Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bohemian Ancestors - Hurt and Mrkvicka families

Six years ago, I was working diligently to locate sources in the Czech Republic.  I subscribed to mailing lists and picked the brains of the other members who were much more knowledgeable than I.  I was ready to hire a professional in the Czech Republic, but then I moved to another city and had to find a full-time job.  I no longer had the time and resources to stay connected on  My next move, four years later, all of my research notebooks went into storage totes that were stacked in a closet.  We had to live in a small cramped apartment until we could get the house sold.  A year later, we moved again.  My notebooks are still in totes in a closet but are accessible for the first time in over a year.  I never got around to hiring a professional.  

Trying to follow a cold trail has its challenges.  Combine this with a computer that dies, and well, you get the picture.  I have two Hard Disk Drives with information on them.  One is sitting in a Docking Station attached to my notebook.  The other one, with most of  my earlier research on it, resides quietly in the the tower.  In the early days I saved files and pictures to 3.5" floppy disks.  Yes, I still have those also and they are inaccessible.  No floppy drive available.  Originally, I printed everything I found.  I think this was definitely the best thing I ever did.  Paper does not fail!  I know, I should use the cloud!

Today, I pulled out my yellow legal pad with my Hurt notes on it as I unraveled this family line in America back in 2006. John James Hurt b 1832  and his wife Maria Ann Mrkvicka b 1839 were my 3x great grandparents.   They came to America 14 March 1876 from the "village of Ujezdec, town of Kutna Hora, County of Caslov, Bohemia." This is how the information came to me via my cousin's website, I need to review my notes on the location in the Czech Republic.
Czech Immigration Passenger Lists New York Passenger Lists 1870 - 1880 by Leo Baca, Vol. V, page 60, privately published, copyright 1993- Hurt, Johann 41, Anna 14, Maria 9, Johann 8, Barbara 6, Franz 4, Anton 2, Maria 39, Bohemia; Ship Weser, 14 march 1876.
Nebraska, Kansas Czech Settlers by Margie Sobotka page 131 Howard County, Kelso District; we find Mat. Mrkvicka from Lestina, Ceslav, Ant. Hurt, Vac. Hurt, Jos. Hurt and Fr. Hurt.
Ant. (Anton) and Fr. (Frank) Hurt are from Ujezdec, Kutna Hora, Caslav and Vac. (Vaclov) and Jos. (Joseph) are from Dubina, Caslav.  They all owned farm land in Howard County. this website has  a lot of information but has not been updated since 2008.  I am happy to see it is still online!

Learn more about the Nebraska Czech Settlers,

When I begin researching a surname, I always begin my search in the census records.  I have made many discoveries of lateral family lines.  One such line is the Przybyszewski/Sebeshasky family.  I first found the English pronunciation written in the marriage record of Anton Hurt.  Using  the census,  I then followed the family from Nebraska to Minnesota and put the two together and realized they were the same family.

Bk 3 p175 H630 Hurt, Anton .......... S120 Shebeski, Hannah Cralia
Howard County Marriages, Book 3 Nov, 1892 - Jan 1900.
 In old records, surnames may be recorded phonetically unless the informant gave the spelling of their name.  This proves challenging but if you keep searching, you will find the answer.  When I find a name I cannot pronounce, I look for a pronunciation guide online.  That is how I put these two names together.  Without this valuable tool, I would not have been able to solve this one!

So, today I dug out two notebooks containing my research from 2005-2006.  One notebook is resources I found for records in the Czech Republic.   It also contains print outs of the emails I received through the German-Bohemian list on rootsweb.  Nice thing about these, they should be in the archives if you want to go look.  One person whose value cannot be measured, in my opinion, is Aida Kraus.  She really set me straight when I was trying to figure out the location as written by my cousin.  All of our exchanges went through the mailing list so you may find them helpful to you as well.

The other notebook has copies of original documents.

  • Naturalization Record for John Hurt filed in Howard County, Nebraska.
  • Passenger Lists for the ship S S Berlin which sailed from Bremen to Baltimore on 5 June 1880 pg 20
  • Passenger List for the ship S S Braunschwieg sailing from Bremen to Baltimore 21 July 1877 pg 1 & 3
  • Passenger List for the ship S S Union sailing from Bremen to New York 30 July 1870 pg 1 & unnumbered page list beginning with passenger number 192, Franz Hurt is number 193..
  • Passenger List for the ship S S Weser sailing from Bremen to New York 14 March 1876, all pages
  • Census images from 1885 (NE) and US Census 1880 - 1910 Nebraska
  • Baptism and Marriages from St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Farwell, Howard Co., NE 1877-1905
  • Marriage records from the Marriage Books at the Howard County Courthouse.
  • Printouts of the cemetery transcriptions for Howard County, Nebraska
I have a printout of two books that have been transcribed and place on rootsweb, A History of Czechs (Bohemians) In Nebraska  by Rose Rosicky, Czech Historical Society of Nebraska, Omaha, 1929 and Nebraska, Kansas Czech Settlers, 1891-1895  by Margie Sobotka. Two awesome books with lots of genealogy information!

I found Cemetery records in the Dalby Database (
for the Hurt and Przybylski (lots of variations of the spelling) families.  This is a great database for Minnesota.  They also have Birth and Marriage records, but neither surname is found in the database.  I also found a print out in my notebook from a Minnesota Death Certificate Index website.  This printout was for the surname Rocek.  Another lateral line.  

Given the time span between my research and today, I hope to find more records available.  Wish me luck!

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