America as a melting pot does a good job of blurring our ethnic roots as families intermarry and change their cultural traditions. If you ask people today what land or nation their immigrant ancestors called home, many have no idea. Even distinctive ethnic surnames have sometimes been shortened or abandoned in the effort to blend in and be a real American. When I meet someone with a unique last name, I enjoy trying to guess the nationality of that surname. Unfortunately, many family monikers have been lost through intermarriage. My husband’s Floyd surname won’t be carry by any of his four daughters’ children as they have taken their father’s last name. You might ask what value are surnames?
Rick Bublik of St. George is proud of his ethnic heritage and shares: My paternal grandparents were from Cejkovy, Czechoslovakia. My grandfather Josef Bublik was the oldest of four children, all males. He was born in 1878 and my grandmother Magdalena Chodlova was born into a more affluent family in 1881. They fell in love and wanted to get married, but her parents forbid it. As Josef was the oldest son in his family, he would have been heir to his father’s blacksmithing business. Even though he had graduated from blacksmith school, the young couple decided to forgo his inheritance and leave home for America where they could be married.
They sailed to America from Bremen, Germany on the Brandenburg. Arriving in Baltimore in October 1908, they were married in December 1908. Josef went to work as a plumber. He filed for citizenship, which also applied to his wife Magdalena, in August 1919. He finally became a citizen in 1927. Magdalena never learned to speak English. They had four children while living in Cleveland, Ohio, three sons and one daughter. They lived in the same house their entire lives. Rick continues: I have learned from my grandparents that love and dedication to a family outweighs monetary gains and brings lasting happiness.Let’s hear about your immigrant ancestors. What motivated them to come to America? What customs or traditions did they value that you still practice or remember in your family? I’m looking for short excerpts from your family’s history, something that you would want to share with your family. Only you can honor your grandparent’s memory for their descendents, and how contributed something of value to your family. NEXT TIME: Culture Shock.