Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Ok, while grandkids are WAY bigger in my life than their actual size warrants, I've also been checking on their past, and mine.

Specifically, the HESCH family tree. Wanna see something COOL?

That's the name Johann Hesch, written in SUTTERLIN , the old script used in church record books in Bohemia way back when. This is from an entry in Cimer, Bohemia, in 1839. Yes, it looks like hnpf, but the vertical stroke of the "p" is actually an s, the bump is c, and the f-looking letter is h. Honest!

Evidently, about 1200, German families were encouraged to go settle that part of Europe, since it was now under the control of a German guy.

I'm not sure when Hesches moved there, but we found two in the mid-1600's, so it was at least 250 years before they emmigrated to the US.

You'd think that they would have assimilated in that time, right? But Nooo, the two ethnic groups didn't particularly care for each other, and stayed separate as much as possible.

There were German churches in German towns, and Czech churches in Czech towns, and since the CHURCH did the recording of births and marriages and deaths, that's where we're looking.

The biggest problem is reading the handwriting of whatever priest was stationed there at the time. The records are a mix of German, Czech and liturgical Latin. Depending on the year, they're more, or less, decipherable.

AMAZING that those records are online, right?

The Czech government is digitizing them even as we speak. Village by village, new old books are showing up on this site: SOA v TREBONI and we only need to wait till they get to the H'

According to their index, the town we need is Dolní Žďár (Nieder-Mühl), which is in the Jindřichův Hradec region, close to Horní Pěna, where the German church was.

What fascinates me the most is that some solitary priest wrote those names on the day a child was baptized, or a marriage took place, or someone died. Then, he closed the book, blew out the candle and went to bed, thinking that was it.....

The books stayed on some shelf for 2 or 3 hundred years, and now, in 2008, they're being re-discovered and distributed by something as bizarre as the internet.

AND, they're doing CATHOLIC records in exactly the part of Bohemia we need! Those Hesches needed discovering, I guess, so I'd stop thinking they wanted to forget.


BTW, if you want to see a page in those Treboni records, click a letter on the left, fer instance C....when that comes up, click Cimer...and you'll get a chart of something called Kniha which means Book.

N is births, O is marriages, and Z is deaths. The index books are at the bottom, and you have to "page around" to find the H's (they' alphabetical and that'll give you a snimek (page) number you'll need to find in the appropriate Kniha.

The Kniha are by year, ok?

Gawd, this is FUN!

No comments:

Post a Comment

You're leaving a comment! Good job!!