Thursday, May 31, 2012

Marrying Across Boundaries

While we were at Polka Fest, we sat at the same table with a very friendly older woman who had a Czech heritage.  I brought up the fact that I had an ancestor from both the Czech side and from the Slovak side of the border.  She said that there was a big difference between the two.  I had already read a little about why Czechoslovakia had broken apart, and how the Czechs were typically more educated while the Slovaks were typically more rural.  So I didn't press her for details, partly out of a defensiveness that she might put down my Slovak ancestors.  When we discussed it later as a family, I wondered if marrying across ethnic boundaries put a strain on my great great grandparents' marriage.  After 6 children, Joannes Turanek abandoned Helene in Slovakia, came to Chicago and married a second woman (who specified her birthplace as Germany).  That conversation seemed to engage my son, speculating on the influence of prejudices & stereotypes in this situation.  Score one point for the genealogist mom :)


  1. I think you should score at least two points! Great job helping your teen relate today's issue to his ancestors.