Ancestral Journeys

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Suddarth Research

Posted by dwsuddarth on 21 April 2022

When I first started researching my family history, I had one basic goal in mind – to trace the Suddarth side of the family back as far as I could. When I told close relatives what I was doing and asked for any information they knew, I was always met with the same answer. They would tell me what they knew about my grandfather and his family, but no one seemed to know anything further back than that. No names, no dates, not even any information regarding where anyone came from. Of course, there was the “Indian Princess” and other stories, but it all eventually came back to a version of “nobody has ever been able to trace the family back too far. You get to a certain point and the records just stop”.

I began, of course, with what I knew for sure – information about my grandfather, Homer Charles Suddarth. Over the years, I traveled to county courthouses, archives, libraries, and other places digging into the records which were available and gradually working my way back to my third great-grandfather, Lewis Suddarth, in Crawford County, Indiana. And then, like everyone said, the records stopped. Except they didn’t. It’s true that there are not a lot of records for Lewis, but there are records for other Suddarths. And there are a lot of other Suddarths. What I grew up believing was a very unusual, uncommon name is actually very common in certain parts of the country.

Using records of other Suddarths in the area, I was able to trace Lewis back to Casey County, KY. Not only that, but I was able to identify other members of Lewis’s family – three brothers and a sister. Additionally, I was able to identify an extremely strong candidate for Lewis’s mother (See

So, I will pick up my research there – with Lewis, his siblings, and mother. Through DNA testing, I discovered that Lewis’s father was most likely not a Suddarth at all. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I need to gather everything I know about Lewis and his immediate family members, some for whom I have been able to find a great deal, others with which I have not been so lucky. I need to reconstruct their lives and learn as much as I can about them again. Pull every shred of evidence from the records that do exist.

I am looking forward to the journey again.


Posted in Indiana, Kentucky, Suddarth | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Fresh Start

Posted by dwsuddarth on 5 April 2022

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Has it really been five years since I posted to this blog? Where does the time go?

I am going to attempt a fresh start with my research and, therefore, thought it a good time to try a fresh start to the blog. Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes and for the past few years, research has taken a back seat. Since I last posted, I have dealt with deaths in the family, a fire and the resultant sale and purchase of a new home, along with the craziness that moving brings on, as well as other events that have both startled and shocked me. Yes, sometimes life gets in the way of our plans.

I am hoping to pick up my research where I left off – tracing the Cerny line in Bohemia and finding out more about Vojtech Cerny’s life in Chicago, and continuing to trace the Suddarth line back through Kentucky and Virginia.

Unfortunately in the move, a lot of my research seems to have been lost. I am sure it is somewhere stuffed in a box (or boxes), but as of yet I have been unable to locate it. Somehow, most of the information I had stored on the computer is also missing, as is the backup copy I had of everything. So that means I will be recreating a lot of what I have already done. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not great either. I will continue searching for this, as I am sure it is probably stuffed in a storage locker somewhere.

Looking forward to getting a fresh start and hopefully bringing some ‘normalcy’ back to life.

Posted in Genealogy | Leave a Comment »

The Marriage of Vojtech Cerny and Katerina Padrta

Posted by dwsuddarth on 20 March 2017

In my list of to-do’s, the first item is finding the marriage of Vojtech Cerny and Katerina Padrta. Since I was able to find them in the 1870 census in Chicago, I figured they must have been married prior to June 1, 1870 (the census date). I had searched the parish books in Chicago for the years 1868 – 1870, but had not been able to find the marriage. Finding the marriage record is important, because if they were married in Bohemia, that would provide me with a beginning date to use when searching for immigration records.

Knowing that the marriage must have been before June 1 of 1870, I turned to the parish registries in the Czech Archives once again. I decided that I would begin by looking at 1870, then work backwards to 1869, and then 1868. It did not take long to find the record, which is shown below (I have broken it into 2 halves for easier reading):

Vojtech Katerina Marriage - Bohemia Part 1

Vojtech Katerina Marriage - Bohemia Part 2

The first column gives the date, which is 1 June 1869. The second column denotes the residences of the groom and the bride. Next is listed the Priest, and then information about the groom and the bride.

Translating the information, I was able to come up with the following:

Cerny Vojtech emigrant to America legitimate son of Vita Cerny farmer from Kojakovice no. 18 and Anny nee Kojan, farmer’s daughter from Kojakavice no. 23.

Katerina Padrta legitimate daughter of Ganor Padrta farmer from Mladosovice no. 29 and Anny nee Prdak (unsure of this name) farmer’s daughter from Suchdola no. 39.

This may not be an exact translation, but is close enough to give me a lot of valuable information.

Looking at the second half of the record, there are hash marks indicating that each was Catholic and single. In addition, the birth dates and ages of each are given. For Vojtech, 19 years of age, born 13 April 1850, and for Katerina, 23 years of age, born 15 November 1845. Next is information regarding the witnesses (names, occupation, and residence).

The final column is for any additional notes regarding the marriage. I have been unable to translate this column, but believe it gives information regarding Vojtech’s emigration and date of papers. If correct, he received authorization to emigrate to America in April 1869. He and Katerina then married 1 June 1869, and would have come to the US between 2 June 1869 and 1 June 1870 (the date of the census in which they were enumerated in Chicago). In addition, this column gives me a bonus – the signatures of both Vojtech and Katerina’s fathers giving approval for the marriage.

With this record, I have been able to extend the line back for both Vojtech and Katerina, now having the names (including maiden names) of each one’s parents. In addition, I have a birth date for Katerina, so I can now search for her baptism record. I have already located Vojtech’s baptism, but this records helps confirm the date of his birth. I have names of others close to them (the witnesses), which may provide additional information. And I have a date range in which to begin a search for Vojtech and Katerina’s immigration to the US.

All in all, a very nice record to find.


Posted in Bohemia, Cerny, Padrta | Leave a Comment »

Taking Stock – What I Know and Where to go from Here

Posted by dwsuddarth on 14 October 2016

Periodically, I find it very helpful to stop and take a deep breath and consider what information I have found in my research on a particular subject. I find that this review can help focus my future research so that I know what it is I need to concentrate on and what type of records I should be looking for. Too many times in our research, we get going down a path and accumulate records without really stopping to consider what they are telling us or where they are leading us.

With that said, here is what I have found regarding Vojtech Cerny:

  • Vojtech Cerny was enumerated on the 1880 Chicago census living at 75 Meagher Street. The household includes the following:
    • Albert (Vojtech) Cerny – age 30 (so born about 1850), works in grain house, cannot read or write, born in Bohemia, parents born in Bohemia
    • Kate (Katerina) – wife, age 32 (so born about 1848), keeps house, cannot read or write, born in Bohemia, parents born in Bohemia
    • Mary – daughter, age 8 (so born about 1872), at school, born in Illinois
    • Annie – daughter, age 7 (so born about 1873), at school, born in Illinois
    • Kate – daughter, age 6 (so born about 1874), at school, born in Illinois
    • Louisa – daughter, age 7/12, born Nov. (1879), Illinois
  • Vojtech Cerny was enumerated on the 1870 Chicago census in the household of Thomas Jarnica (Tomas Cerny). The household includes the following:
    • Albert (Vojtech) Jarnica (Cerny) – age 20 (so born about 1850), works in elevator, no real or personal estate, born in Bohemia
    • Catherine (Katerina) – age 24 (so born about 1846), keeps house, born in Bohemia
  • Joseph and Matilda Padrta enumerated in the 1880 Chicago census at 75 Meagher Street (same address as Vojtech and Katerina). Katerina’s maiden name is Padrta (found in baptism records of children). Joseph and Matilda are buried in the same lot as Vojtech and Katerina at St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Niles, Illinois. Joseph is most likely Katerina’s brother.
  • Vojtech and Katerina were Catholic. The baptisms of all their children are found at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Chicago. Mother’s (Katerina) maiden name given as Padrta in baptism records. Sponsors are Tomas and Katerina Cerny.
  • City directory listings for Vojtech have been found tracing his location from 75 Meagher Street to 250 Maxwell Street.
  • Chicago voter registration records:
    • 1888: Term of residence in county – 20 years, state – 20 years. Naturalized, date of papers 1870, County Court of Cook County.
    • 1890: Address listed as 250 Maxwell, noted as Albert Cerny. Term of residence in county – 20 years, state – 20 years. Naturalized, date of papers 1870, County Court of Cook County.
  • Vojtech Cerny death certificate (Dept. of Health, City of Chicago):
    • Name: Albert Cerny
    • Born in: Bohemin
    • Age: 46 yrs., 4 months
    • Lived in Illinois 46 years (this is not correct)
    • Died: 4 August 1896
    • Married
    • Occupation: Labor
    • Place of Death: 250 W. 13th Place (Maxwell)
    • Undertaker: Jos. Schultz, 151 DeKoven St.
  • Vojtech Cerny obituary:
    • Published in Denni Hlasatel, 6 August 1896
    • Died 46 years, 4 months
    • Born Kojakovice, Trebon District, Bohemia
    • Funeral Friday, 7 August 1896 from 250 Maxwell
    • Burial in Czech-Polish Cemetery (St. Adalbert’s)
    • Katerina Cerny – wife
    • Daughters: Marie Hubalek, Katerina, Aloisie, Julie, Otillie, Klara
    • Son: Vojtech
    • Sons-in-Law: Jan Hubalek, Vojtech Steker
  • Vojetech Cerny baptism:
    • Parish registries, Kojakovice, Trebon District
    • Date of birth: 13 April 1850, Kojakovice, house 37
    • Date of baptism: 13 April 1850
    • Catholic, male, legitimate
    • Father: Vit Cerny, farmer, Kojakovice, house 37; legitimate son of Vavrince Cerny, farmer, Kojakovice, house 37 and Markety nee Koranda, daughter of farmer of Petrovice, house 15
    • Mother: Anna, legitimate daughter of Vojtech Kojan (deceased), farmer, Kojakovice, house 25 and Alzbety nee Ctortnik (hard to read), daughter of farmer, Kojakovice, house 24

Whew! That’s a lot of information! So where do we go from here? Looking at what I have, I have six to do’s (I could go on chasing lots of records, but these six items are what I really should concentrate on next):

  1. I have information about Vojtech’s birth and death, but not his marriage. He and Katerina were presumably married prior to June 1870 (date of the 1870 census), but not sure if in Chicago or in Bohemia. Have already searched parish books in Chicago for years 1868 – 1870 with no luck, so need to look through parish registries in Bohemia.
  2. Locate Katerina’s birth in the parish registries. I have her approximate date of birth and her maiden name.
  3. Locate immigration record for Votech (naturalization record would have been lost in the Chicago fire of 1871). Immigration date would be prior to June 1870. However, do not know the port of immigration. Most people came through New York (Castle Garden) at that time, but there were many other ports.
  4. Assemble timeline for Vojtech. Timelines can be very useful tools in laying out an ancestor’s life. They can help organize missing pieces and direct further research.
  5. Have found baptisms of Vojtech and Katerina’s children. Would like to find baptism records of Vojtech’s possible siblings in Bohemia.
  6. Begin putting together a family group sheet for Vit Cerny, Vojtech’s father.

Some of these can be done concurrent with each other, while others should be done before other items. For example, I can put together a timeline while I am searching for the marriage. However, I really need to find the marriage before looking for immigration records as the marriage date can help narrow down a possible date of immigration.

I have a lot of work to do yet, but the hunt will be fun. If you can come up with anything else you feel I should add to the list, let me know!

Posted in Bohemia, Census, Cerny, Chicago, City Directories, Genealogy, Methodology, Padrta | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vojtech Cerny’s Birth – Follow Up

Posted by dwsuddarth on 10 October 2016

In my last post, I related how I found the record of Vojtech Cerny’s birth and translated what I could, except for the last couple of columns. In this post, I am translating those columns. The last few columns of the record are the columns for the Godparents and the Midwife. Below is the record with the column headings and a zoom in of the last few columns (Vojtech is the 3rd one).

Vojtech Cerny Baptism

Vojtech Cerny Baptism Zoom

The first column (Kmotrove) is the Godparents. The name and status of the Godparents is given and roughly translates as follows:

Tomas ? (I cannot make out the last name)       vyminkar of Mladosivic       Terezie his wife       Signed by (the name of the Priest – I am unable to read this name).

Vyminkar has no direct translation in English. Vymenek is an exchange of a farm for a pension. So a vyminkar is the farmer who would have conveyed title of his farm to a new owner in exchange for a legally binding promise to take care of the farmer. Usually, the farmer would continue to live on a portion of the property.

The next column over is information regarding the midwife. The column heading is ‘Baba’ (looks like ‘Laba’) written in the old German script (that’s another post entirely!). Below that is ‘jeli s koumana’. Again, there is really no direct translation in English. The midwife was usually a woman with knowledge about birth who was tested or approved by the Priest. In this case, the midwife was the same as the one in the row before. The information translates as:

Tereszie       Waschkovsky       vyminkarka (same as vyminkar, but a woman)       of Kojakovic       no. 37 neskoumana

The last column is remarks, of which there are none.

Translating these columns was a bit more difficult than some of the others, due to the words which really have no direct translation. Now, I need to work on those names, as they could prove important and help in further research.



Posted in Bohemia, Cerny | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Tracking Down Vojtech’s Birth

Posted by dwsuddarth on 3 October 2016

Been a while since I put anything on here! Been busy this Summer tracking down information regarding Vojtech Cerny. In my last post about Vojtech, Obituary of Vojtech Cerny, I related how I was able to obtain Vojtech’s obituary in the Denni Hlasatel, a Czech newspaper in Chicago. In the obituary, it mentioned that Vojtech was born in Kojakovice, Trebon District in Bohemia. Knowing that, plus Vojtech’s date of death and age at death from his death certificate, I was able to calculate his approximate birth date as April 1850, and so off to the Czech Archives website I went.

I immediately went to the Roman Catholic Parish registers for the parish in which Kojakovice was located and after a bit of searching, was able to find his baptism record (I have broken it into two halves below):

Vojtech Cerny Baptism

Vojtech Cerny baptism 2

Now, of course, the only problem was to figure out what all that writing said!

After a bit of work, I was able to (roughly) translate the record. The first two columns give the birth and baptism dates, in this case, 13 April 1850. It was common to have a baby baptized as soon as possible after the birth, as infant mortality was high and you did not want the child to die without being baptized. So, the father and sponsors would take the child from the mother shortly after birth and go to the church to have the child baptized.

The next column over is the name of the priest performing the baptism. Then we have the child’s name, Vojtech Cerny. The next column is ‘K’ for Catholic. The two ‘m’s are, respectively, the sex of the child (male) and the abbreviation for manzelske (legitimate).

Next is information about the father. This translates roughly as follows (I have inserted the meaning of abbreviations in parentheses):

Vit Cerny farmer of Kojakovice c. (house) 37. m. (legitimate) son of + (symbol for deceased – the person whose name follows is deceased) Vavrince Cerny farmer of Kojakovice c. (house) 37. and Markety nee Koranda v (in) (I am unsure of this next word) farmer daughter of Petrovice c. (house). 15.

Following that is information about the mother:

Anna, m. (legitimate) daughter of + (deceased) Vojtecha Kojan v. (in) Janecek farmer of Kojakavice c. (house) 23. and Alzbety nee Ctortnik (unsure of this name) farmer daughter of Kojakovice c. (house) 24 p. T. (I believe this means District or Domain Trebon).

The next column gives the town and house number of the birth, in this case, Kojakovice house number 37 in Trebon.

The final column is the information about the sponsors. I have not deciphered the writing on this yet to figure out the names and other information.

As you can see, there is a lot of genealogical information just in this one record! This one record has given me information not just one, but two generations further back! We have Vojtech’s parents names (Vit Cerny and Anna Kojan), as well as the grandparents’ names (Vavrince Cerny & Markety Koranda and Vojtecha Kojan & Alzbety Ctortnik). I am sure that I have misread some of these names, but with a little more work, should be able to get them.

With all this information available in these records, I will continue to search through the parish registries and work on translating the information. If anyone has any corrections to anything I have translated, please let me know!

Posted in Bohemia, Cerny | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Julia Cerny

Posted by dwsuddarth on 10 July 2016

Joseph E. Murray Julia Cerny Photo

A photo of my great grandparents, Joseph Edward Murray and Julia Anna (Cerny) Murray. Julia was the daughter of Vojtech Cerny and Katerina (Padrta) Cerny. Julia was Vojtech and Katerina’s eighth child, born 15 February 1883 in Chicago. She married Joseph Edward Murray 15 June 1904. She and Joseph had two children, including my grandfather, Edward Albert Murray. Julia died in December of 1963 and is buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Posted in Cerny, Chicago, Murray, Padrta, Photos | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Obituary of Vojtech Cerny

Posted by dwsuddarth on 24 June 2016

I managed to track down the obituary for Vojtech Cerny the other day. Vojtech died 4-August-1896 and the obituary was published two days later on 6-August-1896 in the Denni Hlasatel, a Czech language newspaper in Chicago. I tried to translate the obituary into English the best I could. If anyone knows Czech and has any corrections, please comment below! While it may not be an exact translation, I was able to pull out a lot of good genealogical information.

Vojtech Cerny Obituary - Denni Hlasatel

Death Notice

In deep grief from the sad news we announce to all our friends, that died in the Lord our beloved husband and father


 on Tuesday at 12:10 in the morning at the age of 46 years 4 months. He was born in Kojákovice, Trebon District in Bohemia. Deceased’s funeral will be on Friday, the 7th, at 9:00 in the morning, from the house of mourning, 250 Maxwell Street, to the Czech- Polish Catholic cemetery. Quiet condolences for Katerina Cerny, grieving wife, Marie Hubalek, Katerina, Aloisie, Julie, Otilie, Klara, daughters. Vojtech, son. Jan Hubalek and Vojtech Steker, sons-in-law. Those who would like to participate in the funeral, kindly check in at the house of mourning, not later than 6:00 this evening.


Posted in Cerny, Chicago | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vojtech Cerny – A Breakthrough?

Posted by dwsuddarth on 9 June 2016

I have to admit upfront that I wasn’t sure I should write this post. I am not sure of the conclusion here, but the evidence sure does seem like a major breakthrough in my research on Vojtech Cerny.

To recap, Vojtech Cerny is my mother’s father’s mother’s father (my gg-grandfather).  Vojtech was born about 1850 in Bohemia and came to the US sometime before 1870. I would really like to find where he came from in Bohemia, as well as his parent’s names, so that I can continue to trace the line back and discover more about this part of my ancestry.

I finally found him and his wife, Katerina, in the 1870 census in Chicago, living in the same residence as his presumed brother, Thomas Cerny (Using Thomas to Find Vojtech). I have nothing to confirm that Thomas and Vojtech are brothers, but there is definitely a relationship between the two, as Thomas and his wife witnessed the baptisms of all of Vojtech and Katerina’s children. I have not been able to find much more regarding Vojtech and Katerina, as the Chicago fire in October of 1871 destroyed a lot of the records I would be able to use to track him. Vojtech died in 1896, and the death certificate does not give much information regarding his origins. It does not list parents names and only lists ‘Bohemia’ for place of birth.

So, I have been concentrating on researching those who I know had some relation to Vojtech and his wife, including Thomas.

I have been able to trace Thomas forward in the census records until 1920, where he is found as the head of household, living at 2911 Wallace Street in the City of Chicago. I was unable to find him in the 1930 census, so I did a quick search of Chicago deaths. I found a Thomas Cerny who died 29 July 1925. Taking a chance, I ordered the death certificate from the Cook County, IL Clerk’s Office. When I received the record (which is immediately – you download it), I was certain that this was, in fact, my Thomas.

Thomas Cerny’s age at death is listed as 86, 4 years older than in 1920. Thomas’s wife on the death certificate is listed as Katie Cerny, so that matched as well. In addition, Thomas’s residence is 2915 S. Wallace. Although not matching the 1920 census record exactly, 2915 is enumerated on the census right next to 2911. It is very likely that the address on the death certificate is incorrect, and it should really be listed as 2911.

The best part, though, was down a little way. In the space for birthplace, it says ‘Trebon, Czechoslovakia’. In the space for the father’s name is listed ‘Vita Cerny’ and in the mother’s name is listed ‘Anna Janek’, both from Trebon.

If this is, in fact my Thomas (and I want to do a little more digging to really confirm that), then I may have found where Vojtech was born and his parents. I still have a lot of research to do to confirm the relationships and the fact that this is my Thomas. However, I am feeling quite certain that it is, and that this is a major breakthrough.

Posted in Cerny, Chicago | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Josef Padrta

Posted by dwsuddarth on 19 December 2015

In my continuing search for information regarding Vojtech and Katerina Cerny, I find that I am being pulled off into research about those with whom they had some kind of connection. This is a good thing, as researching friends, associates, and neighbors  (known as the FAN club) can often provide information regarding the main subject of research, in this case Vojtech Cerny.

In 1880, Vojtech and Katerina are enumerated in the Cook County, IL census living at 75 Meagher St. in Chicago. Also residing at 75 Meager is Joseph and Matilda Parda. It seems a pretty good bet that Joseph and Katerina (whose maiden name is Padrta) are related somehow, most likely siblings, as Katerina is 32 years of age and Joseph is 27. In addition, Joseph Padrta is buried in the same burial plot as Vojtech and Katerina at St. Adalbert Cemetery in Niles, IL.

Researching Joseph has been interesting. Born about 1853-1854 in Bohemia, he died in Chicago in 1889 at the age of 35. So far, I have located him in the 1882 and 1888 Chicago city directories, and located his widow Matilda in 1890 and 1896. In addition, I have found Matilda in the 1900 census, residing at 204 Maxwell St. in Chicago. In 1882, Joseph is living at 75 Meagher, but by 1888 he has moved to 204 Maxwell. According to the 1888 city of Chicago voter registration lists, he had resided in the precinct for 6 years, so most likely moved from 75 Meager to 204 Maxwell sometime in 1882.

Other information taken from the voter lists indicate that he was naturalized in the County Court of Cook County 13 October 1884. Looking for naturalization records, I was able to find the index card for his naturalization, which states that he immigrated to the US as a minor and had resided in the US for 14 years when naturalized. Unfortunately, Cook County naturalization records before 1904 do not provide information regarding place of birth, ports of departure or arrival, or any other information not recorded on the index card.

I have also been able to find the baptism records of the two children enumerated in 1880. Katherina Tilly Padrta was born 30 April 1878 and baptized on the 13th of May. Josef Bartolomey was born 23 August 1879 and baptized on the 31st of August. The sponsors for both children are Vojtech and Katerina Cerny, providing additional evidence for a brother – sister relationship between Jospeh and Katerina.

Continuing to search through the parish records, I was able to locate the marriage of Joseph and Matilda. They were married 3 June 1877 at St. Wenceslaus Church on DeKoven Street in Chicago. In both the baptism records and the marriage record, Matilda’s maiden name is listed as Autt.

I have a lot more research to do in regard to Joseph (and a lot more records to find!), but I am beginning to be able to fill in his story and hopefully be able to fill in the story of Vojtech and Katerina a little bit more as well.

Posted in Cerny, Chicago, Genealogy, Padrta | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »