Monday, April 14, 2014

5 Research Tips to Missouri Bohemian Resources

Map of Bohemia / Czech Republic, Geographicus
Bohemian Settlements
Few researchers learn of their Bohemian ancestors’ colorful history.  Actually our informal poll revealed that most researchers did not know Bohemia was part of the Austrian Hungarian Empire that could boast of its independent “kingdom” from the 1400’s to the end of WWI.  Even fewer noted knowledge of Missouri Bohemians colonies outside the popular south St. Louis settlements. But, Bohemian settlements scattered across America as far south as Louisiana to New York City.  Czech-Bohemian settlements populated midwest towns from Kansas and Minnesota to the Dakotas. And, there were colonies in Texas, Cleveland and Iowa. But the Missouri settlements are usually only mentioned in St.Louis; yet, there were Bohemian settlements that lined the Missouri River Valley. Even the Cuivre River Valley in Mo. had a small Bohemian settlement as early as 1840 (reference Lincoln County, Hawk Point, Mo. and historical Mashek, Mo.).

Bohemians were generally noted as those who originated from western Czechoslovakia. Bohemian Jews, from southern Bohemia began populating Missouri as early as 1816 (first noted in St. Louis). Czech Bohemians originating from the Austrian Empire began migrating to Missouri about 1847 speaking Czech and German. Whereas, many settled in south St. Louis, others settled in the following Missouri townships: 
  • Bolivar and Karlin
  • Cainsville
  • Fenton
  • High Rdge
  • Kansas City
  • Mashek
  • Rock Creek
  • St. Charles
  • St. Joseph 
Where to Research
Civil War Provost Marshal Record
Census records may give you a hint on your Bohemian ancestor’s origin, but their birthplace may be noted as Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Austro-Hungary, or Germany. But, by corroborating census records with a few other useful documents, you may find answers to your Bohemian family research questions.
Provost Marshal Correspondence on Bohemians
Form RG110, NARA - KC, Civil War
  1. Civil War Records. Missouri Provost Marshal records found at the Kansas City - NARA, gives us tips/hints to the residences and social life of the Bohemians in Mo. (See RG110).  In Missouri more than 60 Bohemians served with the 2nd Regiment, US Reserve Corps, Mo. Volunteers; and 80 Bohemians served in the 4th Regiment Infantry, Missouri Volunteers.
  2. Naturalization Records. There are 1143 indexed naturalization cards/records on the Missouri Digital Heritage site noting birth place as Bohemia. It is also possible however, that your ancestor recorded his place of origin as Czechoslovakia. 
  3. Passenger List. Be sure to review the Czech Immigration Passenger lists, Vol. I – IX compiled by Leo Baca. We have found that many of the early Missouri Bohemians came through New Orleans from Bremen Germany, but this passenger list compilation includes most of the popular ports.
  4. Cemetery. When researching your Bohemian ancestor, don’t forget to check the local Jewish cemetery. In St. Louis begin your cemetery research with the New Mount Sinai Cemetery. Although many Bohemians were Jewish, others were practicing Catholics or FreeThinkers.  For ancestors of Jefferson County, MO, review the Cemeteries in Jefferson County, MO. Czech-Slavonic Benevolent Association: C.S.P.S. (Bohemian) Cemetery 
  5. Orphanage. Be sure to learn about the Hessoun Bohemian Catholic orphanage in Fenton, St Louis County, MO., 1908-1954. Bohemians and other Czech Slovak orphans from across America were admitted into the St. John Nepomuk Church orphanage. 
For More Information
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
a3Genealogy@gmail.com 

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