Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rodičovství je posvátnou povinností

"Visiting teaching" is a really neat thing in my church. Every woman over the age of 18 is assigned a partner, a "companion." We are also assigned other women to go visit-teach, which basically just means going to their home, talking with them, and sharing a spiritual message once each month. But really, your job is also to be there for them if they need help, and to let the bishop or relief society president know what they need.
I have taken many dinners to my visiting teachees, watched their children (many, many times), listened to them cry when they needed a friend, brought them our hand-me-down clothes, given them rides to and from places, and even helped them receive church welfare (food, money, etc). Visiting teaching is the system that my church uses to ensure that families and individuals are getting the temporal care and relief they need.
The message this month is about parenthood. You can find it here.
I decided to read it in Czech. It's probably really awful. But I thought I would post it anyway.

I think parenthood is really important. This belief is directly connected to my interest in family history. It is interesting to me to understand what my ancestors thought about parenthood. The more I learn about them, the more respect and love I have for them. I believe and hope that someday, I will be able to meet these people who I spend so much time thinking and learning about. It will be really wonderful to be able to thank them for making my life possible through their choice to become parents.
I hope that I am and will always continue to be a good mother.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I am so frustrated.

You can't just wave a magic wand and *POOF* abracadabra! You magically have friends and collaborators that share your passion and interests.

Fortunately we live in a world with the internet, the great equalizer. It allows me to communicate (or attempt to) with others who share my same interest: Czech genealogy.

I obviously have more than one interest. And I'm not a stupid person. I take care of myself and my family. It's just... It's so freaking lonely sometimes. I hang out with my mom friends and really have to make an effort to be present, to care about the conversation; my brain is wandering to my genealogy problems and questions.

There are millions of questions. I have so few answers. What's thrilling and exciting beyond description is to have begun to find some answers. It's just so frustrating that I'm crippled by so many stupid pathetic obstacles: the Czech language, the German language, how the demographic of people who share my sub-niche interest is not often an extremely tech savvy bunch, how the vast majority of my Czech genealogy colleagues are male, making it super annoying and awkward when I'm trying to read a book describing Czech birth control folklore...yeah no, I can't handle translating euphemisms for coitus interruptus with a guy. It's too awkward for me. So instead I get to spend 20 minutes plugging in various options to my translator, feeling like a pervert because I really, really, really want to understand this part of my ancestors' lives. Finally I get it and it's so dumb it makes me roll my eyes: "go to church but don't stay for mass." Or "till but don't plant." Ugh. Danny says, "even that one would be understood in English." Yeah except when the words are archaic, it just causes me to want to tear out my hair and scream with frustration. I just want to "get it." Why does reading Czech (modern Czech! 18th century land record Czech! Abbreviations in Czech archive descriptions!) have to be so difficult?! Whine whine whine.

My fourth great grandmother Veronika Schablatura's parents were married in 1779. They didn't have a baby baptized until 1783. That's super weird. What happened? There should have been at least one child born in that time, more likely two. And if it was me, it would have been 3 (our first three kids are 14 months apart each). So yeah, understanding birth control in the late 18th century is definitely super relevant. If she had a baby that died before they could be baptized, would there be any record anywhere of that child? Can we assume infertility? Or ::shudder:: infanticide or abortion? This options seem unlikely. What is the deal?

What I truly want is a group of people who care about these questions. I found one person. There MUST exist others. You can't just magically create relationships. They have to be cultivated. But I don't WANT to cultivate, I want to learn. Again, whine whine

I think I'll just have to dedicate an amount of time to blogstalking. Commenting and following bloggers. Hopefully I will find some female Czech soul out there with whom I can translate sensitive blushworthy material that contains answers to my questions. It's lame and pathetic and humiliating that my brain is such a blank freaking slate, that cultural knowledge that is just intuitive to a native Czech literally has to be written out twice for me: once in Czech, once again in English. Three times if you count google translatese, which is its own beast to slay.

I just feel really grouchy about putting so much effort into trying to collaborate, and finding myself unsuccessful at the cultivating relationships part. I'm totally an extrovert, I totally just want to interact with humans. Hence the blog.

Ugh. What a negative post. Maybe tomorrow I will feel better.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ravenous Insatiable Hunger

I'm not really sure who reads this, but I feel compelled to write, and I know that good has come out of my efforts to get my genealogical mind dumping "out there" for others to read.

So, you who are reading this out in the great wide nether beyond, might have picked up on the fact that I have been working as much as I can on my Czech genealogy recently.

I feel a ravenous desire to find my ancestors. This feeling continually gnaws at my soul. Since the beginning of August, I have been spending almost all my free time engaged in one single thing: transcribing Czech land records. After years and years of frustration, I finally have found the method and tools that work for me to transcribe these records: collaboration.

I feel somewhat frustrated to be so reliant on others (mostly just one other researcher) to help me understand my records. But the truth is, I don't especially care about that. I mostly just want to read *and finally understand* the records. It is one of my heart's deepest desires: to read these Czech land records and be able to interpret their meaning. 

Right now I feel irritated because the Opava archives website's server is down (, and it went down right in the middle of my search in Gross Kunzendorf.

See, the trouble with my Czech lines is this: even though they did not move around very much, BOTH the parish registers for Gross Kunzendorf AND Vratimov are missing for the years 1785-1835. I have lines from both these places. Unless they magically appear (which they won't), I will need to rely on the land records to fill the major gap in the records.

The second irritating thing: I keep running into land records that I want to transcribe and translate...but they are in GERMAN. I'm just whining now because what I really want is to read right now are the CZECH land records.

Blah. What I need to do is sit down and really figure out what all my Czech genealogy "ends of the line" are, so that I can take them back. Grumble grumble.

The other fact is that my husband and I both jointly decided that it would be a really great thing for me to turn my genealogy research into my career. More on that later. But basically, that is why I have been spending so much time on the transcriptions: it is the key skill that I lack. And I am starving to learn more. It is almost painful how much I long to know how to read these records so I can understand what they say. It is a ravenous insatiable hunger of the soul. I cannot express this feeling with words.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Czech cases on my blog: or, in which I prove definitively that I am a nerd

As if my nerdiness were ever in question? Pretty sure that it is a long established fact. Sorry kids.

I'm really excited. I've been working for months years really, trying to figure out how to organize my life.

I've decided that what I really, truly desire is to make my genealogy work my career.

So that meant I had to rethink my blog situation. I mean, my other blog, Czech out your ancestors, well, it's been my baby! And it's basically time to admit that it is growing and evolving into something new. I am in the process of moving the less relevant posts to this more informal, personal blog. But I will continue to be myself (duh) on the other blog, just more focused on your research than mine. More focused on my goal to help you with that research. More focused on my career.

And it really is kind of separate; these goals. My personal genealogy goals are related, but not the same as my main goal.

My main dream, my driving purpose is to connect family. I do this because it is good and it brings me and others so much joy. Connecting family helps us understand ourselves, and who we can become.

More meta-blogging later...but always here, where it's not going to be clutter.

Anyway - as I was racking my brain as to how I was going to change the organization of my blog, I decided that it would be a hilarious inside joke with myself if I had my pages roughly correspond to the 7 Czech cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, locative, and instrumental.

This is really mainly for my own benefit. See, there is no way I would have been able to type all 7 of those as quickly as I had if I hadn't been reviewing (and re-reviewing, and re-re-re-reviewing) them in my mind this afternoon as I started to embed links etc.

But it is really nerdy. I guess I take some kind of weird pleasure in being like this (proud of being different in a potentially socially awkward way.) I probably got that from my parents! hahaha

More future metablogging and brain dumping on the subject of genealogy (or whatever) to come.