Thursday, April 12, 2007

Last Call: PanSlavic Genealogy Seminar

If you live in or near the Bridgeport, CT area, come join Jonathan Shea, Matthew Bielawa and Lisa Alzo at the first PanSlavic Genealogy Seminar on Saturday, April 14th at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport from 1-4 p.m. Learn how to find your Eastern European roots - with lectures on how to utilize U.S. records and locate records in Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania and other areas. The seminar is free and all are welcome. Registration is recommended. Click here for more information.

I won't be blogging for a few days. Catch up with you again early next week!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thanks to All Who Read This Blog

Over the past few days I've received several messages from those of you who read this blog on a regular basis. I really appreciate your comments and glad you find what I write here to be of interest.

When I started this blog several months ago I really didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted it to say. I just knew that I planned to talk about two things I love to do: writing and genealogical research.

I admit that I am still learning about the whole blog culture and trying to figure out what to write about on a daily basis to keep it interesting. There are so many others out there who are much better at this and really have a pulse on what's new in genealogy.

So, I hope you will continue to read as this blog continues to evolve.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Registration for May Classes Now Open

Check out the great classes offered during May on GenClass.

Adoptive Investigative Class
Eastern European Genealogy Research: Part 1 (Basic)
Family Tree Maker 16 - Basic
Lost Friends and Family Investigative Class
Native American Genealogy
Write Your Family History Step-by-Step

Each class is only $29.95 for 4 weeks of instruction (8 lessons and class chats).

Classes begin on May 3, 2007. Don't miss this great learning opportunity!

Monday, April 09, 2007

StoryCorps Podcast

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, there's yet another new one out there. Take a listen to the StoryCorps Podcast (subscrbe via Apple iTunes, or check the Storycorps site for a link to other podcast clients).

Hosted by StoryCorps' creator, Dave Isay, this podcast showcases the stories of everyday Americans recorded in StoryCorps' StoryBooths across the country.

I really like the fact that technology gives us so many wonderful ways to learn about genealogy!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter Break

I will be taking a break from blogging for a couple of days to enjoy the Easter weekend. Having just finished work on my sixth book, Sports Memories of Western Pennsylvania (Arcadia Publishing), I need to just take some time to rest a bit.

My posts may be a bit infrequent in the next couple of weeks due to some upcoming travel and speaking engagements. You will hear from me, but maybe not every day.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How to Put Together a Traditional Slovak Easter Basket

With the Easter Holiday approaching, I thought I would post another tribute to my Slovak heritage. One of the big traditions was to make some special foods: ham, klobassy, hrudka (Easter cheese) paska (recipe shared in a previous post), beets with horseradish, and dyed hard boiled eggs. The foods would then be placed in a basket and covered with a handmade cloth with Easter symbolism, and taken to church on Holy Saturday afternoon. Here's some images of how to put together the Easter basket. This information is included in my book, Baba's Kitchen: Slovak & Rusyn Family Recipes and Traditions.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

One of My Favorite Easter Foods

At Easter time, my Slovak family always ate special foods. One of them was paska, a round bread with a golden crust and yellow center made from eggs, butter, and white raisins (indicative of living bread come down from Heaven). My Slovak Baba (grandmother) would make a tiny paska just for me to put in my Easter basket. It is one of my favorite memories. Here is my grandma's recipe.

Paska (Easter Bread)

Paska is made to commemorate the fact that Jesus is the living bread come down from heaven in the Holy Eucharist.

You need to prepare a “basic” dough and a “cheese dough” for this recipe.

Basic Dough
8 c. flour ½ c. sugar
2 tsp. salt 2 c. milk (boiling point)
1 c. warm water 1 cake yeast (large)
1 tbsp. sugar 3 eggs
¼ stick butter

Crumble yeast in ½ c. warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes. Pour boiling milk over sugar and butter, add balance of water. Cool to lukewarm. Sift flour into bowl, add salt, eggs, milk mixture and yeast. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours).

Cheese Dough

1 cake yeast (1 oz)
1 lb. dry cottage cheese (you can substitute non-fat cottage cheese with liquid squeezed out if you can’t find dry cottage cheese)
1 c. yellow raisins
4 egg yolks
1 c. sugar (or less according to taste)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon rind
1 tsp. baking powder
½ c. milk
3 c. flour (sifted)

Crumble yeast in warm milk to which 1 tablespoon sugar has been
added and let stand 5 minutes. Mix dry cottage cheese with spoon until smooth. Add raisins and yeast mixture. Add unbeaten egg yolks, remaining sugar, salt, lemon rind, baking powder and flour.
Knead well. Set aside to rise until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours).

When basic dough has doubled in size, turn out onto lightly floured board and shape into four parts. Let stand on board, covered for about 15 minutes. Take one part of dough and lightly punch around the edge so that the center is elevated. Take ¼ of cheese dough
and place around the elevated center then lightly make an opening in the center. Join edges of center with the outside edges, press carefully so that the cheese dough is completely covered. Place into round baking dish and let rise approximately 30 minutes.
Cover dough to prevent drying. Just before placing into oven, brush top with beaten egg yolk and milk. Bake for 10 minutes at 325 °F. Increase temperature to 350 °F and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
Tip: prepare the cheese dough first; then make the basic dough.
Yield = 4 paska

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Death of Last Surviving WW1 Navy Veteran

Lloyd Brown, 105, the last known surviving World War I Navy veteran passed away last Thursday. Brown was born Oct. 7, 1901, in Lutie, Mo., a small farming town in the Ozarks. His family later moved to Chadwick, Mo. In 1918, 16-year-old Brown lied about his age to join the Navy and was soon on the gun crew on the battleship USS New Hampshire. Brown finished his tour of duty in 1919, took a break for a couple of years, then re-enlisted, and ended his military career in 1925.

You can read all about this story here.

Speaking of WW1, have you searched the WW1 draft registration cards for any of your male ancestors? In 1917 and 1918, approximately 24 million men living in the United States completed a World War I draft registration card. An easy way to do this online via (subscription required). The cards give some great details such as: hey contain significant genealogical information such as birthplace, citizenship status, and information on the individual’s nearest relative. Here's an image of my great uncle Sam's WW1 draft registration card, a key document that helped me find out more about him.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Going to Extremes?

Just what are you willing to do to find the missing pieces of your family history puzzle? Have you ever done something that you consider to be "extreme" in the pursuit of that elusive ancestor?

If so, you may find yourself relating to this article: "The DNA Age: Stalking Strangers’ DNA to Fill in the Family Tree," (especially if you are heavily involved in DNA testing) The article can be found in the online version of today's New York Times.

I am not going to comment on the issue of ethics that is raised in this piece, or argue for a side. But, I must admit, I found it to be quite fascinating.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Genealogy Tips: Let Others Know About Your Research

One of the key steps in genealogical research is to consult home and family sources for photographs, documents, and other items which will provide information about your ancestors. Sometimes you may not have direct access to such materials, but perhaps others in your family have them stored away in a closet, drawer, or box in their attics or basements. You should let everyone in both your immediate and extended family know that you are performing family history research. It may happen that if an aunt, uncle, or cousin knows that you are looking for information they may decide to send it to you instead of throwing it away. This happened to me during the course of my genealogical research. Read my article, "If You Don't Want Them...Shred Them," which appears in the current Nase Rodina, newsletter of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International. Click here to download a PDF version of the article from my Web site.