May 202018
 
Torn Between Two Homes

Guest blogger Alex Hamel is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. For several years, she has taught English and lived in the country of her birth—South Korea. I have two homes and every day I feel torn between the two. One is where I grew up in Minnesota, pictured myself getting […Read more]

Apr 072018
 
The Elusive Wesley

I know he existed. But where did he go? One of our family mysteries is Wesley, an orphan boy that lived with my Schott grandparents sometime in the early 1900s. The family lore is that my Grandpa Peter “went to the train station” to pick him up, that he was a bit wild, and that […Read more]

Feb 272018
 
Dabbling in DNA

  You may have seen the Ancestry ad where a man trades in his lederhosen for a kilt after taking a DNA test that shows he is more Irish than German. A word of warning—if you make your wardrobe choices based on a DNA test, you may want to make sure that store takes returns. […Read more]

Oct 222017
 
10 Tips for Finding Your Ancestor's Town

I admire my ancestors’ sense of adventure and determination to seek out better lives by migrating from Germany to Ukraine/Poland/Hungary to North America. But I curse that same sense of adventure, because whenever they moved, they often left their past lives behind so completely that I can’t figure out where they came from. Since most […Read more]

Oct 012017
 
Fremont Eatery Walkabout 2017

I feel like I’m on vacation every day. My Seattle neighborhood of Fremont has dozens and dozens of great places to eat within easy walking distance. When I travel, of course, I’m wandering around looking for fun places to eat, and in Fremont, I can do the same. Because restaurants come and go, I occasionally […Read more]

Sep 062017
 
The C in DACA stands for children

My Grandma Lydia was just 4 years old when her parents brought her to the U.S., an immigrant from what was then the Russian empire. She was pretty lucky compared to today’s Dreamers. Laws about entry were a lot vaguer, no passports required. Germans from Russia were often sneered at as “Rooshians,” but she lived […Read more]

Aug 092017
 
Fun with the Meyers Gazetteer

As children, we used to share what we did on our summer vacations. As an adult genealogist, I can’t wait to share what I learned on my summer vacation about finding ancestral towns in Germany! The Meyers Gazetteer has gone online (not new news), but at the recent IGGP conference, I learned that it has […Read more]

May 062017
 
Ode to Travel Shoes

The best shoes ever. EVER. These little beauties draw compliments when I wear them to the office with a skirt, yet are undaunted by the ankle-twisting paths of an African village. They’re right at home at a dressy British theater, yet sturdy enough to tromp through German vineyards or pound eight miles of Dubai’s never-ending […Read more]

Oct 302016
 
Online Security Crushes My Self-Esteem

I feel completely inadequate in my relationships whenever I’m faced with one of those online security forms asking me to answer a “secret question” to set up an online account. Their predefined set of questions mock me at every turn. Where did you and your spouse meet? (I’m not married.) Where was your first date […Read more]

Oct 242016
 
Adventures of an Election Observer

My reason for being in Ukraine became abundantly clear in a rundown bar on a Sunday morning in Odessa. I was serving as an international observer at Ukraine’s first parliamentary election after the Maidan Revolution had toppled the corrupt, Putin-puppet president eight months earlier. My observation partner, Kevin, and I had started the day early, […Read more]