TATRA AREA RESEARCH GROUP
© TARG All rights reserved.
June 2004 Newsletter
First day of Summer greetings to all of our TARG members, especially you
joining us for the first time. SO much to cover this issue! So let's get to it!
-- Paul K. Bingham
1. TARG's website is: http://mytarg.net (or also www.mytarg.net).
2. We have live mountain cams, beach cams, castle cams...now thanks to
Maryellen T. we have two Polish stork cams! Check it out at:
http://www.poland.pl/spec/storks2004/index.htm and click on "Live from the
stork's nest". This is fun! Thanks Maryellen!
3. To see the live broadcasts from these stork nest cams, you will need
"RealPlayer" for Windows. You can download it free by going to: www.real.com
and clicking on "Download RealPlayer".
---Hi Paul, A few months ago you found three MIGDAL addresses in a
local phone book for Sromowce Nizne, Poland. All three turned out
to be the descendants of my great-grandfather's brother! I have been
writing to them. My correspondence to these new-found cousins has been so
rewarding. My sister and I are hoping to pay a visit to the area along the
Dunajec River sometime in the next few years. Sincere thanks, Paul, for providing
me with this surname information and for creating new family connections!
PS - Are you still taking requests for the Village List webpages? Could you add Sromowce Nizne? Thanks so much!
***How wonderful you have found family -- glad I could help. And,
yes, I'll add Sromowce Nizne to the list! - Paul
---Dear Mr. Bingham - Just discovered your website and love it. It
has already provided me with so much knowledge and insight into this
fascinating region. I have been doing pretty extensive research and find
that my Karnafel, Vojtussak, and Martinek families came from around "Also
Lipnicza" or Lipnica Wielka, Poland, although I always thought of them as
Slovak. I am planning a Fall trip to Krakow and Lipnica Wielka and would
like as much information as possible. Regards, Marc Karnafel PS - I would
like to make a donation to your organization - please send details.
***Hi Marc. Thank you for the kind e-mail. We have discussed Lipnica Wielka
many times previously. It was a Slovak village until the border changed in
1920. Many of the older folks there can still speak Slovak. I'm so glad you
can go visit this Fall. You certainly should do as much homework as you can
before you go. Reading all of our five years of back issues will help. But
write back with additional questions and I'll be glad to assist. As far as
donations, thanks for offering. TARG membership is free and hopefully always
will be. There are some books, maps, etc. for sale on the TARG website which
helps us to collect money for special projects. I do have a recent proposal
from another TARG member for a special project. I'll talk to you about it
off-line and see if you are interested. - Paul
---Hi Paul, I've been reading the newsletter back issues on your website,
which by the way is really great, and I came across the names of two people
who were also researching the STRAMA name in Szaflary and Maruzyna, Poland. My paternal grandmother Victoria and some of her family came from
there to Chicago in 1899. The researchers in the back issue are Mary Starosta
and Janet Ballek. If possible, could you please forward my email to them?
Thanks very much. - Frank Kowalczyk
***Hi Frank, welcome and, yes, I will forward your note on to Mary. I can't
find a current address for Janet Ballek. Anyone know Janet's e-mail? - Paul
---Hello! Just came across your website and was wondering what you knew
about research in Kacwin, Poland. My BEDNARSKY, VOJCIK and GECASEK lines came through Ellis Island to New York. I've been researching the BEDNARSKY
name for the past 4 years and have not gotten anywhere!
I can't wait to get back to your website, and I appreciate you taking
the time to attend to my questions. Thank you and kind regards, Heather
***Hi Heather, thanks for your kind e-mail. I'm sure a few Kacwin members
will contact me. I will pass your e-mail address on to them. Also check
out the TARG website: Kacwin is the featured village this month! -- Paul
---Hi Paul, I was unable to join the 2003 group traveling due to a late start and my desire to try contacting some relatives before I went. I am still plugging away and have made progress, including reaching relatives in Zubrzyca Gorna and Zubrzyca Dolna. I continue to read your newsletters with great interest. I have some information for Maggie Skodon whose letter you published in the April issue. Please have her contact me. We may be able to help each other as I continue to search for Florek relatives in Chyzne. - Regards, Greg Florek
***Sure, Greg, I will pass your e-mail on to Maggie. And hope you can go
visit the old country some day. You'll surely love the experience! - Paul
---Hi Paul, I receive your TARG newsletter and have a question. One of my
Vikartovskys returned to Spisska Nova Ves from the US around 1910
and had a large family. I've written lots of letters to the Vikartovskys
there but can't get anyone to respond. I don't want to bother them; all I'd like
is the old dates, and to find out about a first wife who married my great-
grandfather. Do you have any suggestions? - Thanks, Christie Fox
***Hi Christie, I strongly believe that if you want to build patience as a
virtue, then you should get involved in genealogy. And if you want your genealogy
done for free, run for public office! As far as writing to and hearing back
from relatives in the "old country" (archives, parish priests, and
government offices, too), this is truly where patience is built. Keep in
mind that most Slovaks speak German, Czech, Polish, Hungarian or Russian as a 2nd language -- not English. They've really only just started teaching English widely there in the last decade. What would you do if you got a letter written in a language you and almost no one you knew spoke? You would ask around and find out who might be able to translate it. Maybe the person you located was a friend of an acquaintance you knew who lived in another town. If you gave the letter to your acquaintance to take to his friend the next time they saw each other, it may be sometime indeed before you saw a translation. Once you got a translation, you would have to read it, find the information they were requesting, write a reply and then send your reply back through the process again to get a translation the sender could read. Without money or family ties involved, there would be less motivation, and this might take a very long time. Couple this
with the fact that mail from the States to Slovakia and from Slovakia
to the States takes about a month. Just know that a reply might take a
while. Six months turn around is quick. A year is more normal.
When writing, here are some suggestions: 1) Write very short, simple, notes that are easy for a novice with a Slovak-English dictionary to translate. 2) Better still, get your note translated into Slovak before you send it. 3) Whatever you do, ask just a few questions. 4) Do as much homework and research as you can here and save the tougher questions for your note. 5) There are lots of scams -- make sure you identify yourself and give them some information to help prove you are
on the level. 6) Make sure you are writing to the right persons with the
right surname in the right village. 7) Offer to wire money or send a
check when you receive their reply to help with any costs they incurred.
8) Say "please" and "thank you". They don't have to respond -- be nice and
maybe they will want to return the favor. 9) Give them the option of
replying back that they don't know anything -- but here's the address of
someone who might be able to help. 10) Compare notes with others
researching in the same area to see what they might suggest. 11) Try and
see if you can find a college student from the area who is online and speaks
English. There are more and more of them now! 12) Don't give up! - Paul
REPLIES FROM THE OLD COUNTRY__________
The discussion about bettering the odds for replies from long-lost
relatives got me to thinking. I was thinking about how nice it would be if
we could just send an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to potential
relatives in Slovakia and Poland -- like we can do here in the States when
we are looking for a reply from an unknown agency or stranger. The only problem
is we can't buy Slovakian and Polish stamps at our local post office!
So I've been working on getting stamps for TARG members to be able to do
that. Much to my delight I heard from Susan Findlay who is leaving for a
July trip to southern Poland. She has kindly offered to bring back for TARG
members as many Polish stamps as we want. (I'm still looking for a Slovakian
volunteer! Any takers?)
So all of you researching in Poland, if you would like to get sufficient
airmail postage for cards and letters to be sent back, here's your golden
opportunity! Envelope postage (suitable for a reply of two written pages in
length) will be available at three for $3. Postcard postage will be available
at six for $4. If you want a mix, postage for four letters and seven cards
for $8 (best deal) is available. These prices include the exchange into
Polish currency and all shipping & handling back to you once the stamps
arrive here in the USA next month. I will also ask Susan to get us a supply of
those blue "Airmail" stickers in Polish necessary for return post to the
States. These will also be included with your order.
So, order as many stamp sets as you like. Checks can be made out to TARG
and sent to the TARG mailing address at P.O. Box 3533, Escondido, CA 92033. Please, if you will, also e-mail me and let me know what you will be ordering so I can get a count. Note: Checks need to be to me for this BY TUESDAY JUNE 29TH SO I CAN SEND THE ORDER TO SUSAN IN TIME. PLEASE DON'T BE LATE AND MISS OUT!
(Note to TARG members in Canada: We can also take orders for Polish
postage in Canadian funds with your checks made out to "TARG". Canadian
prices are $4 for 3 letters, $5 for 6 cards and $10 for 4 letters & 7 cards.)
PODHALE BOOK TRANSLATION - PART 2______________
"The local Tatra peasants under Baron Komorowski began organizing a
revolt not unlike the "Kostki Napierski" revolt. Napierski's movement had
been modeled after two other famous uprisings of the period: Chmielnicki's
in the Ukraine and Stienki Razina's by the Don River. The Tatra peasant
resistance was mostly clustered into small groups. Riots were staged against
individual nobleman, manors and smaller groups of the regional army
stationed nearby. These resistance groups became known as "Zbojnicy", or
Tatra robbers. Their legendary fights for freedom and equal justice for all
are still very much alive among the Tatra Highlanders today in stories, music and folk art.
"Some of the Tatra's zbojnicy were true bandits, but oft times they were
simply people who were wanted by the government for their opinions contrary
to the ruling class, for resistance to the noble's oppression of the people,
or for being army deserters. The most famous and legendary head robber of
all time was, of course, named Janosik. Janosik lived in the end of the 17th
and beginning of the 18th century. He lived in Slovakia where he was
convicted by the king. In his group of robbers he had deserted soldiers and
peasants who had fled Slovakia, Poland, and even Russia. They all fought
together against the oppression of the noblemen. The exploits of this band
live on in the Tatra highlands today. And much credit for that goes to the
Polish poet Kazimierz Przerwa Tetmajer. In his books he portrays Janosik as
the great head robber and commander-in-chief of those who fought against the
oppression of nobles and even the invasion of the Swedes.
"In the 1800s patriotic and democratic ideas flourished among the Goral
who followed the lead of a local democratic nobleman named Tetmajer (the
famous poet's uncle). Tetmajer lived in Lopuszna, just east of Nowy Targ
where the manor house (as a museum) is today. In 1831 nationwide riots had broken out in Poland. A famous freedom fighter from those riots, a man by the name of Goszczynski, came and stayed for a time in Lopuszna and got to know the Goral. Later in exile, Goszczynski wrote about the Tatra Highlanders in a
newspaper created by a leading democratic opposition group for the freedom
fighters in Poland. About the Goral he wrote: The Highlanders have evolved
higher than those peasants of the lowlands. They are clever, quick,
cautious, stubborn, undaunted, frightful in area riots, and not influenced
by any propaganda."
In 1846 Goral from the village of Chocholow northwest of Zakopane
organized an uprising and fought for their freedom and the freedom of Poland
from the Austrian government of Vienna. Later many Goral participated in
riots organized nationwide in 1863. Finally in 1918 they achieved the
freedom they had so long desired. But soon they would find themselves
battling for freedom again, but this time against a fiercer, more organized
army in the Tatras: the German Nazis.
(Part 3 of 12 in our next issue.)
To contact the TARG Editor, the new e-mail address is: editor-AT-mytarg-DOT-net (in spam-resistive form (minus "@" and "."). Our "snail" mailing address is still TARG, P.O. Box 3533, Escondido, CA 92033. use it for sending in orders or photos and anything else you want to share with the group. (If for some reason you are unable to contact us at the new editor-AT-mytarg-DOT-net e-mail address (in spam-resistive form (minus "@" and "."), go ahead and use the old address. It is still: TARG_NET-AT-hotmail-DOT-net (in spam-resistive form (minus "@" and ".").
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