Discover the ins and outs of Czechs' and Slovaks' immigration to America.
Your quest to trace your roots to the old country begins with identifying and documenting the immigrant generation. The majority of Czech and Slovak immigrants arrived before the 20th-century political upheavals. That includes approximately 400,000 Czechs and some 620,000 Slovaks who flocked to America's shores between 1850 and 1914 — some sought better economic and social conditions; others wanted to avoid political persecution or conscription into the Austrian army.
Pre-Civil War Czech immigrants were farmers who settled in Iowa, Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska and the Dakotas; those who arrived after the Civil War opted for larger industrial or mining areas. Slovak immigrants began arriving en masse in the 1880s and sought employment in American factories, mines and mills in cities such as Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.