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!
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.
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.”
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®