Czernin Palace Award - June 2008

The Czernin Palace Award was presented to Margie Sobotka in Memorial Park in Clarkson, Nebraska on June 20, 2008.

The Czernin Palace Award was initiated by Martin Palous, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, and former Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States from 2001-2005. Ambassador Palous obtained approval for the award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, housed in the Czernin Palace, hence the name of the medal.
The award is an honor given to an individual or entity that has made significant contributions to fostering Czech-American relations. Award selection is based on nominations from honorary consuls and honorary consuls general who are entitled to make one nomination each year.

                                                Margie Sobotka

Margie was born in Omaha, Nebraska on December 14, 1922. Her parents were Frank and Mayme Perina. Although her given name is Marjorie Helen Perina, she has always been known as Margie for almost all of her life. When Margie was in the seventh grade, the family moved to Bedford, Iowa, where Margie completed grammar and high school. Upon graduation from high school, she returned to Omaha before marrying Rudie Sobotka on August 30, 1947. They moved to a farm near Irvington, Nebraska. After farming 44 years, Margie and Rudie retired and moved to Elkhorn, Nebraska, where she lives today. Margie has one daughter and three grandchildren.
In Margie’s own words, “l have always been interested in my Czech heritage, especially growing up in the Czech area of Omaha and attending all of the dances with my parents, the bazaars, Czech plays, masquerades for children, and, in general, anything that was held at the Czech National Hall as it was known at that time. Today, it is referred to as the Sokol Hall:’
“I was always asking questions of my mother about the birthdays and information of her and my father’s families. I eventually became interested in actually recording my ‘bits and pieces: I made my own family group sheets. In 1972, a group of people in Fremont, Nebraska were interested in forming a genealogical society. We opted for the name, Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society. I soon discovered that there was very little information for Czech people to research:’
Margie’s first project was to index names in an English translation of the History of Czechs in Nebraska, by Rose Rosicky. That was the beginning of thirty years of publishing Czech genealogical information. She has worked with the Nebraska State Historical Society and has presented at numerous Beginning Czech Genealogy workshops. Margie is the recipient of Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International’s (CGSI) Distinguished Achievement Award, and continues to be an active, valued member of the Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society and CGSI.

About the Event
Officers and board members of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI), based in St. Paul, Minnesota, submitted information on Margie’s valuable contributions in the area of Czech-American family research to Sharon K. Valasek, Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic (Kansas, Nebraska & Missouri).
The information detailed her tireless work to index, organize, and publish materials helpful to those searching to know more about their Czech ancestry and heritage.
Her nomination was submitted by the Honorary Czech Consul, Sharon K. Valasek. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs selected Margie to receive the award.
CGSI is happy and proud to be a part of honoring Margie in this way. Our sincere thanks to Sharon K. Valasek and her work and effort in Margie’s award nomination and this celebration. We also extend thanks to the other participating individuals and organizations.


Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International
General planning

Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society
Invitations and mailing

Czech/Slovak Queens-Nebraska Czechs, Inc.

Nebraska State Historical Society

Bluebird Nursery
Table plants

Planning Committee
Sharon Valasek Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic (Kansas, Nebraska & Missouri)
Monica Fisher – Donna Gruntorad
Claire Mares – Dee Perina
Ginger Simek – Dottie Speidel