• Czech
  • 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.

  • Feb24

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    Vaclav Simanek side by side
    Two photos of my great-grandfather Václav Šimánek from our family albums – the rather dashing one on the left taken about 1894 in New York and the one on the right later in life back home in Czechoslovakia.

    We believe he took a trip from Czechoslovakia (then called Bohemia) to visit some previously emigrated family in Baltimore, Maryland then returned home.

    While scanning our family photos I did find a clue that we may not have the whole story – I noticed that the back of the first photo (aka a “cabinet card”) has a photographer logo of Rud Bachmann and address of 6 East 14th Street in New York, so apparently Vaclav took a side trip before returning home.

    The family story goes that he was impressed with the set up of fire departments in the United States and when he returned home to Předmíř he used what he learned to create a better fire department there.

    Needless to say I now have a very strong urge to add some handlebars to my own moustache.

  • Dec1

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    Town gathering in Simanek home town of Predmir, Czechoslovakia.

    For wordless Wednesday: A photo of the Prague Sokol XI Slet exhibition in 1948 from our family album. Some interesting related information can be found at The History of Sokol.

  • Nov3

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    Town gathering in Simanek home town of Predmir, Czechoslovakia.

    Click on any photo in this blog to see a larger image.

    Balancing out my blog a little with a Wordless Wednesday post. But with words.

    This is a photograph from the Czech side of my family -according to notes from my mother:
    “Town gathering in Simanek home town of Predmir, Czechoslovakia.”

    While we have a lot of early 20th century family photos that look like postcards, something about this one gives me the feeling it was mass produced.