Over the past twenty years my mother-in-law, Aline Jewel Svejkovsky Garrett, has been gathering and compiling the stories of her ancestors who came from Central Europe to America during the mid-nineteenth century. Her work will be a blessed legacy to future generations of her family. To date she has put together significant notebooks on her Svejkovsky and Swanda families and she is currently updating the work of cousin Berniece Lebeda Brown on the Soper family. These are very large families today and Aline’s notebooks are full of stories and photographs that she has gathered from her extended family members. She retains the original notebooks and has made copies for each of her three sons.
In 2003 I compiled a simplified version of her work in a small booklet to share with “the grandchildren”. Now I am expanding on her work, adding it to my database website, Family Stories pamgarrett.com. The four primary families that are followed are Svejkovsky, Swanda, Soper and Fridrich. All of these families are Czechs who came to America from the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Generally speaking, they followed a typical Czech migration route in America – beginning near Cedar Rapids Iowa, moving on to South Dakota and Nebraska, and finally participating in the Oklahoma Land Run and settlement.
The stories that Aline has gathered have come from many relatives who have been willing to share the fruits of their labors in exploring family history. I appreciate the opportunity to draw on the work of others who have researched and written down stories. Thanks to Aline Svejkovsky Garrett, William “Bill” Svejkovsky, Robert H Svejkovsky, Allie Swanda Svejkovsky, Anna Fridrich Stransky, Larry Nespor Swanda, Berniece Lebeda Brown, Olga Swanda Svejkovsky, and many others.
Photo: The Moravians by Vaclav Maly (1874 - 1935); in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.