Genealogy Detectives Needed! Only YOU can help!
WANTED: Amerikán Národní Kalendář
As we all know, all good newspaper stories have to start out by answering the 5 W’s of Who, What, Where, When, and Why. So today we will go with that format!
Who: The motherlode of Czech-American history and genealogy information, Amerikán Národní Kalendář and YOU, the faithful and wonderful followers of Onward To Our Past®. August Geringer, a Bohemian born in Březnice, immigrated to Chicago in 1869. Once there he established his own printing company August Geringer a Synů (translated as August Geringer and Son). In 1875, he began to publish the first Bohemian daily newspaper in the United States, titled Svornost translated as ‘Concord’. Thankfully Geringer also published the Amerikán Národní Kalendář as an annual supplement to Svornost.
What: Five missing editions of Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
Where: They could be anywhere. An attic trunk, a box in the basement, an uncatalogued holding in a local history or genealogy society, in the United States, in Czech Republic, or perhaps on your very own bookshelf.
When: The five missing years are the following: 1880, 1883, 1885, 1888, and 1890. From all of our searching across America to this point we have been unable to discover that even one copy continues to exist from these crucial five years of the 79 (or 80) year publishing history of Amerikán Národní Kalendář by the now defunct August Geringer Publishing Company, which was located in Chicago, Illinois.
Why: Czech history and genealogy experts agree Amerikán Národní Kalendář is one of the most important printed resources for information on early Czech immigrant life in America. The information published in these annual Czech-American journals was often obtained from these Czech immigrants themselves, spanned Czech communities from coast-to-coast across the United States, and hold some of our most precious information on the early life and times of Czech immigrants.
In his most recent book, Czech American Bibliography, Czech expert, author, and researcher, Dr. 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).
The following is an example of the surnames that appear in just a single article. It comes from the 1895 Edition and a single article which we at Onward To Our Past® just translated to English for the first time. Titled “Memoirs of Bohemian Settlers in America”, this article is jam-packed with surnames including Sýkora, Kříž, Krejčí, Sprostý, Payer, Sýkora, Petr, Sháněl, Trojan, Spurný, Kužla, Prayer, Cully, Jílek, Davidova, Štĕdronský, Hlavlíček, Vltoň, Mácha, Kocian, Fuerst, Vrána, Drábek, Zdrůbek, Cukr, Kerrnish, Sett, Luňák, Koytk, Havel, Paul, Wodsedálek, Svatý, Káres, Jonáš, Brádl, Dolenský, Hrbek, Wais, Šára, and Albrecht.
In each biography we 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 of the United States.
The national and international popularity of Amerikán Národní Kalendář meant Bohemian and Bohemian-American authors wrote about Bohemians all over the United States. A look at the Table of Contents for just two issues show articles on Bohemians in Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, Oklahoma, New York, Illinois, and more.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? We’d like to ask everyone who reads this to check with their local historical society, genealogy society, library (since some do not have all their materials cataloged and online), your grandparents, etc. and ask them about these five missing years of Amerikán Národní Kalendář – 1880, 1883, 1885, 1888, and 1890!
Then if you discover any existing copy, let us know so we can work with the holder to get access, make sure it is adequately preserved, and document it!
Time’s a wasting, so go, go, GO! How fabulous if we could find these editions!
Onward To Our Past®