5 – What? Teplys weren’t Catholic?

If you want to decorate a Teply ancestor grave in Junction City, you go to St. Mary’s Catholic cemetery.

If you want to visit a Teply ancestor grave in Hanover, you visit St. John’s Catholic cemetery. When we visited in 2015, I recall how impressed we were that there were nine ancestor grandparents (1x, 2x, etc) in that cemetery.

Don and Kathleen Teply were Catholic. Cathy, Tim and Mike went to Catholic school. Grandmas Anna and Aggie were Catholic. Teplys were Catholic.

But Teplys in Bohemia weren’t Catholic.

Well, first they weren’t, then they were, then weren’t, then were… Let me explain.

9th to 14th Century

Christianity was spreading throughout Bohemia, as it was in the rest of Europe. By the 13th century, there was a well-established network of Catholic parishes. Teplys? Don’t know.

15th Century

Woodcut of Jan Hus, ca 1587

Jan Hus (1369-1415) was born to poor parents in Bohemia. He became a priest in Prague, and was one of the earliest reformers of the church. He inspired a protestant reformation movement, Hussites. He was burned at the stake in 1415.

After his death, the majority of Bohemians and Moravians remained Hussites. Were the Teplys Hussites? We don’t know, but based on their later actions, they probably were.


Bohemia came under the rule of the Austrian Habsburg empire after they defeated Bohemian Hussites at the Battle of White Mountain. Bohemians were forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism.

The Teplys were now Catholic. Our earliest Teply citations are in the mid-1600’s, births, marriages, and deaths recorded in Catholic parish registers.

And these Teply Catholic citations continue well into the 1700s. A genealogist’s dream – you look in the Catholic parish registers.

For example, here’s the birth record for 9th great-grandfather Jan Teply in the Policka Catholic register in 1653.

Birth record of Jan Teply, 1653


Emperor Joseph II

In 1781, Habsburg Emperor Joseph II issued the Patent of Toleration. It granted religious freedom (kind of) to two protestant sects, Calvinists and Lutherans. There were restrictions: no congregation over 100 people, any church must look like a house, have no steeple, and no doorway facing the road.

People were required to ask the priest for permission to leave the Catholic Church and submit to counseling before leaving.

After 1781, most Teply vital records are found in the Protestant parish registers. The protestant minister was required to send a copy to the Catholic priest, who also made an entry into the Catholic register. A genealogist’s treat, two chances to find a citation.

By 1783, protestant churches were built in two of the Teply villages – Borova and Teleci. Later a protestant church was built in Pusta Rybna. Teply life events are recorded in these three churches.

The Teply villages were highlands, out in the boondocks. There wasn’t as much pressure here, and many people quit the Catholic church.


Our Bohemian Teply family protestant citations continue after their immigration to America – 1866.

Jos. Swoboda / Josephine Teply Marriage License

Joseph Teply died around 1867, shortly after arriving in Wisconsin. His wife Josephine married Joseph Svoboda in Wisconsin in 1869, by a Lutheran minister. Frank then went to live with John and Johanna Machal.

Frank Teply and the Machals and Svobodas moved to Kansas in 1874. They were not Catholic.


Frank Teply married Anna Welter September 29, 1892, in the Catholic Church in Hanover. I think this is the moment that our Teplys became Catholic again.


Wikipedia, see below

It’s interesting that today Czechia is characterized as being one of the least religious societies in Europe. 

Czech’s would admit to being atheists, but they’re afraid God would punish them

Joke in Czechia


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