Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–Poland Onze

Seeking genealogy is a very frustrating endeavor. It seems that there’s always a new wrinkle in this pursuit. A couple of them have me concerned. Both are big.

The first is the surnames that I have. I have two different surnames for my maternal grandmother. One looks more like an abbreviation of the other. For my maternal grandfather, the name doesn’t seem to resemble anything that anyone can figure out. It is quite possible that the name is also an abbreviated form of something else. 

The second is that I cannot, for the life of me, seem to figure out how I came up with the notion that my maternal grandmother was born near Krakow and my maternal grandfather near Lviv. I am looking through my information and finding nothing. My aunt said she was born in Austria-Hungary in 1912. My grandmother was born in Austria-Hungary, too. The birthplace I have for my grandmother doesn’t exist. My grandfather was born in “Austria”. Why was I thinking Ukraine?? My great-grandfather’s birthplace is “Olesku”, Poland. I’ve found cities with similar names. Was my grandmother born up there, too? My head wants to explode.

I still think that I’m in the right area for my grandmother’s info, however. Austria-Hungary did not reach too far up into present-day Poland. Perhaps it’s my grandmother that was born in the Ukrainian part of Austria-Hungary? Perhaps I should look in Ukraine for a town with a similar name? Perhaps focus on my maternal grandfather’s info in Poland–and my aunt’s info, too?

My brother has friends/colleagues from Krakow. He claims that they are interested in talking to me and possibly helping me out. That has me greatly encouraged. My host, Aleksander, has also offered to help out, too. He feels he can, at the very least, help me find an archivist–someone to can help me search or search for me. It would probably cost quite a bit because research is time-consuming and oftentimes requires travel. I would have to look at all the options any archivist might offer.

Too, I still have to check out local government offices. Not to mention the websites that are in Polish. My host is on the verge of snagging a new job. Since he has offered to help me, I need to follow up on his offer before a new job usurps all his time.

So it’s currently Saturday afternoon. Another drizzly day in Krakow. It’s been like this for four days. My first day was sunny and warm. Nice weather is supposed to return tomorrow for several days and I am anticipating it. Perhaps tomorrow I will check out Auschwitz. What a way to spend a Sunday, eh?

I’m sitting in what has become my favorite cafe in Krakow. It is in the Main Market Square. I always park myself in what is best described as an alcove above the main seating area. Windows look out on the Square and the passersby. It provides distraction while simultaneously offering a feeling of exclusion.

The pastries in this place are okay. They’re not to-die-for delicious. The hot chocolate and lattes are quite good. It’s just the atmosphere that I enjoy. And I’m close to everything if I decide I want to head someplace else. Guess that means I’m more into atmosphere.

I also want to check out more neighborhoods. I have yet to find a good restaurant. Last night I went to a Georgian restaurant. Yes, always trying to find the ever-elusive orgasmic Georgian food. I ordered pork and beef pierogies which are a type of Polish dumpling.

Well, they were okay. Just okay. I have a feeling I was too close to the Square. I’ve learned over the years that one never eats near tourist attractions. The food is almost universally bland and inauthentic. My host told me the restaurant was part of a chain. It’s best to walk a distance to an out-of-the-way neighborhood or street to find a place frequented by locals. I should have done that last night. But I was tired and it was dark. And I’m still trying to figure out this street and tram grid!!!

I finally replaced my camera last night. Found what I consider to be a good buy for me–Sony with wifi capability, zoom lens. Bought a case and a memory card. I think it will serve me well. I figured that I don’t need anything fancy since I’m not a professional. And this camera is probably light years ahead of the camera that was stolen, considering that one was seven years old. This should last for awhile–unless it gets stolen, too!

I will teach myself how to use the camera tonight so I can be ready for tomorrow. The weather is supposed to finally get better. And if I get to Auschwitz, I’m going to want to use my camera. I’m anxious to start taking photos. Krakow is a beautiful city and it’s been difficult trying to get good shots on these gray, rainy days.

So, the weekend is here and I can just kick back, I guess.






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