Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Czech Land Record Transcription Process



I want to publicly pat myself on the back for correctly transcribing and translating page one (of two) of a 1799 Czech land record written in German current script, in Czech. This record is like a cross between a deed and a will; it has lots of information about the land, and who was going to "own" it next, including names of family members, family relationships, occupations, and debts and credits. 

These land records are really hard. 

Here is a break down of my transcription and translation process: 
Divide the text into manageable chunks. In my case, this meant 13 paragraphs, some which were not at natural breaks.

Then I do a quick first transcription. It's very quick, very rough, looking for patterns and obvious words.

Then I print the document out and trace it. For this one, it was super slanty, so I purposefully distorted the image to make the letters less slanted. I mark up this physical copy, circling similar words).

Then, I go back and do a first "real" transcription, sans dictionary.

Then I do a second transcription, with my 1890 Czech English dictionary, google translate, and my brain. I type it next to the first transcription. By now, the words are starting to make sense in a context. I bold the words I'm still unsure of. There should not be more than one or two per paragraph.

That's where I am with page one.

Next, I think I will try to write a comprehend-able translation, guessing from the context the meaning of the unknown words. Probably some will become known at that point, by simply walking away for a while, seeing other words in the document, and  referring back to the unaltered image.

I feel confident I can do this well this way, but I'm looking for other ideas for the actual process of deciphering difficult to read texts. 



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Find-a-Grave and giving back

Hey! So, a lot to write about. Today I went to the 3S Genealogy Symposium hosted by the Friench Simpson Memorial Library in Hallettsville, TX.

There were some excellent speakers, and I learned a lot. Enough for several blog posts.

During the break, I went to the Hallettsville City Cemetery. I have some collateral lines who ended up in the area, and was interested in checking it out. While there, the thought crossed my mind, "Hey! I wonder if Find-a-Grave could use some photos from this cemetery?"

On my android phone, I searched for "Halletsville City Cemetery" on Find-a-Grave's website. I saw on the right hand side of the page that there were some 30-some odd "photo requests." I scanned the requests, paying special attention to the Czech names, which for some reason stick in my head a lot easier than Anglo or German names. Weird.

I spent the next 40 minutes searching the cemetery for those names. I also took photos of interesting graves.

My phone is set up to automatically upload my photos to google plus, on a private setting. Basically, it's a way for me to save my photos without doing any work whatsoever.

At home, I got on my computer, and found the Hallettsville City Cemetery. The first thing I realized was that I would need a username and password to be able to upload photos.

I quickly signed up for that  Receiving the email from them took literally about 1 second. I confirmed my email address, and was able to log in, find the Hallettsville City Cemetery again, and then on the right side look at those photo requests.

The way the site is set up makes adding photos to a "memorial page" super easy. I was able to fulfill two of the photo requests, and uploaded about 10 other photos, 4 or so of which had not yet been entered into the cemetery's database. I was quickly able to add a new memorial page for these people, using the data directly from their headstone. It was interesting that it was mainly Czech families who had not been added to the database - surnames like Drost, Kallus and Pustejovsky.


I felt really happy about doing this because I use this website all the time, and now I have given back to some poor researcher without the capability of traveling to the grave site to actually "see" their ancestor's grave. It was especially fun to fulfill the photo requests for names that I know are being researched.

I would challenge anybody who has a bit of free time to check out Find-a-Grave for the cemeteries local to you. Some have been completely photographed, others partially, and some not at all. Uploading photos and adding memorial pages to the site was fun, easy, and rewarding.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Genealogy look-ups at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church of Fayetteville, TX



St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is one of the earliest Czech Catholic churches in Texas. It is a valuable repository of Czech genealogical records that I am excited to use.

From to the Fayetteville County History site:

Many Czech and German immigrants settled in this area in the mid-1800s. After many years without the services of a Czech-speaking priest, the Czech community sent Konstantin Chovanec and John Vychopen to ask Galveston Bishop Claude-Marie Dubuis for help. Encouraged by Dubuis, the Czech community organized St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and erected a sanctuary in Fayetteville in 1870. The Rev. Joseph Chromcik arrived on Christmas day in 1872 to minister at St. John Baptist Church and became the first Czech-speaking priest in Texas. The church prospered and in 1875 the Chromcik School was opened. A mission church was established in nearby Warrenton in 1886. Chromcik extended his missionary work throughout the region and remained in Fayetteville until his death in 1910. A new sanctuary was erected in 1911 and a new 2-story school built in 1915 during the pastorate of the Rev. John Vanicek. A convent for the Sisters of Divine Providence was built in 1964. A new sanctuary was erected in 1969, and a parish hall, educational center, and other facilities were added over the years. St. John the Baptist Church is representative of the area's Czech heritage and continues a tradition of leadership in the region's Catholic community.


 From the St. John the Baptist church "contact us" page:
Location:
209 E. Bell St.
Fayetteville
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 57
Fayetteville, TX 78940
Phone: 979-378-2277
Fax: 979-378-4407

I called 979-378-2277 and spoke with Ms. Mary Babin. She is one of two people who do genealogy look ups at St. John's. She said that they have the baptism, marriage, and death/burial registers from the beginning of the church's founding in 1870, as well as all of the registers for neighboring St. Mary's. Patrons are not allowed to handle the registers themselves.

She said that when doing look ups she sometimes has difficulty because they are written in Czech; she said that she can take a picture (or make a copy?) of the individual page and get them to me. I do not know if this is via email or snail mail. When I find out, I will post more about this.

She said that they only ask that patrons give a small donation to compensate for the time and effort spent in locating the records. It is a voluntary donation but (when pressed) she said $10-20 is customary, depending on the number of records searched.

Because they are volunteers, and this is not the most pressing matter on their agendas, it is important to be patient with them. The look ups can generally be done in a matter of weeks. I will also post how long it takes once Ms. Babin gets back to me. She was quite friendly and cheerful. I'm looking forward to looking at the records she finds for me. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Search Strategy: Finding the Parish of a Village of Origin in the Czech lands using only online tools

So you have a name of a village in the Czech lands. You know that records must exist somewhere. You learn that they have likely been digitized and are available online, as part of a massive movement of many of the state and local archives in the CR to promote accessibility.

The end goal is to find the record with your ancestor's information. Let's say you are searching for a Catholic baptism entry on a matriky record. Matriky is the Czech word for parish register.

Before you can find the page with that record, you must find the correct Parish register. A parish register is a book full of records. They can be arranged by births and baptisms, marriages, or deaths and burials, or sometimes be joined together. Sometimes there is an index somewhere in the record. Actually searching the parish register deserves its own blog post.

Before you can find the correct Parish register to search through, you must first figure out which parish your village was in. That seems like straightforward, logical thinking, right? Simple doesn't always mean easy, though. Sometimes this part of the research can be a real headache. Fortunately for us Czech Genealogists in the 21st century, we have many online tools that can help us determine the correct parish jurisdiction.

Where I usually start is the Czech Parish Finder. I don't know the source for this website's information. It is housed on familysearch.org. I assume that as a sub-page in the Czech Republic Familysearch.org Wiki it is, like all other wiki pages, a work in progress. It would be really interesting to know which gazetteers provided this information. Since I am in contact with one of the Czech Research specialists at the Family History Library, maybe I could email her to find out. Note to self: do that as soon as I finish this blog post!

Anyway, the reason I use the Czech Parish Finder as my first go-to source is that it is easily searchable and contains both Czech and German town spelling and name variations.

To use the Czech Parish Finder, first click on the letter of the alphabet for your village of interest. Let's pretend you are interested in a town called Odranec. You have no idea where it is. Before even looking at a map, first go to the Czech Parish Finder, click Czech Republic Parishs: N-O.

Now you can do a simple text search by typing ctrl-f and typing the word "Odranec." When I do this, I see three possibilities:

Odranec    Horni Studenec    Chotebor
Odranec    Snezne                 Nove Mesto na Morave
Odranetz   Snezne                 Nove Mesto na Morave

Apparently the Czech Parish Finder website does not yet have diacritical marks. Note to self: help edit the wiki page to include the diacritical marks. Because sometimes those diacritical marks are critical (he. he.) to finding a village. A haček can make a big difference.

This is a good example of a teeny tiny village which had a name change. In Czech, the town is called Odranec. In German, the town is Odranetz.

Parish PlaceParish NameCivil District (Modern)Judicial district (Historical)






As of this posting, none of the modern jurisdictions have been included. They would be in the "Civil District (Modern)" column.

Instead we have the "Parish Place." This describes the village.

Then we have the "Parish Name." Usually, if a town was big enough, it had its own parish. Sometimes villages and hamlets grouped together to form a parish, usually in a central location, or in the largest of the parish's villages.

The "Judicial district (Historical)" is an extremely helpful piece of information. We can see with the Odranec example that there are really only two Odranec's: one in historic Chotebor, and one in historic Nové Město na Moravě.

Now you can start looking at a map. I usually go to google maps. Another good map is mapy.cz. On mapy.cz you can also view historical maps, which can be helpful. Whichever you choose, now is the time to search for the judicial district - the place in the last column.

The reason you should do it this way is because judicial districts are usually larger and usually still are found on modern maps. The reason I don't want to switch to a historic map just yet is because they are not as easily searchable. I want to figure out what region of the Czech lands Odranec is in first.

So I type in "Chotebor, Czech Republic" in the search box on my map website. I zoom out and can see that it is basically smack dab in the center of the CR. Now I do a search for, "Nove Mesto na Morave." I can see that it is not very far from Chotebor, also in the center of the CR.

Now I use the map to do a search for Odranec itself. Sometimes these tiny villages no longer exist, or have completely different names, or are not located in exactly the same area (for example, Gross Kunzendorf and modern day Kunčice). Doing a search for "Odranec" in google maps gives me one choice: Odranec, Věcov, Czech Republic. I choose it.

Then I zoom out and can see that is is close to Nové Město na Moravě. This means that this tiny village is probably the second Odranec on the Czech Parish Finder. If it is not easy to determine by sight which of the historical judicial districts it is closest to, I could search for directions. In this case, Nové Město na Moravě is only 8.8 km distance away, while Chotebor is 46.1 km.

But where is the Odranec near Chotebor?

The next search I tried was the parish name of "Horni Studenec." I found that. But nothing close by looks like Odranec.

For this particular research problem, I knew that the ancestor in question was Moravian. I decided that my next step would be to see if both of these Odranec's were in Moravia, or if they were elsewhere. If only was was in Moravia, that would rule out the other one. From a wikipedia map, Chotebor looks like it may be in Bohemia, while Nové Město na Moravě looks like it is in Moravia.

I next went to the Archive map showing their jurisdiction boundaries and links to the online databases. From this, I determined that the records of interest would most likely be housed on actapublica, which hosts the Moravian Regional Archives of Brno holdings. I type in "Odranec" in the Okres (district) field and wait a few seconds before my option of "Věcov:Odranec (Odranetz) / Žďár nad Sázavou" appears. I click the link and see all the records that are available for Odranec, and shake my fists at the universe that they are only available through 1894. That is the start of a different blog post, though.

Now I can search the actual registers. I discover quickly that this is, indeed, the correct Odranec when I find and confirm information about the ancestor's wife.

Some other helpful sources are historic Czech Republic Gazetteers available free on familysearch.org. I believe they are circa 1900. I have downloaded and used these. They are huge files, but excellent, and contain some interesting demographic information (how many cows the village of Odranec had in 1900.) There are separate Gazetteers for Bohemia and Moravia.

Another extremely useful resource for me is the "Mistopisny" document that I downloaded from matriky.archives.cz before it switched over to vademecum.archives.cz. I would do a direct link to this record, which I'm sure is still available for download somewhere, but I really don't know how to find it yet.

Where to look and how to find them: the two biggest genealogy problems. I will update you as I learn. We are all in a stage of learning.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Discrepancy between standards for temple submission and the GPS

I am working on submitting my ancestors' names to the temple, where temple ordinances will be done in proxy for them. Here is a link that explains more about temple ordinance work.

The purpose of this blog post is to point out an interesting discrepancy that I see between the bare minimum requirements to submit a name to the temple, and the Genealogical Proof Standard, or GPS.

In full disclosure, I am not an employee of familysearch.org. I don't really know the program's bare minimum requirements. A brief perusal of the internet leads me to believe that these requirements have changed as new.familysearch and family tree have evolved. Researching what they used to be is not interesting to me.

So, speaking purely from my own experience, in the latest iteration of the LDS church's temple name submission program (Family Tree), it seems the minimum requirements to submit a name to the temple are that you have the name, the gender, a date (even just a broad "before [year]"!), and a place (even something as unspecific as "Texas", or as shady as, "[Texas]" meaning, I think they were born in Texas but I really don't know).

That's it.

What's even more crazy is that you don't even have to cite your information. In the past, public source citations weren't even possible. Happily, now they are, but they aren't a requirement.

I'm totally not dissing the program. I really, really love familysearch. I love family tree. I understand why it is this way, and I'm totally okay with it. I'm not sure that citing one's sources should be a requirement. For me, personally, oh my gosh of course it is are you crazy I would never submit my ancestor's names without citing the sources!!!!

[deep breaths]

I just find it fascinating that if I were to submit such unsubstantiated information to my BCG application, or a client, it would be unacceptable, yet it is somehow acceptable for our ancestors' temple work?

Huh?

I don't know Ms. Eileen O'Duill, but I really appreciated her opinion on the "Why Certify" section of the BCG website. Basically, her point is that her ancestors deserved the best research she could give them. I feel similarly.

Though, on the other hand, I am happy that I don't have to create a kinship determination project for every family whose names I want to submit to the temple. And my minimum standard for temple work doesn't technically meet the GPS, I think.

Last month I completed a massive client report, which I had been planning on using for my BCG portfolio. I was advised against this by several people. They hadn't read the report or anything - aka they didn't think it was horrible based on it specifically, but just knowing that it was my first time doing it, they cautioned that it would be much better for me, and my chances of becoming a CG, to write several reports and pick from the best one. One reason I arrived at the decision not to use this report is because it relied almost exclusively on one type of record, Czech Parish records.

Now, these records are highly reliable. They are awesome, and I could spend a whole other blog post writing the specifics of their awesomeness. But the GPS requires a "reasonably exhaustive search." This means:

  • Assumes examination of a wide range of high quality sources
  • Minimizes the probability that undiscovered evidence will overturn a too-hasty conclusion

One type of source isn't going to cut it for proving to the BCG judges that I know and follow the GPS.

But it is far beyond the bare minimum for temple name submission.

Honestly, because of the nature of these specific records and the lack of availability of records (both physical and financial accessibility), working with clients, I DO mainly rely on these parish records. I don't use one sole record by itself, but many (even hundreds!) to figure out the web of relationships, places, and people. Baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, witnesses - lots and lots of information in these records.

But parish records are still only one type of record. It's kind of a conundrum to me, and I find myself wishing that I understood it better. I'm excited to read Tom Jones' book, "Mastering Genealogical Proof." Maybe that will help me understand the GPS better.

When I started submitting my ancestors' names the to the temple, with Temple Ready, there was no way to cite a source in that program. Instead, I cited it in my PAF file. My father drilled into my mind that you must always, always cite your sources. I only did this a few times before new.familysearch went live in 2008. When I started using new.familysearch, I cited every piece of information that I found for every ancestor. Even when I linked my husband's living parents to me, I found out their information and cited it as my own personal memory.

I continue this same practice today. I can usually find birth, death, and marriage (if they lived long enough) records for all of my Czech ancestors in the parish records. When I don't find a death before they turned 8, and I know (from the other births and deaths in the family) they were still living in the same residence, I use that as negative evidence. This person did not die before the age of 8 so we can do all the temple work for him, not just the sealing to parents.

To me, this level of research is my own personal minimum. I'm not going to submit a person for proxy work if I only have one census with a vague reference to being born in "Austria." Or, before double checking the deaths to make sure that they didn't die young. I just really, really don't want to waste peoples' time! If I'm going to go to all the trouble to go to the temple (here in Houston, it's about an hour away) and do proxy work, by golly, those people had better be real, and it better not be duplicate work! I read of a person who had his temple work done by proxy 8,000 times. What!!! Noooooooo!

But it is so weird to me that the research I have done for these people, with solidly cited sources, doesn't meet the GPS.

I'm also not dissing the GPS. I think it's fantastic. I am so glad that somebody way smarter than me came up with standards for genealogical proof. It's truly, truly wonderful, and I don't have any suggestions to make it better, yet.

Basically, my point is: isn't it so weird that there is a discrepancy between what I need to submit my ancestors' names to the temple, and the GPS?


My goal for 2013 has been to submit 1,000 names of my ancestors to the temple. I'm on track to completing that goal, which is great. This non-BCG portfolio related research will help me know which branches of my family would be best (aka easiest) for compiling a solid, GPS-sound, BCG-worthy kinship determination project, as well as the other sections of the portfolio.

I really hope I can decide where to research soon. It's already been two months and the only parts of my BCG portfolio that I have partially completed are the BCG-supplied document and the applicant supplied document. And I haven't done the research plan (the important part), just the transcription and citation.

Okay kids need lunch.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Texas Immigration Agent Records: Private agent "F. Russek", the North German Lloyd line, and a new repository of records!

My hunch was that I might find some advertisements for immigration agents in old newspapers. 

That hunch was verified in about two seconds. I'm in the midst of researching several immigration agents I found this way. One was a man in New York who brought at least 120 people from the German and Czech lands to Texas. One is a reference not to a specific immigration agent, but to an immigration association run by the railroad (very, very fascinating!). But the one I want to write about right now is about "F. Russek."

On page 7 of 8 of an 1880 digitized copy of a Czech language newspaper printed in La Grange, Texas, I found an advertisement (in Czech) for a private immigration agent named F. Russek.

Here is the link:
Slovan (La Grange, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 3, Ed. 1, Thursday, September 2, 1880

Here is a transcription of the text:
Jednatel pro přeplav mezi Bremen a Amerikou
S tímto upozornuji každého, kdo svým přátelum v Evropě cestu do Ameríky předlatiti chce, aneb kde do Evropy cestovati si přeje že jápřeplavní lístky ze všech míst z Evropy do Texas,aneb z Ameriky do Evropy, za levnou cenu vzstavují. Zařízení toto poskytuje cestujícím velké výhody, poněvadž na takové lístky se cesta bez přestržení z domova až na místo konati dá, Výprava děje se přes Nový York pravidelně každých 7 dní, přes New Orleans jen na podzim a na jaře a přes Baltimore každých 14 dní: Také sprostředkuji zásilky peněz do Evropy a vyzdvihuji tam anechané peníze na požádání:F. Russek,Schulenberg, Fayette Co., Texas


Here is what google translate gives me from that transcription:
Managing Director to pass over between Bremen and AmericaWith this, note anyone to their friends in Europe Coming to America předlatiti wants, or where to Europe cestovati wishes that Ipřeplavní cards from all sitesfrom Europe to Texas,or from America to Europe for a cheap price vzstavují. This facility provides great benefits to passengers, because on such a journey without tickets přestržení from home to give the points to meet, design happening across New York regularly every 7 days over New Orleans just in the fall and in the spring and through the Baltimore every 14 days: It also mediates the shipment of money to Europe and point out there anechané money on demand:F. Russek,Schulenberg, Fayette Co., Texas

Not super helpful. 

Here is what my friends at genealogie.taby.cz gave me:
The Conveyer (agent) for passage between Bremen and America
This is to advise anyone who wants to prepay for friends in Europe a trip to America or who wishes to travel to Europe, that I am issuing shipping tickets from Europe to Texas or from America to Europe for reasonable prices. 
This provides great benefits to passengers, because it enables to make a trip without let-up from home to given point with these tickets. 
Tours go on via New York regularly every 7 days, via New Orleans during the fall and in the spring only and via Baltimore every 14 days. 
On demand I also mediate shipment of money to Europe and withdrawal of money consigned (deposed) there. 

F. Russek,
Schulenberg, Fayette Co., Texas

Much more helpful!

From kdejsme.cz we learn that the surname Russek is highly concentrated Silesia. This would make sense, since most Texas Czechs originated from the Moravian-Silesian area of the Czech lands.

I see the word "F. Russek" and assume the F stands for Frank. Out of curiosity, I searched the heritagequest database and came up with a few results, including Franz Russek in High Hill, Fayette county, a farmer, with his wife and children. 

A newspaper search yielded some more results in the Wiemar Mercury, in particular two obituaries. One for Frank Russek, the other for Hulda Richter Russek

At a first glance, it seems that the Franz Russek in the 1870 census is this Frank Russek's father. On the 1870 census he is listed as having a 19 year old son named Frank. This will need to be confirmed.

Hulda's obituary references her husband Frank Russek's job in the real estate business. 

A google search for '"Frank Russek" Texas' pointed me to "The History of Texas and Texans, vol 3". On page 1194, Mr. Frank Russek of Schulenberg is referred to as, "an important factor in the development of Fayette county, being immigrant agent at Schulenberg for the North German Lloyds, of Bremen, Germany."

This led to a search of the North German Lloyds. I found a really interesting website called the Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives, which contains select transcribed passenger lists and many other interesting resources dealing with this shipping company. One interesting record was a collection of steamship tickets. Now to figure out how to search this database. If it is a database.

Upon a brief perusal of the site, I figured out that they do have a lot more things in their archives than are digitized online, and they do searches, for a fee.

I found that they have transcriptions of select passenger lists from the North German Lloyd line. That is awesome. Though not as awesome as the original image, which it appears you used to be able to purchase, but now cannot. And there are several thousand that are not even transcribed yet! Agh!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I just shot those archives an email. Maybe it will yield some results. Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Texas Immigration Agents Records: Do they exist, and if so where to start?

The 30 September 1887 newspaper "the Galveston Daily News" contains the only known passenger list for a group of incoming Texas immigrants, the majority of whom were German and Czech. (located here, page 8). The arrival manifests were destroyed in the 1900 hurricane in Galveston. The Bremerhaven-Bremen departure lists only exist for the years 1920-1939 (accessible here).

The article states at the end that the passengers are destined for various parts of the state, "having been sought out by agents."

My understanding is that immigration "agents" were people who helped recruit immigrants, met them somewhere after their arrival (not necessarily the dock), and guided them to their destination. They spoke English while many of the immigrants did not. They were paid for their services, by the immigrant. Sometimes they were unfair, taking advantage of the immigrant's ignorance.

My question is: what Texas immigration agent records might still exist, and where might I find them?

I am interested because I keep running into the problem of  25-30 year old females who immigrated "alone" (aka apparently without kin, but almost certainly with countrymen) to Texas and got married a year later, leaving few clues as to a village of origin. If there was an agent, who presumably corresponded with the immigrants in the old country somehow, might the correspondence still exist, perhaps in somebody's personal papers, a library, or elsewhere?

There are other places to look for village of origin clues, but I was deeply struck by that phrase in that article, and I'm interested in these specific records. 

Thus began my research. I sent most of the above text to my colleagues who are part of the Transitional Genealogists Forum. I got back some good suggestions. Here's where I'm at.

I contacted the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Here is part of their response:

We do not have the records for the various immigration agents that operated in the State of Texas.  These agents operated either independently or through some private companies or corporations.  They were not a part of any specific state agency of Texas.  Therefore, we would not have their records.  If such records still existed for any of these men, they might be found in various libraries or institutions as manuscript collections.  None appear to be found in our manuscript holdings.


It seems very unlikely I would find any (if they exist) surviving records of an immigration agent working on their own, but it's implied in the above statement that not all of these agents worked alone; that they perhaps did have a network within their private companies or corporations.
Maybe the records do still exist somewhere.

I think the first step towards tracking down any of these records would be to find more information about the companies themselves. My first thought is to look at advertisements in old newspapers, especially Czech language newspapers printed in Texas, like the Svoboda. But I really don't know where to find physical copies of these. They are referred to in many books about Texas Czechs, as are some of the first Czech immigrants who wrote home praising Texas as a great land of opportunity. Hmmmmm hmmm.


  • Contact the Bremerhaven Emigration Museum. Maybe the people I'm researching were registered in the city records, if they had to stay there for a length of time before leaving.
  • Look through my personal Texas Czech library for references to agents and other countrymen who extolled the virtues of Texas. Wasn't there someone named Anton Bergman or something, who came here and wrote home? I read something about that...dig it up, find it, learn more.
  • Find old newspapers that might contain advertisements for agents and companies.
  • Galveston Daily News
  • Czech language newspapers, like the Svoboda. Where is it even located?!
  • Contact the SPJST. They may have some records pertaining to this. They certainly have records of interest anyway! I have already tried to email them twice with no luck. Perhaps a phone call will work.


What do you know about Immigration Agents of the past? Where do you think is a good place to start looking?


The purpose of this blog

I am a fifth generation Texas Czech. I am passionate about history and research. I love deciphering old documents, and analyzing the information they contain to form an understanding of the past. I am particularly interested in Czech records and research. My enthusiasm and energy for genealogy is driven in part by the need to do something that is not directly related to the physical labor of caring for my preschool aged children and all that entails. My personal dream is that I can monetize my passion by helping connect others to their past. 

My first step towards creating a profitable genealogy business is to become a Certified Genealogist by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. These first posts will be focused a lot on the certification process itself, which involves doing some really in-depth research. I am "on the clock" officially as of March 2013.

This blog is a place to showcase my research talents, questions, strategies, interests, case studies, etc. A blank slate for me to advertise my business, help educate other Czech researches, organize my thoughts, and practice writing in a public way.

My goal is to post frequently. Here is the current plan:

3 weekly posts (minimum)
1. Czech Research Strategies
2. Update on my BCG application process
3. Proof Argument (if not for my family, I will first obtain permission from the client)

We'll see how this goes. Before three small kids, I was a pretty adept personal blogger, with followers who I didn't know personally. Now I find that keeping up with my personal blog just feels like I am selling my life. My life isn't all roses and pinterest-perfect shabby chic, more like, "Crap, I have drain flies. How do I get rid of these?" and, "Well, that was the fifth exploding poopy diaper of the day." Spending some time "aspiring" to be that picture perfect mommy blogger in my absolutely not picture perfect environment, I found I dislike it. I don't want to sell my self; less than that, I don't want to sell a fake self. Plus, I found that unless my posts were [extremely offensive to people I love] rants, blogging became way too much of an investment of my [super uber duper limited] time, effort, and thought to continue on a long term basis.

I'm MORE THAN okay with selling my genealogy services, though. In fact, that is my end goal. That is why I think this blogging experience will be different than my personal travel/home/life blogging. I'm also quite good at "ranting" about Czech research, and it's much less offensive. These rants may actually prove helpful to other researchers! As for the time, effort, and thought that will go into this project, I feel I desperately need it (well, or, something!) to maintain a personal level of sanity in this difficult phase of my life. What phase isn't difficult, I really don't know. Probably the post-mortem phase. Maybe we should ask our ancestors.

Anyway, thanks for coming by. I hope this blog will be useful to you!