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Genealogy Tour with Jan Dus, Czech Republic

One of my goals when traveling to the Czech Republic in September of 2023 was to visit the homeland of my mother in and around Zlaté Hory. I knew it would require renting a car or hiring a guide, as the town is not in a tourist area, but about a 4-hour drive from Prague. My mother’s family were Sudeten Germans who were expelled from the area around 1946, so there are no relatives still living there; a truly complicated history and search.

After putting it off too long, I finally looked more closely at my Rick Steves Guide Book of Eastern Europe just a few days before my aunt and I were to travel to London and eventually make our way to Prague. The book listed a guide named Jan Dus, a Czech pastor who had lived for a time in the U.S. and specialized in genealogy tours. In a few email exchanges, family information was sent and an arrangement was made to tour the areas where my mother grew up. I was very lucky that Jan was able to make the time. Always read your guide book early in your planning!

Fast-forward two weeks, Jan met us in Prague and drove us to the area where my family used to live. Doing genealogy detective work beforehand, Jan had mapped out towns, and in some cases exact locations, where members of my family had lived and worked, going back several generations. My family tree now contains names I have never heard before on the side of my family that has been impossible for me to research on my own. I still can’t believe that I was able to walk up to several houses formerly occupied by my ancestors. The experience was indescribably moving.

Jan is extremely knowledgeable of the county’s complex history, and we had a lot of good conversation that day. He was very accommodating of our needs and seemed genuinely as curious as we were to learn about the family story. I agree with him that I never would have been able to find these places or been able to communicate with people if I had traveled to the area on my own. He was adept at reading the old script on records we viewed at the town hall, and could, of courses, speak Czech with the staff there, as well as with folks we met at the various houses we visited. I plan to stay in touch with Jan and use his genealogy services to further explore my family tree. I highly recommend Jan for both family history work and as a private tour guide, whether genealogy-based or not. He is a delight to spend time with! I can't thank him enough.

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