form in Czech spanning two folios
Example 1883 Velké Opatovice

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The History of Czech Matriky

I was confused about why the matriky in use today are stored in matriční úřady (registrar’s office), not in the farnost (parish). This did not make sense to me. Catholics who get baptized want to still keep matriky books today, because they are a record of a religious ordinance/rites. How can the government justify itself by keeping and holding onto this record?

I decided to try to discover what specific chain of events led to where and how the matriky are kept today, so of course I asked my friend Lukáš, and together we wrote this post. Update: many thanks to my 4th cousin Josef Petr who added some additional insight which was missing before. I appreciate it!

First, what are matriky? The old matriky are church books, or parish registers, and here of course we mainly mean Catholic church books.

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) required Catholic parishes to keep matriky records. Previous to then, it was not compulsory, but in some places those registers were kept. It would be amazing if any survived the Thirty Years War for us to be able to see (or touch!) in our day. Remember that resources which we take for granted today, like paper and writing utensils, were not as widespread back then. In fact, though it was technically required by canon law, some places did not manage to start keeping matriky records until Josef II's rules in the 18th century, for example, Hungary.

Starting during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and lasting for long after, many small villages had to group consolidate together to form parishes. Remember, something like 40% of the population of the Czech lands was wiped out during this time period. With so many villages gathering together in one farnost (parish), they became dependent on one parish priest, and maybe one or two clerks who helped him. And they had to record every birth, marriage, and death. You can imagine it was not a welcome task. Parish registers before the reforms of Josef II are therefore not as detailed or complete, if they actually managed to survive through the centuries from the devastation of fires.

Joseph Benedikt Anton Michael Adam, or you could go with his official title, His Royal Highness Archduke Joseph of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, Prince of Tuscany, etc. but for short, let’s just call him Joseph II. He was the son of Marie Theresa. These two “enlightened monarchs” made huge reforms which permanently changed the Czech lands forever, and probably for the better. They are still well respected and loved today.

The first official connection between the matriky and the government happened during the reign of Joseph II (who ruled from 1765-1790). The church started keeping matriky for the state’s use (for example taxes, military drafts, etc), so the state regulated “how to keep them”. For example, you will notice that around 1780 matriky start to be kept in separate books for births, marriages, and deaths. Villages which were in the same parish also started to be kept separately, and other changes in record-keeping occurred. This is all because of Joseph II’s reforms.  

The Židovské matriky (Jewish registers) started to be kept in 1784.

Protestants were still recorded in the Catholic matriky, though they keep unofficial “private” matriky for themselves. In fact, this is kind of a parallel to the situation we have today, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

In 1848 Protestants began to be allowed to keep their own official matriky.

~1870 was the first time in the Czech lands when people were allowed to remain “without confession” - aka leave the church. Those outside the church were registered in civilní matriky kept by okresní úřady.

Let’s not forget the vojenské matriky (soldier’s registers), which began in 1768 and were kept by regimental priests for the military personnel. By the way, this system survived until 1950’s.

Some of the darkest times for the Czech lands was during German occupation (1939-1945), when it was officially known as the Protektorát Čechy a Morava, or in German: Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren. It turns out that information is an extremely valuable source of power. Tragically, matriky records were used during this time by Nazis to discover the genealogy of citizens, and how much percentage of Jewish blood they might have. In Josef Škvorecký's book The Swell Season: a Text on the Most Important Things in Life, there is an account of how Danny Smiricky stays up the entire night helping the local parish priest to recopy an entire matriky book in order to conceal the Jewish heritage of one of the locals. Though this is a fictional story, perhaps Škvorecký is drawing from his own life experiences, which is really something that should give us pause.

Enter communism (1948-1989). It should be noted that the communist regime did not want the Catholic church (or any church) to have power, but they had a strong interest in the matriky, again because information is power. Communists used the matriky to prevent certain families from ever reaching a higher social status, or requiring certain students to leave university.

Starting in 1950, new matriky were introduced which were recorded by the matriční úřady (registrar’s office). The matriční uřady were (and are still) a part of the municipal government - obecní úřady (or národní výbor in the past). It was part of the separation of church and state, as well as one of the actions of the communist regime against the churches (and spirituality) in Czechoslovakia (see these other names for this place - something to discuss another day.)

The new matriky were kept for secular and not religious purposes. For example, they record births and not baptisms, or death and not burials. It is interesting to notice that the regional archives all describe the old matriky in secular terms as well, using N, O, Z to stand for narození, oddaní, or zemřelí, aka births, marriages, and deaths, as opposed to baptisms, marriages, and burials.

Along with these trends towards secularization came another significant change: weddings held by church officiators were not recognised as legal marriages. Secular wedding ceremonies became compulsory, though couples could hold a private ceremony with no legal consequences by the state government.

The old matriky  were transferred to the matriční úřady in January 1952. Pretty soon, government officials seemed to realize that there were far too many old books for which the municipal government had no use, which were just taking up space.

(By the way, the old books which were transferred to the SOA might include other parish books which are not births, marriages, and deaths! For example, I found a book of church endowments. My ancestors left money as a fund to pay for a mass for their parents every year on a certain date.)

What to do with all the old, musty, useless books? The next year the government decided that the old matriky (neživé - those books which were closed/finished before 1870) were transferred to statní oblastní archivy, SOA (regional archives). This is where they are physically located today. As time went on, and more of the olds books became “neživé” (closed), they were deposited in the SOA. However, some of the church matriky are still held by the matriční úřady.

The point is that since 1950 the state keeps its own matriky for its own purposes. But meanwhile, the Catholic church (and probably other churches) still continues to keep its own matriky, though they are not official government records. So whoever is born in the Czech republic is entered in the matrika narozených of one of the state offices. After he is baptized, he is recorded in the baptismal matriky of the Catholic church (or some other church). Such Catholic matriky are regulated by canon law and are obligatory for the church, not for Sunday worship, obviously, but to participate in holy rites. All the sacraments - baptism, marriage, last rites/burials etc - are still carefully recorded by the Catholic church though now it is only for their own purposes, while the state records everything separately for its own purposes. If you are going to marry in the Catholic church, you will have to show the same proof of baptism as your ancestors had to +200 years ago.

There is a special matrika located in Brno which is designated for Czech citizens who were born, married, or died abroad, however the events are only recorded there upon request; the record keepers are not obligated to try to discover all of those events around the world.

Keep in mind that most people in the Czech republic today are not baptized or married in the church, and they might not be very interested in discussing the Catholic church, religion, or spirituality for a whole host of complex reasons which are fascinating to me. I think an appropriate analogy would be to liken it to discussing racism in the United States. Sometimes, it can be really hard, uncomfortable, and just plain uninteresting to talk about race issues, though they are obviously a huge part of our country’s history, for which there is a kind of collective guilt. Treading lightly while discussing religion is always a good idea, of course.

The public is entitled to access the old matriky, with some exceptions. If your ancestor was born, married, or died after 1 January 1950, you should search the state matriky. I am not sure what kind of access the public has to newer matriky; there are time limits to which records are open due to privacy laws, and they are not the same for each kind of record. As was noted by several keen observers, the privacy rules today are that birth matriky are open to the public after 100 years after the last record within the book was recorded, and marriages and death matriky are open after 75 years.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

"...and to the Swedes a fiery hell!"

I saw in the footnotes of a book about Frenštát that it didn't even make it onto Jan Amos Komenský's 1633 map, no doubt having been destroyed during a siege during the Thirty Year's War. 

Well, that author was correct. It's not on the map. 

Where are you, Frankstadt?

I was curious to find out if that was true, about it being destroyed during the war. And at the same time, I was trying to research something completely different which required me to figure out, "What is the oldest land book in Frenštát?" I found it with some help, but then I was skeptical and decided to search again. And that's when I found this!

This is a history of the town. I guess it's a kind of a chronicle, but not technically a town chronicle. It was really interesting to read some of what the people lived through. Someday, I would really like to find out if these were my people that lived through it. I think so, but to be able to prove it...

Anyway, here are some of the first entries, with more to come I am sure. Thanks to Lukáš for helping me read them.

Léta páně 1626
Dne 6 January. Učinil vpád do městečka Frankštadu Mansfeld a to městečko zraboval a chudý lid o všecko připravil, škody na tisíce učinil.

The year of our Lord 1626
6 January. Mansfeld raided the town of Frenštát and plundered the city. And he robbed the poor people of everything, [and] he has incurred damage of thousands [of unspecified currency unit].  

Kostelní kniha, fol 5
Leta paně 1645. Panovalo morové povětří v městečku Frankstatě od svaté Máří Magdaleny do svatého Martina. kteroužto morovou ranau přes [some number] patnácte osob, obojího pohlavi jest zemřelo.

The year of our Lord 1645. There was plagued air in the town of Frenštát from St. Marie Magdalena [July 22] to St. Martin [November 11], by which plague more than ??? and fifteen people of both sexes died.

Kostelní kniha, fol 5
Léta páně 1646 dne 6 7bris. Švéda a lid [something]  zlodějský na úsvitě vpadnuvše do městečka Frankstadt kde co bylo všechno pobral lidi do naha zvlácel [mor]doval, za mnoho tísic škody učinil. Jejichžto duše za to propůjčí Pán Bůh všemohoucí království nebeské. A Švedskym peklo horoucí.

On the year of our Lord 1646 on 6 September. Swedes and thieves descended on the town of Frenštát at dawn where they were dragged until naked [by horses?] until they were slain, and inflicted damage of thousands [of unspecified currency unit]. The Almighty God awards to their souls the Kingdom of Heaven. And to the Swedes a fiery hell.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The mystery of the page+ long marriage entry: 4th degree consanguinity and Incest

Someone on the facebook genealogy group posted a link to an incredibly long (1+ pages!) marriage entry in the matriky for Lomnice nad Lužnicí. She wanted to know what it meant, and I was curious too.

Here is an abstract of the record:

On 5 September 1762 Wenceslaus Wondruschka of Záblatí, legitimate son of Laurentis Wondurschka, rusticus, married Anna, the legitimate daughter of the deceased Thomas Novotny, rusticus.
Officiator was Father Adalbert Chollejch cappellan
Witnesses: ??to Neřad from Neplachov, Jakub Mašek of Mazelov[?], and Ursula Kuželova of Záblatí.
The couple obtained a dispensation allowing them to marry in the 4th degree of consanguinity.
That is all from the first page.

The second page is mostly the names and titles of the archbishop and other people involved in granting them the dispensation, such as Jan Mořic Gustav z Manderscheid-Blankenheimu.

To my understanding the most likely relationship Wenceslaus had to Anna, being related in the 4th degree of consanguinity, was that they were first cousins. But not necessarily.

It appears that not only did they get a dispensation (which was pretty common), they also had to be cleared by an ecclesiastical court (or at least by ecclesiastical officials) for the canonical crime of incest.

Which, they did, conditional upon doing some things like fasting, taking the communion with the bread and water, saying five Our Fathers and one Hail Mary for a certain amount of time.

Their marriage took place just in time for their child to be born legitimately: the next day! Doesn’t that seem a little...suspicious?

Incest was a big deal. According to this book about papal dispensations called Der Ursprung des Rechtsinsitutes der Päpstlichen Dispens von der Nicht Vollyogenen Ehe:

Ideo imponitur poenitentia paulo maior quam pro adulterio; nam si commisisset verum crimen incestus: puta, quia cognovisset consanguineam uxoris, tunc imponeratur gravior poenitentia, et multo maior, quam pro adulterio; quot patet ex illo, quia adulterium non inhabilitat ad matrimonium contrahendum “sed crimen incestus sic.”

Basically: incest is a lot worse than adultery.

I think it’s kind of strange that 4th degree consanguinity was considered incest, and not just compared to what is allowed today, but back then, too! Other parishes would have allowed 4th degree consanguinity marriages without this problem, I think. Apparently Anna had a child the very next day after this marriage, so she was almost certainly visibly pregnant. Maybe you wouldn’t need church clearance from the crime of incest if you married your first cousin before you had sex with them (or before it was obvious that you had done so).

By the way, besides the modern North American cultural aversion towards first cousin marriages, it’s probably not actually that genetically risky. Good thing, because all my Texas Czechs are related and interrelated in some way or another! Though, I have not yet come across a first cousin Czech marriage, so maybe I’m wrong to assume I have first cousin marriages, too?

Here are the unanswered questions this record brings up:
  • It seems that this couple had to go through a lot of trouble in order to get permission to be married. How likely is it that the baby was actually born the day after their marriage? Is it more likely that they were hiding the baby so that he or she could be baptized legitimately?
  • Wouldn’t the couple have had a huge incentive to marry much earlier, before the “crime of incest” became visible through her pregnancy? What delayed the marriage?
  • If you could find the banns for this marriage (which might exist in the archives, but are not online), would you find that the marriage was supposed to have taken place much earlier? Wouldn’t this imply that somebody had protested the banns?
  • If so, why? Were they seeking revenge? Were they a jilted lover? Why would somebody care enough to point out their relationship before the pregnancy became visible?
  • Do first cousin marriages between couples engaging in premarital sex always require both a dispensation and a repentance pardon? Is that what this record describes?  

Here is the unfinished transcription which I started with my friend Lukáš. Words which were difficult to read were highlighted in yellow. Feel free to work on it, if you would like! Maybe eventually we can have an exact translation.  

Et Sago
Wenceslaus & Anna

In Septembri
1762 die 5e Mense Septembri contraxit matrimonium per verba de presenti
Wenceslaus ex pago Zablotj oriandus, filus legitimus Laurentis
Wondraschka rustici, ex h. t. judicis, cum sponsa sua Anna ex eodem
pago onunda, filia legitima post defunctum Thomam Novotny
Rusticum Levenissimo Principi de Schwarcyenberg dominio Trebochessi
Leboti, im Ecclesia Parochiali S. Joannis Baptiste Lomnicgicus lusomocy,
suesente Patre Adalberto Chollejch Capell: ex coram testibus
Patio sseryad ex pago Neplachow, Jacobo Maschek ex pago Mayelow,
ex Ursula Kuzelova ex pago Yablatj /: obtenta Dispensatione
in quartio equali consaguimtatis gradu ab ordinario :/

Anno 1762
In Septembri

Premissis omnibus tribus denuntiationbus intra Missanem solemnia
quarem Prima in Festo S. Laurentis M. Altere Domin. 11
tertia Domin. 12e nulloq alio detecto impedimento Canonico,
quo rienis libere cotrahere possent.

Nos Joannes Mauritius Gustavus D Ex Gratia Archi
Episcopus Pragensis, sedis Apostolica Legatus Natus,
S R Imp. Princess Comes de Manderschied = Blankenheim
& Geroldstein, Liber Baro in Junctent,
Dominus in Bettinger, Daun? & Exp: Utriqu? Sacra
Ces. Regiagz Apost. Majestatis Consiliatinus intimus
actualis, secljti? Regie Bohemia Primas, Eccesianem
Metropolitana Coloniensis, ex Cathedralis Argentiners
??ective Kepsositus, servio? ac Thesauremes, Hlastril
Ecclesia Collegiate ad S. Geseorem detra Coloniam positer?
Eresositus, net non Carolo Ferdinandea Universitati
Pragensis perpetuus Cancelliarus, & Protector etc.
Dialectis in Christo Wenceslass Wondrucheska, S Anne Novotnz
Sectie Dieceseos Pregensis, Saluten in Domino.
Humilis pro parte vestra petitio continebat: good lioet 4
equali consanguinitatis gradu conjuncti filis, infiloniunus
darnis fragilitae victi pos incestueose cogrovenitis, modo
vero deg grzssortum? dissersatiomis remedio, quaternis matrimonium
inie? valentius vobis provideri humiliter supplicetis
Nos humilibus precibus inclinati, et fragilitati vestene compatientes,
vos prefatos Oratores de comitto incestu dolentes, secundum
specialem facultatem a sanctissimo D. N. Benedicto
K: K: XIV “ I?du: Secondat. Nobis ad quinquenimum< concessam
tanquam a sede Apostolica delegatus, imprimis ab
Lincestu, ejusq poenis absoloimmus, demode etiam gratis in forma
pauperum et. demmodo mulier propter noc rapta non fuerit,
aut si rapta fuisset in potestate raptoris non existat :/in
domino disspensamus, ut non obtante presento consanquinitatis
impedimento in Quarto equali gradu Matrimonium
de evitamam mulieris infamiam ad formam
SS. concilii Tridentini in facie Ecclesia Cite & valide contrahere,
ac in eo postmodum libere, ac licite semanere prossitis,
prolem /: si qua sit :/ sussestam, vel Cesyisiedet??? legitientium
declarantes, et pro Salutari poenitentia obcommissum
incestum vobis peregimationem ad vicinum miraculosum,
aut grotiosum locum instituendam, ibidemi?
sacramentalem Confessionem cum Comunione Sacra sseragemam,
nec non ser quinque dies Veneris, cum jejunio in
pane et aqua, quimuites Pater et Ave Flep?? geritus in Non
?? sassionis Christi Pevote recitaum a injugentes.
?ragie in Cancellaria Sectie Crisqusali? die 20e August
Anno 1762


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What I wish I knew about Czech History

A little over a year ago I returned from my first trip to the Czech Republic. It was a life changing experience. The main thing that changed for me was starting to understand just how little I actually know.

A tiny bit more than nothing.

It was actually a very overwhelming, humbling, humiliating feeling. I thought I knew something, but it was like I took a tiny peek into the world's biggest library (a library full of books that I mostly can't even read yet) and, well...of course that hurt my pride quite deeply.

By the way, I am imagining a library like this:

The Klementinium Library, the most beautiful library in the world, is in Prague.

But in reality, a Czechophilic's dream library exists 1.5 hours away from me in the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids Iowa. See?

I can't bear the thought of staying outside of that library. I am willing to do whatever it takes, including submitting myself to feelings of humiliation, frustration, and all kinds of other deeply painful feelings, for the chance to learn about this part of the world, and this part of my own history. So for the past year I have been trying to learn everything I can about everything having to do with Czech history, Czech culture, Czech literature, and then, Czech itself.

Why it's so hard:

1. I don't even know what I don't know.
2. I don't know how to acquire the knowledge I lack.
3. Physical limitations of reality.

These conditions are all stumbling blocks to my learning. I feel like a year later, after this mind blowing experience which caused me to suddenly become an obsessive hyper-focused neurotic maniac, I still know only a tiny bit more than nothing.

"Look how much more you know now!"

Yeah. Well. It's still very disheartening to know with clarity how little I know and how unqualified I am. How stupid I feel. It is so frustrating.

Where does one go to find extra reserves of patience with one's self? I don't know.

What I do know, or at least hope, is that there exist other people who are frustrated with this learning curve, just like me. Part of the problem is that for some reason, my brain can't really wrap itself around macrohistory. I fall asleep. It's not until I start reading about feelings, people, specific conversations, events - these bring history alive. It's so much more interesting to be able to imagine the world in which these people lived in specific terms, rather than an outline of bullet points.

I think it would be a gross error for us to avoid alluding to the menacing nature of the Habsburg dynasty. If we just say, "Hey, these guys were on the throne for 400 years," it's not going to convey this, "Hey, a foreign monarchy from one giant family ruled the Czech lands for 400 years and it took a world war to depose them." The very nature of writing history means casting judgment. If we don't do it clearly, the poor reader (me!) is not going to get it.

There has to be another way to approach European History than to say, "Here's all the dry facts with no analysis about what they mean. Memorize them all, and until you do, you know nothing."

I tried to read a couple of books about Czech history that were essays translated from Czech, and they were really difficult to get through. The only one that I remember was extremely disturbing because it was a case study about a child rape in the 1500's, and the largest section of the essay was actually a translation of a transcription of the actual case - pages and pages. To be honest, that story, as horrible as it was, helped show me this past world better than any Wikipedia page about the Austrian Empire or Ferdinand I ever did. But I don't want to write about it because it was too sad.

I'm reading The Coasts of Bohemia and Sayer does a much better job of getting his point across...when he's not being super-duper-ultra witty. Sometimes I have to read his sentences 3 times before I can understand what he's trying to say. He uses really difficult vocabulary and really long sentences and presupposes that you already know a lot of things. Fortunately, I'm the exact target reader, and if it weren't for Stumbling Block Number Three, I would have already devoured this book.

I read The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain to my kids. This is an excellent book, by the way.

Why can't there be a book like this - a straightforward, easy to read, illustrated children's book - about the Thirty Year's War? Franz Josef II? Maria Teresa? The counter-reformation?  I wasn't taught about any of these people or events in school, and one whole year of my high school education was in Europe! 

But why would France feel the need to teach me about Czechoslovakia?

Which brings me to the most significant stumbling block of all:

4. Ethnocentrism, i.e. the history (etc.) of a small European country is not considered important by the rest of the world.

Why do historians somehow feel like they have to prove themselves by being the most dry and boring creatures on earth - myself included! There's this constant feeling of needing to prove your legitimacy when you are writing macrohistory. It's so frustrating. When applied to microhistory, it makes perfect sense.

But our ancestors lived in the foreign country of the past, and if we don't understand that world, we really can't understand them. We won't even be able to find the important records of their lives if we don't understand what was going on in the broader world around them - politically, socially, religiously, every other -ly you can imagine. We need to understand them all.

I don't want to become guilty of writing fiction about my ancestors, even if the only book that ever gets written is the one in my head. I want to understand what really happened.

What I wish I knew about Czech History? What I would learn if I had spent my childhood growing up there: the thoughts and opinions of the previous generation(s). The political opinions of the people around me, which pull and tug at my own opinions. The simplified stories about the past told to me by my parents, showing me what to think. The stories of forgotten heroes like Gabčík and Kubiš of Operation Anthropoid, whose names I had never heard until two weeks ago, but whom every Czech remembers.

I feel really doubtful about being able to learn what I deeply desire to know on my own. Maybe this means pursuing an academic path towards gaining knowledge. Or maybe the path lies somewhere else. I'm going to keep looking for it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Estcha Máme Plenty!

I am learning Czech, and this is a translated cross-post from my language learning blog here.

Děda Joe
Grandpa Joe

 Joe a Anežka
Joe and Agnes

My great-great-grandpa Josef Jan Vasicek immigrated to Texas when he was 16 years old.

He was the youngest son of the Vasicek's.

And he never saw his parents again after he left. I think that that was very sad.

Because he was an early immigrant, and he was also an entrepreneur, he hired other Czechs. Some stories have still remained about how he took advantage of them, and about how they were clueless, ignorant immigrants.

Grandpa Joe said, "Put some water in the car."
So...they poured water on the seats, and not in the radiator.

Grandpa Joe said, "Plant them a hoe's length apart."
So they did. The entire length of the hoe. Not the length of its head.

When they all sat down to dinner together, Grandpa Joe's wife (grandma Agnes Stefek from Trojanovice 281) said, "Jezte, máme plenty!"
But they didn't eat anything, just waited, watched, waited, and watched. It seems they were waiting for the mysterious "plenty" to appear.

These stories remain in our family culture. But what interests (and also deeply saddens) me, is to see with my own eyes the demise of the Czech language. Honestly, what I always heard were the words:

"Estcha máma plenty." It was through writing this piece that I understood that it wasn't ever "estcha" or "ještě" but "jezte", 2nd person plural imperative for "eat!"

The Czech language is not going to prevent me from the understanding of my Czech ancestors which I crave. I would sacrifice almost anything in order to speak it.

I often feel as if my personality is just a pile of awkwardness. But truly, I would give up all of my pride for this dream, including all my personal failures, include my awkwardness. I hope that one day I will meet others with the same dream: to really understand our Czechs.


Přistěhoval se můj prapradědeček Josef Jan Vašíček do Texasu, když bylo mu 16 let.

On byl nejmladší syn Vašíčkových.

A nikdy neviděl své rodiče, poté co odešel. Myslím si, že je to velmi smutné.

Protože byl časný přistěhovalec, a také byl podnikatel, proto často najal další Čechy. Trvají nějaké příběhy, jak on využil něj, a jaké byli hloupé a naivní přistěhovalci.

Děda Joe řekl: “Dejte vodu do auta.”
Takže…oni ji nalili na sedadla auta, a ne do chladiče.

Děda Joe řekl: “Zasaďte to na délku motyky od sebe.”
[Already you can see the influence of English in my grandfather’s mind: a Czech would understand this to mean the length of the hoe’s stick, not its head. But in English it is ambiguous, and from the context you can tell it meant the head.]
Takže oni se zasadili celém délku motyky.

Když spolu večeřeli, žena Dědy Joa (babička Anežka Štefková z Trojanovic 281) řekla, “Jezte, máme plenty!”
Ale nic nejedli, jen čekali, a koukali, čekali, a koukali. Zdá se, že čekali, až přijde ten tajemný “plenty.”

Ty příběhy trvají u našem rodinné kultuře. Ale co mě zajímá (a také mě mrzí), je vidět na vlastní oči rozklad českého jazyka. Upřímně, co jsem vždycky slyšela, byla slova “estcha máma plenty.” Skrze toto psaní jsem pochopila, že to není žádné “estcha” ani “ještě”; to muselo být “jezte.”

Čeština nebude mi bránit za porozumění českým předkům, po kterém toužím. Obětovala bych téměř cokoliv, abych to uměla.

Často cítím se, jako kdyby moje osobnost byla jenom hromada trapnosti. Ale opravdu, obětovala všechnu svou pýchu pro ten sen, a to zahrnuje každé osobní selhání, i moji trapnost. Doufám, že jednoho dne se setkám s dalšími lidmi, kteří mají stejný sen: pochopit naše Čechy.