52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 4: My Grandma Helen's Grandmother: Anna Melichar Hroch

Anna Melichar (my 2x great grandmother) was born in March 1865 in Bohemia.

Charles Bridge in Prague

At age 14, she left Bohemia with her parents Thomas (47) and Josefa (44) and 3 sisters Maria (21), Franziska (12), and Valentina (4) and a brother Alois (8) and traveled to Bremen, Germany where she boarded the ship named The Rhein.

Vltava River in Prague

   Don’t know how long the voyage lasted, but the ship had 2 masts, so I imagine it took many weeks.  They arrived in New York, New York on 7 Apr 1879.

click image to enlarge

They went to Gage County, Nebraska (south of Lincoln).  Three years later at age 17, she married James Hroch in 1882.

Her in-laws, the Hrochs, (John and Bertha and their 3 sons James, John and Joseph) had also emigrated from Bohemia (ca 1868).  They went to Iowa first where they had three children and then on to Gage County where their seventh child was born.

Anna and James moved to the Lake George, Charles Mix, Dakota Territory (southern part of SD, near the Missouri River) to farm. They had seven children:  Frank (1883), Mary (1885), John (1887), Joseph (1891), Emma (1893), Eliza (1898) and Henry (1900).

By 1910, they have moved back to Gage County with their two youngest children, and James is doing odd jobs.

1930 finds Anna and James in Wharton TX (60 miles SW of Houston) and James is a merchant dealing in general merchandise.

1940 finds Anna living with one of her sons and his family in Wharton. Perhaps James has died by this time.

Anna dies on May 1, 1941 in Wharton and is buried there.

click image to enlarge

During this research I found many different spellings for Hroch:
1880 1885 1895 1900 1910 Hroch
1885 Wroach
1910 Hisch
1930 Roch
1941 Horoch

I was curious about Bohemia, and so here are a few quick facts:

  • Bohemia is the area around Praha (Prague) in the Czech Republic.  
  • The Czech Republic is about the size of South Carolina. 
  • Prague has a population of about 1.1 million people.  
  • They speak Czech which currently has about 12 million native speakers, and is the majority language in the Czech Republic.  The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century.  
  • The Czech were recognized as Austrian citizens on immigration records.
  • It is generally believed that more then 350,000 citizens of Czech origin streamed to the U.S. between 1850 and 1914.
  • “The fare ranged from 80 to 100 guldens per person and was paid in silver, as the Austrian money was not accepted abroad. The voyage  lasted  up to 3 months by sailboat.“
  • Reasons for immigration: at the “end of the 1870s, most emigrants were peasants who despaired of acquiring land along with the social position it conferred, and who generally aspired to earn a living by farming in their new homeland.”
  • “Interest in America grew especially from the 1860s, when the Homestead Act and the immigration treaty between the United States and Austria-Hungary opened the door to mass emigration.”

1880, 1900, 1910, 1930, 1940, United States Federal Census
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Passenger Ships and Images
South Dakota, State Census, 1895
South Dakota, Territorial Census, 1885
Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982
Nebraska State Census, 1885


  1. It's amazing how these people three and four generations ago were willing to permanently move to an unknown foreign land, that land being America, and take the leap of faith that a better life could be won in a new world.

  2. Hi - Please contact me, I am trying to find what village Anna's family came from in Bohemia. mikerejsa 'at' gmail 'dot' com


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