Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Czeching Out Our Bohemian Ancestors

My Dolechek Line

Josephine Margaret Dolechek (great grandmother)
b. 1901, Barton County, Kansas
Ferdinand William Vetus Dolechek (2nd great grandfather)
b. 1873, Mt. Ayr, Iowa
Leopold Dolechek (3rd great grandfather)
b. 1837, Klášterec nad Ohří, Czechslovakia

My Dolechek family came over from Klášterec nad Ohří, Czechslovakia ( Klösterle), Bohemia in 1866 and settled in Ringgold County, Iowa. This group included my third great grandfather, Leopold, his wife and two children (they would have 6 more after moving to Ringgold and then three more after moving to Kansas), his two brothers Vetus and Peter, their families and their widowed mother, Frantiska, my fourth great grandmother who died in Ringgold in 1875. Her husband, my fourth great grandfather must have died then prior to their arrival into Iowa in 1866. I have not yet discovered his name. A trip to Klösterle will be required in order to find additional records so that I can continue down the line. Many immigrants from Bohemia settled in Ringgold, including some of the Pacha family, the Bohemian ancestors of my husband, Charlie. Other Bohemian families that settled in Ringgold include Toman, Krechky and Sedlicek just to mention a few.

The Krechky home in Ringgold was the largest log house in the neighborhood and served as a place for most of those early social gatherings. The first Bohemian church was also a log cabin and it remained for many years until the settlers built a new church on the edge of the cemetery on part of my third great uncle Peter Dolecheck's farm. Peter performed the lay minister services for the church for 25 years.
His obituary reads:
"In the year of 1866 Peter DOLECHECK Sr. and his brothers, Vet and Leopold and families and several related families of theirs, started on a long journey to America where they arrived the same year. At that time it took six weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. They all settled in Washington Township about nine miles northwest of Mt. Ayr. Peter DOLECHECK's Sr. made their permanent home in Washington Township and after their arrival in America. Peter DOLECHECK Sr. conducted the services in the Bohemian Church for about twnety-five years. The services in the beginning and for many years after, were held in a log cabin but later on when the settlers were better situated financially, they build a new church on the cemetery grounds. It was located on a part of the Peter DOLECHECK farm."

The Bohemian Cemetery in Ringgold Iowa where many of the Dolecheck and Pacha ancestors are buried:

Many immigrants who came to the new world changed their surnames. Some added or subtracted letters from their surnames while others shortened or lengthened the names.In Czech, Dolecek has hácek mark over the letter c that is pronounced like "CH" in the word church which is how it got its americanized spelling of Dolechek, with the extra "h" added.
Sometime after 1880 my third great grandfather, Leopold and his brother Vetus moved their families from Ringgold, Iowa to Barton County, Kansas where they both built farms and worked in agriculture.  
My second great grandfather, Ferdinand who was Leopold's third son married and moved to Kinsley, Kansas where he built a farm and raised his family including my great grandmother Josephine. Here is a photograph of Ferdinand and his wife Margaret and her sister Sophie:

and a photo of my great grandmother Josephine Dolechek on her wedding day to my great grandfather Adam Spahn:

I'm very keen on finding out more about the life of my Bohemian ancestors in Iowa and Kansas as well as what life was like in Klosterle.  I'm curious to see if any of my Bohemian ancestors were descended from either the Habsburg Monarchy or any of the other Bohemian Dynasties.  Although most of the Bohemian settlers that came to America were hard working farmers, you never know what you will find when you take a climb further up the family tree!


  1. https://www.ee.ucla.edu/lara-dolecek/

  2. https://www.ee.ucla.edu/lara-dolecek/

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I am so happy to find my Dolecek family roots! Do you happen to have any information about Leopold's wife Jossie (Josephine)? I believe her last name is Wejick.

  4. I believe Frantiska's husband was josef Dolecek 1790-1866. Look up my family tree on familysearch.org ID LBHT-HH2

  5. Thank you for posting this. Josephine was my aunt.