Saturday, May 25, 2013

Roots

This is my 200th post during my third year of blogging, and I'm hitting publish right as I embark toward the airport, toward Europe and the Czech Republic, and toward half a summer abroad. I am looking back and I am looking forward.

I am going to Prague in the Czech Republic for the entire month of June as part of a Maymester program with the University of Texas. During the program, I will be taking a class on Documentary Photography. This is entirely not fair, right? I'm going to a beautiful place to take beautiful photos and I am receiving class credit. I get to take photos in Europe, I get to do something I love. Several things actually--photography, traveling, adventures.

But the trip also has greater significance. Photography can take place anywhere, but I am going to go explore a little piece of where I came from.

My grandmother Bernice Brosch Haas was born to parents Alois Brosch & Julia Dornak in March 1928 in Hallettsville, Texas. She married my grandfather Leo Haas, and the surname Haas is noticeably German. But my grandmother Bernice was Czech.

August Dornak was born in August of 1833 in Pribor, Moravia, Czechoslovakia. He's my great great great great (who knows how many) grandfather, and he immigrated to Worthing, Texas. He was first generation. He married Marie Mary Smolik, also of Pribor, and they had 8 children.

Of his children, August Dornak, born in Moravia in July 1875, married Karolina Kutach in November 1897 in St. Mary's, Texas. They had 16 children. Their daughter Julia Dornak would have been my great grandmother.

Julia Dornak was born in July 1900, married Louis Brosch, and together they had five children--including my grandmother Bernice Brosch. My grandmother had over sixty cousin. She was also fourth generation Texan.

On November 19, 1946, my grandmother married my grandfather Leo Haas, and together they had five children: Leo, Leslie, Larry, Lamar, and Louis.

But it all started in Pribor, Czechoslovakia.

I am excited to go explore a place where I have relatives. I am excited to stumble about the small town of Pribor. I am excited to hear the Czech language that I remember as a child, when my grandmother would stand in her kitchen with the phone to her ear, as she chattered away in a very foreign tongue. I am excited to both remember and learn. Below are some REALLY great photos of my grandmother. Stay tuned for updates from Europe in the coming days.

Scan-44 Scan-52Scan-46 Scan-41Scan-31 Scan-39 Scan-29



Side note: I had always just written off Haas as, "Ah, I'm German." But in a separate lineage book, the family of Josef Haas and Rosina Ripper immigrated to Bauersville and Schulenberg, Texas from Bolten, Austria.

"Bolten, Austria: The village was, in the 19th century, in the northeastern part of Moravia in Austria-Hungary, and today it is in north-central Czechslovakia, about twenty-five miles southwest of Ostrava. It is known today by its Czech name of Belotin." - Taken from the lineage book that was composed in August 1979.

Today, Belotin is located in the Czech Republic. Pribor is located just 19 miles away....guess I will be visiting both and exploring my Czech/German/Austrian roots.