Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

2024 CGSI Symposium

April 21 @ 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on April 21, 2024 at 8:30 AM

In partnership with Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI), a day-long Symposium of cultural, history, and genealogical presentations will occur on Sunday, April 21. The theme of this years Symposium is “Forgotten Czech, Slovak, & Carpatho-Rusyn Heroes” to showcase how ordinary men and women rose to meet the extraordinary challenges of their times, and to provide a framework of discussion, reflection and further research.

Saturday, April 20
Extended museum hours until 5:30 p.m.  Pre-event networking & cash bar A Night at the Museum with the Czech Plus Band at 6 p.m.

Sunday, April 21
A full day of presentations is planned from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with a Czech-style lunch from Dostal Catering, located in the heart of Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village.

Dr. Martin Javor, director of the Kasigarda Museum of Emigration from Slovakia to North America in Pavlovce nad Ulom, Slovakia will deliver a  keynote address for a series of seven talks that will highlight the courage, sacrifice and fortitude of military, diplomatic and religious leaders in the Czech, Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn homelands in the 20th century. Speakers include distinguished scholars and genealogy researchers from the United Kingdom and Eastern and Midwestern United States.

A key part of the day will be hearing several stories from CGSI members who will share how they discovered their heritage and roots and the transformative impact these genealogical journeys had for them.

Guests will also learn how to develop a family genealogy search strategy and hear about new and ongoing CGSI endeavors such as a nationwide cemetery mapping project.

For the most up-to-date schedule visit CGSI’s website.

Cost: NCSML & CGSI Members: $99 • Non-members: $149

8:30 AM – Mitvalsky Room

Welcome Remarks
Dr. Cecilia Rokusek
President and CEO, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML)

Keynote Address
Dr. Martin Javor
Director, Kasigarda – Museum of Emigration from Slovakia to North America, Ťahyňa, Slovakia

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Forgotten Czech, Slovak, & Carpatho-Rusyn Heroes
9:45 AM – Mitvalsky Room

Czech and Slovak Pilots in the Battle of Britain and World War II

Dr. Megan Kelleher Historian and Academic Access Manager Royal Air Force Museum

Stephanie Abrams President & CEO New England Air Museum

British singer Katy Carr’s Motylek

Rediscovering the Homelands & Genealogy Research Techniques
9:45 AM – Hruska Room

CGSI’s Czech and Slovak Cemetery Mapping Project
Kathryn Palmquist and Jason Cadek

The Value of Obituaries For Finding Family Connections
Iveta Blahútová

Heroism in the Worst of Times
11:15 AM – Mitvalsky Room

Dr. Anna Hájková
Czech-British historian at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Dr. Hájková is the author of The Last Ghetto: An Everyday History of Theresienstadt which provides an in-depth analytical history of a prison society during the Holocaust.

Developing a Genealogy Search Strategy for Your Family
11:15 AM – Alliant Energy Classroom

Bill Tarkulich

12:00 Noon Buffet Luncheon – Hruska Room
Czech-style pork loin with dumplings & Czech salad

2025 CGSI Kansas City Conference Update
Conference Chair Paul Makousky

Breakout Sessions

1:00 PM – Mitvalsky Room
A Bishop Who Spoke Out
Karen Varian
President, Rusin Association of Minnesota

Greek Catholic Bishop of Prešov, Pavel Peter Gojdič, opposed the chauvinistic stance of Czechoslovak authorities towards Carpatho-Rusyns, protested the antisemitic regime of Josef Tiso, writing to the Vatican to demand Tiso’s resignation, and was imprisoned for speaking out against communist intolerance after World War II.

1:45 PM – Mitvalsky Room
A Courageous Envoy Honored by Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Serbia
Anna Cooková
Owner & Founder, CzechTalk LLC

Brewer turned diplomat Czech-American Charles J. Vopička served as United States Minister to Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia from 1913 to 1920. He helped several emerging nations grapple with the outbreak of World War I and its violent aftermath. His career began in Chicago as co-founder of Bohemian Brewing Co., later Atlas Brewing.

2:30 PM – Mitvalsky Room
How I Did It

Stories from CGSI members who have journeyed overseas to discover family history, a sharing of genealogy learnings, and their life impacts.

My Carpatho-Rusyn Heritage, My Inspiration in Presov, Slovakia
Alexandra Bodnarchuk, Founder of Doma Dance Theater, Minneapolis

How research on my Bohemian ancestors led to a project at Palacky University in Olomouc and talks at Masaryk University and the University of Hradec Kralove
Dr. Edward R. CandaProfessor Emeritus, School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas.

Reflections on My Visits to Czech Lands since 1986 
Annette Gathright, President, Czechoslovak Area Genealogy Club of Southern. California

How I Helped My Husband Discover His Czech Roots After Finding My Polish Roots
Jill Johnson Founder, Johnson Consulting of Minnesota

My Grandfather’s Escape Flight from Bratislava 
Mike SachaDescendant of a RAF military and Czechoslovak commercial navigator


4 PM – Mitvalsky Room

Toast to NCSML’s 50th anniversary!
Brief networking meeting and announcements.


About CGSI

Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) is the leader in providing educational, cultural, historical, and genealogical resources, with a special emphasis in providing opportunities for our members to research and discover their heritage.

2024 CGSI Symposium Sponsors

Slovak American Society of Washington D.C. logo


April 21
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM