A small village from which at least 147 individuals have left their homeland and migrated to the USA.
Smolec, Czechia, well, that is what the village was called before 1950. Today it is Pisecka Smolec, and in 2011, it had a population of 94 inhabitants and 154 buildings. It is nearly adjacent to Slabcice, which in 2005 had a population of 305.
Smolec was not always such a small village. Located within the region of Pisek, the 1890 census for Smolec listed 428 inhabitants, 1900 listed 380, 1910 listed 350, and 1921 listed 424.[i] Each of those census years also listed the names of the families living in Smolec for that specific census.
Czech census records can be accessed through the Czech archive regions. The Czech Family Tree website (http://www.czechfamilytree.com/regarchives.htm) and Family Search website (https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Czech_Republic_Censuses_FamilySearch_Historical_Records) have the information you need to do this.[ii]
Pisecka Smolec, should not be confused with Brezi Smolec and Bechnyne Smolec, two other villages located close by. For this summary, Smolec will be the name used for Smolec before 1950 and Pisecka Smolec after 1950.
Smolec does not seem to be mentioned in the English version of Wikipedia, but it is given a few lines in the Czech Version. [iii] One nice feature of this Czech Wikipedia site, is that it provides a direct link to the cadastral map of Smolec. On the cadastral map, Smolletsch was once a spelling used for Smolec.[iv] According to the same article, the village was mentioned as early as 1379.
If you visit the cadastral map site online for Smolec, you will be able to see many of the surnames of families listed in this document.
The Czech Archives have records online for Smolec extending back to the year 1724.[v]
Smolec can be found within the Southern Bohemia Region, Trebon, Ceske Budejovice, Chrastany:
What I find interesting is that for such a small village, with a relatively steady small population in the several hundred range, holding steady over the course of years, 147 known Smolec born Czechs left their little village to settle someplace in the USA, with one eventually ending up in Canada.
Several years ago I ran across the records of Anton Kolar of Smolec, who married Marie Zavesky of Smolec.
Working with Kevin Kolar, a grandson, we pieced together more of their story. This picture was used with Kevin’s permission for this article.
Anton, was the son of Joseph Kolar residing at Smolec #17 and Terese Tupa of Smolec #10. Anton Married Marie Zavesky, the daughter of Jan Zavesky and Anna Kase, of Smolec #20 on 2/22/1876 in Smolec.[vi] While still living in Smolec, a daughter, Maria Kolar was born on 4-5-1878.
Six siblings of Anton have been discovered, but there is no verified record that any of them left Smolec for the United States.
Two siblings of Marie Zavesky Kolar would also travel to the United States. Brother Joseph Zavesky married Kristina Hajicek. Joseph and Kristina, along with Kristina’s parents and siblings would arrive on 9/22/1874. Joseph Zavesky and Kristina Hajicek Zavesky would settle in the Lemont, Illinois area.
Brother John Zavesky married Marie Andel in Bohemia. They arrived in the USA from Port Bremen to Port NYC on 10/13/1890 aboard the ship Taormina. John Zavesky and Marie Andel Zavesky would live in Chicago.
It was possible using Google maps to actually locate and view Smolec #17. When you are viewing the buildings, you can at times click gently on the building and discover its address. It took a while, but Smolec #17 was located.
Of the 147 known individuals, born in Smolec, to reach our shores 16 were Kolars.
Anton Kolar and his wife, Marie Zavesky Kolar, are just 2 of 35 surnames of individuals born in Smolec, who would immigrate to the United States (and one individual in Canada). Others found so far are:
Benedikt – Bican - Boucel (Bouncel) – Boucek - Brazda - Dobias - Drasal – Dusek - Jaros - Kalina – Kase - Klonz - Kobliska (Koblista) – Kofron (Kofran) - Kostohryz (Kostohris / Kostochris) – Kozak – Kroupa – Kubik - Kucera – Kunt - Kuntz - Malafa – Malek – Matejka - Pechous – Rod - Rozhon - Ryba – Svoboda – Triska - Tupa – Vachuta – Vesely - Zavesky – Zoulek
Smolec #17 and Smolec #12 are just 2 of 40 Smolec addresses for individuals born in Smolec, who would immigrate to the United States (and one individual in Canada.
Others found so far:
Smolec Homes: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 38, 37, 39, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 50, and 55.
So far ten states (and one Smolec individual ending up in Canada) have been discovered as states in which migrants from Smolec would eventually settle.
Settlement States: Illinois – Indiana – Iowa - Michigan – Nebraska - North Dakota – Ohio – South Dakota – Texas - Wisconsin and Canada
The Kolar, parents Anton Kolar, Marie Zavesky Kolar and daughter Maria Kolar arrived in the USA from Port Bremen to Port NYC on 10-29-1880 aboard the ship Braunschweig.
Parents Anton and Marie are buried in Saint Adalbert’s Catholic Cemetery, located in Niles Illinois. In May of 2016, I went to the cemetery and was fortunate enough to find their grave site. A little digging and cleaning was all that was needed.[viii]
While not finding additional information on daughter Maria, Anton and Marie would have three children born in the United States.
Son, Frank Joseph Kolar (Find A Grave #106458756) would marry Josephine Jaros, (Find A Grave #106458725) born at Smolec #28, in Cook County, Illinois.
Daughter, Anna Kolar (Find A Grave #157739289) married Vincent Baburek in Cook County, Illinois.
Son, Robert J. “Bohumil” Kolar (Find a Grave #157739055) married Emily Vasek in Cook County, Illinois.
If you are interested in this Kolar family, you will discover that Kevin Kolar has posted a number of family images at each Find A Grave site listed above.
Note: A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with online record site access and other information for all of those 147 found who left Smolec and arrived in the United States, along with other family members, can be downloaded here.
[iii] https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Písecká_Smoleč
[vii] Google Maps
[viii] Image taken by author of this article.