Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Wonders of Technology - RootsTech2017 from Home

I have been a techie for a VERY long time.  It was about 1983 when we first had a Commodore Pet in the school where I was a media center director, so you see it has truly been a long while. I have had a chance to watch the technology grow and change. And still, now in 2017, I still find myself surprised, and in awe, of how far we have come.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be able to attend RootsTech 2016. It was amazing in every way possible. I had time to spend in The Family History Library, attend fantastic sessions, meet interesting people and spend hours on the exhibit floor. I hope I can do it all again sometime. But this year, 2017, I was not able to attend in person. There are hundreds of presentations over the four days of the conference. There are many companies in the genealogy world that help in sponsoring this amazing experience but the main thanks must go to Family Search. They continue to make this a happening each year.

But the amazing people who put RootsTech together have found a way to make a taste of RootsTech possible, but enough to still make me feel like an atendee (sorta') and, for sure, a learner.  Here is how they did it.  The stream sessions for those of us at home each day of the conference, that's right, each day of the conference.And, these same session, are available at the same site for quite a few months after the conference ends. What is the charge for such a great experience, you ask? Sitting down, I hope, because there is NO charge for us at home to enjoy these great session from an amazing conference. I have included a few screen shots so you can get a feel for what I will be enjoying for these next 3 days.
And you really will if you decide to participate in the opportunity.
This is the same process that will be available after conference
Sessions are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

If you are interested in trying this out yourself. Here are the directions for doing so.  If you do it in real time, February 9,10,11 2017 go to Following the conference you can probably find your way from the main  site. Hope you enjoy trying this out. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Day at the Salt Mines

It is not as bad as the title sounds. As a matter of fact it was just amazing. We were not put to work when we arrived at the amazing Wieliczka Salt Mines, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We did do a LOT of walking around this mine. One does not usually think of a mine, any mine, as being a place of beauty. This historical mine is indeed a place of beauty today. But a while back it was an important working mine.

Miners, over the years, carved statues, sculptures, full scenes all from the salt. In addition, as the walls have changed over the years they have become their own form of beauty. I must admit that while my travel mate loved the carvings, as did I, but the textures that formed along the walks were truly my favorite part of the old mind. You do not just walk along pathways while exploring the mine. Suddenly you enter large rooms that have been carved out or the salt walls.  The images I am including here do not do the amazing experience of following the tunnels filled with different kinds of artwork. All of it created by miners over many years.

Some of the carvings are really very modern looking and may have been carved more recently than others. Walking through we also passed equipment from years back as well as new walkways that allow for admiring so much that is in the mine. In the picture under the two smaller carvings you can see the handrails of two stairways that lead into this massive room that has been carved out of mine walls. The room is HUGH. There are small shops there as well more information about the mine itself. In the lower picture you can see some of the really detailed and exceptional group or single person carvings that walker to just stop and stare. This is not a place that you can rush though. Below the carvings of persons you can see just two examples of what nature has added to create a different kind of art to enjoy.

If reading about this amazing place has whetted your appetite for more a visit to Wikipedia might be just the thing.

After out visit in the mine it was really pleasant to spend the afternoon wandering the old city plaza and going out for a leisurely dinner before moving on to the next part of our trip.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Still More of Eastern Europe: Visiting Krakow

Two years is a long time. But, as we know, there is no going back. I am looking forward to finally restarting this blog. A new title, a new look, and a new commitment to writing at least once a week.
I never did get to finish sharing the amazing things I saw during my 2013 visit to Eastern Europe.  So let's start with a short visit to Krakow and its surroundings.  We arrived in the late afternoon and our hotel was right on the main square.  Although the old walled city does not really exist anymore there is still a thrill driving up the City Gate which is still attached to remaining parts of the old wall.  By the time we settled into our hotel it was evening and time to walk around the beautiful and busy square. The square is busy and bustling day and night with side streets to wander and explore. We were lucky there was even a 'Food Fest' in the Square when we arrived. We wandered around the square, eating and admiring all the while, till exhaustion from our busy day sent us back to the hotel. Time to get rested for the next busy day.

 Morning, breakfast and a short wander, back through the gates, to our bus. Today was the day we would visit the Old Jewish Section.
In Yiddish this was called the Alta Shul
Several of the old synagogues are still there as well as restaurants and it seems to be a thriving tourist area. It is the cemetery that really makes one remember all that happened in Poland during WWII. Our guide told us about the two synagogue buildings that still stand and then we had time to walk through the town to see today's version of this area. 
Other areas were ready for the tourists visiting the area.


We spent the most amount of time in the old cemetery. It is an amazing place to visit. To learn more about it you may want to visit Old Jewish Cemetery: Remuh in Krakow  In one image you will see many small stones that have been placed on the larger headstones. It is a tradition to leave a stone when one visits. At they tell us that the stone is way of showing that someone has visited the grave. There are many other reasons that have developed over the years. Some of them are included at the site listed above.  It is the modern Wailing Wall that is also meaningful in this place. Many of the gravestones were broken and damaged during the Holocaust and WWII years. When this cemetery was restored many of the these broken pieces were collected and used to build the wall that now protects these graves.


 Tomorrow is another big day. A trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine.  


Monday, September 15, 2014

Where in the world is Uncle Moritz?

As a child how everyone was related was of no interest to me. They were family. We saw them on holidays and family events. Why we were all at the same events was not a question I asked. By the time our family history bug bit it was too late to ask questions. No grandparents. No parents. Only one aunt was still living. Even cousins older than I were gone.  There were not even many papers remaining that would help answer the questions that began to arise. This is the story of my really rude awakening and awareness of what I was missing. My first challenge would contain a Brick Wall. How likely was that?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Solving One Mystery

Early posts have already shown how Genealogy searches have changed my early feelings and frustrations with retirement. No Story Too Small has created a challenge I cannot resist. Each week participants write a SMALL story about one ancestor and share it in the 52 Week Challenge. Addendum: August 6, 2016  Never did finish the challenge. Wish I had but have followed up with other kinds of challenges and genealogy searches are still moving forward.