Chapter Five, Part Five of “The Genealogy & History of the Original Bohemians (Czechs) in Cleveland, Ohio, USA” Searching for the Genealogy of Our Adam Family!
But what of Gustav?
At this point another of our researchers chimed in with a question. He said “All this Prof. Adam and Rudolphus Adam is fine, but what about Gustav? Leopold called him Gustav.”
I admitted it took our team awhile to make this connection, but we believe we made the connection.
Once we had completed our review of the nine volumes of Leo Baca’s Czech passenger lists, we were disappointed to not find any record of the complete Adam family.
However, we located several possibilities arriving in via Castle Garden, New York. In 1849 we find a most intriguing listing for Alfred Adam, age 2, arriving on the ship “Havre” on October 15, 1849, but nothing that comes close to fitting for his parents. We need to recall that essentially J. R. Adam left Bohemia while being hunted due to his role as a patriot following the failed 1848 Uprising, so he may have been traveling with forged papers. This could have been especially true if his wife was traveling with some valuable, but unreported assets that were subject to confiscation.
We then received our initial report from one of our CzechRepublic researchers, David Kohout, with the results of his work on the Adam family. David’s report began to add much needed clarity to the Adam family’s genealogy and family history. David is a very thorough researcher and visited not only the Archives in Prague, but also followed that with a visit to the Příbram District Archives as well.
In Příbram, was the family of Johann and Josefa (Kolb) Adam. Johann was the son of Wenzl Adam, the burgess in Turnov, Bohemia, and his wife, Josepha, was the daughter of Johann Kolb, a burgess and master blacksmith of Prague. Just as Leopold Levy had related, David also reported that Johann was the village pharmacist there in Příbram. He and his wife were married on July 18, 1833 with their marriage organized from house #4, Praha, Nové Město and then proceeded to have eleven children between the years of 1815 and 1833.
Their first-born child had the given name of Johann Nepomuk Alois Adam and was born February 22, 1815. This would relate well with the burial information we discovered that gave the age of Rudd Adama (sic) as 50 at the time of his death in 1866. It also fits with his wife and daughter referring to him as John, which is the most common English translation for the Czech given name of Johann. Additionally, every one of Johann’s seven brothers have as their first or second given name Ondřej. This Czech given name is sometimes translated in English as Alfred, which also dovetails with the name of the only son of J. R. and his wife, Barbara, Alfred John Adam.
But what about the middle name for Johann of Nepomuk? It surely isn’t Rudolphus nor is it Gustav. One theory is that inasmuch as Johann was a participant in the failed Revolt of 1848 and an ardent partisan, he most likely would have also been a Freethinker as we previously noted. This might well mean he disliked having the middle name of a Catholic saint and therefore took to change it. We further see that over his lifetime he employed his own version of ‘artistic license’ in many changes in this name that we have seen. J. R., T. R., Rud, Rudd, Rudolphus, John, etc. As well, perhaps Leopold was recalling a nickname that had been given to J. R. Could Leopold have been paying respects to the great Bohemian composer, Gustav Mahler?
David also found a book written in 1939 by Mr. Fr. Žid that covers 200 years of the history of the drugstore in Příbrum and includes from page 22 the following:
“…the drugstore including the house #76 bought by Jan Adam with the parents of his wife Josefa (Jan Kolb, the burgess and master smith in Prague – and his wife Alžběta) on 19th February 1814 for the amount of 11.701,- guldens….After the death of Jan Adam, on 27th February 1855, all property including the drugstore was inherited by his son Václav, who kept the drugstore until 1st October 1872….”
David continued with several citations from the Příbram Archives regarding Census records, passport requests, travel, and marriage register requests from and for various members of the Adam family, none of which list Johann, but show that his brothers were still in Bohemia while he was in Cleveland, Ohio. His brother, Václav, inherited the drugstore in 1855 and kept it until selling it in 1872 and his brother, Wilhelm, was also shown in local records.
Only two records showing a Johann Adam were discovered by David. One is from the oldest directory for Prague (1847), which lists Johann Adam living at Güttlergasse #718, Prague II and having been the officer in the bank. (Could this have been the commission to which Leopold referred to during his Chotek interview?) The only additional listing is from the conscription register, which lists both Johann Adam (born 1814) and Václav (born 1825), both of Příbram and whom fit with the birth records found earlier.
David also received the assistance of staff at the National Archives of Prague where they searched the police records for Prague 1785-1930 and found no mention of any Adam family member in the years we were interested in.
The more David searched, the more convinced he became that Gustav was a sobriquet used by our Johann in America that he did not ever use in Bohemia and certainly this line of thinking matches with all of the records we had uncovered in our searching.
We get an interesting response from the Sisters of Mercy in Nashville
As we were approaching the end of our report from David Kohout, we received a return phone call from Sister Susanne with the Sisters of Mercy in Nashville. This delightful and helpful nun unfortunately had some news to give us. The hoped for memorial that was bequeathed by Melanie Adam for the chapel of the Convent of St. Bernard Academy was not able to be located or was simply no longer in existence.
Sister Susanne, though, proceeded to give us a thorough history of this Holy Order once they arrived in Nashville. Coming from Rhode Island to Nashville hard on the heels of the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1868, the first Sisters lived in a mansion provided by the Bishop. Unfortunately, when the Bishop was transferred to Chicago the new Bishop displaced the Sisters so he could occupy the home. By 1900, Mother Xavier had acquired land and built their first Convent. By 1910 the Sisters had built a new building that combined a Convent and the Academy of St. Bernard together. Then in 1920 an entirely new ‘Chapel Wing’ was built onto the existing facility, followed by a complete move to a new complex in 1989. Once again in 1991, the Sisters built their current Convent and retreat facility and St. Bernard Academy became independent of the Order. That is a lot of moving, renovating, and new building. So it was not all that surprising that whatever the Memorial was that Sister Xavier had created for Melanie and Alfred was lost along the way. While it is sad, it is certainly something completely understandable.
Wrapping up the death certificate information for further genealogy clues.
We now made the decision to conduct a review of the crucial genealogy question of heirs, based on the death certificates plus the death records and the additional probate documents that we had discovered. The following is what we have:
J. R. Adam – No mention of heirs at all in the only death-related document we have, which is the estate inventory.
Barbara Adam – Son, Alfred and daughter, Melanie, both listed in her probate documents. No other heirs-at-law nor any grandchildren were mentioned.
Alfred John Adam – Listed as being single on death certificate, which was attested to by his sister.
Melanie Adam – We have a listing for father, John; mother, Barbara; and brother, Alfred, but no children in her probate documents. She, like her brother, is recorded as being single on her death certificate.
It appears that genealogically speaking, this was the end of the line in our search for any living descendants of the Adam family. The only indirect reference we can find to anyone who could even potentially be related is the Mrs. Johann Gassner in Bohemia who is listed in Melanie Adam’s will. But she most certainly is not a descendant of Johann and Barbara.
Will the Adam family be remembered for their place in ‘The Originals’?
Our last hope for some lasting memorial to the Adam family now resides with the Tennessee State Library and Archives while they search the burial records for MountOlivetCemetery in Nashville and the possibility of some memorial/gravestones being present.
Now it is time to go back to the genealogy dart board and see who is next!
Wait! The phone is ringing and it is the 615 area code!