Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 6)

A trip to my paternal ancestral village would not have been complete without a visit to the cemetery.

I was able to see where my great-grandparents, Jan and Borbala, are buried, as well as other Alzo family members.




The photo below is of the gravestone for Andrej Alzo, my grandfather's youngest brother whom he never met. My grandfather left for America before Andrej was born.

I never knew any of these folks, but I sure felt their presence that day. It was like all of my Alzo ancestors had been converging in the life beyond, leading me back to Kučín and to my living Alzo cousins there. When we were leaving, Renata told me about a ritual of washing one's hands upon exiting a cemetery. This is to wash away any evil spirits that may have been present. There is typically a water spigot at the entrance of a cemetery for visitors to use.


I had never heard of this practice before Renata explained it. (She is shown in the photo above washing her hands).

Renata also said that you are supposed to turn your shoes upside down and leave them at the door of your home after you have visited a cemetery--in case the evil spirits left with you. I love the Slovak customs and traditions and thought this one was so interesting.


to be continued...

Photos by Lisa A. Alzo, June 7, 2010

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Worldess Wednesday 08/25/10: More Church Photos Kucin, Slovakia








Digital images privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
All rights reserved

Wordless Wednesday: August 25, 2010: Kucin, Slovakia Church Photos







Digital images privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
All rights reserved

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 5)

One of the highlights of the trip for me was a visit to the Mayor's office in Kučín. It's a very simple looking building on the outside.



Unfortunately, the Mayor was out of town that day, but we got to see his office. Ginny, Andy and I were each asked to write something on our own page to have inserted into the visitor's book accompanied by our photographs.




I wrote the following:


"I am so happy to finally visit the town of my grandfather Jan Alzo who went to America in 1910. I Kucin I am home."


I signed my name, listed my hometown and the date.


It was a special honor for me to have this official welcome in my grandfather's village.



to be continued...


Photos by Lisa A. Alzo, June 7, 2010

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 4)

[Sorry for the hiatus...I've been beyond busy these past couple of weeks...]

The Roman Catholic Church (Visitation of Virgin Mary) in Kučín is hard to miss. It towers above the homes in the village and sits in a central location. It is also painted a very bright yellow.

I learned from my cousin that the yellow color with the combination of white is supposed to represent the Vatican's colors--although the yellow may be a bit too glowing.




Nevertheless, it is a lovely church. The caretaker - a very nice lady - met us there to give us the full tour. I fell in love with intricate details of the altar and the baptismal font.



One of my favorite items was a little angel bank at the back of the church. You put a coin in it and the angel bows. I put one in just to see it in action.



I plan to write more about the church and its history in a future post or article. But, it was an incredible feeling to be standing in the church where my so many of Alzo ancestors--including my grandfather--had worshipped for for over a century or more.

to be continued...


Photos by Lisa A. Alzo, June 7, 2010

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: August 18, 2010: New York City Photos

From a recent gathering with fellow genealogists in New York City (August 6-8)





Digital images privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
All rights reserved


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Salt Lake City Family History Expo August 27-28

The following announcement is from the folks at Family History Expos. Please address all inquiries to Holly@FHExpos.com. For more information:
Holly T. Hansen
FHExpos Founder/President
801-829-3295
--------------------------------------------------
Remember, this coming August 27-28, is the 2nd annual Salt Lake Family History Expo held at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State Street, Sandy, Utah.

Full conference details, exhibitors, and class schedule can be viewed online at
http://fhexpos.com/expos.

We will be giving away hundreds of
door prizes and the classes are unsurpassed. Come join the fun and participate in your family history. In addition, registered attendees are offered the opportunity to have a personal research consultation with a professional genealogist who will help you create a research task list.

Sign up today to get the pre-registration savings. Cost for all classes, consultation, and more only $65.00 or $75.00 at the door.

Register online at http://fhexpos.com or give us a call 801.829.3295.

Be sure to pass this on to a friend.

We look forward to seeing you there!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer: I have been invited to be a speaker at the Salt Lake Family History Expo. I am not employed by FHExpos and will not be receiving any compensation for my time, lecture, or travel expenses for this this event.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review: Approaching the Lectern: How to Become a Genealogy Speaker

If you're passionate about genealogy and have considered applying to speak to societies or at conferences but are unsure how to break in, you'll want to check out the new book, Approaching the Lectern: How to Become a Genealogy Speaker (Lulu), by Thomas MacEntee.

This 38-page handbook is designed to help genealogists and family historians who want to learn how to effectively speak at genealogy society meetings, conferences and other venues. While the book will appeal to those just trying to break in, it also has plenty of useful tips and advice for professionals already on the genealogy speaking circuit.

MacEntee is an avid genealogist, specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. He is the creator of the Geneabloggers Web site--a community of over 1200 Bloggers who write about genealogy and family history.

In Approaching the Lectern, MacEntee covers everything from how to build a presentation and work on your speaking skills, to answering a call for papers, keeping your bio and resume up-to-date, and the legal aspects of setting your fee and developing a speaker's contract. There are even chapters on how to deal with presentation disasters and mishaps, and a chapter on the new realm of "virtual" presentations. There are also several pages of useful links to sites for "Calls for Papers", templates, slide show/presentation creation, and much more.

I have been a genealogy presenter for more than 10 years and find many useful tips and suggestions in this book that I will implement in my own speaking routine. The book is written in a friendly, easy-to-read format, and includes many excellent examples to illustrate key points.

The book can be downloaded in PDF format ($8.99) or ordered in print form ($12.95). A Kindle version ($5.99) is also available.

In summary, Approaching the Lectern is an excellent resource for any genealogist who wants to start sharing his or her expertise with others at meetings, workshops, or conferences.


Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book and have not been compensated in any manner for this review.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 08/11/10: Midwest Family History Expo

Fellow geneabloggers: Susan Petersen, Jenna Mills and Diana Ritchie: Ladies night out at Midwest Family History Expo in Kansas City, MO

Conference Center at Kansas City Airport in Missouri

Digital images privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. AlzoAll rights reserved

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 08/04/10: Slovakia: Ancestral Village Scenes


Trees and cherries from Alzo homestead, Kucin, Slovakia


Digital images privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010


Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
All rights reserved

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 3)

Ján and Emilia welcomed us into their home and had some refreshments waiting. Some open faced sandwiches, tea, and delicious nut, poppyseed, and cheese rolls freshly made by Emilia.


Above photos: Andy Rabatin

Of course we also had some wine to toast to rodina (family).

After we visited for awhile we were then treated to more homemade Slovak dishes--chicken soup and pirohy, again masterfully prepared by Emilia. She made my favorite kind of pirohy too--sweet cottage cheese. This was just the beginning where the food was concerned.



Above photos by Lisa Alzo

Here I was enjoying chicken soup and pirohy in a house on the Alzo homestead. I imagined my grandfather sitting in the one of the chairs watching over us and smiling the signature Alzo smile knowing that the family had finally come together on this special day.


to be continued...

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 2)

As we drove along the road into Kučín, I had so many thoughts swirling around in my head.

What would I see? How would the Alzo family members react to my visit? Would there be a problem with communication because I did not speak Slovak except for a very few words and phrases? But all of the questions took a back seat to the overwhelming joy I felt. Just being in the birthplace of my paternal grandfather was a magical experience. I thought about the soil under my feet where he once stepped, the paths he may have taken from home to the fields, to church, and finally out of the village when he left for America. I thought about how some 100 years ago (1910), he was probably finalizing his arrangements for that journey (he arrived at the port of New York in October), and it literally gave me chills.

Along the road to the Alzo homestead, the first thing I noticed was the church. It is in the center and painted a "can't miss" bright yellow, that showed off the white steeple.

Photo by Lisa A. Alzo

Robert parked the car and Renata's parents came out to greet us. I was warmly welcomed by my cousin Jan. He shares the same name as my father (John). I noticed right away that they also had many similar features--especially the blue eyes and a sharp sense of humor.

Photo by Andy Rabatin

I felt instantly connected to him. Here was my WDYTYA moment and I was absorbing every bit of it. However, in that moment wished my father could have been there too because I know they would have enjoyed visiting together--talking and joking. But as I have learned, sometimes even the best family history moments can be bittersweet.


to be continued...

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved