Suggestions for where to look for records which will aid a genealogist and/or historian. More ideas can be found in books, classes and seminars, and websites about genealogical research.
Notes for this section: South Bohemia = Jizni Cechy and Jihocesky (in Czech)
LDS = Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (“Mormons”)
b. = birth/baptism, m.= marriage, d.= death
Church records contain b., m. & d. records which may include occupations, notations like “went to America”, etc. They are held by the Czech Archives which has not allowed LDS to microfilm them, and will no longer conduct genealogical research. See the candies RESEARCHERS FOR HIRE and TREBON AREA RESEARCHERS for the addresses of people who can do the work for you. Or…. go to the new website, the online Trebon Archiv at http://digi.ceskearchivy.cz and do the research yourself. It is hoped that eventually all Czech records will be online and available to us. While Catholicism was prominent in Bohemia in the years that most of us search, there were also Jewish synagogues, including in the Trebon area. The Sept. ‘01 issue of Nase rodina (newsletter of CGSI, linked from this site’s home page) contains info on Jews in Bohemia.
Czech Archives also have census and other records. LDS microfilm #1181587, Item 5, is the book Holdings of the Archives in the Czech Republic, scroll to Volume 8 which describes the holdings of the Trebon Archive in 1957. That archive’s holdings include the book Kojakovice. Materialy K Dejinam Ceske Vesnice (material on the history of a Czech village), compiled by Theodor Antl, published in 1901, and giving names, land holdings, crops, social status, etc. from the 17th through the 19th centuries. LDS film #1181640, Item 1 — the Estate of Trebon, 1367-1407. CGSI sells a book on the holdings of the Trebon Archive as of April 2000 for $7.00, their website linked to this one, is www.cgsi.org. The Soupis Poddanych Podle Viry z Roku 1651 (religious census of 1651) can be purchased thru the Cz. Arch. in Prague. Vol. 1 thru 3 include the villages south of Trebon. The first proper census in the Austrian monarchy was in 1857. Later census: 1869, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, and (as Czechoslovakia) 1920. Should Cz. Archives not have the census you need, you might try the archives in Vienna, Austria, see address below. Should you plan to research IN a Czech archive it is suggested that you write 4 weeks in advance reserving a set for the day you want. The June ‘02 issue of Nase Rodina has advice for that research. The archives also holds the Berni Rula, an assessment of villages that existed when they were described in detail in the 17th century, surnames of residents included. CGSI and University of Chicago Regenstein Library has copies of some localities.
Jindrichuv Hradec county has an archive which holds the records of houses, owned and rented. The address: Statni Okresni Archiv, Jindrichuv Hradec, Vaclavska 37/III, 377 01 Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Repubic.
Town/Village office (Obecni Urad) is worth a try. Ask for info from the village chronicle, for assistance in finding living relatives, the current resident of your ancestor’s house, a village historian, etc. Write to Obecni Urad, the name of the town after the postal zip code which you can find at www.inf.upol.cz/~pudila/psc.html (Suchdol nad Luznici is 37806), Czech Republic.
LDS’s Family History Catalog will allow you enter a place name and learn if LDS has any material on that place. There might be a history of a larger town near your village which could include information on the village, especially if the village “belonged” to the estate in the larger town. LDS has computerized data, microfilms, microfisches, and books. When a book is housed in Salt Lake City, you may order a copy of the index and/or certain pages. LDS film #1573074, Item 1 is the 1720 map of Bohemia. Film #1183708, Item 2 is a Gazeteer of the Czech Republic (useful for locating places). See LDS in the USA Records section below.
In 1868 universal conscription went into effect in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Every male had to serve 2 or 3 years in the army or navy and longer terms for awhile. These military records contain genealogical material, and are held in the Military Records branch of the Austrian National Archives in Vienna. Address: Kriegsarchiv, Stiftgasse 2, 1010 Wien, Austria (start new line after each comma). A Military Pass of 1901 that someone shared with me revealed her great grandfather’s name, birthplace, height, location of a scar!, occupation, regiment number, and more.
Passports, permission to leave Austria (all Czech lands were in the Austria-Hungary Empire from the earliest emigrations until 1918), Cadastres (land records), Robotni seznamy (lists of manorial labor duties), and other records can be sought for your investigative work. A long list of Czech record types is on the Family Lines website, www.family-lines.cz
Additional suggestions for Czech research can be found on the Rootsweb website:
Federal and State census should be read shortly after you interview your relatives and fill out your first pedigree chart! Federal Census that includes Oxford Township (for Oxford Jct. and Oxford Mills which is older than O.J.), Jones County, Iowa are: 1870, 1880, (1890 was destroyed by fire), 1900, 1910, 1920, & 1930. Iowa State Census was taken in 1856, 1885, 1895, 1915, & 1925, plus a 1905 “directory” and some special census, like agricultural. All are microfilmed and can be viewed at a library or LDS Family History Center. Townships that surround Oxford are: to west, Hale; to n.w. Madison; to north, Wyoming, all in Jones Co. To n.e., Monmouth in Jackson Co.; to east, Sharon; to s.e., Liberty, both in Clinton Co. To south, Massillon; to s.w., Dayton, both in Cedar Co. Oxford Jct.’s name was Garfield from 28 Jan. 1880 to 13 May 1884.
LDS Family History Centers are staffed by well-trained volunteers. If they don’t have what you need, they can order it or direct you to another place. You do not have to be a member of LDS to use their centers, but their hours for non-members are limited, so call first. In eastern Iowa: 4300 Trail Ridge Rd. SE (off East Post Rd.), Cedar Rapids, IA, 319 363-9343; and 4929 Wisconsin Ave.(in west Dvpt.), Davenport, IA, 319 386-7547. Learn other LDS Fam. Hist. Ctr. locations on their website www.familysearch.com That LDS home page will explain their resources.
Passenger lists from the emigrant ships are available. In books, Germans to America begin with 1850, and thru 1855 are printed in their entirety (every passenger). For 1856 and after, only those who stated they were German are included, although many Czech names can be found, sometimes with a Germanized spelling. Czechs had no seaport — they traveled by horsecart and train to ports in Bremen, Hamburg, & Bremerhaven in Germany (hence show up in G to A) and from Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and LeHavre. G to A volumes are indexed by pass. name, and the list of pass. by ship gives gender, age, occupation, place of origin, and place of destination if known. Also in book form is Czech Immigration Passenger Lists, Volumes 1 thru 10?., compiled by Leo Baca who has extracted Czech names from many passenger lists. There is a set in Cedar Rapids, IA, though I don’t know which library, and at the Iowa Historical Society Library in Iowa City. Vol. I Revised = Glaveston 1848-1861, 1865-1871; New Orleans 1848-1879.
Vol. II = Galveston 1896-1906; New Orleans 1879-1899.
Vol. III = Galveston 1907-1914.
Vol. IV Revised = New York 1847-1869.
Vol. V = New York 1870-1880.
Vol. VI = New York 1881-1886;Galveston 1880-1886.
Vol. VII = New York 1887-1896.
Vol. VIII = Baltimore 1834-1879.
Vol. IX = Baltimore 1880-1899.
Vol. X will be more Baltimore arrivals.
Bremen passenger lists were destroyed except for some from 1907, 08, 13 & 14, but a partial list exists as German Immigrants – Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, compiled by Marion Wolfert and Gary Zimmerman. At least 4 volumes in navy blue covers have been published: 1847-1854, 1855-1862, 1863-1867, & 1868-1871. Since they are based on Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York (National Archives microfilms, M237 series), NY is probably the only port of arrival in them. And if I remember correctly, only passengers who stated their origin place were included.
Original passenger lists have been microfilmed and may be ordered through LDS. Even if you have the ship and arrival of your ancestor, it can be helpful to see the other passengers on the ship. LDS will assist you in choosing which film (there are 167 of New York arrivals, 1820-97, & records of other ports). The National Archives, NNRG, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20408 will search for a name for you and send a copy of the page with your ancestor plus the first page showing ship name, tonnage, captain, etc. and bill you $10 if found, no charge if not found. There is no index for NY for 1847-1896 so you must know the month and year for a search for that period.
The New York Times newspaper is allowing free access to their archives. If your ancestors arrived in New York City (Castle Garden, Ellis Island, etc.), you might find an interesting tidbit about the arrival and/or the ship.
Photos of the immigrant ships can be ordered from Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, Salem, MA 01970-3783. 8 X 10 black & white glossies are approx. $25, other sizes and finishes available. They will include a brief description of the ship you have requested. Among books about the immigrant ships are Passsenger Ships of the World, Past & Present, by Eugene W. Smith, and Ships of Our Ancestors, by Michael Anuta. You might get lucky and find a photo of the ship you want on the internet.
Newspapers from years past have been microfilmed. Obituaries can yield a wealth of information. In the first or second issue of the year, there might be a summary of b., m., & d.s in the previous year. The Oxford Mirror was published in Oxford Jct., IA from 1879 to 1953 and can be read on a dedicated computer at Wregie Memorial Library, Oxford Jct. where they have created a personal name index for all the issues that exist (there are a few gaps). You may request a search by e-mailing Wregie from their website, linked to this one’s home page (About page). Keep in mind that your ancestors might have traveled to the Jones Co. seat, Anamosa, or the Jackson Co. seat, Maquoketa, to be married. Other eastern Iowa newspapers are: Cedar Rapid Gazette 1883+, Lost Nation Chronicle (in the Oxford Mirror) 1898+, Lowden 1902+, Maquoketa Excelsior 1876 or earlier+, Maquoketa Sentinel 1905+, Olin Recorder 1880+, Olin Times 1874-76, Wyoming Journal 1870+.
American newspapers in the Czech language can be helpful. Amerikan Narodni Kalendar was published annually from 1878 to 1958, in Chicago. Some subscribers submitted their personal stories. The library of National Czech & Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, IA had issues from 1882, ’92, ’93, ’97, 1900, ’02, ’05-’10, ’12-’58 but no library materials are available to the public until the library re-opens from the flood of 2008 (at least 2010). The Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, MN has some issues. I am compiling an index of all names in all issues. Just ask.
Church records contain b. & baptisms, marriages, deaths, confirmations, and memberships. Oxford Jct. has had a Czech Catholic, Irish Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, and Assembly of God churches. Before there was a Catholic church in Oxford Jct., some Catholics “drove” to Baldwin to the northeast and Toronto to the southeast.
Cemetery, cemetery records, burial records, & funeral records: The Mayflower Cemetery, Oxford Jct. overlooks the town from the north, a beautiful, well-groomed cemetery. The earliest burials were in the s.e. corner, the entire east section the oldest. Wregie Library has a Mayflower index which includes translations of the Czech inscriptions on gravestones. A new index, prepared by Rita & Cortney Balichek of Oxford Jct., confirms the existence of a grave and directs you to its plot (ask Wregie). Almost every town near Oxford Jct. has a cemetery, and local historians can tell you where the “hidden” ones are. Mayflower Cemetery Association has burial records, but they are maintained by volunteers who should not be bothered unless absolutely necessary. The undertaker in Oxford Jct. was Hayden Funeral Homes since 1918. It recently sold to Lahey’s Funeral Homes, Maquoketa IA. Google their name to visit their website, but they are operating a business, not a historical society, so should not be bothered unless absolutely necessary. Several years of Hayden’s funeral records were extracted and added to the Wregie Memorial Libray’s collection of genealogical aids. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) read gravestones in Iowa in the 1930s. Their published books can be found at Historial Society libraries. Iowa Gravestones Photo Project is helpful if you’re lucky: iowagravestones.org/history.php
Published histories and biographical records are usually found in historical society libraries. Iowa State Historical Society Library is located at 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50319, and a smaller facility at 402 Iowa Ave., Iowa City, IA 52240. The History of Jones County (Iowa) was published in 1910, Corbit the author. The History of Jones County Iowa was published in 1879 by Western Historical Co. and reprinted in 1978 by Jones County Historical Society which has a small library in Anamosa, IA. The Jackson County Historical Society has a good collection at their library and museum in Maquoketa. There is also an Iowa Genealogy Society in Des Moines.
County courthouses hold the land (deed) transfers, naturalization application and granting, wills, probate, some marriage records, etc. LDS film #1763117 is Jones County Courthouse holdings. Remember that because Oxford Jct. was near 3 other counties, you might have to check Jackson County Courthouse (Maquoketa, IA), Cedar County Courthouse (Tipton, IA), and Clinton County Courthouse (Clinton, IA) to find what you’re looking for. Many men from Oxford Jct. applied for citizenship in Maquoketa, apparently being allowed to use any District Court, and these applications are rich in genealogical data, usually including the signature of the applicant. The rootsweb website has links to most Iowa counties. If your ancestor purchased land from the government, you might find the homestead record at www.glorecords.glm.gov
Vital records (birth, marriage, death) are required and maintained on the state level. Iowa births start with 1 July, 1880. Marriages 1 July 1916. Deaths January 1891. Iowa State Dept. of Health, Vital Records Section, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319. $10 each in 1999.
Miscellaneous records to consider: County and township plat books (Iowa’s date from 1850), school alumni directories (Wregie has Oxford Jct.’s, the first graduating class in 1890), photographs of school groups, families, businesses (several hang in the Oxford Jct. Heritage Museum and Wregie Library, next door on Broadway which is O.J.’s main street), the Soldiers’ Edition published by the Oxford Mirror in 1918 (includes photos and genealogical data). ETC.
Lodges and social clubs. In Oxford Jct., the Bohemian Slavonic Benefit Association was organized in 1884 and changed to Zapadni Cesko-Bratrska Jednota (ZCBJ) in 1897. An “insider” told me that there is genealogical material in the ZCBJ records and that they should be typed and indexed (computer data-base?) before they deteriorate or are lost, and that project has been started with plans to continue the work in 2008. They would not necessarily be made public but perhaps they will share the pre-1910 records.
Chicago was “connected” to Oxford Jct. in more ways than the train tracks. Many emigrants spent time in Chicago, perhaps knowing there were Czechs there, before continuing on to O.J. which was Garfield from 28 Jan. 1880 to 13 May 1884. Obituaries in the Oxford Mirror often include Chicago people as surviving relatives or funeral attendees. We know there were people from the villages south of Trebon in South Bohemia who went to Chicago and we know that people from south of Trebon went to Oxford Jct. Some of those people knew each other before and after leaving the Old Country. Chicago was dirty in the 19th century, so I suspect that some headed west to O.J. to get out of the city, and some were invited by O.J.’s early residents. You might find information on your family in Chicago records. Czechs were in Chicago since 1852. There were ten Bohemian churches in Cgo founded between 1863 and 1906. The Czech & Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois is www.csagsi.org Good info on Chicago Czechs in Habenicht’s History of Czechs in America in the chapter on Illinois.
National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, IA reorganized their library for better patron access to materials in 2001. Unfortunately, they suffered a devastating flood in June of 2008. A lot of material was saved but is not available for public use yet. Check their website, linked to this one (Czech links) for updates on their museum and library, and their links to other Czech related sites.