• Czech
  • Jul5

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    1886 Marriage Record Detail: Joseph Vanac and Antonie Straka, Zamlyni, Czech RepublicI have begun to keep track of my Czech family homes listed in records I find on Actapublica. Here are the first – 4 of which found in a 1886 single marriage record for my great-grandparents Vaclav Vanac and Antonia Straka.

    Each location still has the original home in place – although the Zamlyni home has been added onto or had portions replaced. (See my previous post Then and Now: Simanek Family Home for a family photo matched to the Predmir home.)

    I am hoping that as I find more records on Actapublica, mapping them will give me a better picture of the local emigrations that occurred, as well as provide a nice tool to show to the rest of the family.

    Also, using the rich text functionality of Google Maps markers I can include links directly to the original records right on the map. This one marriage record, for example, has 3 different family homes listed in it: the Vanac family in Luckovice #34, the Brousilova family in Pisek #6, the Straka family in Zamlyni #3 and the Komanova family in Dobsic #8.

    (Pisek #6 has three potential results and needs further research – all have been added to the map for now.)

    Finally, Czech folk: Please excuse my not using the diacritics for these location name in this post.


    View Czech Family Locations in a larger map

  • Jul3

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    While resurrecting my family photo scanning project again (now aka PROJECT LAZARUS) I stumbled upon one of my very favorite family photos: my 15 year old grandfather Josef Vanac and his sister Marie all dressed up for a photo in New York city.
    Joseph Vanac and sister Marie, New York, circa 1906I love this photo not only because we have no other photos of my grandfather and great-aunt at this time, but because he is right off the boat from the Czechoslovakia. (Around this time known as Bohemia, Austria Hungary, and/or Galicia depending on the record and they area people came from.)

    Marie had been in New York since she arrived in 1902 at the age of 16. The contact listed on her ship record was a cousin (actually listed as a sister, oddly) who had been here for many years.

    My grandfather came over in 1907 when he was 15 years old, and his ship record has Marie as his contact.

    I’ve included detail of his immigration record below.

    The Vanac family came from a rural farming background in the town of Zamlyni in Czechoslovakia and my grandfather was a stone mason at a monument company in the middle of the cemeteries of Queens for his entire career. I would love to know what my Grandpa was thinking at this point in time.

    In any case, they look terrific, and serious and at the beginning of their adult lives in a new country. And Aunt Marie looks especially beautiful.

    Joseph Vanac ship immigration record, 1907

  • Jun25

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    While going through some of the Czech family records I found on Actapublica.eu today, I headed over to the Google Maps to look up a town name I hadn’t heard of before. I might be late for this party, but I found that they had added street view images for the Czech Republic!

    My grandfather Josef Vanac’s family lived in House #3 in the town of Zámlyní, and my grandmother Marie Simanek’s family lived in House #6 just down the road in the town of Předmíř. So armed with a fistful of family photos I started “walking” through the towns to see if I could find some of the locations.


    View Larger Map

    Even though I know the house number in Zámlyní and found the house easily, it looks like much of the home has been rebuilt. (A cousin told me last year that three was still a Vanac relative there until several years ago.)

    Simanek Family Home Photo, Predmir, Czech RepublicThe group of family photos I think are from Zámlyní just didn’t make an obvious match at first glance, although you can see a similar building style to most structures in the town. I’ll have to take another crack at it that town later.

    But, once I moved over to Předmíř with the photo at right, House #6 jumped right out!

    See the street view below for the location today…

    View Larger Map

    (Note: I tried to set up the current day street view above to the exact angle as the old photo, but you might notice that the view resets to a spot right in front of the house. You can drag the view and move it back to right for a better comparison.)

  • Apr10

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    I found a very nice postcard of Oldřich and Božena hiding in my Babi’s old books. (Her mother’s name was Božena, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t THE Božena.)
    Oldrich & Bozena Postcard

  • Mar2

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    My grandmother Marie Simanek emigrated from Predmir, Czechoslovakia to New York in 1922, then returned home in 1926 to ask permission to marry my grandfather Joseph Vanac.

    In this photo she is returning to New York – with approval to marry! (She is the upper left-most woman in the rear. Click on the photo for a larger image.)
    It was taken in September, 1926 on the S.S. George Washington.

    Group Photo - SS George Washington, circa 1926

    The photo as a whole is one of my favorites, but the ladies at the bottom are my favorite favorite.

    Group Photo Crop - SS George Washington, circa 1926