Finding an ancestor’s original birth record, visiting an ancestral home or even visiting the village where an ancestor lived can be a very satisfying experience—even more satisfying can be standing face to face with a relative who shares common Czech ancestry but has been out of touch, sometimes for over a 100 years. Some with Czech ancestry have been fortunate enough to have been able to do some of these things. For those who haven’t, there may yet be such a possibility. The challenge is how to go about finding the key information on the ancestors who emigrated, their ancestors and following the trail wherever it may lead.
The good news is the search for information and records documenting ancestors born in the Czech Lands of Bohemia and Moravia is no longer the daunting experience it has been in the past. Visiting and communicating with genealogical resources (archives) in the Czech Lands is easier since the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Since that time the Czech Republic has become a free and democratic country with easy air connections into the capital city of Prague and no visa requirements. It is therefore possible to travel there without difficulty to visit archives and to visit our ancestral homelands, the lands where ancestors emigrated from.
Visiting an archive and finding useful records is still not a simple matter and some have opted to hire professional genealogists to do the research. However, with the development of on-line systems, images of many of the pre-1900 original records from the archives are now accessible. Whether visiting the archive in person, hiring professionals to guide you or to do it, or using on-line systems, the key is still determining which archive contains the records. With that information in hand it is increasingly possible to find and retrieve copies of original records on-line.