Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to everyone,
II is my hope that everyone has had a wonderful and prosperous year. I apologize for not getting any Christmas cards sent out last year, but tight finances & old addresses kept me from mailing cards. Please help me and
via email with address and/or email updates for you and any family members, so they can get a Christmas card or Christmas email next year! ☺
What a year it has been for me!!!. So many things have happened this year. I began the year in a second term as President of New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG). Our group accomplished many new wonderful things this year.
In April I attended a large genealogy conference "New England Regional Genealogy Conference" (NERGC) in Springfield, Massachussetts where I met a fellow genealogist from Grudziądz, Poland. I did not know it yet, but I would work with her doing some research while I was in Poland for two months this summer.
I was contacted by Gaston Croisetière from Canada and was invited to go to his booklaunch in May. Croisetière is the family name of my Great Grandmother. I had done extensive research on her family line and had posted the information to my website. Gaston had used the information I had in my family data to help with his research on the Croisetière family so he could complete a 25-year mission to write a book on the family. Although I was honored to be asked to attend the book launch, I was a little bit hesitant to go because I did not feel I had done that much to help Gaston. Despite my hesitations, I responded that I would go. It was also an opportunity to meet relatives, see the place of my ancestors and see some of the churches I had been researching the repertoires in for many years. Gaston gave a wonderful presentation about the work he went through to research for his book. What I was not aware of is that he included information about me and my research in his book. Gaston did a beautiful job writing this book and it will be something for all the Croisetiere families to cherish forever. THANK YOU GASTON!
I purchased a new camera this year and it has a built in GPS function. Whenever I take a photo it will record the latitude and longitude of the photo being taken. If you look at the photos in my new gallery, you can see where the photo was taken (if the GPS position was recorded) by clicking on the little globe in the preview of the photo. This will bring up a Google Map with the location marked. I have found this to be a fantastic new tool for my genealogy research. It will also allow all my friends that view my photos on my website to see where the photo was taken.
The highlight of 2011 was spent in Poland & the Czech Republic in August and September. This trip was a combination of work for two clients that needed research done in Poland and vacation time for me. I was happy to see Łukasz Firkowski again when I arrived in Kraków. This was an opportunity to improve my Polish, although my Polish needs more work. I spent the first days visiting with Łukasz in Sosnowiec, his parents Jan and Maria who live in Dąbrowa Górnicza & some Ciuk family. We took some time to go to one of my favorite places in Poland – The Rynek (marketplace) in Kraków.
I then drove to Brwinów (near Warsaw) and stayed with Zbigniew, Dorota & Maciek Firkowski. Zbigniew and I put blisters on our feet with all the walking we did in Warsaw. Warsaw has changed since I was there last. I especially enjoyed Warsaw at night. Zbigniew and I also visited with Agnieszka Sikorska in Warsaw. We had a lot of fun at the new Copernicus Science Center. During this visit I was measured for a tailor made Kujawy (Traditional Folk costume for the area my ancestors are from). I would have to return later for a final fitting. It was a good thing I was there long enough to have this souvenir completed.
From Brwinow I went to Szewna and Strzyżów in the southeastern part of Poland to do some genealogical research for my clients. The blue markers on the right are the places I visited during my 2 months in Poland. The area in the red circle is the area I did research in.
After completing some of the research I needed to do, I went up north and was able to be present at the wedding of Łukasz Dankowski & his new bride Ewa. I had fun experiencing a wedding, Polish style. The first night of celebration went on till 5am but I only made it till 2am. All the vodka made me "sleepy". With Maria Dankowska, I visited with family in Torun, Inowroclaw, Suchatówka, Gniewkowo, Sławsko Dolne, Janikowo, Markowo, Murzynno, Jaksice & Szadłowice. New information was gathered for the family tree and tons of old photos were scanned. So many people to see, so much information to get, and so little time to do it all.
From there I drove to Słupsk and met Tadeusz & Danuta Firkowski. During my stay with Tadeusz I had the opportunity to meet some family I had not met before. I had the opportunity to see many places around Słupsk. One of the places that fascinated me the most was a historical polish village in Kluki. Since I had already been to the Bieszczady Mountains in the southeastern part of Poland, I made it a point to go to Ustka and Darłowo to see the Baltic Sea.
Next it was on to Wrocław where I stayed with Adam Groff and toured many of the churches there in Wrocław. I went to see a dancing fountain, which is one of the newest tourist attractions and visited with family. I spent some time in the Rynek in Wrocław. The Rynek in Wrocław is one of two of my favorite market squares in Poland. It is very large and hosts a beautiful artistic fountain.
Back to Sosnowiec I spent a week with Łukasz (he had a weeks vacation) and got to see a number of castles. Łukasz, Anna (his girlfriend) and I met with my cousin Mirek and some of his family from Ostrava, Czech Republic in Prague. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to see Prague & I was amazed by this beautiful city.
After spending a week with Łukasz, it was back to work researching in the southeast part of Poland. There are so many details of my trip I do not have the space in this letter to share it all. I have put all the photos from my trip on my website & I have a Blog that I have slowly been adding posts to that better describes my adventures during my trip. I want to thank EVERYONE who helped make my 2011 visit to Poland a memorable one!!
Here in New Hampshire we had a very strange snowstorm on October 30th. Total accumulation of snow from this storm was 22" or 56 cm. The weather warmed up back to normal & after a week, all that snow was gone. Snowfall records were broken from this strange storm.
I have finally updated my webpage. So far, I have added a photo gallery and a Blog, a video gallery is coming soon. Gradually I will move all items over from my old website pages. Take a look at the new site at www.firkowski.com. I have also given my business website a makeover. You can see it at www.thegenealogyassistant.com
I wish everyone a ... Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
Wesołych Swiąt i Szczesliwego Nowego Roku!
Happy Holidays from,
Tim Firkowski & Nugget