BLAHNIK Family From Bohemia (Czech Republic)

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Josef Blahnik 1854-1932 son of Josef Blahnik 1829-1912

JOSEF15 BLAHNIK (JOSEF14, JAKUB (JAMES)13, MARTIN12, WENCESLAUS (VACLAV)11, PETR10, SIMON9, JAKUB (JAMES)8, MARTIN7, MATEJ6, N.5, HRON4, N.3, MARTIN2, ONDRA1) was born January 25, 1854, Smrzovice, Bohemia; in Bohemia, and died 1932 in Michigan1.  He married KATHERINE LIPSH.

Notes for JOSEF BLAHNIK: Left for America at the age of 15 - possibly in the 1870's

This eldest son, Josef, in America in Kewaunee, Wisconsin had 6 children who were in sequence: Adolph, Emily, Joseph, Alios, Frank, & Otto. He also had 5 brothers and sisters who moved, to America. They were; Jan, Vaclav (who was a blacksmith), Frantishek (who was a cabinetmaker and had a wife from the house #24 in Smrzovice called 'od Tondu'), Anna (who married Josef Koutnik from Lhota), and Katherine (who married Kveton from Lhota--'od Stasku'). Another sister, Barbara married Vaclav Halama who was a cottager in Lhota ('u Sloupiku'). The farm #16 in Smrzovice went to a younger brother, Jakub, who was born on January 5, 1863. This brother, Jakub, married on May 20, 1890, Anna, who was the daughter of Martin Sedlak, a farmer from Cernikov in house #55. The father, Jakub, of these children died in Klatovy (in the hospital) on September 21, 1931, and his wife, Anna, died in Smrzovice on July 2, 1936. They are buried in the Blahnik family grave in the Loucim church yard cemetery.


----- Original Message -----
From: Joel Blahnik
To: Ken & Lori Dollevoet
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2001 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: Blahnik family

My great grandfather, Josef, married a Katherine Lips (Lipsch) who was here in USA before him. She is the "Mystery woman." We do not know from what village she came from in CZ--we have it in spelling, but it does not exist. The Lipsch cemetery is located at West Krok at the Catholic Church in Kewaunee County. I can take you to the grave markers. But we do not know the correct village from where her parents came from. We have it as 'STREMTADY' but there is not such an village anywhere on current or old Czech maps. It could be a misspelling. Anyhow, I think it could be, again, from SW Bohemia.  

What do you know about the Blahniks and the old Blahnik Mausoleum in the Antigo cemetery?


================================== END EMAIL/new Email================

Blahniks in U.S.  Author: Deb  Date: 9 Jun 2000 1:23 AM  In Reply to: Blahniks in US  by:  Dorothy janca

Dorothy, I found out a little more when I found Josefs obituary. When he died in Oct. of 1932, he was survived by 1 sister, Mrs. Joseph Koutnik (Anna). One clipping says from Menominee, Mich. and the other says Wallace, Mich. It also lists attendance by Jacob Kveton and son Joseph and daughter Helen. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kveton. I believe these were Katerina's husband and children. There was also a Mrs. John Blahnik. They all came from Menominee, Mich. I know Josef worked for awhile In Menominee. While there he lost several fingers on his right hand. His parents had a left handed corcnet made for him in Czech. and sent to him. My brother now has that. That's it for now. Deb.


1880 census Wisconsin Joseph BLAHNIK Male   Other Information: Birth Year <1854>   Birthplace BOHEMIA   Age 26  Occupation Farming   Marital Status M <Married>   Head of Household Joseph BLAHNIK
Source Information:   Census Place Carlton, Kewaunee, WI Family History Library Film 1255431 Page 188B
1880 US Census - 4 

 1. Joseph BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census / Wisconsin  Self   Gender: Male   Birth: <1854> BOHEMIA
 2. Katharina BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census / Wisconsin  Wife   Gender: Female   Birth: <1853> BOHEMIA
 3. Emilia BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census / Wisconsin Dau   Gender: Female   Birth: <1875> WI
 4. Adolph BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census / Wisconsin  Son   Gender: Male   Birth: <1879> WI

More About J
OSEF BLAHNIK: Emigration: 1869, age 15

1880 census: Katharina BLAHNIK Household Female  
Other Information:  Birth Year <1853>  Birthplace BOHEMIA  Age 27   Occupation Keeping House  Marital Status M <Married>   Head of Household Joseph BLAHNIK   Source Information: Census Place Carlton, Kewaunee, Wisconsin  Family History Library Film 1255431  Page Number 188B

More About KATHERINE LIPSH: Fact: Lupsch (two dots over the "u")


  1.  EMILIA (EMILY)16 BLAHNIK, b. January 01, 1875, Wisconsin, USA; d. May 03, 1950, Kewaunee County, WI.

  2. ADOLPH BLAHNIK, b. 1879.

  3. ALIOS BLAHNIK, b. Aft. 1880

  4. JOSEPH BLAHNIK, b. Aft. 1880; d. July 25, 1959, Kewaunee County, WI (Source: Kewaunee County Records - Deaths, Vol. 16, 459.). Cause of Death: Coronary Occlusion.  Single

  5. OTTO BLAHNIK, b. Aft. 1880.

  6. LOUIS EDWARD BLAHNIK, b. December 01, 1884, Kewaunee County, WI; d. January 18, 1966, Kewaunee County, WI.

  7. FRANK BLAHNIK, b. March 26, 1890, Kewaunee County, WI; d. April 17, 1966, Kewaunee County, WI.

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Article from the Antigo Newspaper - no date available.  Laminated copy at the Antigo Museum, Antigo, WI

(editor's note: local historian Harold Klessig has been studying the history of the Blahnik family, well-known craftsmen and musicians. A story in Wednesday's newspaper looked at the family's furniture making endeavors. Today's article focuses on their musical talents).
By Harold Klessig
Woodworking may have been their principal craft, but the Blahnik family of Antigo also had another special talent.
While widely known as the manufacturer of quality church and other furniture, they were probably better known for the Blahnik dance bands that entertained throughout the entire area for almost five decades. (See Band Page 11)
The probable originator of the musical talents was Joseph Blahnik, the father of Adolph Blahnik, who was the father of the Blahnik family that moved to Antigo in 1936. Joseph was born in Czechoslovakia. He was educated in Prague where he learned to play several instruments, especially the trumpet. In the 1850-s he sailed for America.
Arriving in New York he was offered a job with a symphony orchestra. Joseph had other plans, however. He wanted to farm in Wisconsin and turned down the job offer. He bought a farm five miles south of Kewaunee.
It wasn't long, according to his grandson, Milas Blahnik, before he was involved with the Schauer Brass Band, one of the first bands in that area. Later Joseph started his own band.
Besides Adolph, Joseph had four other sons, Frank, Louis, Joseph Jr., and Otto. All played in bands in the Kewaunee area but Adolph was the first to start his own band. Later some of the other brothers also had their own bands.
Adolph also conducted an orchestra for silent movies in the old Kewaunee opera house.
The first Blahnik musician to come to Antigo was Adolph's oldest son, Edward. Antigo's famed American Legion Marching Band was in need of a trumpet player in 1934. A local Legionnaire had heard of the Blahnik musicians of Kewaunee and contacted Edward who was working in Manitowoc. The promise of a job at the Vulcan Last plant here induced Edward to come to Antigo and play in the Legion band.
Two years later the Adolph Blahnik family moved here to start a cabinet and furniture manufacturing firm on Sixth Avenue near Spring Brook.
All of the Blahniks were versatile musicians and all could play several instruments. Adolph, however, was the only one who could play clarinet. Adolph also arranged music for his won and other bands in the area. The first Blahnik band here was started by brothers Edward and Melvin. It was an immediate success.
? ? ? ? with the orchestra along with their father Adolph Sr.
Sylvia Blahnik was the only daughter to play with the band. Her sister, Mabel played in the Kewaunee High School orchestra and with her brothers, Melvin and Milas played in the high school band that performed at Green Bay Packer football games.
The band here played mainly in Langlade, Shawano and Marathon counties although several times during the years they played in other parts of the state and occasionally returned to their home grounds in Kewaunee.
They played at dance pavilions such as Mayflower, Riverview, Post Lake, Tigerton, and Eau Clair Dells. They also played at weddings and many of the high school proms in the area including the Antigo proms.
A number of musicians in the Antigo area played with the Blahnik band on a regular basis. They included Roland Schmiege, Ruben Meyer, Ray Cornelius, Norbert Kautzn, John Novak, Paul Masek, Jerry Smetana and Alvin Fischer. Other musicians also filled in occasionally.
During the years in Antigo the members of the Blahnik family at times played with other bands.
Three of the brothers at times played with the popular Romy Gosz Band. Melvin was with Gosz in 1941, Milas in 1942 and Edward was with the Gosz band during WWII when he worked in a Manitowoc shipyard.
They also played in the American Legion Band, which was well known throughout Wisconsin during the 1920's and 30's. Later they were part of the city's Cosmopolitan Orchestra and after that of the Centennial Orchestra.
They were also part of the Veterans of Foreign Wars band started after WWII by then Antigo High School band director Joseph Bauschka.
After playing in the band most of their lives, some of the brothers began to retire about 1990 and that was the end of the Blahnik Band era. Some of the brothers, however, continued to play with other bands.
Even today, according to Milas, some of the brothers get together with other musicians. They play ????

The musical talent continues with Josef's Great Grandson Joel Blahnik pictured on the left at a production for the Czech Genealogical Society International conference held in Madison, WI in Oct 2007.  Shown below on the left. Center is Michael Cwach, Anita Smisek.