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  • Jul3

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    While resurrecting my family photo scanning project again (now aka PROJECT LAZARUS) I stumbled upon one of my very favorite family photos: my 15 year old grandfather Josef Vanac and his sister Marie all dressed up for a photo in New York city.
    Joseph Vanac and sister Marie, New York, circa 1906I love this photo not only because we have no other photos of my grandfather and great-aunt at this time, but because he is right off the boat from the Czechoslovakia. (Around this time known as Bohemia, Austria Hungary, and/or Galicia depending on the record and they area people came from.)

    Marie had been in New York since she arrived in 1902 at the age of 16. The contact listed on her ship record was a cousin (actually listed as a sister, oddly) who had been here for many years.

    My grandfather came over in 1907 when he was 15 years old, and his ship record has Marie as his contact.

    I’ve included detail of his immigration record below.

    The Vanac family came from a rural farming background in the town of Zamlyni in Czechoslovakia and my grandfather was a stone mason at a monument company in the middle of the cemeteries of Queens for his entire career. I would love to know what my Grandpa was thinking at this point in time.

    In any case, they look terrific, and serious and at the beginning of their adult lives in a new country. And Aunt Marie looks especially beautiful.

    Joseph Vanac ship immigration record, 1907

  • Jun25

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    While going through some of the Czech family records I found on Actapublica.eu today, I headed over to the Google Maps to look up a town name I hadn’t heard of before. I might be late for this party, but I found that they had added street view images for the Czech Republic!

    My grandfather Josef Vanac’s family lived in House #3 in the town of Zámlyní, and my grandmother Marie Simanek’s family lived in House #6 just down the road in the town of Předmíř. So armed with a fistful of family photos I started “walking” through the towns to see if I could find some of the locations.


    View Larger Map

    Even though I know the house number in Zámlyní and found the house easily, it looks like much of the home has been rebuilt. (A cousin told me last year that three was still a Vanac relative there until several years ago.)

    Simanek Family Home Photo, Predmir, Czech RepublicThe group of family photos I think are from Zámlyní just didn’t make an obvious match at first glance, although you can see a similar building style to most structures in the town. I’ll have to take another crack at it that town later.

    But, once I moved over to Předmíř with the photo at right, House #6 jumped right out!

    See the street view below for the location today…

    View Larger Map

    (Note: I tried to set up the current day street view above to the exact angle as the old photo, but you might notice that the view resets to a spot right in front of the house. You can drag the view and move it back to right for a better comparison.)

  • May24

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    A Wordless Thursday post. Wait, Wednesday was supposed to be wordless. Thilent Thursday?

    Anyway, a very nice photo of an unknown woman from our family archive. I suspect she might be a friend of my Gran’s.


    Unknown Woman in Hat & Fur Muffler

  • May22

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    Another non-genealogy post, but after watching this with my son, I have to heartily recommend the stunningly animated movie – The Secret of Kells to all.

    There are bits that are quite scary so I would recommend it for children around 9 and up, depending of course on their scare factor. My son is almost 9 and although he loves all types of crazy and spooky stories, when he seems to feel a real connection to the characters the scariness within the story affects him much more. While he loved this film, I could feel him getting near the edge and moving closer to me during the Viking attack scenes and those with Ouroboros.

    But, the film is wonderful and all of the scenes fit into the story perfectly. View the trailer below, or you can watch the entire film over at Hulu for free.

    For an added bonus, head on over to Comixology.com for a free Prequel comic that you can download to your PC, iPhone, iPad or Android devices. There is also a full 112 page complete story for sale there for $4.99 that I’m eyeing for my son’s birthday. (I hope he’ll let me read it.)

  • May8

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    I haven’t posted any podcasts links lately so thought I would post information on one of my favorites – The BBC’s Coast and Country Podcast has that great radio feel, where the discussion and description of the hosts and guests as they hike and visit sites make you feel as if you are along. (A wonderful thing on a daily commute.)

    While this podcast does not have a genealogy focus, it does offer some historical discussion and people with a family history in the UK will certainly appreciate the locations they visit.

    I enjoyed the 15 March 2012 episode with in particular. The last program of host Clare Balding’s series of ‘Inspirational Walks’ was a walk around the village of Stisted with the former poet laureate Sir Andew Motion. His musings on location, family, and inspiration were both interesting and somehow calming.

    As of this writing you can find that episode in the BBC iPlayer here. If it falls off the iPlayer, you should be able to find it using the main podcast link below. Enjoy!

    BBC Coast and Country Logo

    Coast and Country

    Countryside magazine featuring people, walks and wildlife from rural Britain. Clare Balding’s ‘Ramblings’ and ‘Open Country’ with Matt Baker and Helen Mark join forces to bring you a weekly tour of the best of the British countryside. In ‘Ramblings’ Clare joins her guests on a country walk that’s been significant in their lives. ‘Open Country’ travels to a different corner of the British Isles every week, seeking out the wildlife, the landscapes and the controversies that excite the passions of local people.