Thursday, July 24, 2014

Translating Bohemian Records

I know I've neglected this genealogy blog for a while now, but the main reason for that is that anytime I find a spare hour or so to do genealogy, my mom and I have been getting together to work on our Bohemian genealogy research.  Since these records became available online relatively recently, there are so many "new" names to find and so much research to do that hasn't been done previously.  When my mom, my sister Michelle, and I started working on these records together in 2012 we found so much new information -- we were so excited that when Michelle was visiting San Diego the three of us would do research late into the night many nights in a row (often with one or two of us eventually falling asleep at the table as we tried to stay awake to find more).  We found so many new family members, that we would quickly write down the names and relationships, and which digitized book and page number where we found each one, and then quickly follow the clues on to find the next, and the next.  It was so fun, and so exciting to find so many new families.  But the result is that now we have a document that is currently 48 pages long filled with research notes, translations, and partial translations of the records. (I'm certainly not complaining -- what a blessing to be able to work hard and find so much!)

The big job now is to go back through our research notes, go back to each of those records we've found over the last two years, and translate, type, and enter all the source information for each record into our genealogy database.  Since neither my Mom or I are anywhere near fluent in German (or Latin), sometimes this process is slow going.  We have come a long way in our ability to "read" the records -- and figure out their meanings.  We have learned a lot about reading the old German Gothic alphabet and deciphering the old handwritings, and we are becoming familiar with more and more German and Latin words that were frequently used in those records.  So, we get together at least once a week to work on translating the records we have already found.  We have a page of sample letters in the Gothic alphabet that we frequently refer to, and we are always using Google Translate and other genealogy websites to help figure out unfamiliar words or town names.  Sometimes the hardest part is restraining ourselves to continue translating and recording the information from these records we have already found, instead of going on to the more exciting search for new information and new ancestors.  But we know now that saving the translation work for later results in a somewhat overwhelming backlog of work.  So once we get caught up and have translated all of these records, I think it will be easier to translate and record the info from each new record we find as we go along.

For now, we'll just keep translating.

This is the alphabet chart that we still reference regularly
when we get stuck on a word that is difficult to transcribe.

Just to give an idea of what kind of records we are working on:

This is a relatively easy record to translate -- good handwriting, short record, nice column format, nothing out of the ordinary.

The death record of [Johann] Fabian Panowitz, Archivni Vade Mecum [State Regional Archives in Litomerice website], <>, Book 120/10, website image 59/66 (left side of page), folio 68.  (Translation by Amy Spohr Chidester & Stephanie Chidester Bradshaw, July 2013).
“Died 7 June 1800, Place: House No. 48, town: Rasitz.  Fabian of Adalbert Panowitz master tailor young son from Rasitz.  Priest Antonius Leonard.  Religion: Catholic, Gender: Male, Age: 4 years, disease and cause of death: ‘blattern’ (smallpox).”

This is a pretty average record -- it's medium-long (the Latin records are often more wordy compared to the German ones), the handwriting is still pretty good in this one, and it's in paragraph format (not as easy as column format), and there were a few Latin words that we had to figure out because they weren't familiar to us.
Birth record of Joanne Wenceslaus Khol, Archivni Vade Mecum [State Regional Archives in Litomerice website], , Book 139/2, town: Hetov, website image 15/233 (left side of page), page 21, folio 12.  (Translation by Amy Spohr Chidester & Stephanie Chidester Bradshaw, July 2014).
“Of Hettov: [Apr 1762] 10 Born and 11 Bilina.  Baptized is Joannes Wenceslaus Wenceslai Khol and Rosalia Parents subjects of Mileschoviensi [town Mileschau in Usti Region] legitimate child, Godparent holding the child: Wenceslau Prazan from Rasitz, Witnesses: Wenceslau Haÿmann, Antonio Hook(?), Virgin Barabara Elisabeth Törrin, and Anna Maria Mrazin all from Hettov. a R: P:(?) Antonio Ritter chaplain.”

And some of them are a bit harder to read.  This is a German one from the 1700s.  Once you get back into the 1700s or earlier, many of the records get much more difficult to read than this one, and it is much less common for them to list women's maiden names (or sometimes they leave the name of the mother out of the birth records entirely).  But you can see we were fortunate with this particular record -- we could have had the one up higher on the page with the big ink smudge, or worse yet, the ones on the opposite page where the ink has bled through and made it twice as hard to read.  Counting our blessings.  :)

Birth record of Adalberth Panowitz Archivni Vade Mecum [State Regional Archives in Litomerice website],   (Translation by Michelle Chidester Conde, March 2012).  Razice book 120/2, image 64/202, page 121:
“Razitz (town): the 7th of April [1756] Adalberty Pannowitz was born.  Father: Francis Pannowitz.  Mother: Anna Maria.  Held child for baptismal ceremony: Christoph Pannowitz from Razitz.  Witnesses: Mathis Wegwerth, from the same place & Maria Koritz(?) from the same place.”

Greenwell & McIntosh family photos

My mother in law, Debbie McIntosh Bradshaw, shared some copies of photos of her father's.  So these are of my husband's maternal grandfather, James Albert McIntosh, and his parents James Hiram McIntosh & Grace Isabelle Greenwell McIntosh Cook Voight, and James Albert's sister Nancy Jeanne McIntosh Berry, and James Albert's grandfather, Albert E. Greenwell.

Here is the photo identification info that my mother in law included when she sent me the photos:


1. Albert Greenwell, Grandfather, James A. McIntosh, Taken at the time of his mission to Portland, Oregon, Year 1901

2. Albert Greenwell, Taken on his mission at Portland, Oregon, 1902

4. (On the front): Grandad (Albert Greenwell) while on a mission to PortlandOregon, Year 1901.  (On the back): Albert Greenwell, Taken with the missionaries in Portland, Oregon, Ida B. Smith Photo Studio, Olympia

5. James A. McIntosh, 3 years old

6. James McIntosh, Grace McIntosh, Nancy McIntosh

7. Grace Greenwell, 17 years old, Senior in Idaho Falls High School

8. Grace Isabelle Greenwell, Wedding day picture

9. Grandad (Albert Greenwell) with missionaries in Portland, Oregon

10. (On the front): Grandad (Albert Greenwell) a baseball player in the early days when Idaho Falls was called Eagle Rock. He was one of the best on the team.  (On the back): Woodmen of the World they lined up just before their game with the....They were the victors of the game. From left to right they are: Wright, Miller, McMillen, Bucklen, Irving, Atchison, Hughes, Greenwell, and Edgington. Game played at Base Ball Park Battery Irving and Atchison

11. James Albert McIntosh

12. James Hiram McIntosh, Austin Studios, California, Nevada, Utah

13. James Albert McIntosh, 2 years

Monday, May 26, 2014

Photos of My Mom's Family

I few years ago when I was at my Grandma Bev's house in Missouri I took pictures of a stack of old family photos.  I was just going through my computer files this week and came across those photos again, and thought I'd share them here.  They're of my mom, her parents and brothers, and her grandparents.

My mom's older brother, Paul Christopher Spohr, getting his hair cut.
And the man on the right is his father, Carl John Spohr Jr.

Nettie Graham Spohr with her grandson, Paul Spohr.

(I'm not sure who this person is who is holding Paul).

Nettie and Paul

Carl John Spohr Sr. with his grandchildren, Paul and Amy (my mom).

My great grandparents, Nettie & Carl Spohr Sr.
Amy Lynn Spohr with her Grandpa Carl

Carl Spohr Sr. & Paul Spohr

Nettie, Paul, & Carl Sr.

Paul, Nettie, & Amy Spohr

Amy Lynn Spohr

Carl & Beverly Spohr with their 3 oldest children: my mom Amy, her older brother Paul, & baby John.

John Robert Spohr, my mom's younger brother.


Paul & Amy

Carl Sr. & Carl Jr.

Amy on the right (Not sure who that is on the left -- one of her brothers?
It looks too young to be Paul, but doesn't look like John to me).

Nettie Graham Spohr with her son, Carl John Spohr Jr.

Beverly, John, Paul, Nettie, Carl, & Amy Spohr

Carl Sr., Amy, & Paul

Nettie, Beverly, Amy, Carl Sr., & Carl Jr.

Amy & John

Bev, Carl, Paul, Amy, & John

Carl Sr., Paul, & Carl Spohr Jr.

Amy, Nettie, & Paul Spohr

Paul, Amy, Carl Sr., & Nettie

My grandparents, Beverly Frances Monk Spohr & Carl John Spohr Jr.

Carl Sr., Nettie, Paul, Carl Jr., & Beverly Spohr

Nettie with John


Amy Lynn Spohr

John & Bev

Amy & Paul


Beverly, John, Carl Sr., Amy, Nettie, & Carl Spohr Jr.


My great grandparents, Nettie Dorothy Graham Spohr & Carl John Spohr Sr.

Amy & Paul with their dad, Carl


Nettie & Carl Sr., Paul, Beverly & Carl Jr., & Amy


Nettie, Paul, Bev, Amy, John, & Carl Jr.

Nettie, Paul, Bev, Amy, John, & Carl Jr.

Nettie, John, & Beverly Spohr

Carl Jr. taking a photo of Amy, Beverly, & Nettie Spohr

Carl Sr., Nettie, Amy, John, Beverly, & Carl Jr.

Amy with her youngest brother, David

John & David



John, David, & Paul

David Courtland Spohr

Nettie with David

David Spohr


David & Nettie

Amy, Beverly, John, Carl, & Paul

Nettie & David

Nettie & David

Nettie, John, & Carl Sr.

David Spohr

John, Paul, & David

David Spohr


Carl, Beverly, & Nettie Spohr, and Frances Olive Dick Monk with Amy and her sewing machine.



Paul, Amy, John, & David

Paul, David, & John



John & David

David & Nettie


David with his grandma, Nettie

Amy, David, & Carl Sr.


Carl Sr. with David Spohr

John Spohr