Onward To Our Past http://onwardtoourpast.com Genealogy Tips, Help, and Fun with a focus on family and history Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:49:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Free Genealogy Tip: Be Sure to Capture Those Family Idioms and Phraseshttp://onwardtoourpast.com/hints-and-tips/free-genealogy-tip-be-sure-to-capture-those-family-idioms-and-phrases.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/hints-and-tips/free-genealogy-tip-be-sure-to-capture-those-family-idioms-and-phrases.html#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:49:19 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3505 Free Genealogy Tip: Be Sure to Capture Those Family Idioms and Phrases

Get your free hints and tips for genealogy here!

Get your free hints and tips for genealogy here!

As genealogists, we all work extremely hard to find and document every fact we can find about our ancestors. We got to great lengths to gather each and every bit of evidence regarding family births, deaths, marriages, divorces, children, siblings, occupations, addresses, and more for our genealogy efforts.

I wonder though if you, like our family, capture one of the most unique things that can truly define your family? In this case I am referring to, and suggesting you document, all those quirky words, phrases, and sayings that were created by, and are unique to, your family. Best of all, collecting and remembering them can be great fun!

In our family we are chockfull of these special words and phrases and we do our best to capture them and then I add them to the profile of the individual in our family tree. Believe me when I say it really makes a family tree sparkle, shine, fun, and inviting!

One example in our family is that my wife’s grandparents and my grandparents loved to use old sayings. Wonderfully my wife’s family is 100% Italian and mine is 50/50 Bohemian and Cornish, so there are lots of these sayings and many are different from one another. Sadly, I have to say, many of these old saying are falling out of use due to the changing times. For instance, my Bohemian grandmother used to say ‘find a pin and pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck’ almost daily. She and my mom sewed all the time, there were many tailors in her family and so the hazard of errant straight pins was a constant in our home. Today? I am not so sure I could even find a single straight pin in our house let alone call them a hazard.

On my wife’s side, our great grandmother, Bisnonna, used to say “da carne proviene carne”. A rough English translation is ‘from meat comes meat’, but in Bisnonna’s case she used it to mean ‘if you eat meat, you get fat’. This was a way of supporting her meatless meals when the budget just didn’t allow for meat on the table all that often.

There are also the words that our children and grandchildren have invented over the years and have now taken a place in our family’s regular lexicon. They are fun, inventive, appropriate, and we wanted to make certain not to lose the history of how and where they originated.

Free tips for genealogy and family history are always fun!

Free tips for genealogy and family history are always fun!

Here are a couple of fun examples:

Maddy (pronounced mahdy): When our daughter was just learning to talk and was still sleeping in her crib, she would holler when she woke up for us to get her out. At some point she discovered that Mom and Dad were equally adept at this task, so she got creative and would simply call out ‘Maddy’, content to know that this combination of Mommy and Daddy would attract either, or both, my wife and I.

Groogmog: When our children were a bit too big to be carried with ease, they invented this word. As they would explain: “A groogmog is a young child who is just too tired to walk and needs to be carried” (often up the stairs to bed). My wife and I can’t tell you how many times this little ploy on their part worked like a charm!

Sticks: Our grandson was over for a large family dinner where his auntie made, among other foods, lamb chops on the grill. Piled high on a serving plate on the dinner table, our grandson had finished his first chops before the adults dug in. As we sat down he asked: “Are there any more of those……sticks?” He couldn’t recall that we had explained they were lamb chops, but he knew he wanted more and, seeing the bone on the end of each chop, simply called them ‘sticks’. From that day on, any lamb chops served in our house or order at any restaurant are ‘sticks’.

“Tuck a napkin in. Bus Andy always did.” My father-in-law, Carl, was a great storyteller and many of his stories revolved around his youth and growing up in Hibbing, a small northern Minnesota town. More often than not, when the family would gather around the dining room table for a typically awesome Italian feast, my father-in-law would take his napkin and tuck it in his shirt, while saying to everyone else “Tuck a napkin in. Bus Andy always did.” Thankfully my wife’s dad explained this story to me. Back in the early 1900s a man by the name of Andy Anderson got the idea to use his car to provide transportation services between Hibbing and a nearby town of Alice, Minnesota. Andy’s endeavor was tremendously successful and was the beginnings of the Greyhound Bus Company of today! His success earned him the nickname of ‘Bus Andy’ and no matter his wealth and renowned, every time he and his friends would meet at the local dining establishment for a meal, Bus Andy would take his napkin and tuck it in his shirt. Forever after, if it was good enough for Bus Andy it was good enough for everyone and anyone who gathered at any table anywhere with dad.

A sidelight to gathering and preserving these and a multitude of additional sayings and words has been that we have typed them up, printed them, and framed them for each person in our family. They have made terrific gifts for significant birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. They have also proven to be one of the best conversation starters in everyone’s’ home during parties and holiday gatherings. After all, how can you read something like ‘groogmog’ and not ask what it means?

So have fun, enjoy some good chuckles, and get busy gathering these unique tidbits for your genealogy and family history.

Onward To Our Past

http://onwardtoourpast.com/hints-and-tips/free-genealogy-tip-be-sure-to-capture-those-family-idioms-and-phrases.html/feed 0
In Genealogy Skip the Heavy Hand and Opt for the Lighter Touchhttp://onwardtoourpast.com/hints-and-tips/in-genealogy-skip-the-heavy-hand-and-opt-for-the-lighter-touch.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/hints-and-tips/in-genealogy-skip-the-heavy-hand-and-opt-for-the-lighter-touch.html#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:26:42 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3501 In Genealogy Skip the Heavy Hand and Opt for the Lighter Touch

opinion offend

Almost everyone I encounter who has a determined love of genealogy and family history, at one point or another, comments on the ‘need’ to get the younger generation involved in genealogy.

In thinking about this need, I have come to believe two things. First, this most likely comes from a deeply personal place within each individual. Since we all sincerely love our genealogy and have invested both money and time heavily in our pursuit and gained some wonderful and often life altering discoveries, we don’t want our efforts to ‘end’ with us. Second, while we may feel an overwhelming need to get others involved or to take over our genealogy work, we need to abandon the oft used heavy handed approach and work instead with a much lighter touch.

Thinking back on our decisions to become serious about your genealogy and family history I am willing to bet that like mine yours did not strike like a bolt of lightning early in life. I suppose there are some who say they loved genealogy from their earliest days and have been working on it since they were knee high to a grasshopper. But for the far greater percentage of us this was not the case. We came upon our love far more gently and slowly.

Evidence of this is the simple fact that I have never encountered anyone in genealogy and family history who has ever said “Boy, I sure am glad I listened to every story ever told by my family elders all my life and asked them every genealogy and family history question I could.” Rather, everyone I have ever worked with looks back wistfully and says ‘Boy, I sure wish I had listened more closely to my family’s stories’ and ‘Oh, how I wish I had just 15 minutes with my grandmother, grandfather, etc. to ask them a couple of questions.’

Now, given the loss we all feel with the fact that we did not listen to all those family stories with a ‘genealogical ear’ or ask all the questions we now have, it is natural to want to impress some of our non-genealogical family members with the urgency to do what we did not. But here I ask you again to think back on your life and if you pursued your family history 24/7 365 days a year? No, I bet life got in the way. There were times other things in life took precedent. There were times when we simply cared about other things in our lives more than working on a family tree. Our interest may have simply waned at times as well. The gaps in our genealogy work have at times been brief, at other times quite long and extended.

Skip the Heavy Hand and Opt for the Light Touch

My grandmother loved to use the expression ‘you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’. With this in mind I came to realize early in my genealogy work that while I might not be using honey and vinegar, I needed to put the heavy handed approach to genealogy away and opt for a much finer, lighter touch when working with others. The hammer, like vinegar, chased far more folks away than attracted them. On the other hand, like honey, taking a far lighter to our family genealogy worked far better at gathering new fans within our family tree.

I admit I often find myself fighting this, but time and again it proves its worth.

Indeed, I always reach out to any new potential partner in our genealogy immediately and as personally as I can (if I can call, I call. Email is second, Social Media next, and Snail Mail occupies the end of the line.) After my initial use of the ‘hammer’, I put it away and take my lead from whomever I am trying to work with.

Put it AWAY!

Put it AWAY!

While we may be rabid at the opportunity to learn something new from this potential partner, nine times out of 10, we don’t have the faintest idea of what they might be dealing with in their lives at the time we reach out. That is why it is imperative that we tread lightly, slowly, and at the pace offered and suggested by the other party to this equation.

Yes, the wait might be excruciating, but wait we must. We know how we feel, we do not know how the other party feels at the time of our contact. They may simply need some time to process our request and information or they may be in the midst of some major life-altering event.

Over and over again, I have seen heartwarming and incredibly valuable input and true, long lasting connection to our genealogy and family history simply by waiting. Days, weeks, months, maybe years later in comes the letter, the return phone call, the email that signals that, yes, the time is now right and I am ready, willing, and able to get involved!

Conscription to our cause never results in very long lasting partnerships. Then again, neither does the laying on of a guilt-trip, nor demanding participation due to some religious orientation if you participate in that.

We need to set the table, prepare the feast well, and then sit back and as hard as it may be, wait for our guests to arrive. When they do arrive be prepared that in all likelihood they will stay at the table well past dessert and coffee! And, after all, isn’t that exactly what we all want?

Onward To Our Past®

http://onwardtoourpast.com/hints-and-tips/in-genealogy-skip-the-heavy-hand-and-opt-for-the-lighter-touch.html/feed 0
In Our Genealogy: Let’s All Take PRIDE in our Family Treeshttp://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/in-our-genealogy-lets-all-take-pride-in-our-family-trees.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/in-our-genealogy-lets-all-take-pride-in-our-family-trees.html#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:14:39 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3491 In Genealogy: Let’s All Take PRIDE in our Family Trees

PRIDE for all people!

PRIDE for all people!

It is impossible to pick up a newspaper or watch a news program and not read about the equality movement, or as some call it, the new civil rights movement. Finally American society all around us seems to be changing and, in this case, changing for the better. State after State are enacting long overdue legal reforms designed to insure equality for many more Americans. Equal legal footings for same sex marriages, LBGT equal rights in the workplace, and more are sweeping our Nation. And for good reason!

All one needs to do is re-read the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution for what is termed the ‘Equal Protection Clause’. This clause states, simply and quite eloquently, that no State can deny United States citizens “equal protection of the laws”.

We ARE all equal under the law!

We ARE all equal under the law!

So it should be with our genealogy and family trees. We, as genealogists, who pride ourselves on finding “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” about who our ancestors were, where they lived, what occupations they held, where they are interred, etc. need to be just as determined in our pride to have our family trees and genealogy reflect ALL the people in our families.

Personally I use Family Tree Builder genealogy software made by MyHeritage.com for our family tree. This allows for all manner of equal representation within our family tree. I suggest you make certain that your software does the same. No longer is the excuse ‘my program won’t let me show a same sex marriage’ acceptable.

Again, in our quest for accurate and truthful genealogies, we must be certain to also reflect that some in our family tree are adopted, came to be created by ‘artificial’ insemination, surrogate mothers, etc.

The 1950s are long gone and so should the unnecessary shame and ignorance that were so prevalent at that time in matters regarding single parents, adoption, race, sexual orientation, mixed marriages, divorce, and more.

Just as we would not dare to manufacture some artificial history for one of our ancestors, so we should not dare to be anything less than FULLY open and honest with any and all matters of fact for our family trees and in our genealogy. Certainly I would not disgrace my immigrant great grandfather who came from Bohemia in 1866 by saying he was a Mayflower descendant. Likewise I would not dare to disgrace a same sex couple by not representing their lives, love, and commitment properly in our family tree.

Not long ago I found myself having a discussion with a genealogy fan who took great pride in explaining to me that she had been working for years and years to try and find the link in her family tree to a family story of having a Native American ancestor. Yet in this same conversation this same genealogist proclaimed that she would never reflect a same sex marriage in her tree and would not add any photographs of her mixed race niece and nephews. I asked her what the difference was and pointed out that a mixed race marriage of a white woman and a Native American man back in the 1890s might well have been seen as scandalous. After some stammering on her part our conversation ended. I guess all I can say is that she considered it genealogically ‘acceptable’ to have a Native American ancestor, but not people of certain other races or sexual orientation. So here was a genealogist who was spending years trying to find one fact for her family tree while admitting that she considered other facts to be unacceptable for inclusion in that same family tree.

It is time for every one of us genealogy fans and family historians to paint each of our family trees in the rainbow that has come to represent equality and acceptance of all peoples.

To those of you who already have that rainbow arcing over your family tree, I say to you: ‘Hear, Hear’!



Onward To Our Past® with PRIDE!

http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/in-our-genealogy-lets-all-take-pride-in-our-family-trees.html/feed 0
Czech Genealogy: Once in a Lifetime News for Bohemian (Czech) Genealogy and History Thanks to the University of Chicagohttp://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/czech-genealogy/czech-genealogy-once-in-a-lifetime-news-for-bohemian-czech-genealogy-and-history-thanks-to-the-university-of-chicago.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/czech-genealogy/czech-genealogy-once-in-a-lifetime-news-for-bohemian-czech-genealogy-and-history-thanks-to-the-university-of-chicago.html#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:22:01 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3483 Czech Genealogy: Once in a Lifetime News for Bohemian (Czech) Genealogy and History Thanks to the University of Chicago

If you love Czech genealogy and Czech history, if you have Bohemian blood coursing through your veins, then the recent news from the University of Chicago will be of huge interest to you!

Located in the Joseph Regenstein Library of the University’s campus, which is found at the corner of Ellis Avenue and East 57th Street, Chicago, you will find a very special library-within-a-library with the name of Archives of Czechs and Slovaks Abroad, which more often is referred to by its acronym of ACASA.

ACASA holds some rare and marvelous resources for those of us with an interest in Czech genealogy, Czech history, and the communities Czechs immigrants formed here in the United States. One of their ‘crown jewels’ is the most complete set of Amerikán Národní Kalendář (ANK) anywhere in the United States. These fragile Czech-language journals, which were published once a year from 1875 through 1958, have until this time been available only onsite at ACASA. But not any longer!

A sample cover of Amerikan Narodni Kalendar.

A sample cover of Amerikan Narodni Kalendar.

Just days ago, June Pachuta Farris, the ACASA Director, or as she is officially known Bibliographer for Slavic and East European Studies, made the following announcement:

“We (ACASA and the University of Chicago Digital Services Department) have just finished the second stage in our digitization of pre-1924 issues of the Czech-American journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář. PDFs of the volumes we have can be accessed at: http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/10017213.

Stage three will put these volumes together within an XTF or other interface, but at least they are now available as pdfs for those who might be interested in using them.”

This is absolutely fabulous news for every Czech genealogy fan in the world now! Not only does ACASA have these wonderful journals, but they have made them digitally available for anyone who is interested. As you might guess, I have already been looking at every issue of ANK that is now online for the wonderful biographies and stories about Czechs in America and they are truly amazing and extraordinarily helpful! Plus you can do word searches on any term you are looking for within these many PDFs.

A sample of one of the title pages from ANK.

A sample of one of the title pages from ANK.

So be sure to bookmark and save this url: http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/10017213. I am sure you will be back to it over and over!

I should add the issues of ANK are not the only ACASA resources available for all of us Bohemian genealogy fans.

The following is from their website (http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/slavic/acasa.html)

“The Archives of Czechs and Slovaks Abroad (ACASA) consists of several thousand books, brochures, periodicals, anniversary publications, almanacs, and personal papers of Czechs and Slovaks who have lived outside of Czechoslovakia for some portion of their lives. Much of the material found in the archives was published in North America in the past 150 years, although titles from the countries of eastern and western Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere are also well represented. Esther Jerabek’s Czechs and Slovaks in North America: A Bibliography (New York, 1976), provides a guide to much of the older material found in the archives and a detailed inventory of the collection is currently in progress.

ACASA contains a wide variety of books on the general and local history of Czech and Slovak emigration, such as those written by Jan Habenicht, Tomas Čapek, and Jaroslav Bubenicek. Information on the achievements of socially active immigrants can be found in the substantial collection of anniversary publications of fraternal, social, political, religious, cultural, and sports organizations. Among its many journal and newspaper holdings, ACASA has a nearly complete run of the almanac Amerikán Národní Kalendář (1875-1958), and Jerabek’s bibliography provides an index to many of the memoirs and articles found within its pages. Likewise, a wide variety of periodicals such as Hospodár (1891-1992) provide information on the history of Czech and Slovak settlements throughout North America. One of the most unique reference sources within ACASA is a list of nine thousand refugees from Czechoslovakia who were registered in Regensburg, Germany, from January to August 1948.

The Archives of Czechs and Slovaks Abroad is a separately housed collection and its contents are not reflected in the Library’s online catalog. As a preliminary step in providing users with a comprehensive interactive online finding aid to ACASA holdings, the compilation of two inventories of ACASA materials are now in progress. Even though incomplete at this time (with Inventory I reflecting approximately 50% of ACASA materials housed in the Special Collections Research Center and Inventory II as yet reflecting less than 5% of the material housed in the ACASA Reading Room in Regenstein Room 260), it is hoped that these two checklists will be of use to researchers and provide a broader picture of the wealth of material found in ACASA.”

There are often wonderful images in ANK.

There are often wonderful images in ANK.

You can use the following links to see what holdings are currently cataloged at ACASA:

Inventory I: Holdings in the Special Collections Research Center Room — 130 Joseph Regenstein Library

Inventory II: Holdings in the ACASA Reading Room — 260 Joseph Regenstein Library

If you love Czech genealogy, don’t pass up this great resource! June, the director, is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, which makes any use of ACASA a dream.

And don’t forget the newest addition – those digital copies of Amerikán Národní Kalendář!

Onward To Our Past®

http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/czech-genealogy/czech-genealogy-once-in-a-lifetime-news-for-bohemian-czech-genealogy-and-history-thanks-to-the-university-of-chicago.html/feed 2
Czech Genealogy Augustin Heřman: The First of the First Bohemians on American Shoreshttp://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/czech-genealogy-augustin-herman-the-first-of-the-first-bohemians-on-american-shores.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/czech-genealogy-augustin-herman-the-first-of-the-first-bohemians-on-american-shores.html#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:30:47 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3475 Augustin Heřman: The First of the First Bohemians on American Shores

Augustin Herman.  First of the first Bohemians on American soil.

Augustin Herman. First of the first Bohemians on American soil.

Someone always has to be first. First up to bat. First to go off the high dive at the municipal pool. First pick for teams on the playground. First in a Formula ®1 road race. So it is with America’s Bohemian immigrants. There had to be a first and as far as research tells us at this time the first Bohemian to come to the shores of America (actually Nieuw Amsterdam, later to become known as New York once the English won control from the Dutch) was Augustin Heřman.

If you are unfamiliar with this name (or the various other spellings you will encounter such as Herrman, Hermann, Heermans, and several others) don’t feel badly. While Augustin Heřman was truly an amazing immigrant he, like the majority of our Bohemian immigrant ancestors and their communities, has basically been overlooked in history books and neither adequately recognized nor memorialized.

In an effort to make a small dent in this oversight in history, we, at Onward To Our Past® are providing this primer on Augustin Heřman, first Bohemian immigrant to the shores of the future United States of America.

Augustin Heřman in Bohemia

Precious little is known for certain regarding the earliest times in the life of Augustin. There are conflicting reports of both his age and the year of his birth. These reports vary from 1605, 1621, 1623, and 1625. Likewise the city of his birth is also disputed with some reporting that he was born in Prague while others report that it was the town of Mšeno, which is some 53 kilometers due north of Prague. Actually in Mšeno, you will find a plaque commemorating Augustin Heřman placed in 1935 on Cinibulkova Street at the purported site of his birthplace. However, Professor Jan Kozák related to this author that when he last visited Mšeno for an extended period of time about two years ago, no one in town knew any additional details of the story of Augustin Heřman and his roots in the village. He went on to say “Actually, some scholars believe that Heřman was born there; others think there were some ties between the Heřman family and the town; and, finally, some people think this is a fantasy that Heřman and Mšeno were related.”

Some researchers, such as Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr., refer to Augustin as being from Prague. They base this on the fact that on occasion Augustin referred to himself as being from Prague. However, in our genealogy work we find, time and again, immigrants who when referring to their home use the largest nearby city as a reference. Personally, the author, in his years’ long quest to locate the Bohemian home village of his Vicha ancestors, had only the tiny clue of the single word ‘Pisec’ (sic) to lead him. When the Vicha ancestral home was finally discovered he found this word did not refer to a village at all, but simply the district of Pisek. Additionally, the author often refers to the fact that he is from ‘the Chicago area’, rather than his specific hometown in Northwest Indiana, especially to those unfamiliar with the finer points of United States geography. Perhaps this was the same situation with Augustin. Could it be that he would refer to Prague since it would be the only city in Bohemia any North American at the time might possibly ever recognize.

To add to this mystery, there are also conflicting reports as to who the parents of Augustin were. Again, Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr. in his monograph “The First Czech Settler in America” makes the undocumented claim that his parents were Augustine Ephraim Herman, a. wealthy merchant and councilor of Prague, while his mother was Beatrix, a daughter of Kaspar Redel, of a wealthy and high ranking Bohemian family. However, noted Czech historian, Tomáš Čapek, in his seminal book Czechs (Bohemians) in America makes the case that Augustin was the son of an evangelical pastor in Mšeno, by the name of Abraham Heřman. Abraham was forced to flee Bohemia, with his family, due to the brutal religious persecution of non-Catholics by the Hapsburgs during and after The Thirty-Years’ War. Čapek backs up his claim with an entry from the Mšeno village register as follows:

“In the Memorial Book of the Town of Mšeno (Bohemia) Litt.D., p. 39, the following entry is recorded: “A.D. 1621, the Sunday before Christ’s birth, on a cold day, our beloved pastor, Abraham Herzman, went into exile, with his family to the City of Zitava (Zittau). His noble-minded and pious wife did not live to see this humiliation, having died of grief one month before his departure. Before the parish house waited a vehicle, in which sat the entire family, that is, son Augustine and three daughters. The pastor blessed his flock and followed the conveyance on foot, the people meanwhile chanting, ‘ From the depths of my sorrows, I appeal to Thee, Oh Lord,’ and accompanying their minister to the village of Bezdedice.”

If the Augustine Herzman of Mšeno, disregarding the slight variation in the spelling of the surname, is not the Augustine Heřman of Bohemia Manor, it is, admittedly, a remarkable coincidence, in date and name.”

When we reviewed a transcription of the Last Will and Testament of Augustin hoping for some statement of his being from Prague or elsewhere, we found that in the will of Augustin, dated 27 September, 1684 found in Volume 15 (1891) issue of Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography there is no reference to his origin, beyond ‘Bohemian’. However, there is the enticing notation made, in pencil on some unknown date and by some unknown hand Aetatis 63 (age 63), which would, if true, place his date of birth circa 1621

As you will read a bit later, one of the crowning achievements of Augustin was his crafting of the first and remarkably detailed and accurate (geodetically surveyed) maps of the American territory of Virginia and Maryland. In the 2012, Volume 4 of Journal of Geographic Information Systems in the article “Map of Maryland and Virginia 1660-1670 Created by Augustin Herrmann” coauthors John R. Hébert (retired head of the Geography and Maps Division of the Library of Congress) and Jan T. Kozák (Institute of Geophysics, Prague, CR) provide some excellent detail about Augustin’s early life in their ‘Introductory Remarks’. While their article is concerned with Augustin’s now exceedingly rare map (only 5 original copies remain in existence) the authors nevertheless provide a detailed section on young Augustin’s life. Unfortunately while there are many specifics regarding his early years, beyond listing his birth year as 1623 in Bohemia, there is no mention of either a birth town or who his parentage.

The sign in Mseno, Bohemia today.

The sign in Mseno, Bohemia today.

In Volume XV (1920) of Maryland Historical Magazine there is the continuation of an article titled “Seven Pioneers of the Colonial Eastern Shore” written by Percy G. Scriven. In this article, which is Part II, is the story of Augustin Heřman. It includes a transcription of the application made by Augustin to the Provincial Assembly of Maryland in 1663 for the naturalization of his family and himself. This reads, in Augustin’s own words:

“Augustine Herman, born at Prague in Bohemia…”

Scriven also goes on to state, unfortunately without attribution to any records, the following:

“Augustine Herman was the son of Augustine Ephraim Herman, Councilman of Prague, Bohemia and his wife, Beatice Redel, daughter of Casper Redel, also of Prague. He was born in Prague in 1605…”

Likewise in Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume III (1892) on page 188 you can find a brief biography of Augusine Herrman. This biography states simply that Augustin was “…b. in Prague, Bohemia, about 1605…”

Certainly, while it is obvious many very capable and determined researchers have tried to answer the question of the parentage and exact year of the birth of Augustin Heřman disagreement exist and the answers to these challenging genealogy questions are as yet undiscovered.

What will we find next as we look into Augustin’s time in America? Coming soon!

Here is a hint!

Here is a hint!

http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/czech-genealogy-augustin-herman-the-first-of-the-first-bohemians-on-american-shores.html/feed 0
‘Czech, Please!’ wants YOU! How you can help with this exciting genealogy projecthttp://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/czech-please-wants-you-how-you-can-help-with-this-exciting-genealogy-project.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/czech-please-wants-you-how-you-can-help-with-this-exciting-genealogy-project.html#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:06:00 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3470 ‘Czech, Please!’ wants YOU! How you can help with this exciting genealogy project

Here is how you can help.  Just like Uncle Sam, We Want YOU!

Here is how you can help. Just like Uncle Sam, We Want YOU!

Now that you have joined us on the ‘Czech, Please!’ team, we wanted to give you some ideas about how you, as our teammate, can help this exciting genealogy and history project. We believe in K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple & Short) here at Onward To Our Past® so here we go:

 1) As you go about your regular genealogy work, please keep ‘Czech, Please!’ and our mission: “To identify, document, and preserve the names and stories of the first Bohemian* settlers in the cities, towns, and rural counties across America”.

 2) Review your personal genealogy and family history and identify who the earliest Bohemian* immigrants to the United States were in your family tree and submit them for our site and our ‘Czech, Please!’ map.

 3) No matter where you live, please take a few moments and reach out to your local genealogy group, historical society/organization, or museum and ask what records they may have regarding the first settlers to your home area and if they know when the first Bohemian* settler(s) came.

 4) One of the best aspects of genealogy is that we are, by and large, a very collaborative community so ask your friends and perhaps make an announcement at your next genealogy society meeting if any members have Bohemian* roots. If they do would they consider joining the crowdsourcing ‘Czech, Please!’ project.

 5) If you have Bohemian* roots in your family, please consider asking your elder family members if they recall any stories, legends, etc. about who the local Bohemian* families or individuals were who were early settlers or arrivals in the area.

 6) As you become aware of any local institutions, organizations, societies, museums, etc. that hold historic information on local Bohemian* immigrants, families, and/or settlers, submit that information to ‘Czech, Please!’ via Onward To Our Past® for our compilation of Bohemian* historic resources across America.

 7) If you have any favorite or ‘go to’ reference books that cover either in total or in part Bohemians* in America, please submit their titles to ‘Czech, Please!’ via Onward To Our Past® for inclusion in our listing of valuable written resources on Bohemians* in America.

 8) Most importantly, have fun and relish what you are helping to accomplish!

*Bohemia(n) refers to the ancient Kingdom of Bohemia and her peoples. This Kingdom included Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. This basic area would later become known by various names such as Czechoslovak Republic, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Czechoslovakia, and currently Czech Republic.

http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/czech-please-wants-you-how-you-can-help-with-this-exciting-genealogy-project.html/feed 0
ONWARD TO OUR PAST® ANNOUNCES ‘CZECH, PLEASE!’ A NEW GENEALOGY CROWDSOUCING EFFORT TO DOCUMENT AMERICA’S FIRST CZECH/BOHEMIAN IMMIGRANTShttp://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/onward-to-our-past-announces-czech-please-a-new-genealogy-crowdsoucing-effort-to-document-americas-first-czechbohemian-immigrants.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/onward-to-our-past-announces-czech-please-a-new-genealogy-crowdsoucing-effort-to-document-americas-first-czechbohemian-immigrants.html#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 20:23:42 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3457 Onward To Our Past®

Contact: Scott W. Phillips FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tel: (312) 718-1769
Fax: (219) 861-0178
Email: onwardtoourpast@gmail.com

Crowdsourcing to be used to identify, research, document, and preserve the first Czech/Bohemian immigrants to cities and towns across America.

Onward To Our Past® Genealogy Services Company is pleased to announce the first-ever initiative to identify, research, document, record, and preserve the names of the first Czech/Bohemian immigrants to cities and towns all across America. From the largest to the smallest, “Czech, Please!” will be a unique project in the history of Czech and American history.

Historically, the Czech immigrants and their communities have been some of the least studied of all the immigrant groups that came and established themselves in America. In an effort to bring to light one important historic aspect of the Czech/Bohemian immigrants, Onward To Our Past® has initiated this project called ‘Czech, Please!’.

Scott Phillips, founder and owner of Onward To Our Past® Genealogy Services Company located in Duneland Beach, Indiana, announced the initiation of this exciting, never before attempted project in Czech genealogy. Scott said “Never before has any attempt ever been made to identify, document, and preserve who the first Bohemian/Czech immigrant settlers were in the cities and towns across America. In our view, this should be an integral part of Czech immigrant and American history, but it is not….yet. Onward To Our Past® is coordinating a crowdsourcing initiative to make this history happen and be available, free of charge, to all genealogists in the future.”

Acknowledging that this undertaking is a huge project that will reach from New York to California and Texas to Minnesota, Onward To Our Past® is calling on all genealogy fans, especially those with Czech roots and heritage to help out by joining this crowdsourcing initiative.

Scott continued “‘Czech, Please!’ will have a significant geographic reach, touching almost every state in America. Consequently, we are seeking help from anyone and everyone who’s interested. The project’s hefty scope is what drove our decision to ask for crowdsourcing to make our vision become reality. Crowdsourcing should also make the project move faster and be a lot more fun. In order to help, all you need to do is post a comment on our website at http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/czech-genealogy/whos-on-first-bohemian-czech-genealogy-and-immigration-across-the-united-states.html, comment or private message on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/OnwardToOurPast, or email our offices directly at OnwardToOurPast@gmail.com. We will then follow up with specific assignments that match your ‘Czech, Please!’ interests. We look forward to every Czech-American giving us a helping hand.”

In addition to being a regular genealogy columnist for Huffington Post United Kingdom Scott also writes a regular series for the e-publications of GenealogyBank.com. He has been published by Internet Genealogy Magazine, Family Chronicles Magazine, and organizations such as the National Genealogical Society, MyHeritage, Save Ellis Island, the Ohio Genealogical Society, National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, Archives.com, Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, Minnesota Genealogical Society, and others.


If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Scott Phillips, please call (312) 718-1769 or email OnwardToOurPast@gmail.com

http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/onward-to-our-past-announces-czech-please-a-new-genealogy-crowdsoucing-effort-to-document-americas-first-czechbohemian-immigrants.html/feed 0
Who’s on First? aka ‘Czech, Please!’ Bohemian (Czech) Genealogy and Immigration Across the United Stateshttp://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/whos-on-first-bohemian-czech-genealogy-and-immigration-across-the-united-states.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/whos-on-first-bohemian-czech-genealogy-and-immigration-across-the-united-states.html#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:53:17 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3442 Who’s on First? Bohemian (Czech) Immigration and Genealogy in the United States

A somewhat odd and decidedly peculiar thing happened on the way to the world’s history books. The early Bohemian (Czech) immigrants and their communities were, and continue to be, largely ignored, omitted, unstudied, and undocumented.

We've all been searching!

We’ve all been searching!

Granted, this lack of study and documentation is not 100% true. However, compared to other immigrant groups and their early communities, the Bohemians/Czechs in America are one of the least studied groups. Consider the following: According to the Czechoslovak History Newsletter, 1 (1976), it was not until 1914 that future Harvard University professor, Robert J. Kerner, would complete the very first doctoral dissertation on Bohemian history. Equally amazing is it would not be until 1930, at the University of the University of Southern California, Berkley, that the second such dissertation would be completed. The first dissertation on Moravia was not undertaken until 1957 and the first on Slovakia not until 1961. Compounding this overall lack of study and research is the fact that in the relatively few areas where the Bohemian/Czech immigrants and communities have been studied, the ensuing research materials are far flung, uncoordinated, and not held in any centralized location or Internet site.

Early on in my personal genealogy work, at the time I first started studying my Bohemian ancestors, I was shocked by my discovery of this lack of research and documented history concerning the early Bohemian immigrant community. The impact of this lack of information made all of my Czech genealogy work on my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio all the more challenging and difficult.

In addition to working on our personal family history, my firm, Onward To Our Past® simultaneously began researching, documenting, and accumulating all the information that we could locate that held historic significance for the early Bohemians in Cleveland. Many of the documents we uncovered were in their native Czech so our efforts also include translating these materials to English for the first time.

One of the earliest questions we encountered was this: “Who exactly was, or were, the earliest Bohemian/Czech settlers in the City of Cleveland?”

Who were the first Czech immigrants to you town?

Who were the first Czech immigrants to you town?

Who’s on First?

Back in the 1930s, the famous comedy duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello honed to perfection a sketch in their performance that I think everyone is familiar with yet today. Abbott is identifying players on a baseball team who have particularly ambiguous surnames. It has some incredibly fine timing and wordplay and it all begins with ‘Who’s on first?’

This skit is what got the staff at Onward To Our Past® asking the question of just who were the first Bohemian/Czech immigrant settlers in Cleveland. It wasn’t long and we began working though this puzzle. We found, as we worked on Cleveland, that it wasn’t long before we were asking ourselves the additional question of just who the original Bohemian/Czech settlers were in other cities and towns and when did these communities begin to establish their Bohemian/Czech roots?

While we were interested in the larger cities such as New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, etc. we also found that we were intrigued by the same question for the smaller ‘Bohemian’ communities throughout the United States. We wondered just as much about who were the first Bohemian/Czech settlers in towns such as Protivin and Spillville, Iowa; Yukon and Prague, Oklahoma; and in towns in the Dakota Territories, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, and elsewhere across America?

What do you say? Let’s Put the Bohemian/Czech ‘First Team’ and for the First Time Determine ‘Who’s on First’!

In the interest of Bohemian/Czech immigrant history, Onward To Our Past® is initiating a crowdsourcing effort to determine the first Bohemian/Czech immigrant settlers across the United States.

We will begin with the accumulation of all known first Czech/Bohemian immigrants to their communities that have already been identified. At the same time we will begin expanding to every community can find with Czech immigrants. We need YOUR help! What do you know about the Czech roots of your community? Would you be willing to share what you know about the first Czech immigrants in your community or one you have lived in or have researched or studied? Would you share your leads, ideas, theories, and suggestions? We need them all!

We ask that you begin by leaving your comments here on our website or our Facebook page. Let us know that you are interesting in participating in this exciting and fun project as well as any information you have already learned.

Already ‘Under Construction’, in the very near future we will be launching a new webpage designed specifically for tracking this project.

We hope everyone with an interest in Czech genealogy and ancestry will join in!

Here is the memorial for one of our first Czechs!

Here is the memorial for one of our first Czechs!


http://onwardtoourpast.com/first-czechs/whos-on-first-bohemian-czech-genealogy-and-immigration-across-the-united-states.html/feed 2
A HAPPY GENEALOGY 4TH OF JULYhttp://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/a-happy-genealogy-4th-of-july.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/a-happy-genealogy-4th-of-july.html#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 10:28:07 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3426 A happy genealogy fourth of July to everyone!

A very happy 4th of July to all!

A very happy 4th of July to all!

I wish you all a happy Independence Day! A wonderful, l-o-n-g weekend of celebrating our nation’s Declaration of Independence, summer, barbeque season hitting full throttle, fireworks, family gatherings, parades, and so much more. It is a truly wonderful summer holiday!

As genealogists we should all be right in the thick of celebrating each and every aspect of this holiday.

4th of July Elvis jpeg

Many of us genealogy and ancestry fans know that we have ancestors who came to these shores seeking better lives and opportunities for themselves and their families. My ancestors certainly did. Many came and were welcomed by the promise of the Statue of Liberty or “Mother of Exiles” as she is referred to on her pedestal. Emma Lazarus, in her sonnet, ‘New Colossus’, penned the following words that have become immortal:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

In the case of our family, this poem fits our family to a ‘T’. They came as poor, often disenfranchised, discriminated against, humble, ‘plain folks’ seeking a new life. Some came before Lady Liberty came to symbolize America in 1886. Some came after her lamp lit Bedloe Island (now officially Liberty Island), the harbor, and the entrance to all of America. But no matter, when they arrived they all came as immigrants. They had called ‘home’ Italy, Bohemia, and Cornwall, but came seeking to call America home.

It was never easy. None came with silver spoons in their satchels. None came with wealth beyond some meager savings. Some, at the time of the Declaration of Independence were deemed ‘Loyalists’ and were forced to flee, but decades later returned albeit to a different area of the country. Some found only backbreaking labor in mines, sweatshops, farms, or factories. Some fought for their new homeland while some tended the home front. Almost all lost loved ones; either children or spouses, and some lost asea before they ever touched the shores of America.

America IS diverse!  Celebrate inclusivity!

America IS diverse! Celebrate inclusivity!

Many came and met with success and good fortune. Some came and met with heartbreak, unimaginable loss, and failure. Some came, failed, returned home, and then still tried again. All, I like to imagine, certainly did their best.

They all spoke a language other than English or had an accent that made them ‘different’. They wore different clothing, ate different foods, held differing religious beliefs, often also physically looked different, and yet here they came to America, a land that reputedly offered acceptance and opportunity no matter what you looked or sounded like. (Kind of sounds like what many of us believed in the ‘70’s.)

As genealogy and family history fans, I think it is important that we remember what it was that lured our ancestors to the shores and heartland of America. We, as genealogists should also be sure to remember who they were. Not just in terms of their names and ‘data’, but what kind of folks they were. We need to hold their memories and history in a place of honor. In our family we take great pride in calling ourselves Italian-Americans, Cornish-Americans, and/or Czech-Americans. Being a hyphenated American is worn, in our families, as a true badge of honor. There is much in our ancestors’ histories for all of us to be very, very proud of. Many of the customs, foods, music, books, language, and more have remained ingrained in our lives and though our DNA in our very being. These pieces of our history permeate our lives today and we celebrate the fact that this amalgam is exactly what has made America great.

So as you enjoy this marvelous holiday, be sure to celebrate ALL that has made and continues to make America great – our diversity.

Oh, and be careful with those fireworks. :-)

4th of July Disney

Cheers and Happy Birthday America!

Have fun and hit the grill!

Have fun and hit the grill!

http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/a-happy-genealogy-4th-of-july.html/feed 0
Cornish Genealogy and A Diaspora Profilehttp://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/cornish-genealogy/cornish-genealogy-and-a-diaspora-profile.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/cornish-genealogy/cornish-genealogy-and-a-diaspora-profile.html#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:19:49 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=3417 Cornish Genealogy and A Diaspora Profile: The Thomas Phillips Allen Family — Perranzabuloe to Ishpeming — From Cornish to Yupper.

Many of my ancestors were a part of the Great Cornish Diaspora. While each left Cornwall for their individual reasons, it is interesting to note that not all followed in each others’ footsteps, but rather set out for a wide ranging set of locations across the United States and, at times, Canada.

The following is one example.

Thomas Phillips Allen was born 17 September, 1865 in Perranzabuloe, Cornwall to Mary Phillipps and Thomas Allen. Thomas Phillips Allen was one of seven children and the youngest son.

Thomas became a tin miner and in 1894 married the first of his three wives, Elizabeth Ann Wicks, in Redruth. In 1905 Thomas left his wife and young son, Jacob, and immigrated to Kofa, Yuma County, in the Arizona Territory. Now a ‘ghost town’, Kofa, an acronym for King of Arizona, was an early gold rush town that was home to the richest single gold mine in the American Southwest. Stories of those riches may well have reached St. Teath Parish and been what enticed Thomas to emigrate.

The mines in Kofa played out by 1910 and lo and behold in the 1910 United States Census, Thomas had moved all the way from the played out gold mine of Arizona to the copper and iron mines located in Negaunee, Marquette County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In 1914, Thomas married a Cornish girl, Bessie Trebilcock, in Negaunee, but Bessie dies less than a year after their marriage. Then in 1917, Thomas married another Cornish girl, Elizabeth Jane (nee Tomms) Southey from Redruth.

Thomas Phillips Allen's marriage certificate.

Thomas Phillips Allen’s marriage certificate.

In the ensuing few years, Thomas’ nephew, William H. Huddy, of Probus, and his wife, Lillian Barron of Truro would follow their uncle to the mines of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as would his nephew Clifton Huddy of Perranzabule, and his son, Jacob Allen, from his first marriage, who had been living in Illogan.

Thomas and Elizabeth had a son, Lloyd, and a daughter, Lucille. One of their four grandsons would be Paul Dean Urquhart. On May 28, 1971 Paul, a helicopter pilot, would be shot down during his second tour of duty in Vietnam in the sky above Thua Thien Province, Vietnam. To this day Paul remains MIA/KIA (missing in action/killed in action) and his remains have never been recovered.

My cousin's name from The Wall.

My cousin’s name from The Wall.

Keeping Cornish: I made many wonderful and valued discoveries while I was researching the Allen and Huddy families and their lives in Upper Peninsula towns of Negaunee, Marquette, Ishpeming, Palmer, and Iron Mountain.

One of our typical pasty parties!

One of our typical pasty parties!

However, as much as I enjoyed finding the documentation and history surrounding these ancestors and meeting ‘new’ cousins, the best was that I happened upon Lawry’s Pasty Shop. Located in Ishpeming and Marquette, Michigan and with deep Cornish roots of their own, they make a pasty that is the closest to my Nana’s that I have ever found! Plus they pack them fresh and send them to me through the post!

http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/cornish-genealogy/cornish-genealogy-and-a-diaspora-profile.html/feed 0