Travel in COVID Times-Part 1

 Germany, Travel Attitude  Comments Off on Travel in COVID Times-Part 1
Aug 192021
Travel in COVID Times-Part 1

It took me at least a month of deliberation to decide to launch myself out into the world during a global pandemic. Decision made, I’m embracing it as a new type of travel adventure. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be a broke-my-foot-in-Bosnia-type adventure or an abandoned-in-a-dingy-Slovakian-train-station-at-night-type adventure. Trying to figure out the […Read more]

Apr 182020
A Walk Through Childhood

What’s a globe-trotting, ancestral-town-seeking, genealogist to do when under COVID-19 lockdown? Find places of family significance closer to home to explore, of course. I’ve been walking in my neighborhood (permissible under lockdown guidelines) but all the closed coffee shops and stores mock me, making me think of the DBC (Days Before COVID). A couple of […Read more]

Pandemic Perspective

 Ukraine  Comments Off on Pandemic Perspective
Apr 012020
Pandemic Perspective

I’m an explorer. Whether it’s traveling to explore ancestral towns, traveling to explore new places with friends and family, checking out new hiking trails in the mountains, or simply trying a new restaurant in my neighborhood, my life is all about being out and about. So being in lockdown for weeks, with no known end […Read more]

Desperation Leads to Travel Souvenirs

 Other Travel, Travel Accessories  Comments Off on Desperation Leads to Travel Souvenirs
May 252019
Desperation Leads to Travel Souvenirs

Most people buy souvenirs when they travel. I seem to buy clothes. Not because I’m a fashionista (believe me, jeans and sweatshirt are my favorite outfit). Not because I intentionally set out to remember my travels through apparel. But something always seems to come up to make the clothes in my suitcase inadequate. There was […Read more]

House Sitter from Hell

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Apr 142019
House Sitter from Hell

The worst house sitter I ever had was the one I had to pay. For years, my long trips seemed to coincide with a friend or friend-of-friend’s need to escape difficult roommates, find somewhere to live during a breakup, or stay for the summer when home from working abroad. All of these were mutually beneficial […Read more]

Oct 312018
A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Genealogists and cemeteries go together like peanut butter and jelly. So exploring cemeteries is nothing new to me. I’ve tip-toed through broken stones and overgrown lilac bushes in the cemeteries of German villages in Ukraine, hoping to find a shard from an ancestor’s grave. I’ve bumped over gravel roads to find the country cemetery out […Read more]

Torn Between Two Homes

 ITF  Comments Off on Torn Between Two Homes
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]

The Elusive Wesley

 Ancestral towns  Comments Off on The Elusive Wesley
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. And […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]