Monday, March 17, 2014

A St. Patrick’s Day miracle for the Irish/Hungarian genealogy blogger

You may be thinking, “It’s a miracle! Finally a new blog article from Lisa!”

Though this very well might be a small miracle, there is a real miracle I’d like to share with you in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. It is a documented phenomenon that occurred over three centuries ago that is still remembered and celebrated today. It is close to my heart for a very special reason, as you’ll see when you read on.

I first posted this article three years ago, but really wanted to share it again this year. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Smallest Leaf!


As a Catholic and a mother, I often look to Christ’s mother, Mary, for inspiration. She is the perfect example of womanhood. Her life has provided encouragement to women for many generations, including my own and my beloved ancestors’ (on both the Irish and Hungarian/Croatian sides of the family).

In many places throughout the world, Mary is remembered by a special name or title, or honored with a particular statue or painting containing her image. There are countless “names” for Mary. I thought I had heard of most of them.

I was surprised to come across a new title for Mary recently that I absolutely could not believe. As the descendant of Irish and Hungarian ancestors, I was thrilled to discover the Irish Madonna of Hungary. The story behind this title of Mary involves a beautiful painting, two European cities a continent apart, and a documented miracle that is as surprising as it is inspiring.


The village of Clonfert in County Galway, Ireland could not hide from the troubles facing the island during the middle of the 17th century. Oliver Cromwell was imposing his will on the Irish people – often brutally – and many, particularly church leaders, were displaced, persecuted, or killed. Among those was one Irish bishop by the name of Walter Lynch. As history tells us, Bishop Lynch was forced to flee his native Clonfert to Galway city. After the attack and capture of Galway, he was pursued to the island of Inisbofin, and then escaped to mainland Europe. He was in Austria by 1655 – four years after fleeing Clonfert. While in Austria, the good Bishop met the Bishop of Győr, Hungary, who offered him the opportunity to continue his ministry within the Győr diocese until the time when Bishop Lynch could safely return to his homeland.

Sadly, Bishop Lynch, who was making plans to return to Ireland, passed away in Győr in the year 1663, twelve years after leaving Clonfert. During his travels as an exile, the Bishop had carried with him a painting of Mary and the child Jesus (shown below), which he had saved from the Clonfert cathedral. Before his passing, Bishop Lynch had placed the picture in the care of the Bishop of Győr, who put it on display in the Győr cathedral.


Thirty-four years passed with the painting housed in the Győr cathedral. The Hungarian faithful venerated this beautiful image of the Madonna, and felt sure that Mary’s intercession on their behalf had ensured their recent victories over the Turks. By the year 1697, Hungary was enjoying newfound peace. Unfortunately, that same year, Ireland was beginning to face one of its greatest trials: the outlawing of the Catholic faith, the confiscation of its churches, and the banishment of all Catholic clergy from the British Isles.

As historical accounts tell us, on the feast of St. Patrick on March 17, 1697 a miracle occurred in Győr. According to the account of a priest who witnessed the event, “…the picture of the Blessed Virgin in the cathedral began to weep copiously.” Additional details recorded indicate that this “weeping”, or “bloody sweat”, went on for several hours, and that witnesses of various denominations were unable to attribute the occurrence to any natural cause. Eventually, word of the miracle spread throughout the city. It was witnessed by thousands, many of whom signed a document indicating their presence at the time of the miracle. These included the imperial governor of the city, mayor, councilmen, the Bishop, priests, Protestant ministers, a Jewish rabbi and many more. A linen cloth used to soak up the liquid is still on display today in the cathedral. The inscription on the case reads: “This is the true cloth which was used to dry the blood, which this picture shed in this church on St. Patrick’s Day 1697.”

The linen cloth on display in Győr Basilica today
(Image thanks to Győri Egyházmegye - Győr Diocese)

The beautiful image of the Irish Madonna of Hungary, also referred to as the Consolatrix Afflictorum (Consoler of the Afflicted), remains in the cathedral to this day, framed in silver above the altar. For over three centuries, it has played a special role in drawing together the two nations of Hungary and Ireland.



Every March 17 since 1947 (the 250 year anniversary of the miracle), even during the Communist regime, Hungarian priests have made a pilgrimage to the Győr cathedral and visited the Győri Könnyező Szűzanya (Győr Weeping Virgin Mary) or Ír Madonna (Irish Madonna), as they call the painting in the Hungarian language.

Hungarian priests in procession at Győr Basilica
(Image thanks to Győri Egyházmegye - Győr Diocese)

Other special celebrations occur regularly for Hungarian lay Catholics to honor Mary’s weeping image in Győr, and there is even an annual Croatian-speaking celebration. Irish Catholics, too, regularly make pilgrimages to the Irish Madonna of Hungary. The year 1997 (the 300-year anniversary of the miracle) saw a special exchange as the Irish Clonfert Bishop John Kirby was presented a copy of the painting by Győr Bishop Lajos Papai on his visit to the city.

Győr, Hungary's Bishop Lajos Papai giving a copy of the
painting to Clonfert, Ireland's Bishop John Kirby
(Image thanks to Hitvallás)
As Clonfert’s Bishop John Kirby wrote, “The kindness shown to Bishop Walter Lynch has led to an unusual link between the small Irish rural diocese of Clonfert and the large Hungarian diocese of Győr centered in a big industrial city. It has shown us the value of friendship and the way that the consideration shown to a refugee can deepen the understanding between peoples who might otherwise never have known each other. The history of the painting has an even deeper message. It reminds us of the faith and trust in the intercession of Our Lady that existed both in Ireland and in Hungary 350 years ago.”

The Basilica of Győr today
Where were my Irish and Hungarian ancestors 350 years ago? I haven’t determined that yet, but it is interesting to imagine the possibilities knowing the history of the time.

As you may know, Catholics like to choose patron saints for themselves. I think it’s pretty obvious that Mary, the Irish Madonna of Hungary, is the ideal patron saint for this Irish/Hungarian genealogist! I hope that Győr’s Weeping Virgin Mary, the Consoler of the Afflicted, will smile down on my efforts to continue the search for ancestors on both sides of my family tree: those from Bishop Lynch’s beloved native Ireland, and those from Hungary, the country that welcomed him with open arms.


If you'd like to read more about the history of the Irish Madonna of Hungary, check out the following websites and books:
Note: This article is cross-posted to one of my Irish genealogy blogs, Small-leaved Shamrock.  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Catholic, Hungarian and Croatian Genealogy QuickGuides™ now available as Kindle eBooks


If you are tracing Catholic, Hungarian or Croatian roots (or two of those, or all three!), you may be familiar with my Catholic, Hungarian and Croatian Genealogy QuickGuides™. Published in partnership with Legacy Family Tree, these resources were first available as PDF downloads on the Legacy Family Tree website.

I am pleased to announce that all three guides are now available as Amazon Kindle eBooks. Whether you have a Kindle (or use the free Kindle app on your computer, tablet or smartphone) you can now have handy access to these guides in eBook format.

What's the difference? The PDF downloads are in a compressed format and make the guide compact for easier printing and sliding into the rings of a notebook. The eBooks include the same content laid out into book format, so they have more pages. They would use up more paper if printed, yet are easily scrollable using a Kindle or Kindle app.

For more details about each individual guide, visit:

Happy researching!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My new Hungarian Genealogy QuickGuide™: Trace your roots in the land of the Magyars

Hungary’s legacy as a nation extends back a millennium, and its people (and diaspora) are proud of their great heritage, myself included. As a child I was intrigued by the idea that my own grandfather had been born in a different country a world away. I grew up with the tastes and smells of Hungarian Gulyás (goulash), Töltött káposzta (stuffed cabbage), Csirke paprikás (chicken paprika), and Kifli from my grandmother's kitchen. It was only natural to me to want to learn more about this country that figured so largely in the lives of my grandparents and to want to delve into my Hungarian family tree.

My Hungarian Genealogy QuickGuide™
is a resource for both experienced researchers
and those new to tracing their Hungarian roots
After the recent success of my Croatian Genealogy and Catholic Genealogy QuickGuides™, I decided to focus on sharing the resources and research tips I've found while tracing my Hungarian roots. In partnership with Legacy Family Tree, I am pleased to present a brand new aid in your search for roots in the land of the Magyars: my Hungarian Genealogy QuickGuide™, a downloadable resource that includes -
  • An overview of the history and geography of Hungary (as a nation and as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire)
  • Details about the types and whereabouts of available civil and church records
  • A description of the various types of archives and repositories that house Hungarian records
  • An introduction to the languages in which Hungarian records were written
  • Links to many types of online resources (genealogy guides, translation tools, maps, forums, blogs and more)
  • A list of genealogy-related publications in both English and Hungarian
  • A research strategy to follow for success in tracing your Hungarian roots

The search for roots within the age-old kingdom of Hungary, though often made complex by various languages and border changes, can be a greatly rewarding experience. Hungary has long been a crossroads, and Hungarian ancestors’ histories and records of genealogical interest are intertwined with neighboring countries and the empires and occupiers that ruled the area over the centuries.

If you have ancestors who emigrated from Hungary and would like to begin to trace or continue to deepen your knowledge of your family tree, I hope you'll allow me to share what I've learned with you.

~

Update: I am pleased to announce that all three of my genealogy guides are now available as Amazon Kindle eBooks. Whether you have a Kindle (or use the free Kindle app on your computer, tablet or smartphone) you can now have handy access to these guides in eBook format.

What's the difference? The PDF downloads are in a compressed format and make the guide compact for easier printing and sliding into the rings of a notebook. The eBooks include the same content laid out into book format, so they have more pages. They would use up more paper if printed, yet are easily scrollable using a Kindle or Kindle app.

For more details about the other QuickGuides™ I've authored, see: My new Catholic Genealogy QuickGuide™: Let me help you find those Catholic ancestors and My new Croatian Genealogy QuickGuide™: Journey with me back to your roots in Croatia.

Happy researching!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hungarian Kifli at Christmas: A long legacy of motherly love

I've shared our family's Kifli recipe several times already here at 100 Years in America, telling the story of how I finally learned the Hungarian name of this traditional favorite. (By the time I came along my family was calling them "Gramma's Christmas Cakes". This European treat had Americanized its name along with the names of my immigrant ancestors!)

This year I'd like to share this delicious family treasure again within my series of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories articles, giving a little more attention to our family's special legacy with regard to this delicious traditional favorite.


This is the first Christmas that our family will celebrate without a very special family member, my dear Aunt Barbara. She passed away last January. It has been almost a year now, yet the passing of the first Christmas without a loved one is probably one of the most difficult milestones when grieving a loss. So it is with dear Barbara, for myself and the rest of the family, but particularly for her children and grandchildren, I'm sure.

One of 100 Years in America's most faithful readers, one of Barbara's daughters, faithfully bakes these family Christmas cakes each year (and provided me with the beautiful photograph above). One of the sad moments she experienced this month was not being able to call her Mom and say, "Guess what I'm making?" My cousin was taught by her mother, Barbara, who was taught by her mother, our dear grandmother Mitzi. A young bride at age 18, Mitzi had gone to live with her new husband in the household of his mother (and many siblings) several states away from her home. There she was trained to cook and bake as her mother-in-law did, using her recipes from northeastern Hungary. One of the recipes Mitzi mastered: Hungarian Kifli.

Mitzi's mother-in-law, Maria (Németh) Tóth (known as Mary in America), was a 34-year-old mother of four when she emigrated from Hungary's Borsod county to join her husband. Along with transporting four children (one a baby!) on that journey, Maria carried with her a wealth of Hungarian family recipes that would be treasured by many generations of our family over the next century (and hopefully more!).

I like to imagine Maria as a young girl within her mother's kitchen, learning to cook the Hungarian Gulyás (goulash), Töltött káposzta (stuffed cabbage), Csirke paprikás (chicken paprika), and Kifli that would become our family's favorites. Maria and her mother could not possibly have imagined that a century later and a world away, their descendants would remember them and their recipes fondly, having received the legacy of nourishing love produced by the hands of their daughters, daughters-in-law, and grand-daughters.

As I once again share this Kifli recipe, I do so in honor of these women who came before us: my dear Aunt Barbara, my grandmother Mitzi, my great-grandmother Mary (Maria), and her mother (another Barbara): Borbála* (Nagy) Németh.

*Borbála is the Hungarian version of the name Barbara


100 Years in America's Family Kifli Recipe

Otherwise known as "Gramma's Christmas Cakes"


Apricot Jelly Filling

3 lbs. apricots
1 1/2 cups sugar
Cinnamon

  • Put them in a pot with enough water to cover them plus about 1 inch more
  • Cook for about 45 minutes until soft, stirring frequently
  • Mash the apricots
  • Add sugar
  • Cook about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until very thick (the longer the better), stirring frequently
  • Sprinkle the jelly with cinnamon


Christmas Cakes

4 cups flour
1/2 lb. sweet butter at room temperature
6 eggs - separated - at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. sour cream at room temperature
4 tablespoons sugar
1 packet of yeast (prepared by mixing with 1 teaspoon sugar & about 1/4 cup milk)
Homemade apricot jelly
1 lb. walnuts (add 4 teaspoons sugar to each lb. when chopped)
Confectioner's sugar

  • Mix flour with butter and then salt and sugar
  • Make a well in the middle - add egg yolks, vanilla and sour cream gradually
  • Mix and kneed until smooth (keep working the dough until ready)
  • Use flour to make it not too sticky (can freeze - wrap in freezer paper and cover with flour)
  • Roll out dough
  • Cut the dough into 4 pieces
  • Chop walnuts and whip egg whites
  • Roll out one of the 4 pieces of dough
  • Cut into individual 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 squares and fill with a heaping teaspoon of homemade apricot jelly
  • Roll each into a horn (crescent)
  • Top each with egg whites and nuts
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until light brown (about 30-35 minutes)


Kifli may also be served with a prune filling (prepared similarly to the apricot filling) or a walnut filling, although the apricot kind has always been the favorite in my family. If using walnut filling, add boiled milk to the nuts until pasty, then grated lemon rind.


~


This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2013, Day 4: Christmas Recipes. For more Advent and Christmas memories here at 100 Years in America (going back to 2007), scroll through these articles or stop by my Pinterest page. Visit this preview for more details about the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and to get some inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

Note: Our family's Kifli recipe has also appeared previously as part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories here at 100 Years in America several times (once in 2007 and then twice in 2009 - here and here). Over the past six years, these have continued to be among the most frequently viewed articles here at 100 Years in America. If you took the time to try out our family Kifli recipe, please leave a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Eve Luminaria: "Who can sleep on this night that God became man?"

My absolute favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night. The beautiful words and ascending phrases of the music stir my heart as I revel in the glory of Christmas. Many of my childhood Christmas Eves were spent savoring the holiness of this very special night.

After the rest of the house had gone to sleep – or at least after I had gone to my own room – I would sit at my desk and look out the picture window overlooking our front yard.  It was the tradition in my neighborhood to set out luminaria – brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated by a burning candle set inside.


My family and I took time each Christmas Eve afternoon to work alongside our neighbors shoveling the sand, filling the bags, and getting everything ready for sunset on this, the most joyful night of the year.  I didn't know it at the time, but this tradition had originated with Spanish immigrants to the New World.  It was a way that they, as Catholics, helped "light the way" for the Christ Child to visit their homes and hearts on this very special evening.


Each year, after my family and I had gone to Christmas Eve Mass, we would come home to light the luminaria, share a small dinner, and head to bed in anticipation of Christmas morning.  Once I was up in my room and ready for bed, I sat at my window and always watched for as long as I could, counting the candles that had gone out and savoring the glow and warmth of the peace that is Christmas Eve.


A few years ago I read and smiled at the words of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) about Christmas Eve, “Who can sleep on this night that God became man?” I still stay up through most of the night every Christmas Eve, savoring the quiet and sometimes listening to a rendition of O Holy Night as I enjoy the peace and anticipation of this beautiful evening when Mary brought forth her firstborn Son.

~

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!




~

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2013, Day 3: Christmas Music and Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2013, Day 4: Christmas Lights. I have also submitted it to footnoteMaven as part of her traditional Blog Caroling event.

For more Advent and Christmas memories here at 100 Years in America (going back to 2007), scroll through these articles or stop by my Pinterest page. Visit this preview for more details about the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and to get some inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A new spin on an old tradition: Our family's revolving Christmas tree stands

Though I risk making my readers dizzy, I just had to share a photo that illustrates one of my favorite features of our family's traditional Christmas tree: the revolving tree stand.

I can't remember a Christmas when the living room (of my childhood and now of my own children's) was not graced with a marvelously revolving Christmas tree! The tradition started in the home of my grandmother, continued with my parents, and now has become an important part of my children's lives within our immediate family's holiday celebrations.

Though this picture makes it look like the tree is spinning very fast, our revolving tree stand actually goes at a snail's pace. It would really make our heads spin (and break some ornaments!) if the tree whizzed around as it looks like it does in this photo.

As a child, I loved to turn the switch on and off to start and stop the spinning of the tree. Even more, however, I loved lying under, sitting under, or standing near the Christmas tree and watching all the beautiful lights and ornaments go around above my head. What fun to see a special ornament come around the corner within view once again!

Me admiring the Christmas tree.

In recent years I've added a couple of smaller trees with themed ornaments to our family's Christmas decor. I've had lots of trouble trying to decide which ornaments to put in back since these little trees don't have revolving stands and wouldn't be "making the rounds" as I'm so used to having ornaments do on my large tree.

If you've never tried one, I encourage you and your family to give a revolving tree stand a spin this holiday season! Happy tree trimming!

~

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2013, Day 1: Christmas Trees. For more Advent and Christmas memories here at 100 Years in America (going back to 2007), scroll through these articles or stop by my Pinterest page. Visit this preview for more details about the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and to get some inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On finding my work cited in a young historian's annotated bibliography

So here I was at the state level of the National History Day competition. 




Back to my story...

The time had come (following the interview and judging period) when the doors open into the museum hall so that visitors can take a look at the year's entries in both senior and junior divisions of the historical exhibit category. So I wandered the rows, viewing projects on this year's theme: Turning Points in History. I saw projects on everything from apartheid to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to Napolean Bonaparte to the first transcontinental railroad. 

Suddenly, an exhibit struck my eye. The topic: the Cristero rebellion in 1920s Mexico. Now here was a topic I knew something about. I had written an article about it for The Catholic Gene blog. It was a troubling period just decades ago in Mexico's history featuring the almost incomprehensible struggle for religious liberties and civil rights fought by the Mexican people.

I took time to read this project a little more closely than the others, picking up the annotated bibliography on the table in front of the exhibit. I flipped open a page, and - surprise! - there was my article, cited and annotated by the students who created the project. 

I was happy to see that they had used my work as a source, and it was a good reminder of the importance of solid research and writing. I work hard to do complete research and write accurate articles about the topics I cover.  Yet, seeing that these students had relied on my work as a central resource for their historical research project gave me additional inspiration to continue to ensure the integrity of what I publish here on the web and elsewhere.

~

One of my greatest hopes is that I can help in some small way to inspire young people to delve into and begin to love the study of history. So many adults, sadly, avoid anything with the H-word stamped onto it, having flashbacks of failing to memorize a timeline or to learn names and dates for a test during their school years. 

The nation's top young historians will gather this week to
compete in the National History Day competition at the
University of Maryland, College Park 

National History Day is encouraging young students to see beyond the names and dates and learn what history is all about through in-depth investigations using primary sources. They are given a chance to become young historians, doing meaningful research and presenting their conclusions within museum-like exhibits and other formats much like a professional historian might have the opportunity to do. What a thrill for me to find my name and work within the bibliography produced by a group of these young historians!

This year's National History Day competition will take place this coming week at the University of Maryland, College Park: June 9-13, 2013. The theme is Turning Points in History. If you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by and view some of the nation's best student-created historical exhibits, documentaries, websites, papers and performances of the year. I'll be cheering on some of those talented students during this year's competition!

Get National History Day updates on Twitter by following them at @NationalHistory or myself at @smallestleaf.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

100 Years in America turns six years old!

Today is the six year anniversary of 100 Years in America! It's been quiet for awhile over here and at my other genealogy blogs, but I've been busy with some fun projects outside of blogging and hope to find time to do some more writing again now that summer has hit.

A little update on what I've been up to in the world of genealogy:

Earlier this year I created and published two genealogy guides through Legacy Family Tree: the Catholic Genealogy QuickGuide™ and Croatian Genealogy QuickGuide™. I'm now at work on and very excited about my third such project. Watch 100 Years in America and the Legacy website for its announcement.

I've had the joy to present to several genealogy societies recently on the topic of "Telling the Tales of Your Family Tree: How to Share Your Research in Story Form". I hope I have inspired some of my listeners to get to work turning their pedigree charts into story plots and sharing the fascinating tales of their ancestors with their extended families. If you have a group interested in a similar presentation, please let me know.

It's going to be a long time in the works, but I've been dedicating myself to re-organizing many of the records I've collected over the years, scanning them, citing them properly, and revisiting them with new eyes for information that I might have missed on the first once-over. I've also been creating some new family timelines and am unveiling some fascinating stories. I hope to share some of those on my blogs in the near future.

It is hard to believe that 100 Years in America is celebrating its sixth anniversary! What fun I've had sharing my family's stories, and connecting with distant cousins and fellow genealogy buffs. The comments and emails from you, my readers, continue to inspire me to delve deeper into my personal ancestral search and to continue to share my love for history with others. Thanks again for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My new Catholic Genealogy QuickGuide™: Let me help you find those Catholic ancestors!

There is much more to Catholic genealogy than just sacramental records.
The ecclesiastical paper trails left by our Catholic ancestors allow us to explore
their lives through important milestones painstakingly recorded by the church.
If you are researching Catholic roots, I'm sure you have a beginning understanding of the importance of Catholic sacramental records. Baptism and marriage records, in particular, are among the first of our ancestors' documents that we collect. They provide a wealth of information, allowing us to confirm names and family connections, link generations, and gain insight into important milestones in the lives of those who have gone before us.

In many countries, Catholic sacramental registries often served as both religious and civil records. In these cases, they may be the only evidence available to provide clues into the lives of generations passed. Yet, there is so much more to Catholic genealogical research. Church records (which take many forms beyond parish sacramental registries) and other Catholic resources offer a huge, often untapped resource.

After much research into this topic, I have created a Catholic Genealogy QuickGuide™, now available for purchase through Legacy Family Tree. I have perused all the published resources on the topic that I could find, done my own personal research using Catholic records, and put together an introduction to Catholic genealogy that I hope will provide help to both the beginning and experienced researcher.

My Catholic Genealogy QuickGuide™ contains descriptions of the history and types of Catholic records, what value they provide to the researcher, and where to find them. It offers a guide to assist you in following your ancestors' paper trails, and lists books, periodicals and online resources for help in researching Catholic roots in general and in understanding special topics related to specific ethnic groups and parts of the world. I've also provided some help in getting started with Latin language record translation.

If you have Catholic ancestors, I hope you'll allow me to share what I've learned with you. Visit Legacy Family Tree's website for more information. It is my hope that I can help you begin to understand the wealth of resources available to you in your search for Catholic roots!

~

Update: I am pleased to announce that all three of my genealogy guides are now available as Amazon Kindle eBooks. Whether you have a Kindle (or use the free Kindle app on your computer, tablet or smartphone) you can now have handy access to these guides in eBook format.

What's the difference? The PDF downloads are in a compressed format and make the guide compact for easier printing and sliding into the rings of a notebook. The eBooks include the same content laid out into book format, so they have more pages. They would use up more paper if printed, yet are easily scrollable using a Kindle or Kindle app.

For more details about the other QuickGuides™ I've authored, see: My new Hungarian Genealogy QuickGuide™: Trace your roots in the land of the Magyars and My new Croatian Genealogy QuickGuide™: Journey with me back to your roots in Croatia.

Happy researching!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It is hard to say good-bye to these dear women

This month, within the span of a week's time, I lost two very special ladies: my beloved Aunt Barbara and my dear Great Aunt Molly.

Barbara
Molly
It is hard to say good-bye to these women.

They each lived many states away from me, and that has been the case for most of my years (with the exception of my early childhood and a few years about a decade ago when I had the joy to live close to one of them). Yet, they each figured largely in my life in ways that they may not have even realized.

First as a child, then as a young lady and a grown woman, I have often looked to the women in my family for inspiration and example. I have gained courage for my own life through their stories, their struggles and their vibrant personalities. They have walked ahead of me on the journey through girlhood into adulthood, but we share so much - the same larger than life ancestors who have helped to shape us; the same struggle to make sense of and to find courage for the challenges in the life of a woman.

I have often been inspired by the stories of women ancestors that I never had the chance to meet, yet these dear aunts have touched me in a special way. Both had lively personalities, a great sense of humor, and unrelenting strength of will which gave them the ability to overcome their own personal difficulties. I will remember Barbara especially for her warmth, openness and honesty. I will remember Molly for her delightfully spunky personality. I have been blessed that my life crossed paths with each of theirs, if even for short time, and that I have had the gift of their sweet and strong influences over the years.

Rest in peace, sweet ladies. You are both very dear to my heart.

(This tribute to my aunts Barbara and Molly has been cross-posted over at my blog Small-leaved Shamrock.)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Five years of life in the Lower East Side: 1908-1913

It was five years ago that my interest was sparked by Jim Rasenberger's January 2008 Smithsonian Magazine article entitled "1908: The Year that Changed Everything".

As I wrote after reading:
"It was a banner year for the Wright Brothers and their flying 'aeroplane'.
It was the year that Henry Ford's Model T went into production and the year that General Motors was founded.
1908 saw the race to the North Pole, the automobile race from New York to Paris, and the race to liberate the housewife via electric irons and toasters.
It was a year of tremendous change for the world and for the nation that had seen the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark's trek across the west only a century before.

1908. One-hundred years ago today.

Where was my family?"
It was a blog post that started a wave of responses. I had asked myself and my fellow genealogy bloggers the question: Where was your family in 1908? (You can read their responses here at Snapshots of the World Back in 1908.)


~

Five years have flown for me.

When I read Randy Seaver's latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge to write about the whereabouts of my ancestors one-hundred years ago in January 1913, I just had to find the time to do this exercise again. After all, this blog is called 100 Years in America!

In January 1908, my great-grandparents Ferencz and Ilona Ujlaki had been an ocean apart. He had immigrated to the U.S. and was trying to establish a new life for himself in New York before his wife and young son would join him. It would be another year before Ilona and the younger Ferencz would leave their native Legrad and make the ocean voyage from the port of Rijeka to New York City.

Fast forward five years to 1913. Much had changed for this little family. After arriving in March 1909, Ilona and her little one had been welcomed by Ferencz and settled into a tenement home in the Lower East Side of New York City. By January 1913, they probably already lived at 329 E. 16th Street, having moved a handful of blocks north from their home at 415 E. 5th Street.

You can read more about the neighborhood they lived in and the churches they attended at Disappearing Churches, Part 1: Manhattan's Immaculate Conception and Disappearing Churches, Part 2: Manhattan's St. Stephen of Hungary. Visit "To face whatever lies before us...": New York City disasters and the prayers of young mothers for a look at a tragic event that occurred in their neighborhood in 1911.

This map shows where the Ujlaky family resided at the time of the 1910 U.S. census (A) and the 1915 New York state census (B). They would remain living on E. 16th St. (although they moved to 431) until 1921.

The 1910 U.S. census shows the Ujlaky (misspelled Ujlakei) family of three living at 415 E. 5th Street. They are already using their Americanized first names. Young Frank is listed as four years old. Frank senior works as a "wheelright" in a "wagon house".

Ujlaky family at 415 E. 5th St., Manhattan in the 1910 U.S. census
(click to enlarge)

By December of 1913 the family had added three sisters and had moved north to 329 E. 16th Street, as shown in the 1915 New York state census below. Frank works as a "carriage maker".

Ujlaky family at 329 E. 16th St., Manhattan in the 1915 New York state census
(click to enlarge)

The closest photograph to January 1913 that I have of my great-grandparents is probably this wedding portrait. The bride Maria Gaspar is the cousin of my great-grandmother Ilona (now called Helen). Maria's wedding to Peter Gres must have been a beautiful celebration. My great-grandparents are seated and their two oldest children, Helene and Frankie, are standing at their sides. Someone else must have been holding baby Mitzi because she would definitely be born at the time of this wedding, but she does not appear in the portrait. My great-grandmother is either expecting or soon-to-be expecting her fourth child and third daughter Wilma.

Wedding of Peter and Maria (Gaspar) Gres, 1913

For more from Lisa, visit Smallestleaf.com.

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