Finding Mathias Bier

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Can someone please help with guiding my family research?

I am looking to trace my great-grandfather Mathias Bier (I am unsure regarding this spelling, both of first and last names!) and his Bohemian family.

He was born Jan 19, 1849 (unverified) in Graslitz, Bohemia – aka Gradlitz, aka Choustníkovo Hradiště (a village in Trutnov District in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic).

Parents were Frank and Frances. Siblings were Julia, William, Josephine, Frances, Frank and Wilhelmina.

He arrived thru Governors Island, New York, USA on May 22, 1873

He changed his name in the US between 1873 and 1878 to Henry (or Hy) Dorner.

He sailed to Australia in 1878/1879.

I can track/trace his history as Henry Dorner thru Australia and South Africa.

He died in a Red Cross (ICRC) Internment camp in Switzerland in 1918, as Mathias Bier.



Hello! Welcome to CGSI. I did a quick search for Mathias Bier in the birth records for the village of Choustnikovo Hradiste (excuse no diacritics….just giving you basics). The records for this village/town are found in the Zamrsk archive. In the book covering births from 1835-1851, I did in fact find the birth record for Mathias Franz Bier. He was born on 18 January 1849 and baptised on the same day. His parents were living in house #22. His father is Franz Bier, Catholic, and the son of Mathias Bier who lived at (I’m guessing at the spelling) Kutznebdorf #38 with his wife Viktoria born Bladig of Schouhaust (guessing at the spelling again) #4. The mother is Franziska the daughter of Joseph Schubert of Gradlitz # 122 and his wife Anna born Blume of Gradlitz 33. PLEASE NOTE: This record is written in German and is fairly easy to read, but I didn’t take the time to “learn” the recorders handwriting, so I did a lot of guessing at the actual spellings, BUT! You now know where to search because you are now 100% sure that he was born in the village of Choustnikovo Hradiste. All the records you need at least to start can be found in the Zamrsk archive. If you want to discuss this a bit more, please email me at and I’ll do my best to get you started—yes, another advantage of belonging to CGSI!