• Czech
  • Jan26

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    Uncle Joe - St. Mark's Basilica PhotoWhile scanning our family photos, I always kind of wondered where this one was taken. On the right is my Great-Uncle Josef Simanek, and he is standing with a woman in front of a beautiful building.

    The family came from a village in Czechoslovakia and I believe he later lived in Prague, so I always assumed it was something from that city.

    Uncle Joe - St. Mark's Basilica Photo, Rear
    Today I happened upon it and recalled that there was some writing on the back of the photo. Since it is in Czech I broke out The Google Translate and tried to read the writing. I tried many variations of the words, and didn’t really get anywhere beyond the first phrase:

    “Kostel sv. Marka celý s mramoru”
    “Church of Sts. Mark all with marble” Read More | Comments

  • Nov30


    Cabinet Card, Unknown Family, Wien One of my favorite photos in our family album – but sadly an unknown family. As our family is Czech from the towns of Zámlyní and Předmíř I am very interested to know who from the family might have had their photo taken at Burggasse 116, Wien, Austria.

    Cabinet Card, Rear, Unknown Family, WienYou have to love the beautiful design of the rear of this cabinet card…







    For future Google searchers, a transcription of the printed text on both side of the photo are as follows:

    Front of card:
    C. TH. MEYER
    JNH d. KUNST u. Verlagsanstalt
    u. Photogr.Atelier, Else”
    VII.Burggasse 116.

    Rear of card:
    Carl Th. Meyer
    Atelier, Elsa
    VII/3 Burgasse No 116

    Die Platte Bleist Fur
    Nachbestellungen AufBewahrt
    Verulelfaltigungsrecht Vorbehalten
    Nachdruck Verboten

  • Sep21

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    Babi's LettersWhile tidying up and checking on my Czech Babi’s (Grandmother’s) steamer trunk that I am taking care of for my mother, I found a nice cache old letters.

    This trunk made the trip back and forth from New York to Czechoslovakia a few times between the 1920s and 1960s…

    Babi ala LifeboatWhen my mother was about 5 years old my grandparents took her back to Czechoslovakia for a visit – and they somehow enticed Babi to take a photo in a ship’s lifeboat.

    SS Queen Mary PostcardAt least one of the trips was on the Queen Mary – we have several of these postcards from the ship in our albums.

    As with any photos on this blog, you can clickety-click on any the images for a larger view.

  • Jun13

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    Simanek Family Photo - Předmíř, Czechoslovakia

    Simanek Family Home in Předmíř. Rear row: Antonin, Vaclav, Marie (my Babi), Bozena, Joseph. Front row: Rose, Mother Bozena, Jaroslav, Father Vaclav, Jan

    This is a photo of my great-grandparents Bozena and Vaclav Simanek and their children at their home in Předmíř, Czechoslovakia, circa 1915 (give or take a few years.) My grandmother Marie (known as Babi to us grandkids) is the oldest, standing in the rear row, center.

    I have seen this photo several times over the years, but it was not until I scanned it that I realized all of the children were holding lilacs. Many years after she had emigrated to New York, Babi had planted several lilac bushes at their summer bungalow in upstate New York. They are one of my favorite flowers in both appearance and scent – we planted some Japanese lilacs in our yard that I look forward to each spring.

    I suppose that love of lilacs may go further back than I realized.

  • Apr15

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    In May, 1907 my grandfather Josef Vanac, all of 15 years old began his emigration from Zamlyni in what is now the Czech Republic to New York.

    Josef Vanac Kares & Stocky Ticket

    He traveled alone and was to meet his sister Marie, who was already here for about a year. He took the ship SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse via the Kares & Stocky company in Bremen. The cost was 236 Kroner – about $50 I think.

    When I think of myself at 15 years old and the enormous trip that must have been for someone from a small farming village in Bohemia in 1907, I am unceasingly amazed at the strength of my ancestors.

    We have quite a few documents from my Czech grandparents’ immigration, but one the letter that goes along with this particular trip is quite interesting.

    Kares & Stocky Letter BackKares & Stocky Letter Front

    I am unsure what this completely filled, 2 sided document says – but it is signed with the name of the company “Kares & Stocky” at the end, not a person.

    I found a message on an old CZECH-L mailing list, where someone asked for a translation of a document from the company. It did not contain an image of the original, but the small amount of translation had to do with travel options and trains.

    Did they write a long hand-written travel document for everyone? If so, amazing! Now, I need to try and translate… See you in a few months.