Amerikán Národní Kalendář: A Unique and Wonderful Czech Genealogy Resource
Some things in Bohemian (Czech) genealogy simply shouldn’t be ignored and a significant one of them is the Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
Onward To Our Past® genealogy services is proud to announce the immediate online availability of the first ever English translation of two portions of this historic Czech-American journal found in the 1895 edition of Amerikán Národní Kalendář. These two translated sections should be very helpful, and of significant interest, to all of us with Bohemian (Czech) ancestry.
What is Amerikán Národní Kalendář?
For eighty years, from 1878 to 1958 (although some report it ended in 1957) August Geringer (1842-1930) of Chicago, Illinois published an annual journal by the name of Amerikán Národní Kalendář. This journal, always published in Czech, was highly regarded and widely distributed throughout the Bohemian-American community across the United States and abroad. Each edition of this journal contained items useful for keeping a calendar, prose, poetry, biographies, and autobiographies of Bohemians from around the United States. The title page proclaimed “Featuring many pictures and both serious and jocular content.”
August Geringer, a Bohemian immigrant to Chicago, established the printing company August Geringer a Synů (translated as August Geringer and Son) and proceeded to publish the first Bohemian daily newspaper in the United States, titled Svornost translated as ‘Concord’. Thankfully Geringer also published the Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
Most frequently editions contained well over 300 pages and each was filled with a broad array of material that Czech genealogy aficionados will appreciate. There are some excellent period drawings, images of many of the individuals featured, Czech-American fiction, horoscopes, biographies, humor, poetry, and naturally some advertisements, which also offer us a worthwhile look at a portion of the Bohemian business community.
However it is the biographies and first-person accounts that will attract the genealogist the most.
In his most recent book, Czech American Bibliography, Czech expert, author, and researcher, Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr., refers to Amerikán Národní Kalendář as “such a splendid source of ‘Czech Americana,’ a special effort was made to list many of its articles in the relevant sections of this bibliography.”
Likewise Professor Karel D. Bicha praises Amerikán Národní Kalendář with this: “The reminiscences in Amerikán constitute a major body of primary material concerning Czech immigrants in United States.” (The Czechs in Wisconsin History).
1895 Edition – First time translation to English of one article containing 9 biographies and its Table of Contents.
Over the past several years Onward To Our Past® has undertaken the work necessary to accurately translate, from the original Czech to English, several articles from a variety of issues of Amerikán Národní Kalendář. Just this past week a new article from the 1895 Edition has been translated, plus the Table of Contents for that issue. These two translations are now available, along with the earlier translations, on our website at http://OnwardToOurPast.com. Not only will genealogy fans find this article and its nine biographies of interest, but we realized that it would be highly valuable to translate the Table of Contents as well since this too had not previously been available in English.
The nine surnames featured in this new translation are Sýkora, Kříž, Krejčí, Sprostý, Payer, Sýkora, Petr, Sháněl, and Albrecht. In each biography you will find given names, maiden names, home villages in many cases (good for those trying to locate their ancestral home village using Chain Migration Theory), children, in-laws, occupations, and more. It also includes some wonderful insights into what our ancestors had to overcome in their quests to establish themselves in their new homeland in the United States.
An interesting additional note regarding the 1895 Edition of Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
The 1895 Edition was edited by Josef Jiří Král (1870-1951). Král was a Bohemian immigrant born in Loužná. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated as a lawyer. Evidently not enjoying the practice of law all that much Král spent most of his working career as a writer and editor. Much of his work was in Bohemian-American newspaper businesses. From 1905 to 1911 he was editor of Spavedlnost, wrote dozens of books and articles, as well as writing for the United States government in the 1920 while he worked in the Bureau for Foreign and Domestic Commerce. He also was a frequent contributor to Amerikán Národní Kalendář between 1894 and1946. He was the co-publisher and editor of the Bohemian-American newspaper Slavie from 1894 to 1904, which after the suicide of the founder Karel Jonáš, was purchased by the publisher of Amerikán Národní Kalendář, August Geringer. This fact that might explain why Král would be connected to Amerikán Národní Kalendář, located in Chicago while being the editor of Slavie in Racine, Wisconsin.
Mila Richcigl describes Král by saying “He was considered one of the most talented journalists among the Freethinkers.” In his doctoral dissertation, “Bohemian Voice: Contention, Brotherhood, and Journalism Among Czech People in America, 1860-1910”, Professor David Zdenek Chroust wrote “Král…was one of the most versatile and prolific authors in Bohemian America, while Geringer was its biggest publisher.” (Page 98) Professor Chroust also notes Amerikán Národní Kalendář “is the only almanac whose content…is indexed in Esther Jerabek Czechs and Slovaks in North America: A Bibliography (New York: Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences in America, 1976).”
The fact that Král functioned as the Editor of Amerikán Národní Kalendář had gone completely unnoticed and undocumented by academics and historians until its discovery by Onward To Our Past® during our translation work.
Onward To Our Past® also announces their newest goal for Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
While we at Onward To Our Past® enjoy the work of translating full length articles from Amerikán Národní Kalendář, which we will continue to do, our newest goal is to translate to English the Table of Contents for every annual edition of Amerikán Národní Kalendář so non-Czech reading researchers will know what can be found in each Edition.
This effort has already begun with the translation of the Table of Contents (Obsah) for the 1895 edition. This first Table of Contents translation has now been published on our website and, as with all of our genealogy resources on our site, it is available free of charge. We already have additional Tables of Contents translations from more Editions underway, so be sure to stay tuned.
Joining the translation of the 1895 Table of Contents, the translation of the additional article from the same edition titled “Memoirs of Bohemian Settlers in America” has also been published on the Onward To Our Past® website.
We trust you will enjoy these new resources as well as keeping Amerikán Národní Kalendář uppermost in your mind as you work on your Bohemian (Czech) genealogy.
Onward To Our Past®