Friday, July 25, 2008

My Czech friend, Margie

Several years ago somebody suggested that if I needed advise on Czech research I should contact Margie Sobotka of Elkhorn, Nebraska.  At the time I was not researching Czech ancestry.  Little did I realize that a few years later I would discover my grandson has paternal Czech ancestry.   I contacted Margie.  We almost instantly became close friends.  In fact we have worked together on genealogy research projects.  

She was born to Czech parents in Omaha, Nebraska.  Growing up became interested in her heritage and culture.  In 1972, Margie was instrumental in forming the Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society.  She served as President for two years and since has been their treasurer, sending all of us friendly reminders of dues.  

What makes Margie so special is that she has an abundance of Czech history and genealogy not only stored in her mind, but in translations she has done, plus indexing.  Her first project was to index The History of Czechs in Nebraska by Rose Rosicky.  She has worked with the Nebraska State Historical Society on projects and presents programs and workshops about Czech genealogy.  One of her classic publications that helps researchers is Nebraska-Kansas Settlers, 1891-1895.  

Margie continues to work on her own Czech ancestry, writing her memoirs.  She recently finished indexing 6,000 names of people buried in the Bohemian Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska.  

It is no wonder that on June 29th she received the Czernin Palace Bronze Memorial Medal in a ceremony at Clarkson, Nebraska.  This award was initiated by a former ambassador of the Czech Republic.  It is given to an individual or entity that has made significant contributions in Czech-American relations.  The metal was awarded for the year 2007 and Margie was one of just five Czech-Americans to receive it.  She was surprised, but those of us who know Margie were not surprised at all.  She is a well-deserving person and genealogist.  

Margie was surrounded by her friends and family at the celebration in Clarkson.  Speakers included Gene Aksamit of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International.  Cindy Drake, library curator of the Nebraska State Historical Society, along with Clare Mares of the Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society spoke on behalf of Margie and her achievements.  

I know that my friend Margie will continue as long as she lives to help researchers, transcribe, index and publish about Czech ancestry.  I hope there are more awards for her in the future.  It's a honor to call you my friend, Margie.  

1 comment:

Kenneth L. Cernin said...

Hi Ruby
My name is Kenneth L. Cernin and have saved the article about Margie although I don't know her I am sure that it is an award that she well deserved. I too love genealogy but, I have hit that great brickwall on my own surname of course. Most of my ancestors (Cernin) are buried in the Bohemian National Cemetary in Heun, Nebraska which is north of Skylur and south of Clarkson. Keep up the excellent work.

Sincerely
Kenneth L Cernin