Recordings of Past CGSI Quarterly Programs


Over the past 30-plus years CGSI has been hosting programming to educate, inform, and entertain members. In the past several years most of these have been recorded are available on-demand to members


Here is a summary of recent webinars with links to access the recordings, which CGSI members can access in the CGSI Digital Library.

Date Topic

Our Ukrainian Cousins: Understanding Cultural & Historical Ties Across Borders

May 2022

Shared Values, Traditions and Struggles

Dr. Cecilia Rokusek, Chief Executive Officer of the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) is a global advocate for multiple dimensions of Czech, Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn history, art, music, cuisine and heritage. She describes the cultural connectivity between Ukrainian, Slovaks and Czechs, and why their struggle for freedom and struggle for respect for a unique 1,000+ year cultural heritage is part of the tapestry of our global Slavic family.

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Ukraine, Poland and the Search for Identity

Dr. Magdalena Nowak, associate professor of history of University of Gdansk, presents from the birthplace of the Solidarity movement – the city of Gdansk.

Dr. Nowak helps us understand why the welcoming of Ukrainian refugees in Poland has such regional and historic significance.

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Helping Families Connect in a Time of Crisis

Michal Razus, a noted genealogist in Prešov, Slovakia, describes how he has been helping Ukrainian families and cultural leaders as they are trying to rebuild their lives in Slovakia.

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Our Ukrainian Cousins: An Historical Carpatho-Rusyn Perspective

Ronald Matviyak, a historical researcher in Alaska, offers a Carpatho-Rusyn perspective on the historical changes that have changed and affected the region for more than 1,000 years. Ron notes that Ukrainian culture centered in Kyiv is part of the Rus' group of peoples, which predates the Muscovite Russian culture by several centuries.

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The Roots of Medicine: Czech, Slovak & Rusyn Folk Remedies & Our Ancestors' Approach to Health

February 2022

Natural Remedies and Healing Practices of Our Ancestors

Renata Calfa shares Slovak, Zemplin, and Rusyn folk & herbal healing traditions.

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The Roots of Medicine: Czech, Slovak & Rusyn Approaches to Health

Dr. Celia (Symchak) Hildebrand, DAOM, LAc. shares her family’s folk medicine heritage in the Carpathian Mountain foothills and the relevance of these traditions to modern health practices.

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August 2021

A Guide to Czech and Slovak Heritage Resources at the Midwest Genealogy Center

Join Iveta Blahutova for a virtual tour of the Midwest Genealogy Center (MGC) in Independence, Missouri. Iveta provides a virtual tour and answers questions on how best to access MGC records as you conduct research about your Czech, Slovak, Moravian, Bohemian and Carpatho-Rusyn ancestors.

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Families Divided, Families Restored

May 2021

Context & Consequences of 1946 General Election in Czechoslovakia

Dr. Zuzana Palovic and Dr. Gabriela Bereghazyova share their insights into the environment in Czechoslovakia which led to the Communists winning the 1946 election. They also discuss the immediate aftermath of the Communist rise to power, including the rejection of the Marshall Plan through.

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Into Exile: Escape from Communism

An inspirational story of a different kind of Holocaust survivor. Son of a mixed marriage, Charles Ota Heller was born in Czechoslovakia three years before the Nazi occupation of his country. Raised a Roman Catholic, he was unaware of his Jewish roots, even after his father escaped to join the British army and fifteen members of his family disappeared. Before his Christian mother was taken away to a slave labor camp, she hid him on a farm to protect him from deportation to a death camp.

Dr. Heller shares his story of persecution, of struggle and survival in Nazi- and Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia, and of eventual escape from tyranny to America. It is the narrative of an assimilated American, who left the horrors of the past — and even his name — behind in the Old World to live the proverbial American Dream. On his personal journey, Heller discovered and embraced his heritage — one which he had abandoned so many decades earlier.

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Elections in Czechoslovakia in 1946 and Their Consequences

Dr. Martin Javor shares information about the 1946 election and the impact it had on Czechoslovakia in general and his own family in particular. Insights are provided into collectivization and its effects.

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Three Giants of Czech and Slovak Architecture

January 2021

Antonín Nechodoma, The Czech Frank Lloyd Wright of Puerto Rico

Dr. Jorge Rigau, former dean of the School of Architecture at the Polytechnical University of Puerto Rico will talk about Antonin Nechodoma. Nechodoma was a man of Czech heritage who immigrated to Chicago and introduced Prairie School architecture in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright to the Caribbean.  Nechodoma was noted for a wide range of architectural projects from churches and commercial properties to a variety of private residences.

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Leopold Eidlitz, From Prague to the Empire State

Presenter, Dr. Kenneth Jacobs of PDP Architects in Philadelphia specializes in historic preservation. He did his doctoral thesis on Leopold Eidlitz. Eidlitz was a man of Czech Jewish heritage from Prague who co-founded the American Institute of Architects. Eidlitz made a huge impact on multiple faith communities in New York City and co-designed the New York State Capitol building in Albany.

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May 2020

Pride, Prague, & Provisions- America & The United Kingdom Aid A New Nation 1919-1922

World War I is over.  But the suffering and disruption in the lives of the people of Europe didn't end with the signing of the papers. The relief efforts from the US and the partnership with the Red Cross are critical to saving lives and rebuilding the devastation our brothers and sisters endured.

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The Leadership of Lady Muriel Paget

How can one individual rifle the resources to save thousands of lives? Hear Hatty Free tell the fascinating story of Lady Muriel Paget and her aid to families impacted by war and revolution.

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August 2020

Love, Marriage & Divorce in the Austria-Hungarian Empire

Kate Vasicek Challis

Love & Marriage in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire involved involved many rules and regulations during the 17th to 20th centuries. Gain an understanding of the laws, timelines, and customs that shaped marriages and impacts your search for your ancestors.

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January 2020

My Dear Boy--A World War II Story of Escape, Exile, and Revelation

After the death of Joanie Holzer Schirm's parents in 2000, she found hundreds of letters, held together by rusted paperclips and stamped with censor marks, sent from Czechoslovakia, Great Britain China, and South and North America along with journals, vintage film, taped interviews and photographs. Shirm discusses her Jewish father's escape from a Nazi-held army unit, through a variety of countries until practicing medicine in China and later moving his family to the United States. The insights in this presentation will lead you to a greater understanding of Jewish lives during WWII.

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June 2019

Czech and Slovak WWI Military Ancestors Across WWI's Carpathian Battlefields

Part 1: Provides an overview of WWI and its impact on the Czech and Slovak lands, and reviews the events leading up to and through the course of the war.

Part 2: Reviews some of the conditions the WWI Slovak army faced and the locations of numerous cemeteries where the casualties are buried.

Part 3: Reviews the life of a primary Slovak hero, General Milan Rastislav Štefánik.

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April 2019

The Linden: A Tree's Cultural Roots

Slovak authors and co-founders of Global Slovakia, Dr. Gabriela Bereghazyova and Dr. Zuzana Palovic discuss their published work Slovakia: Legend of the Linden. This presentation includes:

  • the story of Linden symbolism in the region – from Celtic and Roman traditions to Great Moravia, Czechoslovakia, and modern-day Slovakia and Czech Republic
  • the Linden as a binding element that kept the two nations alive through perils of their journey to modernity
  • how this ancient Slavic symbol has been used as a tool of nation building past and present and its place in the collective conscious and subconscious in Slovakia and Czech Republic

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May 2018

Finding Clues to Locate Your Village of Origin

Are you looking for an ancestral village? Kate Challis explains a wide variety of sources which can lead you to find your village of origin. These helpful resources include (but are not limited to) church records, state vital records, obituaries and newspapers, tombstones, immigration records, naturalization records, passport applications, and census records. Kate also discusses when it might be better to just "jump the pond" and start looking in European sources and what to do when none of these strategies seem to work.

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The Making of a Memoir: Looking at Slovakia 25 Years Ago

Sarah Hinlicky Wilson missed Czechoslovakia by six days! She first arrived in Europe on January 6, 1993, and later that year moved with her family to the newly divorced Republic of Slovakia. Seventeen years old and thirsty to experience the world, her year in Slovakia proved transformative. Sarah is working on a memoir of that seminal year for her and for Slovakia alike. Listen as Sarah describes her experience of Slovakia at a critical transition point and the process of translating the emotions for the written page.

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February 2018

Finding Naturalization Records

Did your immigrant ancestor become an American citizen? Learn about clues to find their records.  Cathi Weber has been researching her family for over 40 years and started NorthStar Genealogy to help others with their research and teach classes.

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DNA & Your Genealogy

May 2017

The DNA Side of Genealogy

This presentation outlines the various types of DNA testing available and how they can be used to assist in conducting genealogical research.

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DNA Websites for Beginners

Kevin Hurbanis walks through the basic processes involved in doing DNA testing in your family and how to optimize the results by using the most common DNA websites.  This video presents practical, hands-on hints and tools for understanding how to use DNA in your genealogy efforts.

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August 2016

Interviewing Grandma
Linda Coffin shows how interviewing a live person can be both enjoyable and fulfilling. How many times have you heard someone say, "I wish I'd asked my mother about XXX, but now she's gone and it's too late." (Maybe you've said it yourself!) She talks about equipment, preparation, questions to ask, and tips for making the interview a positive experience for both the narrator and the interviewer.

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Crafting a Compelling Family History Narrative
Author, lecturer, and genealogist Lisa A. Alzo teaches the basics of crafting a compelling family history narrative in simple, manageable steps. Family trees are often nothing more than boring lists of names, dates, and places. But it’s the heritage, traditions, family lore (and, yes even, the drama) that puts the “flesh on the bones.” After all the time you’ve invested in your research, it would be a shame to just leave all of the information you uncovered in a sterile pedigree chart or family group sheet!

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February 2016

A Guide to Locating Austro-Hungarian Military Records

Carl Kotlarchik demystifies the process and provides the necessary tools and methodology to make your search for Austro-Hungarian military records successful.  Military records are often overlooked by genealogists, but they contain valuable information about an ancestor that cannot be found in other resources. They provide insight into what an individual may have experienced during their lifetime and give a perspective of the history of that time. Consequently, knowledge of military service can add real depth and interest to a family history.

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June 2015

Travel Tips for the Czech & Slovak Republics

Genealogist, historian, and tour guide Wade Olsen shares how to plan a successful trip to Europe. Visiting ancestral villages and the people who live there requires proper preparation. Topics discussed include travel planning and in-country logistics, expectations (your own and those of the people you meet), culture and core values, and how to connect with your personal family history.

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Pocket watch and photograph