Home > Uncategorized > Swantner and Sic Families, A Czech Genealogy

Swantner and Sic Families, A Czech Genealogy

Source: Robert and Coleen Swantner, Swantner and Sic Families, A Czech Genealogy (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1987).

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Mary Magdalene (SIC) SWANTNER; (1877-1973) taken in Fremont, Nebraska, 1927; she was 50 years of age.

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The area that is now known as Czechoslovakia belonged to the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary at the time the SWANTNER and SIC families made their decision to emigrate to America.  Austria-Hungary existed from 1867 to 1918 and was never strong.  Czechoslovakia did not exist as a country until 1918 and enjoyed only one brief period as an independent republic between World Wars I and II.  In 1948 the Communist Party took control of the Czechoslovakian government and today remains in control.

Czechoslovakia is the land of two related Slavic peoples; the Czechs and the Slovaks.  The Czechs live in the western area called Bohemia and Moravia; the Slovaks live in the eastern part of the country.  The Czechs, unlike the Slovakians, have always been more like the western and northern Europeans.  The SWANTNER-SIC families were from Bohemia; therefore, they are Czechs.

The first Czech immigrants came to America in the middle of the seventeenth century and settled in New York with the Dutch.  William PACA, of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was of Czech lineage.  Emigration of Czechs to America was little more than a dribble until the middle of the nineteenth century when the Czechs left their homeland for America in greater numbers.  The insufferable dominance of the Hapsburgs and the Catholic Church proved to be the main reasons the Czechs left for a better life in America.  So it was with John SIC and George (Jiri) and Matthew SWANTNER.  John SIC emigrated in 1876 with the fixed intention of one day being able to farm his own land.  Jiri and Matthew left to avoid conscription into the Emperor’s army.  Though these two families left for different reasons, they shared a common desire: freedom of choice.

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