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Petura Family Genealogy
A Family History Resource

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One of the first Petura families to arrive in America from Bohemia came in 1857 and settled in Racine, Wisconsin. This was just a quarter century after the first Americans of European ancestry began setting near the mouth of the Root River where it empties into Lake Michigan. This area of southeast Wisconsin became Racine, one of the state's port cities.

In 1874, a second Petura family arrived in Racine and settled in nearby Caledonia, by then popular for immigrants from Bohemia, today a part of the Czech Republic.

Here are Petura genealogy resources and genealogy information for Bohemia and the Czech Republic as well as resources about the Czech culture in the early days of Racine and the city's history.

GO TO: WisconsinPetura Surname  |  Czech Genealogy  |   Racine  |  Maps

Czechs to Racine & Wisconsin        [ Top ]

Czech Pioneers in Wisconsin:  in 1860, 1870 and 1880, Wisconsin led America in Czech immigrants. Milwaukee, Manitowoc and Racine were key urban locations. North of Racine is Caledonia, then a key Czech agricultural community. Many individuals and origins mentioned including Frantisek Korizek who published the first Czech newspaper in America, later called Slavie. Also pioneer farmer Josef Mikulecky from Sloupnice who came in 1851.

Czechs in Wisconsin: they settled along Lake Michigan from Racine to Manitowoc and inland in places such as Champion Valley in Vernon County where an annual Czech celebration is held.

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Great Lakes and
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Czechs in Racine Area: north of Racine between Five Mile and Seven Mile roads was a farming area called Caledonia, later Tabor, known as Czech Bethlehem. See map.  By 1850 there were Czech schools here, and this Bohemian Schoolhouse, as pictured, was built there in 1888.

Racine History Timeline: mentions the Charles (Karel) Jonas house built in 1880 for a leading Bohemian-American. Jonas was editor of the Bohemian newspaper Slavie, created a Bohemian-English dictionary, was a Wisconsin and U.S. politician and diplomat, and is remembered with a statue [No. 80] located today at Douglas Avenue and High Street in north Racine. Order a book about Charles Jonas.

Czechs in America: a chronology starting in the 1600s and including Moravian Brethren, 1735;  first Czech settlement in Texas, 1847;  the first important Czech settlement in the USA, in Wisconsin, 1848; the merger of the first two Czech newspapers into Slavie, published in Racine; and much more.

History of Czechs
in America

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Habenicht and
Miroslav Koudelka

Czech Settlements & Communities in US including Wisconsin, and the story of early township of Caledonia with Lamberton, Tabor, more.

Petura Surname      [ Top ]

Petura Surname: Novak is the most frequent surname in the Czech Republic while Petura is rare. A 2004 study found just 17 individuals with the last name Petura and 31 individuals named Petura with an accent mark on the letter t.

Petura Immigrant Origins: those arriving in New York listed Popowetz, Bohemia or Hungary as their place of origin. See other family facts.

Petura Individuals in Racine       [ Top ]

Joseph Petura, 38, and his family arrived Castle Garden, N.Y., on August 8, 1857, having sailed from Bremen and Southhampton on the ship Argo. With him were wife Catha., 33, and son John, 9. All three gave their last residence as Popowetz, a town in eastern Bohemia. Joseph was born in 1819.

The book History of Czechs in America mentions the arrival of Joseph Petura and his family in Racine on August 14, 1856 [p. 304]. He was born in Vinary while his son was born in Popovec [Popowetz] on December 25, 1846, this volume states. Both of these villages are near Vysoke Myto in the Pardubice region of Bohemia. While the book says that this Joseph Petura died Nov. 11, 1900, his obituary says he died on Nov. 11, 1890.

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They Came in

Ships: Finding
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Arrival Record

Petura Remembered: Anthony Klobasa wrote in memoirs of  leaving Bohemia in 1855, traveling  to Racine; the challenges of farm life; and his school days. "I still remember the names of some of my schoolmates at that time.... Frank Buresh, Elias, Gregor, Mikulecky, Stransky, Castek, M. Zika..., Nechuta, Morbacher, Petura, etc.," he wrote. This was surely John Petura, son of Joseph and Katherine Petura who came in 1857. This John was later known as John L. Petura.

John L. Petura was recorded as born December 25, 1847, in Bohemia and married Katrina Petura in Racine in 1876.

John L. Petura arrived in Racine at age 10 in 1857, had businesses in Racine and land in Caledonia to the north in Racine County, traveled to Europe in 1873, married Katrina in 1876, and served as town clerk and supervisor for Caledonia. He appears in Caledonia Township biographical sketches published in History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin, 1879.

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Brief History of the
Czech Lands to 2004

In the 1860 Census in Caledonia, the first Petura family was recorded as Joseph Betorua, 36, and family Catharine, 35, and John, 13. Listen to the Czech alphabet to see why that surname misspelling occurred.

In the 1870 Census in Caledonia, the first Petura family was recorded as Joseph Petrua, farmer, 57, Catherine, 46, Jno. (John), farmer, 23, and Vencil, 6, a son born in Wisconsin. Both Joseph and John owned farms.

Czech Immigration Passenger Lists, Vol. VIII, part of a series by Leo Baca, shows the arrival in Baltimore from Bremen on May 23, 1874 on the ship Braunschweig of Wenzl Petura, 57, an economist [?], Elizabeth Petura, 54, and sons Johann, 29, and Josef, 25, all born in Bohemia. This Wenzel Petura was born in 1817.

This Petura family settled in Racine County, Wisconsin, as confirmed by Joseph's naturalization papers. This is the second Petura family to come from an area in Bohemia just west of Vysoke Myto.

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Czech immigration

passenger lists
by Leo Baca
[1995 but volume not noted

1876 Racine City & County Directory shows in Caledonia:
·  Joseph Beshek leasing 1/4 acre in Section 20 from J. Petura
·  John Michner leasing 1/4 acre in Section 20 from J. Petura
·  Joseph Petura, farmer, owned 100 acres and Vencil Petura, farmer,
   owned 40 acres, both in Section 21, both served by the Tabor Post
   Office, both Range 23, and both recorded as B for Bohemian.

1876 Racine City & County Directory shows a John Petura working as a clerk for M. M. Secor and Co., a trunk manufacturer, and boarding at the northwest corner of Milwaukee and West streets.

1880 Census for Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin, had the following Petura families:
·  Joseph Petura Household
with Joseph, 61, farming, and
wife Katherine, 56, born in Bohemia, and son Wensel, 16, at home, born in Wisconsin, and Macak Thomas, farm laborer.
·  Joseph Petura Household with Joseph, 31, farming, and Mary, 28, born in Bohemia; daughters Mary, 2, and Agness, 9 months, born in Wisconsin, and Joseph's mother Alberta, 61, born in Bohemia
·  John L. Petura Household
with John. L Petura, 34, no occupation listed, and wife Katherine, 24, keeps house,
both born in Bohemia. [He is the son of the elder Joseph Petura].
·  John Petura Household with
John Petura, 35, keeps a saloon, born in Bohemia, his wife Anna, 20, keeps house, born in Wisconsin to parents born in Prussia, and their daughter Helen, born in Wisconsin.
NOTE 1:  Joseph Petura, 61, and John L. Petura, were father and son. Joseph Petura, 31, and John Petura, 35, were brothers. The John L. Petura and John Petura households were recorded In the 1880 Census as adjacent to each other.
NOTE 2: When the second Petura family came in 1874, the husband and wife were  recorded on the ship's passenger list as Wenzel and Elizabeth -- but their Czech names were Vaclav and Alzbeta. That explains the Alberta Petura listed in 1880 in Joseph Petura's household, the census taker's error in trying to understand Alzbeta.

Joseph and Marie Petura with dates, places of birth and death, with sources, and daughter Agnes with links to details of her two marriages, first to Frank Korbel and then to Joseph W. Mikulecky.

Frank J. Petura was born October 29, 1881, the son of Joseph and Mary Petura and brother to Mary and Agnes. See F. J. Petura story.

John and Anna Petura, showing her maiden name as Anna Clope, daughter of Peter Clope (Kloep, Cloep), a manufacturer born in Prussia, and Helen Stratisky born in Bohemia. More on Peter Cloep.

Joseph Albin Petura was born March 2, 1888, in Racine to parents Wencel Petura and Annie Cernoherky (Cernohorsky). Wencel and Annie had 8 children -- see 1900 Census below.

Czech societies in Racine included Slovanska Lipa [1861] and Sokol [1871]. They merged to form Narodni Jednota. John L. Petura and John Petura belonged to the first and last of these societies, their obituaries stated.

1890-1891 Farmers & Land Owners Directory:  owning land in the Caledonia area, served by the Tabor Post Office, were Joseph Petura Sr. [80 acres, sections 20-21], Joseph Petura Jr. [40 acres section 21] and John L. Petura [9.5 acres section 18]. The designations Sr. and Jr. meant the older and younger Joseph, not father and son.

1900 Census for Racine County shows the following four Petura families enumerated in Caledonia, shown on page 5B and page 10A:
·  John [ L. ] Petura,
53, (born 12/1846), farmer, wife Katie Petura, 43, married 24 years, and niece Louisa M. Petura, 9, born in Bohemia. 
Page 5B in Dwelling 96
·  John Petura, 54, born in Bohemia,
and wife Annie, 39, Wisconsin native, married 20 years, daughters Libbie and Helen.
Page 5B in Dwelling 120
·  Joseph Petura, 51, and his wife Mary, 48, wed 25 for years, both born in Bohemia, with daughter Agnes, 20, and son Frank, 17, both Wisconsin natives.  Page 10A in Dwelling 221
·  Wencel Petura, 35, a Wisconsin native, wife Annie, 33, born in Bohemia, and 7 children: Joseph A., Libbie K., Katie A., John, Wencel, and Caroline; and Wencel's mother Katherine who came from Bohemia in 1856 and had 3 children, 2 living (Note: John L. and Wencel). Page 10A in Dwelling 214, seven away from Joseph and Mary.
·  Frank Pishny, 30, with Mary A. nee Petura, 21, and their young sons Reuben and Edgar, also in the 1900 Census. Mary was the oldest child of Joseph and Mary Petura, above. Page 12A in Dwelling 228.

Frank J. (Joseph) Petura -- son of Josph and Mary Petura -- earned a bachelor's degree in engineering at the University of Wisconsin in 1904. While at Madison he:
·  was a founder of Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry fraternity, which he
   helped name and incorporate and served as a national officer (see
   photos as collegians and later in life [behind log-in]
·  completed a bachelor's thesis on high tension alternating current
   discharges, with co-author William Bradford
·  was a UW instructor during 1904-1906 for a salary of $720 and
   expenses of $25.16 and during 1906-1908 at a salary of $100,
   having served as an instructor of electrical engineering

1908 Directory of Leading Farmers of Racine and Kenosha Counties included -- in Caledonia -- J. Petura, Section 19, and Wencil Petura, Section 21, both served by the Racine Post Office.

1908 Plat Map for Caledonia. See the W. [Wencil] Petura farm to the southeast of Tabor, just above the 21 between the Robotka and Korbel farms. Just south of the Korbel farm is the Pishney farm, and then a bit further south is the J. [Joseph] Petura farm just west of the Pffeiffer farm.

1910 Banking Report showed J. L. Petura of Racine as having $400.00 in a bank or trust company in Wisconsin, and the same in 1912

Joseph Petura, 1888-1972, Racine County, Wisconsin [SSDI]

Libby Petura, 1891-1974, Racine County, Wisconsin [SSDI]

Wencle Petura, 1896-1971, Racine County, Wisconsin [SSDI]

Bohemian National Cemetary near Racine has Petura burials including husband and wife Josef and Marie Petura.
·  John L. Petura, 1846-1930
·  Josef Petura, 1849-1928
·  Katerina Petura, 1856-19??
·  Libby K Petura, 1891-1974
·  Marie Petura, 1847-1905
·  Wencle J. Petura,
·  Agnes Korbel Mikulesky (see gravestone) was born Agnes Petura, one of two daughters of Joseph and Marie. She first married Frank Korbel who died at age 29. She then married Joseph W. Mickulecky. See children of both marriages. NOTE:  Katerina, wife of Jan Mikulecky of Mentour, was a witness at the 1846 baptism of John L. Petura in Mravin, Bohemia, both towns just west of Vysoke Myto in today's Czech Republic. The Jan Mikulecky and Joseph Petura families came to America on the ship Argo from Bremen to New York, both arriving August 8, 1857.

Also see Mikulecky individuals in the 1876 Caledonia, Racine County Directory. More Mikulecky names in Calendonia and Racine history.

F. J. Petura in 1949: vice president of Electric Advisers Inc., "on the buying end" of Cities Service since 1915. See a detailed look at the life story of Frank Joseph Petura, son of Joseph and Marie Petura.

Petura Obituaries: newspaper name and date for Frank Ensign Petura, 2001; Ronald W. Petura, 2003; and others

Petura Obituaries: source for obituaries for Joseph Petura, 1890, and John Petura, 1920

Petura individuals in Czech Republic telephone directory, 2007, one in Pardubice region, one in south Moravia, one in Moravian-Silesian region

Other Petura Individuals      [ Top ]

Bessie Petura, 1903-1987, Wisconsin to California [SSDI]

Frank Petura, 1902-1985, Wisconsin to California [SSDI]

Marie Petura, 1907-1994, Vermont to Indiana [SSDI]

Maudeen Petura, 1927-1992, California [SSDI]

Paul Petura, 1943-1974, North Dakota [SSDI]

Robert Petura, 1927-1976, Wisconsin to California [SSDI]

Ronald Petura, 1931-2003, Wisconsin to Texas.
[SSDI] More on Ronald Petura

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Czech Republic -
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Richard Carlton Petura married Virginia H. Chute, May 30, 1940.

Richard Petura. Aug. 10, 1917-Aug. 14, 1999, New Jersey to North Carolina [SSDI]

Richard C. Petura Jr. m. Barbara Ann Bradley -- meet the WDW Editors

John Chute Petura m. Susan Oaks McRae [see page 16]

Frank Petura, Nov. 10, 1913-June 27, 2001, New York to New Jersey to New Mexico [SSDI], and his Albuquerque Journal obituary

Vivian Petura, July 26, 1915-February 9, 2006, North Carolina to New Jersey to New Mexico [SSDI] and Albuquerque Journal obituary. Vivian Petura raced cars in 1955.

Paul Petura married Emma Heimark. Their children were Carol Petura (spouse Bert Maudie), Marilyn Petura, Ronald Petura, Richard Petura, Paul Petura and Ruby Virginia Petura. These are Petura individuals in the Ralston - Ludwig  Family Tree.

Frank and Lois Petura share a Page family line in Canada, Wisconsin, North Dakota

Antoni Petura of Galacia arrived in Quebec in May 1910 on the ship Prinz Oskar. Galicia, once part of Austria, is now divided between Poland and Ukraine. {Page gone].

Theodore Petura, born in Macedonia, appeared in Clay Township, Morgan County, Indiana, in the 1910 Census.

Jack Frederick "Uncle Jack" Petura, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

John and Marie Petura with children Franka, Hannah, Michael, Nastia, Penlenka, Rosa and Zoska, Dauphin District, Manitoba, Canada, 1901 Census. All immigrants from Austria in 1902 except two youngest daughters born in Manitoba. See more.

Mayk Petura, Graham, Ontario, 1911 Census.

Paul and Varsana Petura, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 1911 Census, both immigrants from Austria, he in 1904, she in 1911.

Blog with details
for the
Family Gathering 2007
Winnipeg, Manitoba,

Pitura Family Portal

Czech Genealogy Resources      [ Top ]

Bohemia:   also Böhmen, Cechy or Bohême, now part of the Czech Republic, with 1882 map

Bohemia Genealogy:  a bibliography of resources

Emigration from Eastern Bohemia to the USA in the 19th century with map of key cities that people left and map with statistics on legal, illegal emigration.

Czech emigrants: listing of selected emigrants

Czech Genealogy Research: Bohemia, Moravia and the Czech Republic, many resources

Czech Census for 1857, 1869, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910 & 1921 and Czech Archives offer insights on finding ancestral records in the Czech Republic, including regional archives shown on a map.

Petura family records are in the Zamrsk Archives that serves Eastern Czech Republic.

Czech Parish Records, focusing on Eastern Bohemia

Researching Czechs in America: article with helpful background, suggested resources

CGSI or Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International with links and surname index to Habenicht's History of Czechs in America:
·  Abraham-Broz
·  Brozek-Egermayer
·  Ehrenberger-Holas
·  Holcapka-Kerner
·  Kesl-Kutac
·  Kutak-Molitor
·  Molkup-Polacek with
   a Petura reference

·  Polak-Sekavec
·  Selba-Talich
·  Tampir-Wocet
·  Wojtishek-Zvonecek

Czech Genealogy and Heraldry Society in Prague, in Czech and English

Czeching Out Our Ancestors: review postings by people seeking Czech ancestors, and an A to Z surname index of past postings

Czech Mail List on RootsWeb with many resources including Czech surnames

Origin of Czech Surnames:  of the estimated 40,000 Czech surnames, some are frequent, many are rare.

Czech and Slovak Surnames: origins explained

Rod & Clan - Czech genealogy:  search for Czech surnames, post yours, more. Has a Petura reference.

Czech Genealogy Forum:  post your queries, search previous queries

Cyndi's List Czech Resources:

Czech & Slovak Genealogy: organizations in America and helpful links

Czech Republic:  history, contemporary scene, and a look at Czech culture, its arts and traditions

Racine Genealogy & History      [ Top ]

Racine Heritage Research with instructions for ordering research, documents

Racine Genealogy Forum: post, read queries

Racine Local HIstory Page: with census records, biographies, obituaries, surnames, historic photos such as Racine 1850 and Racine 1860, and more

Racine County Newspapers: list of early papers published in Bohemian, English and German. The Library of Congress has 18 microfilm reels of the famous Bohemian newspaper Slavie.

SEE ALSO:   Genealogy and history resources for Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

Genealogy Products     [ Top ]

Visit our Genealogy Shop for family history and genealogy books, family tree software and other products today. Check out the sections for German genealogy, Irish genealogy, finding women ancestors and much more.

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Genealogy Resources:  links to many of the most helpful online resources for family history research

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Delicious Memories: Stories and Recipes from a Czech- American Home

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Charles Jonas (1840-1896:
Czech National Liberal,
Wisconsin Bourbon

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Journeys into Czech-
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acine Maps     [ Top ]

Racine County: small modern map with Caledonia in the northeast corner of the county plus a large modern map with Tabor also shown.

1877 Plan of Racine: click to enlarge map

1895 Racine County Map with Caledonia, Racine, more, from 1895 US Atlas with a large 1895 Wisconsin map, Racine in SE corner.

Wisconsin Counties Map from the Census

Bohemia / Czech Maps     [ Top ]

1882 map of Bohemia when part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire

Map with statistics on legal & illegal emigration from Bohemia in the 19th century

Czech Republic Map: with links to the regions of Bohemia including Eastern Bohemia

Czech Republic Map:  current map, with cities, rivers and neighboring countries

Map of Czech Republic: large, detailed map.

Maps of the Czech Republic:  various types provided

Key Bohemia/Czech Locations  [ Top ]

Pardubice [Pardubitz in German], 65 miles or 104 km or east of Prague. On the Elbe River, it is the capital of Pardubice region, See Pardubice on a map. Petura family locales were villages between Pardubice and Vysoke Myto to the east.

Czech Map showing Pardubice east of Praha or Prague. Click on map to see next map with Vysoke Myto in red brackets. Click the map again to see next map with Vinary in red brackets, with Mravin and Stenec to the south and Popovec to the southeast -- all places in the Petura story

Map showing Popovec and Vinary located to the west of Vysoke Myto, and map that, enlarged, shows Vinary, Mravin, Srbce, Lozice, Popovec.

Vinary:   small village in the Chrudim district of the Pardubice Region. Vinary, in Czech, many photos such as this image of village, church, countryside.

Popovec near Pardubice, spelling used in book
by Habenicht, with the German version Popowetz recorded in Petura immigration records

Vysoke Myto: historic city east of Pardubice, with many fine buildings and history. Learn more about Vysoke Myto, its history and a very large photogallery. See map with its location.

Distances from Vysoke Myto: 4.8 k. [3 miles] to the west is Sedlec and 2.4 km [1.5 miles] further to the west from Sedlec is Mravin.

Distances from Mravin: 1.9 km [1.2 miles] north to Vinary, 2.2 km [1.4 miles] east to Popovec and 2.2 km [1.4 miles] south to Stenec, and a total of 3.9 km [2.4 miles] south to Srbce.

Find many large and small towns in Central European, including the Czech Republic, with four options for viewing maps of each locale.

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