It’s almost time for the 16th CGSI Genealogical and Cultural Conference October 17-21 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
CGSI Registration booklet. Click here to learn more and register.
Will I See You in Pittsburgh Next Week?
I have been waiting for this conference for over a year. I have the honor of presenting the keynote address on Friday, 20 October 2017 – “They Built This City: Celebrating Pittsburgh’s Industries and Immigrants.” The opening session starts at 8:00 a.m. with the singing of the Czech, Moravian, Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn National Anthems, and the Star Spangled Banner, followed by the keynote talk.
I will also be presenting three other sessions during the conference:
- Overcoming Brick Walls in Eastern Europe Research (Thursday, 10/19)
- Beginning Slovak Genealogy (Friday 10/20)
- Identifying Pittsburgh’s Slovak Cluster Communities and Their Role in Preserving Slovak Heritage (Saturday, 10/21)
The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International Conference is the premier event to learn about techniques for genealogical research in the areas now known as the Czech and Slovak Republics.
Presentations throughout the conference will explore the history and culture of the people who lived in the present-day Czech and Slovak Republics.
Ethnic-focused bus tours of the Pittsburgh area, live performances of regional music, and special-interest movies are all a part of the CGSI Conference.
The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society was founded in 1988 in St. Paul, MN. It was incorporated as the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International in 1991.
CGSI currently has about 2,400 members from across the US, Canada and the Czech and Slovak Republics.
More information including registration form can be found at http://www.cgsievents.com
Copyright 2017, Lisa A. Alzo. All Rights Reserved
When my Slovak grandparents arrived in America, they settled in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, a “cluster community,” where they were surrounded by relatives, friends, and neighbors–all the people who formed the extension of their villages in the New World. They could count on these people for friendship, support and help with life’s ups and downs.
|Group gathering, Osturňa, Slovakia; photo courtesy of Lisa A. Alzo
Many decades later, I found myself channeling this sense of community while working on The Family Tree Polish, Czech, and Slovak GenealogyGuide. I have been been a freelance writer for FamilyTree Magazine since 2005, and since that time I have written a number of articles on various Eastern European Genealogy topics, so it seemed a natural fit to expand that work for the Ethnic Research Guides series.
This guide will walk you step-by-step through the exciting–and challenging–journey of finding your Polish, Czech, or Slovak roots. You’ll learn how to identify immigrant ancestors, find your family’s town of origin, locate key genealogical resources, decipher foreign-language records, and untangle the region’s complicated history. The guide also includes timelines, sample records, resource lists, and sample record request letters to aid your research.
In particular, those just beginning the research process will find this guide to be useful starting point for how to discover their Eastern European ancestors and trace their stories from American shores back to the old country. An extensive Appendix lists other books and resources to follow up with for advanced research in each group (including one of my personal favorites, Going Home: A Guide to Polish-American Research by Jonathan Shea).
In the past twenty-five years, I have had the good fortune of working with many skilled research colleagues who were instrumental in helping me navigate the complexities of Eastern European genealogy. My journey back to find my ancestors would not have been possible without the guidance of many others. One of the biggest lessons I learned early on as a genealogist is the importance of collaboration and networking with those researching similar surnames or geographical areas. While researching our individual families, we might have a tendency to hold on tightly to knowledge gleaned from our efforts, but there is a lot to be said for sharing what we learn. Thanks to collaborative efforts with other East European genealogists, I have been able to break down many of my own research brick walls.
In the same collaborative spirit, this guide is designed to teach and inspire others who have an interest in exploring their Polish, Czech, or Slovak heritage.
Writing is often viewed as a solo endeavor, but the truth is it really takes a village to produce a guide of this scope, and I am particularly grateful to my research colleagues (especially Professor Jonathan Shea, Michal Razus, and Jan Ebert), as well as others who contributed photographs or other stories or anecdotes, and of course, the editors and copy editors at Family Tree Magazine.
The book is currently available for pre-order at ShopFamilyTree and Amazon.
[Disclosure: Articles on this website may use affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Policy in the About section for more information]
If you have Czech or Slovak roots and don’t know where or how to begin your research, come join me for the Czech and Slovak Genealogy Crash Course on Tuesday, August, 19, 2014, hosted by Family Tree University. In this crash course I will share with you my tops and tricks for researching Czech and Slovak ancestors I’ve developed during my 25 years as a genealogist.
Below is the description for the course from the Family Tree University website. Hope you can take advantage of this opportunity to learn about Czech and Slovak Genealogy without leaving home!
|Image courtesy of: Family Tree University
Czech and Slovak Genealogy Crash Course
Format: Live Webinar Click here to register.
You’ll Love This If:
- You want to research Czech and Slovak ancestors but don’t know where to start
- You want to learn about what websites and other resources are available for Czech and Slovak research
- You want to trace your ancestors from the US back to Slovakia or the Czech Republic
Date: Tuesday, August 19
Starting Time: 7pm ET/ 6pm CT/ 5pm MT/ 4pm PT
Presenter: Lisa A. Alzo
Duration: 60 minutes
Family historians with Czech and Slovak roots share a similar assortment of brick walls, from surname issues to border changes and language troubles. Nearly 2.5 million Americans claim Czech or Slovak ancestry. If you count yourself among them, then this hour-long webinar is for you. Lisa A. Alzo, a specialist in Eastern European genealogy, will show you where to begin, which resources to consult and how to overcome the most common pitfalls and obstacles associated with tracing ancestors back to Central and Eastern Europe.
What You’ll Learn:
- How to start searching for your Czech and Slovak ancestors
- How to understand complex language and naming patterns
- How to get the most out of Czech and Slovak-related online resources
- Where to find vital records, military records, land records and more
- What local resources exist for conducting Czech and Slovak family research
About Your Presenter:
Eastern European genealogy specialist Lisa A. Alzo received the Association for Women in Slavic Studies 2002 Mary Zirin Prize for excellence in scholarship, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International. Her books include Three Slovak Women (Gateway Press), Slovak Pittsburgh (Arcadia) and Cleveland Slovaks (with John T. Sabol, Arcadia). She’s written numerous articles for genealogy publications, including regular contributions to Family Tree Magazine, and blogs regularly at The Accidental Genealogist.
Copyright 2014, Lisa A. Alzo and Family Tree University
All Rights Reserved
[Disclaimer: I work as a freelance instructor for Family Tree University and will be paid an instructor’s fee for this webinar]
Family Tree University has 11 courses starting on Monday, December 5th, including two courses I’m teaching: Discovering Your Czech and Slovak Roots, and Immigration Master Class (their spotlight course for this session).
Click here to learn more and register.
This is a great chance to get a jumpstart on your research goals for 2012.
Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo
Disclosure: I work as a paid instructor for FTU (F&W Media)
My new course on Discovering Czech & Slovak Roots for Family Tree University starts tomorrow January 31, 2011. But it’s not too late to register, and you can save 20% off of your registration plus get a free calendar!. Click here to reserve your spot and use the code NEWYEAR11.