Most Recent Update: 03 May 2014

Dedicated to the memory of Anton Ladman and all the generations of Ladmans both inspired and mystified by their Bohemian heritage. I only wish my own Grandpa Ladman had lived a bit longer to see the cloak of mystery surrounding the family name unveiled.

Your family needs you! Can you help your family research?

  • Is your last name Ladman? Join the Ladman DNA Project.
  • Have any information or pictures to add to this site, or want to receive updates by e-mail? Please contact me (Brian) at admin@antonladman.com.
  • Here are some Ladman items I’m still looking for:
    • Name of Anton Ladman’s brother that immigrated to America.
    • Picture of Anton’s daughter Mary Julia Ladman.
    • Copy of Anton Ladman Jr. and Sarah Thompson marriage record.
    • Information about Bertha Jelinek or any other children born to Anna Antonia Ladman and John Jelinek.

Who was Anton Ladman?

Many, if not most, Ladman descendants in America can trace their line back to Anton Ladman and his wife Anna (Zeman) Ladman.

From the Book of Ladman Descendants

From the Book of Ladman Descendants. Courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

According to the Book of Ladman Descendants, Anton Ladman left Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) on August 25, 1853 with his wife and three children–Emanuel William Ladman, Mary Ladman, and Antonia Ladman (their fourth child, Anton Ladman Jr., was born in America).

Alfred H. Ladman writes that they were from near Pribram in his family history (full text).

The Ladman family departed from Bremen, Germany aboard the barque Russell Sturgis on September 1, 1853 and arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 2, 1853 (note: Actually November 5th per ship arrival records).

From there Anton and family made their way up the Missouri River to St. Louis, arriving on November 11, 1853. They lived there for two years, during which time Anton’s son Anton Ladman Jr. (1853 – 1931) was born.

In St. Louis, Anton made contact with the government land office and purchased 40 acres near Portland, Callaway County, Missouri for $5.00. So Anton and family again took a steamboat up the Missouri River to Portland arriving on March 18, 1855.

Anton Ladman Home. Courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

Anton Ladman Home. Courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

Since he had difficulty speaking English and did not know anyone who could read maps well, it was two  years before he found his 40 acres during which time his family settled at a German and Bohemian community near Hillrun (Hillrun according to Alfred Ladman family history, but likely Heilburn located half a mile north of Portland as shown on 1897 and 1919 Atlas of the county).

While few, if any, Ladman descendants still live in Callaway County, it became the seat of the Ladman family for several generations.

Anton Ladman was naturalized on October 18, 1860 and per U.S. law his foreign born wife and children also became U.S. citizens on that day (certified copy of Anton Ladman naturalization papers).

Shortly after becoming a U.S. citizen, Anton cast his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln. This landed him alongside Joseph Polacek, his daughter-in-law’s father, in the local paper in a public shaming of those who had voted for Lincoln (most of Missouri allied itself with the Confederacy).

Anton Ladman passed away in 1882, and his wife, Anna, died seventeen years later on October 3, 1899.

The mystery of the Ladman family name

The mystery, simply put, is what is the real family name and where did they come from?

Let’s face it, the Ladman name just doesn’t sound, well, Czech. The names Anton, Emanuel William, Mary, and Antonia don’t seem particularly Czech either.

For over a hundred years the Ladman family name and the origins of Anton Ladman have been a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Grandfathers and great-grandfathers died not knowing, but always wondering about their mysterious Bohemian heritage.

Rick Johnson with Anton and Anna (Zeman) Ladman Gravestones. Photo courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

Rick Johnson with Anton and Anna (Zeman) Ladman Gravestones. Photo courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

Some said Anton was illegitimate and the line could never be traced any further back, some said the names were changed at the border, and still others speculated that Anton in his extreme capabilities did something known only to himself.

His descendants, myself included, had pretty much taken it for granted that the names of Anton and his children were not their real names and we’d never know anything about their lives prior to immigrating to America.

While it was certain Anton Ladman was ethnically Bohemian, it wasn’t even entirely certain what country he had lived in prior to America. Some records had him from Austria and his naturalization papers said he was a native of Germany. However, this is easily explained away by the fact that at the time Bohemia was a semi-autonomous kingdom under the Austrian Empire (not to be confused with the later Austro-Hungarian empire), and the boat they boarded was from the port at Bremen, Germany (Bohemia is a landlocked region with no ports).

Solving the Ladman mystery

Russell Sturgis Passenger Manifest. Image courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

Russell Sturgis Passenger Manifest. Image courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

The ship manifest for the Russell Sturgis listing the family name as “Lattman” had already been floating around the family for 50 years or more. As a result of this discovery, the story passed down many branches of Ladmans was that the original family name sounded something like “Lottman” (sic, possibly the “a” also looked like a cursive “o”), and had been Americanized to Ladman at immigration.

But in the summer of 2013 I got a wild hair to explore the theory that maybe the names of Anton and family weren’t changed after all and were actually their real names.

It was believed that all living Ladman’s were the result of a single stroke of the pen at immigration. So the first question to answer was: Are there any Ladmans alive in the Czech Republic today who would presumably not have been affected by a name change at customs?

While playing around on Google.cz I discovered a website that tells you the frequency of a surname in cities across the Czech Republic.

It turns out the answer is “yes,” there are in fact other Ladmans in the Czech republic today–at least 136 of them. And many of them are clustered right near Pribram where Alfred H. Ladman said they were from in his family history.

After a bit more Googling I came across a record and a family tree for an Antonín Ladman born at Hradešice in 1816. It was previously believed that our Anton had been born “about 1815.” It seemed too close of a match to be a coincidence. At least one person had already posted Antonín and his parents as fact to their family tree on Ancestry.com.

Ladman is such a rare name this almost constituted proof. I mean, surely there couldn’t be another Anton(in) Ladman born around the same time… Could there?

Excited, I tracked down Antonín Ladman’s baptism record online. But unfortunately I could find no mention of his wife Anna Zeman or any of their children in the parish records for Hradešice or the surrounding villages.

Anna (Zeman) Ladman Obituary. Courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

Anna (Zeman) Ladman Obituary. Courtesy of Frederick W. Johnson.

I tried looking for the records in Pribram village as well, but alas the books were not online yet. I didn’t think they would be in Pribram proper anyway since they were supposedly from “near Pribram.”

However, in digging through the records I made another discovery. Contrary to what we had believed, Antonin, Antonia, Anna, and Maria are extremely common Czech first names.

Even “Emanuel William” (listed as “Wentzel” on the Russell Sturgis manifest) made sense in light of a blog post by a Czech genealogist explaining that William (in English) and Wentzel (in German) are common translations of the Czech name Václav–Emanuel also being a cognate for William. So E.W.’s real name was most likely Václav.

It was about this time my correspondence to the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International was returned. I was told that Pribram is not just a village, it’s a region encompassing much of central Bohemia. And that to find my ancestors I would need to know the exact village since hundreds if not thousands of them dotted the countryside that could be considered “near Pribram.”

My heart sank.

But then I noticed another clue staring us in the face on the passenger manifest. It said they were from “Zugice.” Why it listed their town name and not simply “Bohemia” I don’t know, but it was a master stroke of fortune.

“-ice” is a common suffix for Czech town names, but there was just one problem–there is no village named Zugice.

I found a list of Czech town names on Wikipedia and began [painfully] scouring the parish records for any town that looked even remotely like it could have been misspelled as Zugice. I spent about a week straight absorbed in this pursuit, searching the records village-by-village and coming up empty.

I was just about to give up when I thought, okay, let’s try one last thing. I’ll take a look at a map of the area near Pribram village proper and see if any of those town names could be construed as my Zugice.

Pribram Map. Courtesy of www.weather-forecast.com.

Pribram Map. Courtesy of www.weather-forecast.com.

Immediately “Žežice” jumped right out at me. It was a very close match to the southwest of Pribram, but I had passed over it before because I couldn’t find the books online.

Drat!

But there was a peculiarity. It’s not just that the books weren’t online, they weren’t listed at all. Almost as if Žežice didn’t even exist. With a little help from our friends the Mormons, I was able to deduce that Žežice is part of a different parish called Slivice (Czech Republic parish finder).

One solitary book for Slivice covering births from 1837 – 1851 was online. Not the right time period to find Anton or Anna, but perhaps the children.

And that’s when I found it!

A single record for a Maria Ladman born to Antonin Ladman and Anna Ladman (daughter of Josef Zeman). The birth date was slightly off what had been passed down for our Mary, but it was the right timeframe and the right parents and it even gave the right maiden name for Anna!

So there were two Antonin Ladman’s born around the same time after all and Antonin of Hradešice was a red herring, who’da thought.

However, we can now be certain that Ladman is the original family name. It appears the name change at the border was just a single use of the spelling “Lattman.” A single blip in an otherwise continuous use of the Ladman name.

Unfortunately the rest of the books were not online to find the rest of the records, and the old Kurrant script the records were written in was of course, aside from being extremely illegible, in Czech. So I hired a local professional genealogist, David Kohout, to find and translate the parish records. What follows about the life of Anton Ladman and family in Bohemia is a result of those efforts.

The Anton Ladman family in Bohemia

Anton Ladman request for passport (last entry), 1853. Photo by David Kohout.

Anton Ladman request for passport (last entry), 1853. Photo by David Kohout.

Anton and Anna were married and lived in the village of Žežice prior to immigrating to America.

Anton was born out of wedlock to Magdalena Ladman in nearby Nová Hospoda (means “New Pub”), which was an area comprised of independent houses in between the village of Dubno and Pribram. In the early 19th century Nová Hospoda was considered part of Dubno, but today it is practically a suburb of the big city Pribram (map from the years 1836-1850). Anton apparently took his surname from his mother, and it is still unknown who his father was.

Anna Zeman was born in Velké Pečice, another village near Žežice, to parents Ondřej Zeman and Kateřina Faubíková.

Seven of Anton and Anna’s eight children were born in Bohemia, though four of them died in infancy.

The birth dates of the children that survived to adulthood are all slightly different than what has been passed down through the family, but I don’t think this is cause for concern as people just weren’t as fastidious about remembering and using birth dates in those days.

While Bohemians are typically not given middle names, one of the children that died in infancy appears as “Jan Nepomuk Ladman” on the birth record. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was popular to name children after Catholic saints, the most popular of which was Jan Nepomuk.

Another possible reason for Anton’s affinity for the name Jan is that he had an uncle named Jan Ladman. Though only 8 years older than Anton, Jan may have acted as Anton’s guardian during some of his early years. Indeed, Jan Ladman appears as the name of his father on the birth records of Anton’s children–apparently an error on the part of the vicar. Of course this is still pure speculation.

Anton’s mother, Magdalena, was listed as a “beggar” on her death record and no doubt had difficulty supporting her son. She died single and never married. Some of Anton’s children suffered from mental illness, and I wonder if his mother didn’t as well.

It is believed by some that Anton had a brother who also immigrated to America and was last known to be living in Louisiana in the late 1800s–name unknown. However, no birth records were found for any other children born to Magdalena. It seems unlikely Anton would have had a relationship with a paternal half brother, if he even knew who his father was. If there was another member of the Ladman clan who came to America, perhaps it was actually a child of Jan Ladman who Anton had been raised with like a brother.

Magdalena herself was one of eight children born to František Ladman, a day laborer per parish records, and Kateřina Brabcová. It is quite likely that distant Ladman cousins descended from Magdalena’s siblings are still alive in the Czech Republic today.

Anton is listed as a “bricklayer’s journeyman” in his marriage record and the birth records of his children. It appears Anton passed on this trade to his descendants as I also have in my possession a brick made by Anton’s eldest son Emanuel William Ladman in the late 1800s and a copy of a phone directory listing E.W.’s son Alfred Ladman as a mason.

Anton’s profession is later listed as “weaver” on the Russell Sturgis passenger manifest, though I wonder if he was ever actually engaged in that profession or not.

It is unknown why Anton Ladman decided to try his luck at improving his lot in America, but perhaps hard times brought on by crop failure was a contributing factor like it was for many immigrants of this era from nearby Germany.

Ladman Genealogy

Bohemian naming conventions

Female surnames may appear differently than male surnames (usually adding the suffix -ová) because in Czech, names are conjugated using a gendered case system (more on Czech names). Michelle Obama, for instance, appears in the Czech news as “Michelle Obamová.” Tennis fans will no doubt be familiar with Czech superstar Martina Navrátilová.

First names also often appear different on Catholic parish records. For example František often appears as Franciscus or Franz. This is because the records themselves are often a mixture of Latin, German, and Czech. The Slivice Parish records where most of the Ladman records were found are predominantly in Latin.

Ladman family chronology

NOTE: As my research progresses I will be adding earlier generations, so for the purpose of this site I have labeled Anton Ladman and Anna Zeman as “Generation 1″ and will count up for earlier generations. For example, Anton and Anna’s parents are “Generation 2.”

Generation 4

Jakub Ladman and his wife Magdalena gave birth to František Ladman on 29 Jul 1759 in Tochovice, Central Bohemia, Bohemia. This information is taken from the birth record of František and I have not yet researched this generation further.

Generation 3

František Ladman was born on 29 Jul 17591 in Tochovice, Central Bohemia, Bohemia and died on 13 Sep 18182 in Dubno, Central Bohemia, Bohemia. His first marriage was to Kateřina Poláková on 11 Feb 17813 in Dubno, Central Bohemia, Bohemia. No birth records of children were found from this marriage, though the village of Tochovice was not searched. Kateřina apparently died shortly after their marriage, possibly in child birth, and a year later František married Kateřina Brabcová on 27 Jan 17824 in Dubno, Central Bohemia, Bohemia. They had the following children:

  1. (M) Matěj Ladman 23 Feb 1785 – ?
  2. *(F) Magdalena Ladmanová 01 Aug 1786 – 07 Dec 1850
  3. (M) Josef Ladman 26 Feb 1789 – ?
  4. (M) Václav Ladman 23 Aug 1792 – ?
  5. (M) František Ladman 18 Aug 1795 – ?
  6. (F) Anna Ladmanová 07 Jul 1798 – ?
  7. (M) Jan Ladman 21 Jun 1802 – Died in infancy
  8. (M) Jan Ladman 07 Dec 1804 – 15 Oct 1843

Generation 2

Magdalena Ladmanová was born on 01 Aug 17861 in Dubno, Central Bohemia, Bohemia and died on 07 Dec 18502 in Žežice, Central Bohemia, Bohemia. She and an unknown father gave birth to Antonín Ladman on 05 Jun 1812.

Death of Magdalena Ladmanová, left. Photo by David Kohout.

Death of Magdalena Ladmanová, left. Photo by David Kohout.

Death of Magdalena Ladmanová, right. Photo by David Kohout.

Death of Magdalena Ladmanová, right. Photo by David Kohout.

Ondřej Zeman was born in 17811 in Bohemia and died on 06 Nov 18362 in Žežice, Central Bohemia, Bohemia. He married Kateřina Faubíková3 and they had the following children:

  1. (M) Jakub Zeman 01 Aug 1807 – ?
  2. (M) Václav Zeman 17 Oct 1811 – ?
  3. *(F) Anna Zemanová 02 Feb 1814 – 03 Oct 1899
  4. (F) Barbora Zemanová 26 May 1816 – ?

Generation 1

Antonín Ladman

  • Born and christened on 05 Jun 1812 in Dubno, Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Married Anna Zemanová on 06 Feb 1838 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.2
  • Naturalized and made a U.S. Citizen on 18 Oct 1860 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.3
  • Died on 24 Jan 1882 in Portland, Callaway, Missouri, USA.4
  • Buried in Gibson Family Cemetery in Steedman, Callaway, Missouri, USA.5

Birth of Antonin Ladman, left page. Photo by David Kohout.

Birth of Antonin Ladman, right page. Photo by David Kohout.

Anna Zemanová

  • Born 02 Feb 1814 in Velké Pečice, Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Married Antonín Ladman on 06 Feb 1838 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.2
  • Naturalized and made a U.S. Citizen on 18 Oct 1860 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.3
  • Died on 03 Oct 1899 in Portland, Callaway, Missouri, USA.4
  • Buried in Gibson Family Cemetery in Steedman, Callaway, Missouri, USA.5
Marriage of Antonín Ladman and Anna Zemanová, left page. Photo by David Kohout.

Marriage of Antonín Ladman and Anna Zemanová, left page. Photo by David Kohout.

Marriage of Antonín Ladman and Anna Zemanová, right page. Photo by David Kohout.

Marriage of Antonín Ladman and Anna Zemanová, right page. Photo by David Kohout.

They had the following children:

1. (M) Petr Ladman

  • Born on 19 Jun 1838 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Died in infancy.2

2. (M) Jan Nepomuk Ladman

  • Born on 11 May 1840 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Died in infancy.2

3. (M) Václav Ladman (aka Wáclaw, Wentzel, Emanuel William)

  • Born on 29 Aug 1841 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Naturalized and made a U.S. Citizen on 18 Oct 1860 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.2
  • Married Eleonora “Laura” Poláček on 27 Dec 1865 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.3
  • Died on 07 Aug 1923 in Kansas City, Wyandotte, Kansas, USA.4
  • Buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Kansas City, Wyandotte, Kansas, USA.5

4. (F) Josefa Ladmanová

  • Born on 17 Mar 1844 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Died in infancy.2

5. (F) Maria Ladmanová

  • Born on 18 Aug 1847 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Naturalized and made a U.S. Citizen on 18 Oct 1860 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.2
  • Married William Kubacek on 26 Dec 1864 in Portland, Callaway, Missouri, USA.3
  • Died on 04 Feb 1917 in Portland, Callaway, Missouri, USA.4
  • Buried in Gibson Family Cemetery in Steedman, Callaway, Missouri, USA.5

6. (M) Jan Ladman

  • Born on 14 May 1850 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Died in infancy on 22 Dec 1850 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.2

7. (F) Antonia Ladmanová

  • Born on 05 Jan 1852 in Žežice (Slivice Parish), Central Bohemia, Bohemia.1
  • Naturalized and made a U.S. Citizen on 18 Oct 1860 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.2
  • Married John Jelinek on 22 Mar 1874 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.3
  • Married James Hans Myers on 15 Nov 1883 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.4
  • Died on 12 Apr 1922 in Callaway County, Missouri, USA.5
  • Buried in Steedman, Callaway, Missouri, USA.6

Birth of Antonia Ladmanová. Photo by David Kohout.

8. (M) Anton Ladman Jr.

  • Born on 31 Jan 1855 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.1
  • Married Sarah “Sallie” Thompson on 20 Aug 1877 in Portland, Callaway, Missouri, USA.2
  • Died on 25 Jun 1931 in Steedman, Callaway, Missouri, USA.3
  • Buried in Riverview Cemetery in Steedman, Callaway, Missouri, USA.4

Acknowledgements

First and foremost, thanks to great-grandpa Alfred H. Ladman for having the foresight to put to paper what he knew of the Ladman family history, without which the Ladman origins in Bohemia may never have been re-discovered.

Thanks to Floyd Ladman for imbuing our Bohemian heritage with enough mystery and intrigue to fuel the drive and curiosity to pursue the family history.

Special thanks to the heroic efforts of Rick Johnson in digging out the early history of Ladmans in America family-by-family and preserving it. He also took the time to answer many pesky questions about the Ladman line from a distant cousin whom he’d never even heard of before.

Thanks to possible distant cousin Petr Ladman for not deleting what looked like spam mail from America, and his sister for transcribing the baptism record of Maria Ladman.

Thanks to distant Polacek cousin Jake Cathcart for turning me onto the online Czech parish records, which proved instrumental in the search for the Ladman trail overseas.

Thanks to David Kohout, a professional genealogist in the Czech Republic, for tracking down Ladman records, translating them, and providing insights on Bohemian history (homepage).

Also thanks to distant cousin Bev who, despite no connection to the Ladman line, re-ignited my genea genes and got me going again on this whole genealogical kick.