Here is the fun thing about searching for your ancestors when you are in the year 2011 —-> Everyone has already done the work for you. Your great aunt 27 times twice removed decided it was important to tell your family story. Somewhere along the way the digital age moved in and moved your info to a library and that library connected with another and then eventually connected with a digital file and then can you pop on any of a few databases (free and paid) and within minutes have your family’s linage at the touch of a mouse (yes that was a long and grammatically incorrect sentence).
However, there are some families that for whatever reason have not been researched. For my family that carries my maiden name of Tucek that is the case. I am only two generations removed from Bohemia which is now known as a Czech Republic. Two weeks ago I was stuck. I didn’t know why my family would leave their homeland and then come here and be so quiet.
It hasn’t been easy finding the answer to those things either and most of what I have found has had to be pieced together through newspaper articles and obituaries. I am doing good old genuine genealogical research. The research is time consuming, back hurting and frustrating. I have to force myself to step away. I get confused. I mix up dates. I want to quit. Rinse and repeat over and over.
The wonderful news is at the end of this I will hold in my pretty little hands a map of my family. From Bohemia to present day. I have pieced together their various “stories” that I connected with some facts. I have documented what files I could through library research and the rest through millions of clicks on the internet search. I have translated Slovak into English and English into Slovak.
I have laughed and cried in this process. I have found myself saying a lot, “Oh yea, that is why I feel that way.” I have looked myself in the mirror and said, “Get over it!” When I compare what I go through daily to the struggles my family had.
From what I have pieced together is my family fled Bohemia because of their strong Catholic faith that was being “Germanized” (can’t really define this yet and researching it) and they felt persecuted. They were distraught enough to pick up and bring the whole family to America. At the time they emigrated to the US most people came in couples and not larger families. My family came with 9 people who were bound and determined to stick together. Add in that they emigrated with neighbors, friends and other Bohemian Catholics and they were a Czechoslovakian force to be reckoned with. They went to family in Omaha, NE until they could get on their feet. Four years later they bought land and settled in Michigan. Again surrounding themselves firmly in family and Czech heritage.
Another puzzle I have not solved yet, but when my grandfather was an adult he moved to Chicago and opened up his own bohemian bakery and became interwoven in the Czech quarter (my word) in Chicago. His neighborhood was surrounded by Czech families and businesses. At that time Bohemian Czechs began being discriminated against because of the “weird” customs and heritage and were referred to as “Bohunks”. As well, in Chicago specifically they isolated themselves from others outside of their heritage. So once in his neighborhood from what I piece together he functioned in a little Bohemia. He ran the bakery there and banked with a Czech bank and read the establish Czech newspaper. From there I have to stop… because I need to prove the “stories” and follow it up with some historical research.
What I find so awesome and sentimental about all this research are two things. My family educated themselves and they were into cooking/baking. These are two things that I find myself drawn to in ways I cannot even type out into words. They wrote on their passenger manifest they were each able to speak multiple languages and came to America English ready. They came with money and did well once here and were able to start and run businesses. I did get to witness that since my great grandfather was 10 at the time he arrived and died when I was eight but to have it in writing. The cooking connection is my most exciting. I love to bake and am actually quite known for it in my family. But I have only carried on what my father gave me and his father gave him. And I have proof that his father gave it to him and his father gave it to him! There is a reason why we are all so fascinated with cooking and baking. It is something that has stayed with every single section of my family tree straight from Racice, Czechoslovakia.
I love digging in and finally writing my own Relatively Speaking….Until the next part!
(on a side note: one link that links us all too is our large noses. When I showed the picture above to my guy and said, “Do you seen any resemblance?” He points to my nose. Lovely! I still gotta prove that guy above is related but I am fairly certain he is.