Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Discovering Czech Heritage

Yesterday my husband and I visited the Bohemian National Cemetery of Baltimore. What started out as a pleasant drive to locate the grave sites of ancestors has become an obsession to discover my Czech heritage. Growing up I knew very little about this culture beyond stories my Mother shared occasionally. Now that I have started working with my brother as family historians, questions about our lineage have become important. Why did they immigrate to Baltimore, what hardships and triumphs shaped their lives, and where do we find their vital records.

This new obsession concerning my Czech ancestors was sparked by a simple conversation during a chance meeting in the cemetery. Strolling along the path a car stopped and the woman inside inquired about family names I was searching. At first I thought she was another weekend genealogy warrior, but instead she was a board member for the cemeteries historical committee!

After sharing family names to determine if we were indeed related (isn't that what we all do immediately), she shared a little bit of the cemeteries history. My new friend Jeanne, informed me that every Memorial Day the committee celebrates their heritage along with a representative from the Czech Embassy. As we finished chatting Jeanne handed me her card with contact information and website. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

Marking my calendar for next May!
Bohemian National Cemetery of Baltimore
Plaque on tombstone
Slivka ancestor still to be researched

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