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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.


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