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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Be sure to gather all data before you jump ahead in genealogy research

Carrie's Question:
I was told that that my grandmothers mother (Antonie Vochner) married Vaclav(aka James)Pauza and he was born 1877. There are two problems in this. The first one which might be easier to figure out is Great Grandma's last name: Vochner is very hard to track down and I even found that "Wagner" might be the American Vochner name. It is said that the names changed due to the language barrier.

The second problem is I was told that Great Grandpa's (Vaclav's) father was named Dominik Pauza....but the only Dominik Pauza I found...and that I have actual documentation on is born in the year 1879 and can't possibly be the father with only having 2 yrs difference. Somehow I am thinking there is a Frank Pauza involved here and may even be the Grandfather in question. This gets really mixed up when you listen to what other people think but I am going to continue until I figure out something or until someone helps me out.

Olive Tree Answer:
Dear Carrie - I have a few questions of my own... Where are James and Antonie living? When and where did they die? What is your source for the information supplied?

I found James and Antonie in the Ohio census on; I looked for Ohio death records. I found that James and Dominik are brothers.

You need to obtain all information possible here in the US before you start looking in Czechoslovakia; you need a hometown, or at the least, a region.

Have you checked for passenger lists or obituaries or naturalizations for Vaclav and Dominick? has ships passenger lists and has Naturalization Recordsicon from NARA.

Have you checked church records in Cleveland? Where are their children baptised? Find their burials and you may find which church they attended. Follow Dominik: If Vaclav does not supply details on his birth in any of the offiicial records, Dominik may have been more specific. The LDS have hundreds of microfilms for Cleveland.

I urge you to go to the library: Gregory Stone has an article published in Rocenka in 1995 "Czech migration patterns to Cleveland, 1865-1940" which gives towns and villages. The great news is that some archives in Czechoslovakia are beginning to present information online. In the past, you had to send a research request to the Czech Embassy, wait many months, pay in Czech funds, and then find a translator for the results.

When you have that hometown, you can easily find a marriage record for Vaclav and Antonie; the marriage record will supply parents ofr both, maiden names for the mothers, and the names and occupations of the witnesses. And possibly more, depending on what region they were in. Then you can start on birth records for Antonie and Vaclav and Dominik.

Why look for Dominik's baptism? Because there may be different sponsors, different witnesses, etc. which may lead to other relatives; they may have been living in a different village or at another address. Any little detail may be important, and may lead to further discoveries. Never miss an opportunity to gather data.

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