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Newsletter for March 2008

    Ahojte (welcome) TARG members! I trust everyone had a great Easter! Our TARG website photo this month comes from a village parade in 2003 shot by my cousin Lucjan -- a scene repeated all over the region at Eastertime. And this year with Easter so early, a late snow storm in the Tatras made it look a lot more like Christmas than the typical spring holiday. So I elected to use this more spring-like photo you'll find currently on the homepage.
    You know, I get many inquiries for assistance from TARG members, which I wish I could jump in and help with. Unfortunately I still have an 8-to-5 job which forces me to do all my TARG only when I have time! But often, I find, that I turn to another TARG member for the answer to someone else's nagging question anyway. And that has led to an addition to the TARG website.
    Rather than play middle man with each such inquiry, I have set up a message posting page on the TARG website. If you haven't visited that portion of the site yet, you really should. From this page, one can easily navigate to: (1) read recent posts by other TARG members, (2) visit an archive of older posts, or (3) fill in the blanks of a simple posting form that will let you add your own post to the site for others to see.
    I often get asked if anyone else is researching in their same ancestral villages or looking for their surname. A majority of the time when I then do a simple search of the postings on the TARG website, sure enough I find a connection to other researchers along with their e-mail addresses. I then just pass along. But you can really do it yourself if you use this link. So please visit -- and while you are there, leave a post for others, too!
    Just a word about posting. Once or twice a week I have to clean off a post from a hacker, spammer or misfit that can't resist leaving their electronic graffiti on our board. The latest version of the TARG website's software lets me ban repeat offenders and automatically searches, screens, and eliminates posts with bad words and other junk. Occassionally (very raely, actually) the filters also effect a TARG member trying to put up a real post. If that happens to you, just send me your post and I'll put it up on the website for you. (For the few times that occurs, the system does eliminate the daily or even hourly junk hits I once was getting and has kept hackers from taking control of the site, like one Turkish hacker did a couple of years ago.) I'm really very happy with the improvements and hope you are, too.
    In addition. let me say a word about your e-mail address. To keep spammers from grabbing e-mail addresses from your posts, I employ a device where the "@" and ".COM" are replaced so their spambots can't find them. Do a Google search of YOUR e-mail address sometime, and see if it comes up on a website you've posted to in the past. If it does, spammers can find it and harvest it, too. They likely won't get it off the TARG website, though, and I aim to keep it that way!
    -- Paul K. Bingham
   TARG Founder

  1. TARG's official website: www.e-TARG.org!
  2. TARG's message posting pages: www.e-targ.org/Resources/GB_archive/index.html
  3. Helene B. Cincebeaux's fun new 2008 Treasure Tours Schedule is out! (To explore the possibilities go here: www.Our-Slovakia.com.)
  4. A link to a good article by genealogist Myra Vanderpool Gormley about surname meaning misconceptions: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~gormleym/misslink.htm. (Thanks to TARG member Judy Clauss for this link.)

YOUR LETTERS___________
---Hi Paul, I have created a new site on FaceBook with family information. (To log on you will need to join FaceBook.) Here's the link. - Bob Tvorik, Iowa
***Hi Bob, I have read recently that it's not just kids using FaceBook now, so I found your e-mail interesting. (I know two of my five kids have FaceBook pages.) Increasingly more genealogy researchers are using it, too, to connect with other researchers. Thanks for the link - I will pass it along to our TARG members. -- Paul
---Hello, Let me introduce myself. I am a genealogy researcher from Presov, Slovakia. I am interested in the research in Tatra region. I would like to ask you if it is possible to promote my services at your website. Is it possible to add the link to my website at your section Helpful links? If you need more information, please visit my website: www.slovak-ancestry.com or please contact me directly via this email address: michal.razus@gmail.com. In case of interest I will also promote your website at mine. Thank you very much. Looking forward to your respond. Best wishes, Michal Razus.
***I received this e-mail and have not yet responded to him. Do any of you have experience with this fellow? I do not know him. He and his website seem legitimate, but I do not want to promote anyone I do not know. Likewise I got an e-mail from a Rev. Jan Dus from Policka, Czech Republic who also says he does "Genealogical and Guide Services" in Slovakia. His website is www.revjan.com and e-mail: jan.dus@evangnet.cz. If anyone has heard of or had experience with either of these individuals, please let me know. Thanks! -- Paul
(We'll get to more of your mail next time!)

    Here's an interesting article by professional genealogist Myra Vanderpool Gormley about misconceptions regarding surname meanings and mistakes made by most folks researching their surnames. This link: homepages.rootsweb.com/~gormleym/misslink.htm was sent in by our own Judy Clauss. Thanks Judy!
    While the article talks generally about all areas of Europe, this can be applied equally to our tatra area in Poland and Slovakia. There are many surnames taken from the villages or area in which the person or family lived, and that situation is much more prevelant than the reverse where a village or town was named for one of our ancestors. Let's face it, most of our Tatra ancestors were serfs, poor farmers, and only the barons and kings who ruled over them had much sway over naming. I'm fine with that, but many newcomers persist with legends handed down to them which may or may not be true. Anyway, visit the site and read Myra Gormley's article.

Chapter 7 "The White Room and the Black Room" begins:
    The Rocky Highlands have no sand or chalk to make mortar with, but wood and stone are found in plenty, and these are the two kinds of material at the disposal of the local builder. Stone, however, is hard and difficult to handle. Moreover, as he has no mortar, he can't use stone to build real, solid walls. Accordingly stone is used only for foundations; all the rest of the house is made of wood.
It is difficult in old times to obtain iron tools. Even nails were scarce. So everything possible had to be made of native wood, which was close at hand and cost nothing except the trouble preparing it and fetching it to the building site. This has excercised a powerful influence on the development of the local style.
A typical Goral cottage is built with tree trunks, stripped of their bark and slightly squared at their sides with an axe. The ends of the trunks are strutted so as to fit into one another where the walls intersect, thus forming a firm structure. These intercrossed ends protrude beyond the walls for some ten inches or more and are very characteristic. The roof is built at a steep angle to prevent the accumulation of snow and it extends about two yards beyond the wall (okap) to protect the windows from rain and snow. It is covered with shingles.
The width of the beams of which the house is built is the object of the gazda's pride, and the fewer used to make a wall, the satisfied he feels. When the beams are dry, slots between them are stuffed with moss, though nowadays wood shavings woven into a sort of pigtail are substituted. These have to be examined from time to time and given an additional push, for they often get loosened or are completely blown out by the wind. They have, however, this advantage that they do not absorb moisture as moss would.
   (Chapter 7 "The White Room and the Black Room" of Firsoff's 1946 book will continue in our next issue.

   To contact the TARG Editor, the new e-mail address is: TatraAreaResearchGroupgmail. 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 address above, go ahead and use the old address targ_net@hotmail.).
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