This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cousin Joe's book

("A History of the Market Town of Schamers, in Bohemia" by Joseph Binder)

Here's a delightful email from Su, recommending TWO books along the way ☺--

"Dear Marlys,
Cousin Joe himself
I've been leafing through what I will henceforth refer to as 'cousin Joe's Book'  (Heimatskunde Des Marktes Schamers in Böhmen, Herausgegeben von Josef Binder. Prag 1908 being something or a mouthful and Josef being Rob's first cousin 3x removed) and I think I can now see why it has been re-printed.  It is something of a tour-de-force and your adopting him as patron saint of Obsessed  Bohemian Genealogist is even more appropriate than perhaps you realised at the time.
  Most relevant (so far!) to us, and possibly you too, is the whole chapter he has written on the local Schamers dialect.  So, not only have we been struggling with the difficulty of doing research in a language-no, two languages we don't speak, there is the added complication that the German would be Austrian German and now I find it is a separate local dialect. Let's all give ourselves a self-congratulatory pat on the back for getting so far!   I know you don't really have family in Schamers except for the marriage of a distant cousin but it would be very surprising if this dialect was limited to just the parish of Schamers and your ancestral villages are close enough for it to be relevant. 

Cousin Joe has written what amounts to a paper on the subject of the dialect.  He is, I think, writing in Standard German, and what I have translated of the chapter so far suggests it to be a thoughtful and well-considered study.  The gem of it all (apart from a good index)  is vocabulary of local words.  I have already solved one mystery word problem and it looks so useful that I'm going to scan it and send you the images. The original volume, which was scanned for the publication, is held in Harvard Library.  My edition is a Nabu Public Domain Reprint ISBN 9 781271 609727. The public domain is 'the United States of America, and possibly other countries'.  There is a note in the front of the reprint  to say that "You may freely copy and distribute this work as no entity (individual or corporate) has copyright on the body of the work" so you can do what you like with it - how refreshing! There are 8 pages (p408-415 inclusive).  I think it's going to take me years to read the whole thing (464 pages long) but, by golly, I'm going to have a good try.

I don't suppose we shall be reading many medieval documents unless Heinz unearths a few more at the Abbey** but this website is a really useful, beautiful, and well thought-out guide to medieval handwriting".
 [**Heinz sent Su the above pics of a Binder document from 1356.  We haven't deciphered it yet, but the website should help immensely. Be sure to enlarge the pictures--M].

"Have you or Larry used this one? It gives you a guide on how to use the current Czech cadastral register website- what I'd call the Land Registry.  You can find the name of the current owner of any house you are interested in and very detailed maps as well.   I don't think it is complete yet.  I tried Schamers Nos 40 & 42 and found them OK but had no luck with Niederschlagles/Dolni Lhota because there are several Dolni Lhotas and the one in the correct district didn't appear.  The Czechs are amazingly free with their information.  To find the same sort of information here I'd have to fill out forms in triplicate, pay a fee and explain what I wanted the information for at the very least and it would be 'in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign outside the door saying "Beware of the Leopard."'* and that's after the Freedom of Information Act!
love Su

 *The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - possibly the funniest Sci-Fi book ever written in a genre not generally known for humour (or good writing for that matter)". 

BTW, I know the brown thing on the parchment document looks like a desiccated  mouse, but Heinz says it's not...☺

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