Our Volunteers: Viktor finds his family

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MyHeritage volunteer, Viktor Langer, 52, lives in the small spa village of  Teplice nad Becvou in Moravia, the Czech Republic – with his wife, Blanka. They have three children – ages 19, 20, and 25.

Thanks to MyHeritage and especially to its online family websites, Viktor is in more frequent contact with many members of his large family. They have become regular visitors to his family site and have been a great help in updating the contents.

He was so pleased with his family history research using MyHeritage that, in 2009, when he received an offer from the MyHeritage translation team to translate the website into his native Czech language, he didn’t hesitate for a second.

I felt truly honored by this offer, and I’ve been happy to participate in this project, which brings me many interesting experiences. I believe that the number of satisfied users will continue to grow, thanks to my personal contributions.

Viktor’s village is the site of one of the oldest spa towns in Moravia and has only 350 residents. Its healing properties were described in 1581 by a Moravian doctor, and it appeared on a famous map of Moravia, printed in Amsterdam in 1627 and published by Julius Comenius. In addition to the spa, there is also the beautiful and unique Zbrasov Aragonite Caves and the “Hranicka propast” (Hranice abyss) – considered the deepest abyss in the world.

A mechanical engineer, Viktor has always been a machinery designer (CAD systems). He works at a small pump factory, founded by him and his colleagues in 2001, that produces custom development of equipment for domestic and international customers.

Among his interests – in addition to his family, company and his village – he works with their local cable television and runs the village website. His previous hobby was ballroom dancing; he studied at a conservatory and taught ballroom dancing for 10 years.

Shortly after 1989, when our country said goodbye to socialism and opened up to the world, my sister brought me a greeting from an almost-forgotten cousin of my father, whom she met on a trip to the US.  Included were an old group photo and a question: Did we know how to identify the people in that photo? So I began visiting my relatives and piecing together information about our family history.

This is the photo that began Viktor‘s interest in genealogy. His grand-uncle, Josef Sumsal (bottom row, fourth from left) went to America in 1906. In 1928, he visited his hometown, and this photo was taken at his sister Aloisia Peter’s house, at Opatovice Nr. 33. The little boy in the center of the front row is Viktor’s father. Viktor’s grandmother is in the second row a little to the right. The others are his grandmother’s siblings and their families.

Following this, Viktor began working on a family tree many times, using different programs. Unfortunately, all had one major flaw – those programs were just to facilitate writing down family ties. Also, those programs were only on his computer, so his work remained private.

The fundamental change took place in 2008 when I found a solution with MyHeritage. The Family Tree Builder software is what I am excited about; it encouraged me to continue doing my work for a variety of reasons. The user interface of the program and its possibilities are extensive. In addition to historical facts, the family tree can include many additional items as well as photographs. It creates varied and impressive abstracts and graphs.

However, says Viktor, the main advantage is the opportunity to publish a family tree on the Internet, so the work done on his family becomes interesting and meaningful to a much larger circle of people who may actively participate in extending this genealogy.

As a new dimension to my genealogical research, MyHeritage provides efficient research functions to search for matches. With these, I found numerous completely forgotten family ties and enlarged my family tree to more than 3,800 individuals. I also found family ties to some of my work colleagues, whom I have worked with and known for my entire life.

The most interesting thing about genealogy research, he says, is to record the life stories of his ancestors. Viktor says that his outlook has been significantly affected by researching his family history. When searching for information about his ancestors he has tried to imagine what kind of life they had and what they probably had to go through in their life.

What they had to go through so that we can sit happily at our computers, scan old registers of births and deaths, and complain “how difficult our lives are in this world.” Our “huge problems” at present seem inconsequential. I began to appreciate my ancestors much more and at the same time I realized how much had to happen for me find myself in this world today.

I’m amazed at how many of my ancestors had to flee across the ocean in search of work. I’m amazed how many children they were able to bring up in such poverty and misery and with such difficulties. I take my hat off to them.

Viktor’s research has connected him with family members that he had never met, and even some that he didn’t know existed. He is thrilled to find new branches of his family that were previously lost, but he also wished that he had shown more interest in family history in his youth when his grandparents were alive. They would have been a wealth of information.

Velke Karlovice (summer 2014). Back (from left): Viktor, his son Lukas, Vladka‘s son-in-law, Vladka’s son Honza. Front: Viktor’s wife Blanka, his mother Vladislava, Vladka’s daughter Eva, his sister Vladka, his older daughter Lucie, and the three children of Eva and Petr.

Viktor continues to enjoy translating for MyHeritage.

My experience working for MyHeritage has been the best. While volunteering, I’ve had the chance to meet and get to know many nice people, and I’m convinced that MyHeritage employees are doing a great job for millions of people around the world. As an “amateur genealogist,” working with them has been especially beneficial – Thanks to translating many things relating to all the features of MyHeritage, I’ve gotten to know more about everything that MyHeritage offers, and I’ve received information and inspiration for my own genealogical research.

Would you like to join our team of volunteer translators? We are always expanding our volunteer community! Learn more here.

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  • Kuba


    May 20, 2016

    Viktor, thank you for your volunteer efforts, good luck with your genealogy research and many greetings to Teplice from a many time visitor from Vsetin.
    Kuba