Library

The cornerstone of Bohemian National Hall was laid in 1896 as a community hall to accommodate the cultural, social and educational needs of the Czech community that had emigrated and settled in the Cleveland area.  The desire for such a hall was important to these immigrants who wanted to establish a place of their own where their children and grandchildren could be brought up to cherish their heritage as well as become good citizens of their newly adopted country.  

For over a century, records and artifacts have collected reflecting the traditions and history of the Czech, Bohemian, Moravian, and Slovak cultures. And today as then, Bohemian National Hall opens its doors to share this heritage. Recently a committee has been formed to organize, document, preserve, exhibit, and generally share these collections to provide an opportunity for learning and discovery. Various programs and presentations are sponsored by the Library as well.

Library resources include

  • Books, including children’s books
  • Czech films
  • Genealogy & Genealogical Societies
  • Newsletters & Publications
  • Traditional Czech Folk Music
  • Records & Tapes
  • Sheet Music
  • Traditions, Myths & Legends
  • Sokol Archives

The library is open during Sunday Dinners and special events, or by appointment. Anyone interested in assisting in the library, being a committee member, or just browsing. Contact us at 440-526-6806 or mail@sokolgreatercleveland.org.

Oral History Project

The objective of this project is to preserve, for the benefit of future generations, historical testimonies offered by members and friends of Cleveland’s Czech-American community.

Of particular interest are testimonies involving:

  • The Sokol movement in Cleveland
  • recollection of growing up in the various Czech neighborhoods
  • Czech-American organizational life
  • the immigrant experience (challenges faced by newly-arrived Czechs, etc)
  • the European experience (the life that was left behind, WWII, etc)
Nomination form – print and fill out to nominate someone for the project
Information handout

For more information, contact Ted Krejsa at 216-233-4634, or ted_krejsa@hotmail.com.

Genealogy Information

For quite some time it was very difficult to research Czech ancestors in the homeland without a certified genealogist. As the internet spreads worldwide, more and more sites are opening thanks to the efforts of volunteer organizations who scan the documents to make them available. You can now, at least, begin some of your own research online.

Where did my ancestors live?

www.czechfamilytree.com/regarchives

A large and impressive network of archives is supported by the Czech government, and this website will help you become familiar with seven regional archives, which are the repositories for most pre-1900 parish books. These are the archives of primary importance to Czech genealogical researchers. In addition, seventy-two district archives, five city archives, and a plethora of specialized archives contain information about our ancestors in what is now the Czech Republic.

Towns and Communities

http://mesta.obce.cz

This website provides a list of the Czech municipalities fostering online information exchange between local governments and citizens of the CZ. The intro page is in English, but other pages will need a translator, i.e. Google or Microsoft. You will want to go to the Home page by clicking on the Mesta.obce logo. This page brings up lists for counties, cities and towns of the region which are searchable. There are homepages for each local government giving contact information, history, statistics, tourist information, photos and useful links.

Slovak Institute at St Andrews Abbey

http://www.slovakinstitute.com/

Located right here in Cleveland and dedicated in 1952 to be a source for knowledge about Slovakia with material in the Slovak language. The Institute’s Surname Location Reference Project is a database of immigrant surnames, their location from Slovakia and relatives in North America. The aim is for individuals doing genealogical work on a particular surname or location in Slovakia can be put in touch with others working on the same su names or locations. The site also offers a 5-generation family tree form to record findings.