This is the second post in the introduction to my ancestors. Josef Vopat is my great-grandfather. I know a little bit more about him than some of my other Czech immigrant ancestors.
Josef Vopat, or Joe as he was known, arrived in Ellsworth County, Kansas around the summer of 1892 at the age of 29. According to my grandmother, he arrived in New York and then went to Chicago. He worked in the Chicago meat packing houses to earn money before arriving in Wilson, Kansas.
Josef left his love in Bohemia, so as soon as he earned enough money, he sent for her. Josef’s love was Anna Ridl. I am still not sure how to spell Anna’s last name. I have seen the name spelled several different ways: Rydl, Ridel, and Riedl. Until I find her in the Czech Republic parish record books, I really don’t know.
Anna arrived in Baltimore from Bohemia and eventually made her way to Kansas. In January of 1893, she and Josef were married.
The couple both came from near Pilsen in Bohemia. The parish in the town where I thought they came from has no record of either of them. So, that is a mystery I will have to solve later!
Strangely enough, there is another Josef Vopat who settled in Wilson, Kansas as well. He married an Anna, also. He was a few years younger, but the records get very confusing when I try and sort out which Josef is which. If I am correct, my great-grandfather is Josef F. Vopat and the other Josef is Josef A. Vopat.
Josef and Anna had four children. They were: Mary Georgia, Ralph, Annie, and Art. My grandfather was Ralph. Anna was a petite woman and earned the nickname “Tiny Grandma.” I never met her, but heard many stories of Tiny Grandma and her cooking and crocheting abilities.