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Meet Scott Phillips: Genealogical Historian and Czech Roots Too


​​​​​​I have vivid memories of large family gatherings always with knedliky, zelí, pork roast, and kolache piled high. I also recall my mother reminding my father that he had to be sure to buy ‘the good Bohemian beer’ before these frequent gatherings. I also remember the laughter, stories, and the sounds of the Czech language, which entranced me as a young man. I also had the luxury of having our Bohemian grandmother living with us the majority of my youth.

In the process of working on my Bohemian ancestry, I have traced hundreds of siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have found the Vicha ancestral village in spite of the fact that all we had to go on was a penciled note, of unknown date and unknown origin, stating simply “Pisec”. Along the way I have immersed myself in the amazing history of the people, lands, and culture of the nation of Bohemia. I have also come to understand the schism between the Bohemian immigrants who were Catholic and those who were Freethinkers. By the way, all of my direct ancestors were ardent Freethinkers.

I have also come to know the sadness that accompanies the fact that so little study has been undertaken of the Bohemian/Czech immigrants and their communities. Early in my work I came across a quote in the book “Czech Contributions To The Growth of The United States” written in 1961 by Harvard Professor Francis Dvornik that states simply “The fact that, so far, no attempt has been made to present a synthetic picture of the Czech immigration into the United States, and at evaluating Czech contributions to the growth of their new country, in a language accessible to all Americans, induced me to publish this first essay, in the hope that someone else, more informed and better equipped, would one day complete it.” As a result, one of my personal passions has become documenting, for the first time, the original Bohemian immigrants of the City of Cleveland, Ohio and to find any of their living ancestors. Our firm has translated from Czech to English (for the first time ever) a history book and article by Hugo Chotek, an article by Václav Snajdr, and a number of newspaper articles and obituaries. Additionally there will be many more to come.

I am excited to be here in Czech Slavnosti and to be able to share with you some of my findings, hints, tips, and stories on Czech genealogy and history. I look forward to being here with you!

You can also follow my work, find all of our translations, and other resources, all free of charge at​
​on our Facebook page at
​on Twitter @OnwardToOurPast
​via email at

Ahoj! I am Scott Phillips, owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services company. As a genealogical historian I specialize in combining the study of genealogy and integrating that genealogy into the history and the times of our ancestors. One of our key focus areas is Bohemian/Czech genealogy and history.

On a personal note, my Bohemian/Czech roots run deep. My mother’s family was 100% Bohemian. The surnames are Vicha and Knechtl. I have traced and documented, for the first time in our family, both of these surnames as far back as the 1600s (so far). My Vicha ancestors came from the villages of Milevsko and Rataje in southern Bohemia while my Knechtl ancestors hailed from the village of Nenačovice, not too far outside of Prague.