Matej Bilek


Family Links

Rosalie Kuthan

Matej Bilek 770

  • Born: 11 Mar 1830, Dunajicich, Budejovice, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia 25,34,68,427
  • Marriage: Rosalie Kuthan 100
  • Died: 19 Jan 1905, Chicago, Cook , IL, USA at age 74 31,771,772
  • Buried: 22 Jan 1905, St. Adalbert's, Niles, , IL 121,773,774

bullet  General Notes:

Michael can neither read, write, nor speak English I think. He is NOT a naturalized citizen 5 years before his death at age 75. (Not right? We see him naturalized according to 1890 voter registration. See Residence 1890-1905!)

Who IS Michael Bilek? The cemetery rep said Matej is buried near Michael. I was thinking they were the same person. ??

There were no Michael or Matthew or Matej Bileks in the 1930 census.
There were no Bileks in the 1870 city directory.

In the St. John Nepomucene church records, Chicago, they list the death record of a Matej/Mathya/Michael Bilek who had been born in 1859. I don't know who this is. A son?

Watch for Matej in the St. John Nepomucene Church records.

He had 49 grandchildren if I counted correctly. Not all lived to adulthood.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

Alt. Name: Michael/Mathya/Mathias/Mathia/Mathys/Michel Bilek/Belik/Belleck. 25,606 In 1874, he's listed in St. John Nepomucene records as Mathia at the birth of his daughter, Catherine. In 1880, he's listed as Michel in the census. In 1883, he's listed as Mathia, father of daughter Rosalia at her wedding. In 1885, he's listed as Mathia at the wedding of daughter, Anna. In 1888, he's listed as Mathys at the marriage of their son, Frank. In 1890, he's listed as Matej at the baptism of John Vyskocil, Jr. In 1891, he's listed as Matej in the baptism of grandchild Anna Novotny. In 1893, he's listed as Matej in the baptism of grandchild Frantiska Vyskocil. In 1896, he's listed as Mathya at the marriage of his daughter, Frances. In 1893, he's listed as Matej for the birth of grandchild by daughter, Anna. In 1900, he's listed as Michiel Belek in the census. In 1905, he's listed as Matej at his death. In 1908, he's listed as the father to son John at his marriage as Michaelis. In city directories, he's listed as Michael in 1880, 1884, 1885, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, ...
The 1880 census lists him as Michel Belleck. 1900 census lists him as Miched Belik.

Occupation: carpenter, 1873. 68

Immigration, 19 Apr 1873, Castle Garden, NY, NY. 243 Listed as Mathias Bilek, age 43. Came with wife Rosalia, age 29; Maria 15; Joseph 13; Rosalie 10; Franz 7; Anna 5; and Elizabeth, 6 mo's. Came steerage on the ship, Smidt, departing from Bremen, Germany, place of origin listed as Germany.
In the 1900 census, he's listed as having arrived in 1872, but that's incorrect.

From Rootsweb:
Further to Harry's post, the details of the SMIDT may be of interest. She
was the first ocean going steamer built on the River Weser, or probably in
Germany as a whole.Owned by Capt. H. Raschen and partners, she sailed from
Geestemunde (between Bremen and Bremerhaven) on 4th Apr.1868 with cargo and
766 passengers. She experienced strong westerly gales during the entire
passage and did not reach New York until 3rd May. Altogether she landed
3,032 passengers at NY in 1868 during the course of 4 voyages, the last
three starting at Bremerhaven. The SMIDT's first voyage in 1869 nearly ended
in disaster. She left Bremerhaven on 11th Jan., called at London and didn't
reach New York until 5th March after experiencing a severe hurricane. She
shipped a huge sea which washed the bridge overboard and filled the second
cabin and engine room half full of water, lost deck stores and everything
moveable on deck. The passengers suffered greatly. She made a further 7
round voyages in 1869-70 and then trace was lost for nearly two years,
partly on account of the Franco-Prussian War. It appears that she changed
ownership as she is recorded as being owned by Bremer Dampschiffahrt Ges. in
1872. She made 9 New York voyages in 1872-73 and in 1874 was sold to
Siedenburg & Wendt, Bremen who removed her engines and ran her for more than
20 years as a 3-masted barque.

1,672 gross tons, length 210ft x beam 39.5ft, one funnel, two masts, iron
hull, single screw, speed 9 knots. Built by Johan Lange, Bremen, she was
launched for H. Raschen on 16th Dec.1867. Her maiden voyage started 4th
Apr.1868 when she left Geestemunde for London and New York and her second
voyage from Bremen - New York commenced 26th Jun.1868. On 9th Oct.1873 she
started her 20th and last New York sailing and in 1874 was sold, engines
removed and converted to three masted barque. In Oct.-Nov. 1896 she was
abandoned at sea, towed to Fayal, Azores and later to Hamburg where she was
condemned. 1897 scrapped South Wales. [North Atlantic Seaway, vol.2, p.720
by N. R. P. Bonsor]

Residence, 1877. 38 Moved to IL? According to his death cert in 1905, he'd been a resident of the state for 28 years.

Occupation: lumberman, 16 Jun 1880, Chicago, Cook , IL, USA. 25 Listed under Belleck. At the time of the census, he's been unemployed for 3 months during the last year.

Residence, 16 Jun 1880, 506 29th St., Chicago, Cook, IL. 25 Living here are Michael, Rosa, Francis, Kate, Elizabeth, Rosa, Annie, & Frank. Also 8 others. Listed under "Belleck".

Residence, 1880-1885 at least, 506 29th St., Chicago, Cook, IL. 25,85 Listed in 1880 census as living at 506 29th St. Living in this home are Michel, Rosa, Francis, Katie, Elizabeth, Rosa, Annie, and Frank. Listed as Michael Belleck, page 54, Supervisor's Dist. No. 1, Enumeration Dist. No. 38.

Employment: Lumberman, Jun 1880, Chicago, Cook , IL, USA. 25 Listed as having been without work 3 months in this census year.

Citizenship, 14 Mar 1889, Chicago, Cook , IL, USA. 610 Voter registration records show that he became naturalized on March 14, 1889 in the Circuit Court of Cook Cty. They also say he was born in Austria and that he'd been in the precinct, county, and state for 20 years. Frank Bilek's been in the precinct, county, & state for the same number of years and they live in the same house in 1892.
I found the U.S. Naturalization record index cards for a Matej Beilek on p. 5684 of the B420's in the Soundex index. He's listed as Matej (Michael), from Austria. When born (or age) he's listed as "None." Witness was John Smelka. Date of naturalization 10-13-1900. Date and port of arrival is listed as None.

Occupation: laborer, 1890-1900, Chicago, Cook , IL, USA. 34,85 In the 1900 census, he's listed as a "lumber talleir" (sic), but he hadn't been employed for 12 months according to the census. He can neither read, write, nor speak English. He's listed as Michiel Belik. Enumeration District #126, Sheet 18, 5th Ward.

Residence, 1890-1905, 478 29th St., Chicago, Cook, IL. 31,34,85,553 The 1900 census confirms this is our Matej. He's living with daughter Rosa and and her husband Charley Kostecka and their daughters Mary, Lizzy, sons James, Joseph, Charley, and John. And then also Matej's son John and daughter Kathy, and then also John Heirer, John's wife and children John and Eddie. So that makes five people named John living in the house! I don't think the Heirer group has any family connection. There are a total of 16 people living at this address, 11 of whom are confirmed family. He's listed as "Michied Belik" in Ancestry's database. He is the owner of the home, which he owns free of a mortgage. Living next door were Matej's daughter Anna and her husband "Mekalus" Kotroba and their five children.
In the 1891 Voter Registration, he's listed as "Matt Byleck at 478 28th St. Record shows he's lived in the state 14 years, 18 years in the county and state, naturalized on 3-14-1887 through the Circuit Court of Cook County. 1892 Voter Registrations, Michael Bilek is still listed as living at this address. I also see Michael, a laborer, in the city directory for 1892 living at 478 29th. He's listed as Matthew in the1897 city directory. No Michaels are listed in the directory for that year. Ward 5, District 126, Sheet 18. Matej's probate records prove this is his address because it's listed as such.

Occupation: Carpenter, 19 Jan 1905. 31 Listed as a carpenter on his death cert.

Obituary: Denni Hlasatel, 21 Jun 1905, Chicago, Cook , IL, USA. 775 Translated, it reads:
Deeply regret to announce the death of a fellow man, father and grandfather

Who died today 19 January at 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon at the age of 76 years. He was a member of St. John Nep. I.U.F. and was born and lived in Dunajicich, near Budejovice, Czechoslovakia, and lived in America 33 years. Body will be resting at his home on Sunday, 22 January at 9 o'clock in the morning at 478 - 29th St. until church, St. John Nep. and from there to Czech-Polish Catholic Cemetery, St. Vojtecha. Condolences received by Joseph, Frank and John, sons; Marie, Rozalie, Anna, Alzbeta, Frantiska, and Katerina, daughters; Josefa Bilek, Anna Bilek, daughters-in-law; and Frantisek Novotny, Karel Kostecka, Ignac Kotrba, Ben Schroeder, Matej Maloney, sons-in-law; and the rest of his friends.
One is welcome to offer condolences after the burial at Jany funeral parlor at 514 - 29th St. until 6 o'clock.

Probate: Intestate, Probate Court of Cook County, 19 Jan 1905, Chicago, Cook , IL, USA. 70 Two Documents:
(Doc. 1)
State of IL vs. The People of the State of Illinois. To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:
Know ye that whereas, Matej Bilek of the County of Cook and State of IL, died intestate as it is said on or about the 19th day of Jan a.d. 1905, having at the time of his decease personal property in this State, which may be lost, destroyed, or diminished in value, if speedy care be not taken of the same; to the end, therefore, that said property may be collected and preserved for those who shall appear to have a legal right or intrest therein, we do hereby appoing James Reddick, of the County of Cook and State of Illinois, Administrator of all and singular the goods and chattels, rights and credits which were of the said Matej Bilek at the time of his decease, with full power and authority to secure and collect the said Property and debts, wheresoever the same may be found in this State, and in general to do and perform all other acts, which now are or hereafter may be required of ?? law. Witness, Patrick J. Cahill, Clerk of the Probate Court in and for the said County of Cook ... this 12th day of Jan a.d. 1906.
(Doc. 2)
State of Illinois Probate Court of Cook County, 12th day of January ad 1906. Present, Hon. ?? Cutting, Judge of the Probate Court of Cook County
Thomas Hamal? Sheriff of Cook County
Attest, ? Cahill, Clerk of the Probate Court of Cook County. In the matter of the estate of Matej Bilek deceased
On reading and filing the petition, duly verified of Annie Kotrba of the County of Cook, in the State of Illinois, from which it appears to the Court that Matej Bilek of Chicago in said County, died intestate on or about the 19th day of January ad 1905, leaving Real property and effects in said County, the value of which does not exceed the sum of one thousand dollars; that the petitioner a daughter of said decedent, and prays that James Reddick may be appointed to administer upon said estate.
And it appearing to the Court that all the allegations of said petition are true, on motion, it is ordered that the said James Reddick, Public administrator of Cook County be appointed administrat of the estate of the said Matej Bilek deceased, upon his official bond as such administrator And it is further ordered that Neil J. Shannon, Francis M. Sullivan and John D. Wiliamson be appointed to appraise the personal estate of said decedent subject to appraisement, and that a warrant be issued to there therefor.

Probate: But wait!. We have a copy of his probate records and he left everything to daughter Catherine...!

Cemetery, 1905, St. Adalbert's, Cook County, IL. 63 Buried with wife Rose, Michael Bilek, C. Kostecka (Charley), John Bilek, and Kate Bilek. Lot 18, Block C, St. Procopius Section, grave either 1 or 4.
They didn't attend St. Adelbert's, though.


Matej married Rosalie Kuthan, daughter of Joamis Kuthan and Marie Roubik.100 (Rosalie Kuthan was born about 1844 in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia,25,776,777 died on 26 Oct 1895 in Chicago area, Cook, IL 38 and was buried on 27 Oct 1895 in St. Adalbert's, Niles, , IL 63,778.)

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