BOHEMIAN ALPS TOUR: People from around the country toured the Saints Cyril and Methodius Church at Plasi on Oct. 16, part of a tour of the Bohemian Alps in Saunders and Butler counties. The group was attending a two-day conference in Lincoln put on by the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society, International. (Staff Photo by Suzi Nelson)

PRAGUE – A group of people from across the country toured the Saunders County countryside known as the “Bohemian Alps” on a sunny autumn day, looking for their roots.

Participants in the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society, International (CGSI) attended a two-day conference in Lincoln and toured Butler and Saunders counties on Oct. 16. The conference is held every two years in different parts of the country.

Their tour took them to communities and churches in the area, including Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Plasi, just outside of Prague. It is one of the oldest churches in the county.

The group listened to a presentation by parish member Larry Mach about the church’s history as they sat on the pews, admiring the many religious artifacts decorating the walls, many in the Czech language. A fifth-generation Saunders County resident, Mach told them that his family homesteaded south of Prague near Plasi in 1877.

Jennifer Peggs and her mother, Barbara, of Louisville, Ky., enjoyed the scenery and the Czech history in Saunders County.

“It’s beautiful,” Jennifer Peggs said. “I’ve never been to Nebraska before.”

Barbara Peggs attended the conference to learn about family members who immigrated from the Czech and Slovak republics.

“Because I’m trying to find all the information I can about my grandparents on my mother’s side,” she said.

Robert and Jean Jacques of Globe/Miami, Ariz., have been to Nebraska many times in their RV.

“We like Nebraska and we come often,” said Robert Jacques.

But they have never been to the Bohemian Alps, he said as he looked out over the fields of ripening corn and soybeans.

“It’s nice to be able to stand and look out forever,” he said.

The couple attended the conference to learn about Jean Jacques’ Czech and Slovenian heritage. They enjoyed the presentations during the tour.

“Some of the history was absolutely fascinating,” Jean Jacques said.

In addition to visiting the church in Plasi, the tour also visited churches in Brainard, Cedar Hill, Weston and Touhy and ate lunch at the Kolach Korner in Prague.

More than 25 speakers from the U.S. and the Czech Republic attended the conference in Lincoln to provide information on Czech genealogy, history and traditions.

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