Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Plzen Relatives

Our stay in Plzen was filled with family. They are George's family by blood, mine by marriage on my father's side. No matter what the relationship, it was a real treat to get to know them. George visited and stayed with family members numerous times during time spent in the Czech Republic. Lloyd and I met them for the first time. George hosted a family dinner at a nice restaurant in Starý Plzenec. Here we are after dinner, missing only one person, who was behind the camera.

Inside the restaurant.

George Kalcik, here with his sister, Vera,
was behind the camera in the group photo.

The youngest family members enjoyed the evening, too.
While we are in Starý Plzenec, let me show you the school where Martin is the headmaster. It is just down the street from the restaurant. The school's website is in Czech, but the photos tell a story of a modern, forward-thinking private school.
One day we went to visit Karel and Vera Kalcik at their home. Vera made us a lovely lunch, and we enjoyed the sun on the rooftop deck with its lovely views. After lunch, Vera's mother, the 102-year-old Marie, visited with us. She was happy to see George again, and we were delighted to meet her. She has a lively twinkle in her eye.
After lunch, we gathered ourselves for an afternoon excursion. As we filed out through the kitchen, we were amazed to see Marie doing KP. I surprised her when I snapped this picture.
Two views from the deck. The Kalcik's live on the edge of Plzen,
and although there is a large, industrial city nearby, their
home enjoys a rural beauty.

The afternoon excursion took us to an air park, a lot chock full of old airplanes, tanks, and other items collected by a friend of the family. It was quite interesting. The interior of this plane was much like it was when it flew years ago.

Next stop: A quaint summer house in the South Bohemian mountains.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ancestral Villages - Holovousy

From the depressing ruins at Chric, we went on to Holovousy to find House No. 14, where Martin Zetek and his wife, Anna Pazak, lived when they were married. Later they lived in No. 12, which no longer stands.

No. 14 has been out of the family for a number of years, but the gentleman living there very graciously let us walk into the side yard, where it was evident there was a stable, chicken yard, and other farm buildings. He said that the house has been remodeled and many changes made to the yard, so I didn't take many photos. This is the front of the house facing the street.

I have to comment on the warm welcome we received at all of our stops. Cousin Martin is chatting with the mayor of Holovousy, who came out to walk with us to the house and welcome us to the village.

The village had many interesting houses. These were across the way from No. 14.
From here we drove to Kralovice, a larger town nearby, for a refreshing lunch at a pub and a chance to talk about all we'd seen this day. Olga promised to do further research to validate the relationships she'd established informally. She expects to be able to do this in September. I look forward to her report!
Although none of the cousins we met spoke English, and I don't speak Bohemian, I was assured that their children have internet and speak English. We exchanged email addresses. I've sent some photos of the US Zetteks to them and hope they will reciprocate.
Next post: The Plzen Cousins

Ancestral Villages - Slatina & Chric

After visiting the cemetery in Hedčany and picking up another couple cousins, we caravanned to Slatina. The first written informatio about this town dates to 1368. Slatina, Holovousy, and other area villages were part of the Chric Parish. Katerine Pauby (Pauly) was born in Slatina, House No. 13, in 1746. The house no longer exists. She married Thomas Zetek from Hedčany.

Thomas's 3rd great granddaughter Anna Slaba (born Zetkova) now lives in Slatina. She very graciously invited us to come to her house to visit. Along the way we picked up a few more cousins. We looked like a small army arriving.

I think the name of the lady in red is Dana, but I'm not sure. I was still pretty befuddled by all of this. George and I are listening to something Olga is saying.

Once inside, we migrated to the room that all Bohemians migrate to when visiting -- the kitchen!

From left: Miloslav, Barbora (the interpreter's daughter), Lloyd, and Anna, our hostess. Olga, the interpreter, is saying something to George.

Lloyd, Miloslav and I are listening intently to something. I wish I could remember what was being said!
Here's a shot of me, taken by cousin Martin Stekl. Can you tell how happy I am to be there and how I'm trying to take it all in?

Another group shot around the kitchen table. I'm not sure who the man in the white shirt is. He's a cousin, maybe Jaroslav, Josef's son. From left: George, Olga, Barbora, Jaroslav?, Miloslav's wife, and Anna.

We gathered for a group photo before we left. From left: Cousin Martin Stekl (on my father's side); husband Lloyd; George Matas from California; Miloslav; me; Jaroslav?; Miloslav's wife; Dana?; Jitka; and Anna.

We left the cousins and drove on to the village of Chric. Like the church at Kozlany, the church at Chric once anchored a parish that served Slatina and other small villages. Saint JanNepomuk is closed, having fallen prey to several burglaries and some vandalism. It was built in the second half of the 18th century by Maria Gabriela, the Countess of Lazany, who lived in a large chateau surrounded by an estate of good size. All now is in ruin. We didn't take any photos.

Next stop: Holovousy

Ancestral Villages - Hedčany

Hedčany seems to be the ancestral home of many Zeteks. According to Olga Koliskova, it was founded probably in the 11th century by Polish captives of Czech prince Bretislav I from his Polish military campaign in 1039. In the Thirty Years' War the village was totally plundered and destroyed. In the beginning of the 18th century there were only nine farms.

A note: the relationships of the various Zetek/Zettek ancestors is a bit muddled. I will relate the info as I know it, but it may change as Olga does further research into the family. Corrections will be made as necessary.

This old postcard of Hedčany (date unknown), given to me by one of the new cousins, shows the old school, which still stands, although it is now in ruin. There is no sign of the domed building standing today; I don't know what was displayed there. The single story house between the two is House No. 12, which was a Zetek family home at one time. It is likely that Martin Zetek (1787-?) and his father, Thomas Zetek (1749-?) were both born there. Martin is the father of Vaclav I, who is the father of Vaclav II, our common ancestor. House No. 13 is adjacent to House No. 12, behind the school.

This is the school with House No. 12 seen at left. House No. 13 is behind the trees.Below is house No. 12. It has long been sold out of the family.
House No. 12 was passed down from Vaclav I to his son Josef (1882-?) and then to his son Vaclav (1921-1983). The house was sold in 1983 to a Mr. Ditrich, who was kind enough to let us into the yard to take photographs.
Behind House No. 13. The small addition on the right is new (since 1983).
Miloslav was able to point out where the chicken coop stood and some buildings he had built with his father. The red-roofed house is No. 12.
Behind the houses, and surrounding the village, there is rolling farmland. We walked along a dirt track toward the cemetery. Miloslav pointed out that these fields once belonged to the Zetek family.
At the cemetery were numerous well-kept graves. I snapped a few photos of Zetek graves. This one says: "Zetek Family"
This is the grave of the previously unknown sister, Frantiska Zetkova.
This is the grave of Josef Zetek (1926-1968) and his wife, Alzbeta (1933-1995).
The last photo is the tombstone of Karel Zetek (1922-1986) and his wife, Anna (1921-2002). I am assuming Jaroslav (1954-1983) to be their son.

Next post: Slatina, and more cousins.

Ancestral Villages - Kozlany Museum

After visiting the church, we walked next door to the old school, which is now a museum. There we met the first two new cousins!

According to the information provided by Olga from conversations with local Zeteks (they spell it with one T), Josef Zetek had three sons: Vaclav (1921-1983), Karel (1922-1986), and Josef (1926-1968).

Two of Vaclav's children came to Kozlany to meet us. On the left is Jitka Zemanova (born Zetkova), who lives in Rakovnik, not far from Kozlany. Next is her brother, Miloslav Zetek, who lives in Plzen with his wife, whose name I unfortunately didn't get. That's me on the right.

Miloslav brought a copy of his wedding photo and one of his family on a recent vacation. I've asked to have the people identified. I think the man on the right is his brother Karel.
Inside the museum, we signed the guest book. That's Jitka, George, and me again. I have cousin Martin to thank for many of the photos in this blog entry. I was too stunned by meeting two new cousins that the camera wasn't a priority.

One of the exhibits highlighted Kozlany's main industry: ceramics. This room showed a local potter at work with some of his products on the shelves. This wax dummy was so realistic that it was almost creepy. The guide told us it was made from castings of the real town potter. Neverthless, it was a nice exhibit of local craftsmanship.
Here is Lloyd with another display of finished pottery showing some of the styles turned out by the ceramics factory. Lloyd teaches ceramics at Missouri Valley College, so he was particularly interested in visiting ceramics studios.

An old schoolroom is one of the museum displays.
Most of the museum space is devoted to a national hero, Edvard Beneš, the second Czech president. He was born in Kozlany in 1884. He was one of the founders of the independent Czechoslovakia in 1918 and a foreign minister in the first government of president Thomas Masaryk. He succeeded Masaryk as president in 1935 and served until 1948, when the Communists took control of the country. More information about him can be found on Wikipedia.
A few Beneš mementos on display:
A large photo of Beneš and his wife (and Lloyd)
A life-sized statue of Beneš on display in the small town square in Kozlany.
Next entry: Hedčany, the birthplace of many Zeteks.

Ancestral Villages - Kozlany Church

I think the best way to begin tracking our ancestors is the parish Church of Saint Vavrinec (Lawrence) in Kozlany. People from Hedcany and Kozlany were baptized, married, and buried from here. The original church was built in Gothic style in the 13th century, rebuilt in 1563, and in 1769 in baroque style. The church is now used only once a week. Mass is held by a priest who travels a circuit of several small churches. (Click on the photos to see a larger image.) Here we have our little party with genealogist & interpreter Olga Koliskova. She was uncertain her English would be strong enough, so she brought her daughter, Barbora, whose English is extremely fluent. Both were charming, gracious, well-educated, and with a lot of information for us. From left, the three travelers: me, husband Lloyd, cousin George from California; Olga and Barbora.

The interior of the church is beautifully painted in delicate colors. The main altar is decorated by a baroque painting of Saint Vavrinec.

The side altar exhibits more of the lovely painting.

The baptismal font.

We three travelers with Martin Stekl, a cousin on my father's side of the family. He is headmaster of a private school who just happened to have the week of our visit free--lucky us! He showed us around Plzen and accompanied us on the ancestral tour.
Next entry: Kozlany Museum and two new cousins!