Czech and Slovak Genealogy 101: Strategies for Searching Over Here and Over There

Researchers with Czech or Slovak roots often battle certain brick walls—do surname issues, border changes and language troubles sound all too familiar to you? Lisa A. Alzo, a specialist in Eastern European genealogy, will show you tools and tricks for tracking down those hard-to-find ancestors from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Czechoslovakia.

Trlinak, Czechoslovakia, circa 1893

Trlinak, Czechoslovakia, circa 1893 (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97505554/)

Tuition:

$99.99 ($89.99 for VIP)

Course Length:

4 Weeks

Instructor:

Lisa A. Alzo

Start Date:

View upcoming course schedule for dates.


WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to locate immigration and emigration documents
  • Key Slovak and Czech history, including the significance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • Czech and Slovak surname and given name patterns that will help you trace your family
  • How to locate your ancestral village
  • Records and strategies for finding your ancestors in the old country

WHO SHOULD TAKE THIS COURSE

  • Genealogists with known Czech or Slovak roots who want to “cross the pond” and begin their overseas research (this class isn’t designed for intermediate to advanced researchers who have significant experience using sources from Slovakia and the Czech Republic)
  • Members of Slovak and Czech heritage clubs or churches who wish to expand their family trees and honor their heritage
  • Researchers with Eastern European roots in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, which controlled the Czech and Slovak lands at the time many immigrated to America
  • Librarians serving areas where many Eastern Europeans settled, whose patrons are descendants of Czech and Slovak immigrants

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: REQUIREMENTS & SUPPLIES

  • This course assumes you understand the basics principles of genealogy and have done some investigation into your family history. If you are a total beginner, consider taking the Discover Your Family Tree course before enrolling in this class.
  • You will get the most out of this course if you already know which specific ancestors or generation of your family came from Slovakia or the Czech Republic. For those who haven’t yet discovered this part of their family history, we recommend taking the Tracing Immigrants course first to help you identify your Czech or Slovak immigrant ancestors

Outline

Lesson 1: Historical Background
A. Introduction
B. Who are the Czechs?
C. Who are the Slovaks?
D. A Dual History
I. Break-up and Unification
II. World War II
E. Czech and Slovak Immigration and Emigration
F. Quiz
Lesson 2: Determining Names and Places
A. Preparing for Old Country Research
I. Setting Research Goals 
II. Research Roadmaps
B. Czech and Slovak Names
I. Suffixes and Name Changes
II. Name Days and Naming Patterns
III. Place Names
C. Home and Family Sources
D. Public Records
E. Immigration and Emigration Records
F. Military Records
G. Other Records
I. Land Records
II. Probate Records
III. Newspapers
IV. Fraternal Organizations
H. Canadian Records
I. Exercise
Lesson 3: Researching Over There
A. Locating the Ancestral Town or Village
B. Geography: Border, Administrative and Political Changes
C. Using Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers
D. Czech and Slovak Record Sources
I. Vital Records
II. Census Records
III. Military Records
IV. Other Records
E. How to Obtain Records
I. Utilizing the Family History Library
II. Writing to the Archives
III. Research in Person
IV. Hire a Professional Researcher
F. Language Issues
G. Summary
H. Exercise
Lesson 4: Advanced Strategies
A. Collateral Research and Cluster Genealogy
I. Researching Sideways: Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors
II. How to Identify a “Cluster”
B. Virtual Pushpins
I. Online Family Trees
II. Locality-Based Research
III. Online Profiles
IV. Photo Websites
V. Memorial Websites
C. Finding Czech and Slovak Cousins
I. Societies
II. Message Boards
III. Conferences
IV. DNA testing
V. Social Networking
D. Summary
E. Exercise

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