Not too long ago I was tracing a first cousin from Bohemia across the United States. This elusive fellow, Frantisek Knechtl, was a tough one for me to follow, document, and record. Finally I was able to document his parents and marriage. That took me from Horni Ptice, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) across the ocean and landed me in Iowa — then ran me across the Midwest to North Dakota.
It has been a fun trip and there have been some terrific new discoveries as I have learned about this branch of the family. You can read this story in the Czechoslovak Genealogy Society International’s magazine, Nase rodina, Vol 23, No 3, September 2011, under the title “46º4’29” N 97º8’59″W: How Did Genealogy Ever Bring Me Here?”
In the process of my work on Frantisek Knechtl and his family, I came across a wonderful organization and wanted to share it, just in case you did not know them.
I fell in love with them when I read their homepage and saw their purpose statement:
Czech – The ethnicity of our core territory is predominantly Bohemian.
Heritage – Our purpose is the preservation and promotion of our collective cultural legacy.
Partnership – We believe in cooperative efforts with persons and organizations of like mind.
How can you not love an organization that focuses like this and is SO open to partnerships!
As I went deeper into their website I found a wonderfully committed group of folks who know their stuff and are very willing to help!
This is also not some moribund group, rather they are very active and doing it right!
They have a wonderful effort at documenting the history and heritage of the people and the area. A good example of this is their work on publishing, in partnership with the Protivin Historical Preservation Group, the 2005 book The Protivin Community Past and Present. This exhaustive, 601 page book is an amazing work of love of our Bohemian roots for certain. By the way, you can check out all my genealogy books on LibraryThing.
They also operate the Family History and Documents Center as a project of the CHP. They are the ‘GO TO’ organization for Bohemian history in Northeast Iowa! What a treasure and what a treasure that they are doing it so well!
The mission of the Family History and Documents Center is:
“To gather, preserve, and make available the picture (pictorial) and text (written) record of the immigration, settlement, life – education, religion, professions, work, and such – and the progress of the Bohemian and Moravian areas of Northeast Iowa, consisting primarily of the core areas of Winneshiek, Howard, and Chickasaw Counties and the bordering and adjacent counties and including such other ethnic information as is integrally linked and such information from other areas where there is strong and meaningful relevance to the core area.
Note: This Project is an archive for information not a museum for objects.”
DO you see the last line! Do you LOVE it as much as I do? WOW! I am so impressed and so happy. This means they are as interested in the culture, fabric, and people as the things! COOL!
Membership is only $10 a year. A bargain — and hard to beat! Needless to say, my sawbuck went in the mail right away.
Plus they conduct a couple of local fundraisers each year that are wonderful. Annually they hold a Masopust, which is one of the best in the Midwest and beyond! Now they are holding two spring concerts this year also. Both will be terrific as you can see from the posters below:
I can hardly wait to get to Protivin to meet these folks!
Proactive in Protivin and preserving our Czech heritage in a grand way!
Onward To Our Past®