Society helps Neb. man trace Czech past

LINCOLN, Neb. —Louis Meyer, 91, always wanted to know exactly where his grandfather came from.

He knew this much: His grandfather was born in 1853 in northwest Bohemia near a town called Karlovy Vary in the present-day Czech Republic.

At 16, Meyer came to America.

He has been looking for answers for years, but after he wrote a letter to the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International seeking assistance, he found out a lot more.

Volunteers at the society scoured through books, libraries, maps and the Internet searching for Meyer's grandfather's hometown.

Why all the hassle?

"It (the village) is where the past really starts," Meyer said. "It's the only way you can trace your generations back and find out the different influences on your forbears."

He found the answer he was looking for: Schuttiber — a village of 61 houses and 631 inhabitants, including 27 Jews.

One of those 27 Jews is presumably his grandfather, Louie Meyer.

"We think this story is a great example of how it is never too late to be interested in learning about your own genealogy and how a combination of knowledge and teamwork helped CGSI to help member Mr. Louis Meyer of Lincoln, Nebraska, to identify his family's village of origin," society volunteer Tony Kadlec said in an e-mail.

By day, Kadlec is president of an engineering/technology company in St. Paul, Minn., and is married with two kids.

At night, however, he volunteers as corresponding secretary for CGSI, responding to all calls that come in. He also helps with genealogy research requests.

Kadlec works with all available sources of information and a team of volunteers to satisfy each request.

While the CGSI and Meyer have yet to confirm that Schuttiber is indeed his grandfather's home village, they are pretty confident that their theory is correct.

"The final step is to provide Mr. Meyer with information to connect his family to ancestors in these villages," Kadlec said. "It would be the final set of conclusive proof to explicitly connect him to his village and possible still-living relatives in the area."