Well, you face an age old problem, one I hear uttered at least four times a
month. Searching by family surname is the best way to become frustrated and
give up. You will hit countless dead ends and waste much of your precious
time. Yes, we've all heard the story about someone who "got lucky." Well,
it almost never happens in this line of research. Many with the same
surname are either unrelated or so distantly related to be of meaningless
venture. Are you willing to work hard? Are you willing to consider travel?
That may be what it takes.
Do you want to succeed? Find the ancestral village. Once you find the root
of the tree, the branches outward become obvious. Why? Because almost all
records that you and I are interested in are organized geographically.
There are no reliable indices by surname. Once you have the village name,
you have a common theme to locate people. Sometimes you find them directly,
sometimes through friends, neighbors and others all from the same village.
What village names
did you harvest from your manifest research?
Bohemia-Moravia lands are in the present-day Czech republic. Are you
familiar with the Family History Centers?
You should be. Last
year, they began filming the church records throughout the country.
New records are being
added weekly. And to bet, it's all free to you. All you need to do is
invest your time.
The next step is to determine if you are working with valid surname spelling
or if the names have been "Americanized." Once you are certain about how
the names are rendered in the Czech Republic, you are ready to continue
your quest. How? Chat here about it.
Next, you need to be clear about what your research objective is. Are you
looking for contemporary or historical information about your surnames?
For historical. The next best step is to learn about the village history.
With thousands of villages, don't expect anyone on this or any other list to
have the answers. You'll need to do some digging, and then once you find a
document, you may need to get it translated. Once you have that knowledge,
you can begin to ask appropriate questions.
For Contemporary. It's then time to reach out to the villagers - first in
writing. It's been my experience that you don't get much information by
writing. There are privacy concerns - who are you , why are you asking,
what will you do with this information? The governments all have strict
privacy laws which limit disclosure of information on living people.
Frankly, the information only flow when you meet them face to face,
establish a repoire and trust.
Many people on this list have been down these roads before and are happy to
Are you up to the challenge?
Behalf Of lspitner
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 10:30 AM
Subject: [S-R] Bohemia - Moravia
All of my father's ancestors came from Bohemia - Moravia. Family names I'm
researching are Pittner, Pitner, Vap, Soukup, Naska.
I have my research from ship manifests (1880's) to the USA but nothing from
the old countries. I would like to know how I can find more information
about their families left in Europe. Some say Pittner is Austrian and
others say German.
Thanks for the help, Linda
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