map courtesy World Statesman website
The Jerousek family has been one of the most difficult nuts to crack. The variations of spelling for this surname has caused moments of hitting head against the proverbial "brick wall".
Truth to tell, I knew very little about my Czechoslovakian and Bohemian heritage. Since my mother was the youngest (and a late in life surprise baby) many of these ancestors were gone before I became interested in genealogy.
The only facts we had were gathered from my great-grandmother, Anna Jerousek Gaphardt's obituary and death certificate. Even those documents give conflicting spellings for her maiden name.
My mother had a few memories of her childhood that gave some clues. With these bits and pieces I determined to uncover this family history.
Locating them in the United States Federal Census records required many detective hours. Using every spelling and wild card combination I combed pages of documents.
Finally, after what seemed like years I located them in the 1880 United States Federal Census. I knew this was the correct family as the residence matched Anna's birth certificate. The name on the census was transcribed as "Gerushek".
On the census the family lists their "nativity" as Bohemian. For days after I was humming the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen!
Last summer our genealogy group visited the Maryland State Archives. The librarian demonstrated Guide to Special Collections. In a previous post I shared locating Anna's baptism record in the church records.
With this information we have located several unknown siblings. Even more exciting, now we have additional surnames to research.
This all has engendered a great desire to lean all about the history and culture of these countries. I have joined the FamilySearch Czechoslovakia Genealogy Research on Facebook. Also, I plan on becoming a member of Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International.
So excited about this adventure of heritage discovery!