Thursday, August 31, 2006

Just in Time for the Holiday Weekend

Many folks will be hitting the road tomorrow for the Labor Day Holiday weekend. Since I have a deadline to meet for my new book next week, unfortunately, I will be at home working. Today, on MSNBC I came across an excellent article “Flying Blind” by Christopher Dickey for Newsweek International Edition in which he writes about how airline security needs to be based on common sense, not policies that will turn citizens into inmates of their own countries. Click the MSNBC link to view the article.

Sure, it is not directly related to genealogy, but a piece to ponder for those of you who need to use the airlines to travel to visit family or friends, see your ancestral homeland, to attend genealogical conferences or research in another state.

I am also linking to this article because I think it is very well-written. You can also link to other articles by the author.

Have a safe holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

FGS/NEHGS 2006 Birthplace of American Genealogy

If you are looking for something to do over the Labor Day Weekend and feel like taking a road trip to Boston, MA, the Federation of Genealogical Societies is holding its 2006 conference there August 30-September 2nd. Registrations are still being accepted at the door. See the FGS Web site for details.

Here’s the basic description of the conference from the FGS Web site:

Each year the Federation of Genealogical Societies holds a conference for the nation's genealogists. Join the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston August 30 - September 2, 2006 for the largest genealogical conference ever held. Speakers from the United States, Canada, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England will be providing educational opportunities for genealogists of all levels - from beginner to professional. With 350 information-packed sessions spread over the course of four days, you are sure to find the perfect techniques and practices for your research. Hundreds of exhibition booths will cram into two exhibit halls to demonstrate the latest products and services. And members of the Association of Professional Genealogists will donate their services to provide free consultations to all attendees. Please join us for this historic occasion in the Birthplace of American Genealogy. This conference and all of its sessions are open to everyone. Membership in a genealogical society is not required.

Unfortunately, I will not be a speaker at this conference, and do to another commitment am not able to be an attendee either. If you’re like me, and can’t make it this year, you you can keep up with all of the conference happenings by checking the FGS Conference Blog on the Conference page.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Good Day to be a Writer

Today I received the mock-up for the cover of my forthcoming book, Slovak Pittsburgh for Arcadia Publishing . It is always exciting to see a new writing project take shape and near completion. Unfortunately, because it has not yet gone to press I am unable to share an image. But, I will say that I think the cover looks great and I can't wait to see the rest of the book finally in print! Look for the book sometime in early 2007!

I have also secured several new writing assignments for two of my favorite genealogical publications that I can't wait to start working on! Going after and landing new assignments is often the most difficult step in the writing process. You can never rest solely on your past laurels.

For me, it is definitely a good day to be a writer!

Monday, August 28, 2006

In Tune with Your Family History

Let’s face it genealogy can be a tedious process at times. After I’ve spent several hours persistently searching all of my favorite online databases for 10 possible variations of a particularly tricky family surname, I admit that my enthusiasm starts to wane a bit. I often find that by listening to a few family history-themed tunes (purchased/downloaded legally, of course) helps to put the joy back in the genealogy and usually will inspire me to keep plugging away.

A few of the favorites on my play list include:

  • "Lady Liberty" by Orleans – on their Still the One Live CD (2003)
  • "America" by Neil Diamond – on the Jazz Singer soundtrack (1980), but also on a number of his greatest hits collections
  • "Ellis Island" by Marc Cohn – on Burning the Daze (1998)
  • "The Hands That Built America by U2" – Gangs of New York Soundtrack (2002) and U2 - The Best of 1990-2000 (2002)
  • "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge – Found on We Are Family (1979) and other various soundtrack and compilation albums

You can also check iTunes and other music sites for information on how to purchase legal downloads of these tracks.

I included “Listen to Inspirational Music” as one of five ways to put your digital music player to good use in my article, "Using Your Digital Audio Player for Family History" in Internet Genealogy Extra(special online issue) June 2006, p.55.

So if you’re looking to get back into tune with your family history, get out your ear buds, plug in and enjoy!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kudos to My Web Designer

For this posting, I am going to turn away from genealogy to give a shout out to Ben, my Web site designer (withholding his surname for privacy purposes). In previous posts, I mentioned the importance of building a "team" or "network" to help you along in the family history research process.

Although not a genealogist, Ben has become an integral part of my personal genealogy team. He designed and maintains my professional Web site. He updates my lecture schedule, adds new articles that I've published and provides information on my latest book projects. Ben also designed my other Web site, for my book Baba's Kitchen: Slovak & Rusyn Family Recipes and Traditions--if you haven't visited it, please take a look. Ben did a great job with it! And, he does this while attending college in Georgia.

So, I just want to thank Ben for joining my team!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hidden Genealogical Gems - Part 2

This is part 2 in what I plan to be an ongoing series of posts on this blog highlighting a particular “genealogical gem” that I have uncovered through home and family sources, and how the item has helped me know more about my family’s history.

This week’s hidden gem is my mother’s “Bride’s Notebook.”

My mother was the quintessential “Pack Rat.” Of course, Mom would have had no idea that her daughter would eventually become a genealogist. It was just her way to save everything. How lucky for me.

My parents were married in 1947 and the Bride’s Notebook was a common keepsake for the wedding.

My mother kept meticulous notes in her Bride’s Notebook. One of the genealogical gems gleaned from this source is the first page where my mother recorded many of the details of her marriage ceremony (good for names, dates, and places).

For example:

Date: October 14, 1947
Time: 2:00 o’clock p.m.
Name of Minister: Rev. Loya
Fee: $25.00
Florist: Kopriver’s
Canopy: Checked
Rehearsal Date: October 13, 1947
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Cars for Wedding Party: 3 Berta, Kolcun, Steve
Music Listing: Hatala
Photographer: Carter-Di Nino
Time: 3:30 p.m.

Other wonderful details include a “Wedding Invitation List.” There were several pages of names of addresses of family members and friends who attended the ceremony and reception.

For privacy reasons, I won't share an image of the page, but one example was: Mr. & Mrs. John Alzo (my grandparents; now long deceased and no longer at the address) 633 Hill Street Duquesne, PA.

This is sort of like a genealogical goldmine because the names and addresses and be plugged into online databases such as to search in census and other records.

The facts obtained from this “genealogical gem” can be inserted into a written family history to give a very nice and detailed description of my parents’ wedding.

Here’s wishing you success for finding your own “Hidden Genealogical Gems” on your family treasure hunt!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Screaming Over Ice Cream

A winner has not been declared in the "Sundae Wars" between Ithaca, NY and Two Rivers, WI (see my previous blog post).

A segment highlighting the feud appeared this evening on Steve Hartman's Assignment America on the CBS evening news.

Needless to say, the war continues to escalate. And, as Hartman notes, although there may never be a true victor, at least in this war, both sides get the spoils. To read the story, and see a video clip, go to the CBS News Web site.

I must say, in its brief moment in the national spotlight, Ithaca was looking pretty good!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Creature Comforts

I am constantly fascinated by where I live. While our house is not in the city, it is not really out in the country either, yet our backyard seems to attract all sorts of creatures. From time to time we have seen: squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, and even wild turkeys! And of course, various types of birds, especially cardinals (see my previous postings about “Little Sweetie”). This week, however, we’ve now discovered that a groundhog has made its home underneath the deck in our backyard. We spotted him one evening, snacking near the many plants and greenery that surrounds the deck. We noticed the critter when we opened the door to get some fresh air. Startled by the noise, the little guy (or girl?) bolted across our deck and scooted into the hole on the side of it.

This morning the groundhog—we named it “Phil” (okay, not very original) but it can be a unisex name—for “Phillip” or “Philomena,” came out of hiding again this morning and sauntered across the deck back to the same spot. We were able to snap a quick photo before Phil ran away again.

While I know it is a rodent, I can’t help but be enamored by the fact that this little groundhog has made its home with us. He/she is big!!! But also cute in a strange sort of way. Now, I admit that I know virtually nothing about groundhogs, other than “Phil” will soon go into hibernation for the winter months—most likely under our deck!

Yes, I know this groundhog sighting has absolutely nothing to do with genealogy or family history, except that it has provided a distraction for me. I know many “die-hard” genealogists will probably take me to task or have an issue with what I am about to say, but sometimes I want a break from genealogy. I know for certain that family history research can be addictive (I am just as guilty as any other dedicated family history sleuth), but I also feel that there are other things in the world besides genealogy. And, on occasion, I like to think about, talk about, and write about something other than my search for great-great grandpa. So, I say “thanks” to Phil for coming around and making me take 15 minutes to look at something other than my computer screen!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Giving Back and Paying It Forward

In many of the articles I write for genealogical publications, as well as presentations I give at conferences or to various groups and societies, I often talk about how "No genealogist is an island." (See my article "Get in the Game" in the April 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine and "Key Contacts for Your Research" in the December 2005 issue Family Chronicle Magazine.) I also note the importance of building a "genealogy team" or "family history network" of key folks who can assist you in the research process. But part of the equation is that you also become a part of another genealogist's family history team or network--in other words there may be times when someone else looks to you for help.

If you've ever experienced the kindness of strangers while on your family history quest (the libarian, the family history library volunteer, the newly found "cousin" you just met via an online message board, etc.), you can appreciate what a great feeling it is when someone helps you to break through your brick walls or solve your toughest research problem.

Well, today I had the wonderful experience of being on the other side--I was able to help guide someone else on a path to finding an elusive ancestor.

This afternoon I received a call from my good friend (and fellow writer), Dan Burns, who is President of the Mifflin Township Historical Society in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A woman had stopped in their office to ask about resources for finding a Slovak ancestor. She had been unsuccessful with many of the usual avenues (searching the Census and other online records) and had some specific questions about sources for Slovak genealogy. I spoke with her for only about 10 minutes, but was able to give her enough leads on where to go next. She was extremely grateful and seemed very enthusiastic about the promise of what she could find in the sources I noted. She also mentioned she had an old document (baptismal certificate) but was unable to make much sense of it. Dan kindly scanned it for her and is going to e-mail it to me to have a look. I told her I would then get back to her, hopefully with some additional leads for her to explore. The woman also joined the society (a plus for Dan and his group), and mentioned she would come to see Dan and I at an upcoming book signing on our Blue Collar Book Tour.

As I reflect upon my day, no matter what else has gone wrong, I can at least say that I helped someone in the search for her ancestors, hopefully initiating some good karma and practicing what I preach about "giving back" and "paying it forward."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's on..."Sundae Feud" to Hit the Airwaves

"Did the ice cream sundae spring to life at Platt & Colts soda fountain in Ithaca, NY, or did it rise from the streets of Two Rivers, WI?"

While this posting has little to do with "family history" it does concern "local history," which is should be considered a piece of the larger genealogical puzzle those of us who search for our roots are trying to solve. The piece of local history is about the town where I live, Ithaca, NY, so I hope you will indulge me as I report on Ithaca's stake in the claim of "Sundae Capital of the World."

The Saturday August 19, 2006 edition of The Ithaca Journal, reported that "CBS News “Assignment America” crews dropped in on the Purity Ice Cream Parlor (one of my favorite places!) on Route 13 Friday, one stop on their filming tour for a segment on the “Sundae Wars” between Ithaca and Two Rivers, WI."

The regular segment, featuring reporter Steve Hartman, allows viewers to vote online between three potential stories. In this case, viewers chose what producers have called the “Sundae Feud” over a piece about sailing (apparently without boats) in Rhode Island and an examination of summer camps parents send their children to.

Ithaca and Two Rivers are locked in a spirited, but friendly, debate on which municipality can lay claim to being the first to have served the world famous 19th century American confectionary invention: the ice cream sundae.

Though it has not been actively promoted in the past, Ithaca has long believed the first sundae was served up here in 1892 by Chester Platt, a drug store owner, to the Rev. John M. Scott. That sundae was made of vanilla ice cream, cherry syrup and a candied cherry, according to, a Web site created by former local restaurateur Michael Turback.

Two Rivers officials, however, say that the ice cream sundae was really born there in 1881 when Edward Berners served up a sundae with chocolate sauce and ice cream to George Hallauer at the customer's request.

Ithaca's claim is documented by a newspaper ad from the 1892 Ithaca Daily Journal. Two Rivers' claim is not documented, except by H. L. Mencken. Turback, who also wrote a book on sundaes, “A Month of Sundaes” in 2001, said on Wednesday that Mencken admitted he fabricated the Two Rivers' story and a similar one coming from Manitowoc, WI.

Who will win the war? The question may or may not be answered this week...

A clip just under three minutes long on the “Sundae Wars” will air on the CBS Evening news this Friday, Aug. 25th at 6:30 p.m.

I know which city I am casting my vote for!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Iwo Jima flag-raising photographer dies

My August 16th posting was "Cast Your Vote for an American Hero!" which announced a contest for the Pittsburgh All-Star Public Art Project competition. My friend, Karen Mesaros, designed a star to honor Sgt. Michael Strank, USMC, a Slovak-Rusyn immigrant to Franklin Boro (near Johnstown, PA) who gave the command and helped raised the flag at Iwo Jima.

Coincidentally, today I came across this news item on Yahoo! citing the death of the photographer, Joe Rosenthal, who took the famous photograph that is depicted on the "Strank Star."

To read more about Mr. Rosenthal, and the immortal image of WWII that won him a Pulitzer Prize, go to Yahoo! News.

And, please take a minute to vote for the "Strank Star" by clicking this link! Thank you!
New Dates Added for Blue Collar Book Tour

We've added some dates to our "Blue Collar Book Tour" for September. You can catch me, along with my colleagues, Dan Burns and Sandy Henry at several bookstores in the Pittsburgh area. We will be promoting and signing our Arcadia books, Pittsburgh's Immigrants, Pittsburgh's Rivers, and Carnegie (respectively).

September 9, 2006 - Lisa Alzo's Book signing for Pittsburgh's Immigrants
Waldenbooks, South Hills Village, Bethel Park, PA 7:00 - 9:00 PM

September 12, 2006
Barnes & Noble, Greensburg, PA, 7:00 PM
(with fellow Arcadia authors, Daniel J. Burns Duquesne, Pittsburgh's Rivers & Sandy Henry, Carnegie)

September 12, 2006
Barnes & Noble, Monroeville, PA, 7:00 PM
(with fellow Arcadia authors, Daniel J. Burns Duquesne, Pittsburgh's Rivers & Sandy Henry, Carnegie)

September 20, 2006 BLUE COLLAR BOOK TOUR BOOK DISCUSSION & SIGNING Pittsburgh's Immigrants
Barnes & Noble, Waterfront, West Homestead, PA, 7:00 PM
(with fellow Arcadia author, Daniel J. Burns Duquesne, Pittsburgh's Rivers)

For more information about the tour, go to

Hope to meet you at one of these venues!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hidden Genealogical Gems – Part 1

In June of this year I sold my childhood home in Pittsburgh. This was something I had been putting off for a long time. Most of my extended family, friends, and former neighbors had been telling me for years that I should sell the house due the safety risk of keeping a house in a depressed neighborhood in a crime laden town that had long seen better days. I am sure they were probably right—I should have put the house up for sale right after my mother passed way in September of 2000. But, it wasn’t the right time.

Also, my father was still living and although due to various health problems was unable to live in the house (he spent a couple of years in an assisted living facility and the remaining time living with my husband and me), I felt that selling the house would be too final for him. Dad passed away in November 2005 and at that point I knew that soon I would need to part with the house. In order to complete the sale, we had to clean out over 41 years worth of personal effects—everything from furniture to tools, to nearly hundreds of different glass vases in all shapes and sizes. There were also family photographs, notebooks, documents, and other miscellaneous items, which I like to refer to as “Genealogical Gems.”

As a genealogist, I could not just toss the 200+ memorial cards from funeral homes, the tiny little notebooks where my father kept track of the mileage and maintenance on his various cars over the years, or the collection of newspaper clippings he had stashed in envelopes.

From time to time in this Blog, I will share some of my findings during this impromptu family treasure hunt. I will describe a particular “genealogical gem” that I uncovered and how it has helped me know more about my family’s history.

The Navy Diary

While cleaning out one of dad’s closets, I found a small brown, unmarked notebook. Out of curiosity I flipped through it, and to my surprise, discovered it was a diary of sorts—notes that my father kept during his service in the United States Navy during World War II. It really wasn’t a diary, rather more like a log of the events from the time he entered the service (he was drafted two months after his high school graduation in 1943) until his final notation on August 14, 1945.

While my dad was not all that interested in genealogy, and knew very little about his ancestors (see the article “What Do I Care About Those People, They’re Dead” that I wrote for Ancestry Daily News, he did like to talk about his time serving in WW2. He said when he was drafted he actually got to choose which branch of service, so he chose the Navy. Why? “So he wouldn’t have to sleep in a foxhole.” In the Navy, he would have a bunk. Dad referred to his days on the ship as being on “a floating bomb” because the ship on which he served carried hauled fuel for the fighter planes.

My father was not much of a writer (so I did not inherit my love for writing from him I am afraid) so it was a pleasant surprise indeed to find this little gem. A couple of interesting entries included:

“Entered the service on 16th of August 1943. Boot training at Great Lakes”

“Boarded U.S.S. Tablerock on 15th of December”

“Dec. 25th – First Christmas away from home.”
“December 27 picked up invasion barges in Wilmington, CA.”

“Dec. 28 – Left Wilmington for Pearl Harbor at 5:00 p.m.”

“Dec. 29 – 1st verge of seasickness.

“June 11 – Arrived in Panama 10:00 p.m. Eleven hrs. to get thru locks.”

“June 12 – Met Whitey Petrisko” (his best friend from home who was in the Army)

“Ships position at time of surrender: August 14, 1945. Time 12:31 10º N by 164º W.”

While it is a pretty cut and dry account of his time serving his country, it is still a written testimony of his experiences as part of “The Greatest Generation” and a piece of my father that I can always keep with me now that he is gone—something to give me greater insight into his life as a young man.

In addition to this journal/diary, I have a photo album with many snapshots of my father during his time in the U.S. Navy (some of them I am sharing here), as well as an address book listing the names of some of his fellow servicemen. These items will be invaluable to me as I document the story of my father’s life

God bless you, Dad (and all those of your generation) for your brave and dedicated service to our country.

It is easy to think of our parents or grandparents as we know them best – in their adult years, but I am always thrilled to see photographs of any of my relatives or ancestors when they were young. It brings a whole new perspective—showing that these folks are more than just names in a pedigree or ancestral chart.

In all the years I spent with my father I never knew that he kept this journal. I can use this new “genealogical gem” as background material for telling my father’s story, and because of this I know the little brown book is a real treasure.

I hope that you will find this story helpful and inspirational. First, don’t ever just throw something out without carefully examining it. Secondly, ask your parents, grandparents, and relatives if they have such items while they are still around to talk about their contents. Finally, in genealogy always “expect the unexpected,” because you never know when a “hidden gem” will appear that may hold a valuable clue to your family’s history!

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Are You a Desperate Genealogist?

As genealogists, we all hit brick walls at some point during the course of our research. If you’ve found yourself at the point of desperation, don’t despair. The folks behind the online photo archive Web site DeadFred have developed a “Desperate” measure for the frustrated family history researcher:

The Desperate Genealogist's Idea Book: Creative Ways to Outsmart Your Elusive Ancestors. The e-book is currently available for purchase for download from for $14.95. The book features articles by some of the leading genealogists in the field:

  • Lisa Alzo
  • Joe Bott
  • Emily Croom
  • DearMYRTLE
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick
  • Charlie Gardes
  • John Konvalinka
  • Megan Smolenyak
  • Maureen Taylor
  • Andrew Yeiser

I am very honored to be among those who were asked to contribute to this book (and to be in such awesome company). Here are the details of this project as listed on the DeadFred Web site

A tag-team effort by and some of genealogy's top ancestral sleuths and accomplished writers, this 150-page e-book is packed with articles and case studies that reveal invaluable tips, shortcuts, resources and even step-by-step instructions on how to use overlooked research tools, conduct specialized searches and tackle brick walls with sheer ingenuity.

When you're feeling like a "desperate genealogist," you'll be able to consult our e-book time and again for tried-and-true pearls of wisdom from our contributors.

  • Find out how a woman concluded a two-year search for an elusive female ancestor on page 22.
  • Discover how to find clues about your ancestors by broadcasting on the Internet on pages 39 and 126.
  • Learn the winning 10-point formula for successful genealogy research on pages 44-46.
  • Receive insights on tracing slave ancestors on pages 63-68.
  • Figure out how to demystify mystery photographs by examining aspect ratio and deciphering what type of camera was used to take the photograph with a Camera Comparison Table available on page 78.
  • Read step-by-step how to find U.S. passport applications in the LDS Library Catalog on pages 94-95.
  • Enrich your research findings by getting to know your ancestors' neighbors using the advice found on pages 107-118.
  • Get the mileage you need out of Family History Centers to achieve your research objectives by reading the information on pages 69-72 and 97-105.
  • Study the vocabulary that is essential for preserving your family history documents on pages 137-143.

And...that's just a sneak peek!

Simply go to buy your copy today for $14.95 USD per download, and reap the benefits from learning from the best of the best! You'll receive the creativity and the advice that can only come from over 90 years of combined genealogy research experience in one MUST-HAVE e-book.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cast Your Vote for an American Hero!

This photograph is of one of three entries of Pittsburgh Artist (and my friend), Karen Mesaros in the Pittsburgh All-Star Public Art Project competition. To coincide with Pittsburgh's hosting of Major League Baseball's All-Star game held on July 11, 2006, the purpose of the project was/is to depict and/or express actual events, places and people from the Pittsburgh region's past, present and potential future that represent our city's brightest citizens, hopes and amenities. These public art objects will be placed together or individually, outdoors along the Fifth Avenue/Forbes Avenue corridor in Downtown Pittsburgh, and other possible locations throughout 2006. The public is supposed to vote for their favorites at:

You can view the stars via a clickable map on the site. Then follow the instructions for submitting your vote.

The top vote getters/grand prize winners will be announced on September 12th.

A Little Background

I am proud to say that I am a sponsor for this star, which depicts Sgt. Michael Strank, USMC, a Slovak-Rusyn immigrant to Franklin Boro (near Johnstown, PA) who gave the command and helped raised the flag at Iwo Jima. A movie directed by Clint Eastwood, (and based on the best-selling book by James Bradley) about the tragic life stories of the six men who raised the flag will be released in August 2006.

The Strank star is being displayed in the window of a storefront located at 820 Liberty (a few storefronts down from the parking garage entrance).

More Shining Stars

Karen also has two other entries, which also qualify for the grand prize competition:

The Czechoslovak "Pittsburgh Agreement"--A 1918 proclamation authored by Tomas Masaryk and signed by Slovak and Czech dignitaries before 20,000 supporters in downtown Pittsburgh. This event lead to the declaration of the European nation formerly known as Czechoslovakia. This star is in the old Lerner storefront on 5th Ave.

"Nathaniel Irish"-- Local Revolutionary War officer and one of the founders of Pittsburgh--located at PPG.

Please cast your vote and help Karen get the grand prize!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wonderful Winnipeg and Singing the Praises of Ethnic Genealogy Society Conferences

I had the wonderful opportunity to be in Winnipeg, Canada August 4-6 for the Eastern European Genealogical Society and Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies Conference. The hospitality shown by the members of the host organization was outstanding. I know now why they call it “Friendly Manitoba.”

The conference was superb! As an invited speaker, I gave two talks, “Finding Your Slovak Roots in the 21st Century” and “Confessions of a Genealogist.” The conference boasted the presence of several top-notch speakers in the area of Eastern European Genealogy, including: Matthew Bielawa, Edward R. Brandt, Thomas K. Edlund, Brian J. Lenius, Kahlile B. Mehr, Dave Obee, Daniel M. Schlyter, Maralyn A. Wellauer-Lenius, among others.

Although I was a speaker, I was still able to sneak into a few great sessions. For example, Denise Kolesar’s “Genealogy on the Interne, ” Daniel Schlyter’s “Sources and Procedures for Genealogical Research: Czech Republic,”and (my good buddy) Matthew Bielawa’s “Researching Polish Roots Across Poland and Its Three Partitions.” Two other outstanding presentations were given on Friday and Saturday nights by Kahlile Mehr and Felix G. Kuehn, respectively. Kahlile Mehr spoke about “How FHL Films are Acquired from the Former Soviet Sphere,” and Felix Kuehn presented the fascinating and entertaining account of “Heroes and Villains of the Ukrainian Church of Western Canada” at the banquet.

The conference concluded Sunday with an “Ask the Speakers” forum where attendees could ask questions of an expert panel comprised of speakers who were still present.

On Sunday evening, a select group of us took a VIP tour bus to Winnipeg’s wonderful Folklorama celebration. We had an appetizer and beverage at the Alipine Pavilion, dinner and beverage at the Ukrainian-Kyiv Pavilion, and dessert (my favorite, palacinky) and beverage at the Polish-Warsaw Pavilion. We were also treated to entertainment (singing, dancing, or skits) at each stop.

All in all, I came away from this genealogical conference wanting more! If you have Eastern European Roots, why not consider joining one or both of these great societies and attending their meetings and/or conferences? It provides you with a unique opportunity to network with and learn from many of the leading experts in the field for Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, and Ukrainian genealogy. You can check their respective Web sites for announcements for forthcoming meetings/conferences. I hope to meet you next year (2007) for a special FEEFHS conference in Salt Lake City (dates and details TBA).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bye, Bye Birdies!

I am very sad to report that our favorite cardinal, "Little Sweetie" and her young ones have left the nest! :-(

I know I will miss them, but I guess their work is done--they provided a nice distraction for me during their stay, helped me to stop and appreciate the beauty around me.

Just another reminder that "all good things must come to an end."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back to the Blog...

After a 10-day hiatus, I am back home and able to post to my blog again. In the past two weeks, I have been to 2 countries (U.S. and Canada), two Canadian provinces (Ontario, Manitoba), three U.S. states (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) and six cities (Rochester, NY, Erie, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Manville, NJ, Toronto, Canada, Winnipeg, Canada). Needless to say, I need to reorient myself in a major way!!

Over the next week, I will blog about my experiences in the abovementioned cities, and about all of the new things I learned as a speaker and attendee at the Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies (FEEFHS) and Eastern European Genealogical Society (EEGS) conference in Winnipeg. Stay tuned! It's good to be back!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

On the Road Again...

I will be on the road for a few days speaking at the FEEFHS/EEGS conference in Winnipeg, Canada. I will try to do some blogging from the conference (to share what new and exciting things I am learning about Eastern European Genealogy). It should be a great time!