Monday, February 10, 2014

Travel Log: October 7th, Part 1, Carlsbad, Fischern, & Putschirn again

“. . . So we just arrived in our hotel in Litomerice because we have an appointment in the State Litomerice Archives tomorrow. Hopefully the census records are held there at that archive, and we will see what else we can find there too.

Today we packed up, had breakfast, and then walked over to the hot springs to get a Karlovy Vary cup for Jennifer because she asked Mom to get her one (that's what everyone does there, I guess, they get a special cup and sip the hot spring water - yes, I tried a tiny taste, and yes, it was hot and gross). But the cool thing is we have two photos of ancestors (their names are unknown to us so far) that were taken at a photo studio that used to be right there at those famous hot springs in Karlovy Vary.

Then we left the hotel and headed to the local archive in Karlovy Vary-Rybare, because before we left town Mom had emailed one of the State Archives asking them where to find census records for our ancestral towns around Karlovy Vary, and they wrote her back and told her to go there. We were excited to look at the censuses to hopefully fill in some gaps and figure out who went with who. But they don't have census records there. They told us the censuses for the towns in the Karlovy Vary region are in the State Archives in Pilsen, which was not close to where we were so we couldn't go there. They did tell us that they had something for the town of Imligau (Jimlikov) that was translated as Chronicles or Annuals for the town (possibly including school or church information?) from 1924-1942. But they showed us that that book was also online at www.portafontium.eu, and so we decided to look at it later -- it's got much later dates, but we could at least check it for our surnames to look for any descendants who stayed here, or see if they have Annuals for any of the other towns online. 

Oh, but we did find the old church in Fischern quite by accident -- when we parked to go into the archive, the church was right there. That would have been where our Strunz family went to church while they lived in Fischern.
Catholic church in Fischern

I loved the decorative work over this arched doorway.

Then we went to those other towns and photographed the remaining ancestral houses that I had found on Google Maps the other day. We went first to Putschirn and found houses 25, 17, & 7.

House No. 25 was my favorite of the day. Putschirn No. 25 is the house where my 3rd great grandparents, Maria Anna Strunz and Joseph Ott, were married.  We never would have found it without Google Maps: Besides the fact that it didn't have a house number on it at all, it wasn't even on a road -- it was in the same yard as another newer house, and the old house No. 25 was back away from the road, beyond a little green house in the yard. There were red vines growing over it and the door was missing, with an open door frame. No one lived there, but the new house on the lot was inhabited. And there was a big Rottweiler in the yard that was only separated from us by a flimsy looking fence, so when it jumped at the fence and snarled at us that made us rather nervous.  I told mom to just keep walking and not to look it in the eyes, and we got back to the car alright after taking our pictures.
Putschirn No. 25
No. 25 beyond the little greenhouse in the yard.
No. 25 from the back.
Then we found Putschirn No. 17, which had been rebuilt and was a light green house.  No. 17 is where my 4th great grandparents, Anton Strunz & Katharina Möckl, lived at the time of the birth of their son, Joseph Strunz, who died as a baby.
Putschirn No. 17

Then No. 7, which was a tan house on the Main Street with an original looking roof.  Putschirn No. 7 is the house that Anton Strunz & Katharina Möckl had moved into by the time of the birth of their youngest son, Joseph Strunz (who was given the same name as his older brother who died as a baby). . . .”
Putschirn No. 7

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Travel Log: October 6th, Chodov, Bleistadt, & Graslitz again

“. . . So we went this morning to try to go to mass in the church in Chodau (now Chodov), so we could see inside the church (it's kept locked except for mass).  But we thought it started later than it actually did, and we got there too late and mass was just finishing, so I snapped a picture of the little baptismal font and of the pews, but didn't even get a picture of the inside of the church before they said we needed to go out so they could lock up. So that was too bad. But when we were going back to our car a lady came and invited us to come into the church office for tea. We went, although we didn't drink any tea of course, and the group of ladies just chatted with each other while we sat there not understanding a word of it. But they were very nice to invite us.
The church in Chodov
The pews in the church
The little baptismal font.
Then we came back to the hotel because I realized on google maps you can right-click on any place on a map and click "what's here?" and it tells you an address and GPS coordinates. And I double checked, and for some of the towns it was showing the address with the old original house numbers from the 1800s when our ancestors were there. And then last night I realized that for some of the towns, at least the smaller ones, you are able to just plug in the old address and it can sometimes find it for you on google maps, instead if having to right-click on every house in a town. That didn't work in every town I tried, but it did in a few.

So after our adventure at the church in Chodov, we came back to the hotel and while we listened to General Conference for our church online on my phone, I looked up houses and prepared maps. By doing that, I was able to locate Putschirn House No. 7, 17, and 25 (so between going there yesterday and searching maps we've found all the ancestral houses (that we know of so far) in that town except house no. 5).  

I was able to find houses 17 & 5 in Imligau (so we've found all but house no. 8 there so far).  

I wasn't able to find house 32 or 34 in Chodov.  

But I found houses 6, 10, & 13 in Wintersgrun, which means we've located all the known ancestral homes in that town!  

I located Bleistadt (now Olovi) no. 99 on the map too. But didn't find any of the Graslitz houses on the map because of their numbering system on the different streets -- still got to figure that one out. So that was pretty productive.

When we finished that, we went to Bleistadt (Olovi), not far from Graslitz -- Mom hadn't been there before.  Apparently the part of Bleistadt that we’d driven through the previous day was just the edge of town down in the valley, and the main old part of town was up on the mountain.  Bleistadt is a very pleasant mountain town with great views out over the forest. We couldn't find house no. 99 right away from the map I'd prepared (and now I'm thinking the map is incorrect), because we thought to try plugging in the old house number into the GPS in the car, and it took us up the hill to where there is the old Catholic church surrounded by homes, a cemetery off to the side, and house no.  99 right across the street from the corner of the church building. House 99 looked old, but we weren't sure if it was original or had possibly been rebuilt a long time ago.

Bleistadt No. 99 was the home of my 4th great grandfather, Friedrich Breinl, and his family at the time of the birth of his son, Adolf Thomas Breinl. My 3rd great grandmother, Ludmilla Breinl, was Adolf’s older sister – she was 10 years older than him.  Adolf and Ludmilla’s sister, Anna Breinl, was also born in Bleistadt.
The Bleistadt church from across the valley.



Bleistadt No. 99 (the yellowish house across the street to the right of the church)
Bleistadt No. 99


House No. 99 is the yellowish one on the right, with the church steeple beyond it's roof
The church was nice, and there were some historic signs outside that we photographed (we will need to have some of those translated).

It's extremely rare to find a sign like this with an English translation, especially up in this rather remote mountain village.


 The church was locked and you couldn't see in at all, but we peaked through key holes in two different doors and could just barely see that there were dusty pews with red fabric seat cushions, a chandelier, a metal gate inside the door at the end of the church, and at least some of the windows were clear stained glass with a little red glass around the window borders. (Tried to take pictures through the key hole -- didn't quite work, but you can almost see the benches and a chandelier in the keyhole pictures).  :)  

Look closely: Can you make out the chandelier through the key hole?
Then we happened to see the little cemetery not too far from the church when we started to drive away, so we stopped and walked through the whole thing reading every headstone. We found a few people with some of our surnames, so we took pictures of those ones.
The view from the Bleistadt cemetery



Then we continued on to Graslitz up the road. We drove through Graslitz for 5 km and just quickly looked around at a town called Klingenthal across the border in Germany to take a look before coming back to Graslitz. Because the Breinl family lived in both Graslitz and Bleistadt at different times, and Bleistadt is 12 miles down the road from Graslitz in the other direction away from the German border, it got us thinking that since Graslitz is closer to the border than to Bleistadt, there's always a chance that the Breinl family could possibly have lived in a German border town too – will have to look into the possibility of double checking in the German records too for the ancestors who lived in towns near the border

Then we went back to Graslitz. We tried plugging house numbers into the GPS, but it didn't work at all. So we still haven't figured out any house locations there. But we went to the cemetery where our cameras had run out of batteries previously, and finished searching the cemetery and photographing the rest of the headstones with family names we had missed yesterday. There were lots of Huttls, Kohls, Kohlerts, Fischers, Dietz, Meinls, & Breinls. So that was good to get done, especially since Graslitz is the furthest family town from here of these ones we've been going to so far.








These are a few of the headstones we found that day with family names.
Then we drove home, had dinner, and then skyped with you.  (Or we ‘slumped’ with you -- that's how my phone wanted to auto-correct the spelling of ‘skyped’).  And now I'm just writing you all the details of my day while I'm falling asleep (so if you get this tonight you know I was able to stay awake enough to finish)!


Anyway, tomorrow the plan is to go to a local district archive in Fischern (now Rybare) to look at some Czech census records for my first time. So that should be an adventure – pray for us that someone at the archives speaks at least a little English, which would help things run a lot more smoothly. Then we have plans to go to Putschirn, Imligau, and Wintersgrun to photograph those other houses I found on the maps. And then if we have time I'd like to go to a town called Nova Role (formerly Neurohlau), where our Imligau family went to church and where they were buried. I read online there is an old church their called St. Michael Archangel Church. Mom has been there before, once, and she said there are a few headstones by the church, and a cemetery not far away from there.  She said she remembers not being there for long the one time they were there before, so I'm wondering if maybe we can find something new in the cemetery there (it's really cool to see the stuff Mom has found on past trips, but even more cool when we find something new together. But even if we don't find a headstone of one of our closely-related ancestors, I will enjoy seeing (and photographing, of course) the old church. . . .”