Friday, October 29, 2004


The up-to-date version of this post will be maintained at:

Shtetl Seeker:

Maps of Poland, provinces and towns:

Polish Historical Maps:

Maps of Poland:

Polish Maps 1921, 1939:

Poltran for translations in Polish:

POLISH GENEALOGY - directory to Polish genealogy resources, databases and websites related to Polish ancestry and research of roots with links to Austrian, Belarusian, German, Jewish, Russian, Ukrainian and
worldwide genealogy-related sites:

He who possesses the source of enthusiasm will achieve great things. Doubt not. You will gather friends around you as a hair clasp gathers the hair. - I Ching

Thursday, October 28, 2004


OK, I've finally read something other than Diana Gabaldon or Joseph Hansen. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell gets its own post, however! The delights of that wonderful novel are still swirling about in my brain. Next, I gobbled, in the most greedy manner, a novel penned in 1913 & 1914, but only published in 1971, a year after E.M. Forster's death. Maurice: A novel was as fresh as if written yesterday, as far as the writing goes. However, it is an amazing picture of England in the early 20th century. Until 1967, homosexuality was illegal, and the social sanctions were very strong against homosexual feelings, much less sexual acts! "In 1980, the Criminal Justice Act brought Scots law in line with English law, decriminalizing sex between men in private. In 1994, the age of consent for homosexual acts was reduced from 21 to 18. In 2000, it was reduced to 16 (which is also the age of consent for heterosexual acts)." Maurice is in no way a screed, or about the social conditions or the law. It is about HAPPINESS, and three men, and their choices. Great book -- too bad it could not have been published in 1914, but since it did not end with the punishment of the men involved in an proscribed activity and mindset, it could not be published then. I'm glad some progress has been made.


I happened across The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch (1994) at the library. This is the first novel by Murdoch I've read, and I didn't know what to expect. Puzzling, creative, fascinating, thoughtful -- good read. Slow, but then -- you see the story from almost ALL viewpoints, and there are lots of characters in this group. What a wealth of imagination Miss Murdoch had. The characters were so well-drawn, I felt I was in 'the family,' a group of close friends in London. Although the book was surely set in the 80s or 90s, I kept feeling that I was in Edwardian London. Murdoch can really play with your mind! I can't think of another novel where the action was seen through so many pairs of eyes. Almost dizzying, at times. I have such admiration for the skill of Iris Murdoch. What a treasure we have lost!


Now reading Exuberance by Kay Redfield Jamison (2004), who also wrote An Unquiet Mind. It was an interesting read -- lots of interesting character sketches, intermixed with scientific studies of brain chemicals, moods and emotions, and more. Written in an exuberant style, fittingly.

I also got books for Christmas! Professional Genealogy leads the list, and I'm sure I'll be studying that one for YEARS. Also got the Social History of the Scotch-Irish by Leyburn, and a fascinating-looking Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt. Finally, got 2 Diana Gabaldons and London by Edward Rutherfurd. After Xmas bonus: Monarch of the Glen. :-)


Paul Herrick wanted me to read Taking Sex Differences Seriously by Steven E. Rhoads. I guess this is supposed to be a provocative polemic for some imagined good old days when women were pure and men were tamed by 'em, but it had several serious weaknesses for me, although I had to agree with half of his points. Rather than drawing a logical conclusion, however, he just begged the question! I kept thinking, "yeah, yeah, yeah..... HUH?"

The research was good, and some of the studies were new to me. The writing was decent, for a non-fiction treatment of an important topic. The thinking, however, was seriously flawed. Rhoads sets up the straw-man (straw woman?) of feminism over and over again, of course to knock it down. A serious consideration of the conundrum that faces all of us moderns would have been much more valuable. Many women want to work for a living, and many more feel they have to for financial reasons. (And thus it has always been.) On the other hand, women want to stay home with their babies and young children more than men do. If they follow their hearts and stay home, they lose pay, of course, but more important, they lose TIME. They lose career momentum, and years worked. When they do return to work, their earning power is seriously compromised. Plus, the months or years at home with no paying work weakens women's power in our monetistic society.

If, on the other hand, women continue working, both they and their children suffer. Women who do not want children, or want to have them but continue working, are injured by the choices of the women who choose to stay home. Their pay will be depressed, they will be less likely to have wide choices of good day care, and they will suffer the loss of power even though they continue to work. I have no answers for this, but at least I can pose the question. I wish Rhoads had thought about this.

Instead, I waded through silly arguments about "The Rules" and such trash, Title IX moaning about the loss of wrestling, and who wants to hold babies more. Sheesh. Rhoads does not even discuss homosexuality in his arguments! Perhaps he can offer some serious thought on the issues, but they will not be found in this book. Steve, read some anthropology, dude! US society does not represent all humans though all of time. I'm glad I didn't spend any money on this turkey.


Free Books Online:

Project Gutenberg:

The Online Books Page:


Fantasy and Science Fiction:


If you happen to own a dangerous science book, you may need one of these warning labels:

Just finished a wonderful kid's book,The B.F.G. by Roald Dahl, who is always a good bet for a quick read. The most amazing created words -- especially wonderful insults. I love Matilda, and Witches, and James and the Giant Peach also.

Future file: James Morrow - Only Begotten Daughter & The Jehovah trilogy. Paul de Kruif - Microbe Hunter. Arrowsmith.

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. - Aldous Huxley

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Latest and Favorite Films

Watched He Knew He Was Right (2004) on Masterpiece Theater (PBS). I understand from IMDb that an hour was cut by PBS from the original BBC version. I wish they had not done that. Good, but not great as viewed.

Finally, I got to see Bend It Like Beckham (2002). It was worth the wait! Not a "chick flick" as my son Thomas dismissed it, but a wonderfully rich look at Indian immigrant society in England, as well as a look at women's sports in the UK. You have probably seen Parminder Nagra on E.R. (tv), and she was very good. I loved the Indian music and the engagement and wedding preparations. A wonderful little movie. I probably would have enjoyed it even more if I knew anything about football (soccer).

House of Sand and Fog (2003) - I *love* this film. Everybody should have gotten Oscars, really. Kingsley and Connelly for sure, and Ron Eldard, Shohreh Aghdashloo and first-time actor, young Jonathan Ahdout were all just wonderful. Although I haven't read the novel, the screenplay adaptation was GREAT, as was the directing, lighting, cinematography and score. I loved everything about this tragic, moving masterpiece. Heartbreakingly wonderful.

A fun romp - The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). Terry Gilliam's vision is just wonderful. Imagine a hot air balloon made entirely of women's ...knickers! Wonderful whimsical fantasy. Jonathan Pryce as the bad guy is just priceless. "We're out of virgins."

Recorded The Three Faces of Eve (1957) a while back, and finally watched it. I read the book last fall. Bob had tears in his eyes at the end, when Eve finally regains her health. What a great story, and a tour-de-force for Joanne Woodward.

What a wonderful experience! I got the DVD of Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) from the library, and watched the film and all the special bits. I'm an American, and know that the US Government followed a sad parallel course with the Native American people to that of the Australian government and the aboriginal people. Amazing acting, photography, writing. A true story really brought to life. Don't get caught up in the politics or history; humans have done horrifying things to other humans over and over again. The beauty of this film is the strength of love shown by these girls, and the power that gives them. This must be one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated films I've ever had the privilege of seeing.

Next up -- 21 Grams (2003). Difficult to write about so soon after watching. The quick cuts were bewildering, but made sense, too. The story, though -- redemption? Healing? Paul Rivers was the character I don't understand. Maybe because he was trying to understand life and himself through his mystical take on math. "21 grams", indeed.

The kids talked me into Napoleon Dynamite (2004) which was surprisingly charming. Maybe the advertising was bad. The IMDB reviewer who called it absurdist comedy was right, but the determination of Napoleon D. was endearing. He lived through the embarrassments of his life, and kept going. "So what did you do again this summer, Napoleon?"
"I was in Alaska hunting wolverines with my uncle."

Debra rented Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). The DVD was a disappointment -- no extras at ALL. However, the film itself was great. I think I'll buy the DVD, in spite of the lack of extras! (Bought it for Bob for Xmas. Hee hee) Russell Crowe was perfectly cast, and I enjoyed the interplay between his character and that of Dr. Stephen Maturin, Surgeon, played by Paul Bettany (John Nash's imaginary friend in A Beautiful Mind). Peter Wier made a wonderful film; too bad it didn't make buckets of money. Some of the other books in the series might have made great films too.

We also watched The Magdalene Sisters (2002) and the TV documentary Sex in a Cold Climate (1998). Completely horrifying, both of them. Also completely absorbing. It is easy to blame the Catholic Church for what happened, or even the specific (and monstrous) priests and nuns who ran these prisons, but the wider society created and supported these places until the late 1960s. I wonder what modern Irish think about these films today?

Wow. Watched Touching the Void (2003) tonight. On the strength of it, I've bought the DVD for my dad, and a DVD player to watch it on! What an amazing story, and so realistic I kept fearing to watch bits of it. Beauty and horror are so close to one another sometimes.

I forgot to put Mystic River (2003) in here. Thinking back, I am not as impressed as I was immediately after watching it. The mysteries of the past and present are developed well, and the acting is good. Perhaps because it is such a depressing plot, and such a cynical ending, it doesn't last well in my mind.

Well, now. Finally watched Sexy Beast (2000). Hmmmmm. I don't see the humor, dark or not. On the other hand, it was original, and memorable. After reading some of the Cockney dialog translated on the IMDB board, I feel less foggy about THAT. Interesting, interesting. Both Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley were great.

Onmyoji (2001) - beautiful and intriguing. It was rather difficult to follow the plot, but might be worth another watching to get more of the layers. I was constantly struck by the similarities of the ancient Japanese Buddhist culture to that of some Native American culture. The final shots of Mansai Nomura dancing reminded me *so much* of the dream-like dancing scenes in The Business of Fancydancing (2002). Brothers of a common father, I guess.

Johnny Belinda (1948) was much better than I expected. The setting on Cape Breton in Canada was interesting, and the place was a character of the film. Jane Wyman as Belinda was perfect, and the rest of the acting was fine, too. Ya gotta love any film with a pipe band!

Henry V, or "The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France" (1944) - Laurence Olivier's creative Henry V, made during the fire-bombing of London under what must have been trying circumstances. I loved the conceit of beginning and ending in the old Globe Theatre, and the segue into "movie" was seamless and magical. The use of stage sets in the movie part were just perfect. Overall, I prefer Branagh's Henry V (1989), but Olivier is a powerful actor, director, and producer.

"And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother."

Forever Amber (1947) seems like a typical Otto Preminger film. She's pretty, the costumes are big, etc. I liked the book better.

So darn cute and sweet I almost maxed out my blood sugar. The Adventures of Milo and Otis or Koneko monogatari (1986) is a bit controversial under all that cuteness. Filmed in Hokkaido over 4 years, it was an art film in Japan, but re-edited as a children's film here in the US. Narrated by Dudley Moore. The treatment of the animals is the controversial part -- how did Hata get the animals to "act," and were any animals harmed in the making of the film? Read conflicting opinions on the IMDB board.

Unusual, mesmerizing, fun, and horrifying. IFC presented Gray's Anatomy (1996), directed by Steven Soderburgh. Spalding Gray is a GREAT storyteller. The few other characters are a nice black and white change from Gray's neurotic intensity.

Wow. I just saw not just a great film, but a movie that spoke to me, spoke to my LIFE. Educating Rita (1983) has breath-taking performances by not only Michael Caine, but also Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley in the Harry Potter films). What is education FOR? Why bother to learn? Does one have to abandon one's true self, one's own voice, to be truly educated? And, what are the roles of teacher and student in all this? I sympathized so with Rita/Julie, who was a working-class woman yearning for education even while it made her a fish out of water. I hope that they restore this movie somewhat -- the version I saw on TV looked and sounded pretty bad.

Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) also exceeded expectations. Wonderful biography of Loretta Lynn, from her childhood to success as the world-famous country-western music star. This is not a film about country music, but completely focussed on Lynn's roots, life, and music. Sissy Spacek IS Lynn, and Beverly D'Angelo as her friend Patsy Cline is just super. Tommy Lee Jones as her husband, and Levon Helm as father, are also perfectly cast.

From Here to Eternity (1953): Better than I thought it would be. Montgomery Clift was great, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr and Donna Read were also really good. Frank Sinatra had a nice little part, and Ernest Borgnine was great as the bad guy. "The kiss" has lost a bit of its fire in 50 years, but this was still a great film.

Finally saw all of Trainspotting (1996) -- thanks, Debra! So cynical and depressing, but still enjoyable, thanks to great performances by Ewan McGregor and his mates. Sparkling bit by Kelly Macdonald as his under-age girlfried Diane, also. I watched the DVD and turned on the subtitles -- the Scottish accent is a bit thick! There are lots of references to other films and books; IMDB has a nice summation under Trivia.

Gunga Din (1939): The blatant racism bothered me, but I have to admit I'm a sucker for the buddy movie, even when it's a jolly olde slap at women, peace, and indeed -- everything but men and their games. This game is about murder, religion, war, and empire.

Ghost World (2000): Definately for everybody, but I loved it. One of the best movie beginnings of all time. Nice ending, too. And how can you top Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi?

A Star is Born (1954): Isn't Judy amazing? I loved the bit where Norman makes her remove the studio makeup and take the screen test as *herself*. Flawed, but unforgettable.

The Last Detail: Jack Nicholson was great, of course, but so were Randy Quaid and Otis Young. Gritty, touching.

Quills (2000) - Quite the fin de siècle film! Strong performances by Rush, Winslett, Joaquin Phoenix, and Caine. The argument for freedom of speech and thought might be weakened by the demonstration of the pain, violence and even death which can result.

The Quiet American (2002): I haven't seen the 1958 original, so I can't compare. Pretty decent film, however. Michael Caine is always wonderful, and Brendan Fraser is very strong.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Jimmy Stewart is always great, and this is "the last of the great black and white Westerns." John Wayne as a supporting character? and Lee Marvin as the baddest of the bad of the West. :-)

Devil in a Blue Dress
The Apartment
Singin' in the Rain
Kiss of the Vampire
The Nun's Story
Secret Window
Road to Perdition
Gallipoli (1981)

Previous favorites:
Katherine Hepburn
Philadelphia Story
Bringing Up Baby
Stage Door
Mary of Scotland
The African Queen
State of the Union
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
The Lion in Winter
On Golden Pond
Love Among the Ruins
Audrey Hepburn
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Seven Samurai
Johnny Depp
Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Benny & Joon (1993)
Chocolat (2001)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Bridget Jones' Diary
Shakespeare in Love
Antwone Fisher
Malcolm X
Dancing with Wolves
Good Will Hunting
Mrs. Doubtfire
Marathon Man
The Graduate
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Jeremiah Johnson
The Way We Were
Funny Girl
Dr. Zhivago
Lawrence of Arabia
Saving Private Ryan
Forrest Gump
Apollo 13
Catch Me If you Can
Romeo + Juliet
"Amelie" - Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001)
To Kill a Mockingbird
Toy Story
The Sixth Sense
Liar Liar
Three Amigos
Raiders of the Lost Ark
First Blood
The Shawshank Redemption
Sleeping Beauty
Pay It Forward
A Beautiful Mind
The Usual Suspects
Star Wars (Episodes 4-6)
Young Frankenstein
Finding Nemo
Harry Potter (all so far)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Last Samurai
Back to the Future
Schindler's List
The Piano
The Pianist
Requiem for a Dream
American Beauty
Donnie Darko
Being John Malkovitch
Pulp Fiction
Get Shorty
Don Juan DiMarco
Waking Life
L.A. Confidential
Jack Nicholson......
A Beautiful Mind
Office Space
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Five Easy Pieces
China Town
Taxi Driver
The Truman Show
This is Spinal Tap
Planet of the Apes
"Rafifi" - Du rififi chez les hommes (1955)
High Fidelity
The Lost Boys
"Man on a Train" - L'Homme du train (2002)
Some Like It Hot
Muriel's Wedding
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ed Wood
How could I forget Citizen Kane? I really did love it.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask
On The Waterfront
The Great Escape
The Wizard of Oz
Blade Runner
All Quiet On the Western Front (1930)
The Conversation
Hannah and Her Sisters
Dogtown and Z-Boys
The Lion in Winter
King Kong
The Iron Giant (1999)

Gluck - Dance of the Blessed Spirits (flute)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Places, villages, towns (Localités du Grand Duché de Luxembourg):
or search:

Localites du Luxembourg:

Genealogy in Luxembourg:

Genealogical Data from Luxembourg:

Généalogie au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg / Ahnenforschung im Grossherzogtum Luxembourg:

Archives Nationales du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg:
Films listed here are also available through the FHL, and are often better quality through the LDS.

Institut Grand-Ducal:

Thanks to François from the Trier-Roots-L for these links. Many Luxembourg place-names appear with spelling variations. According to the Onomastics page, because Luxembourg is on language borders between germanic and romanic languages, "place names may have diverging German, French or Luxembourgish versions.... Luxembourg place names that can be found on the road maps and official modern documents are the French ones. In older records the German names can be found frequently. Signposts at the entrance of villages and towns bear the French name and underneath in italics the Luxembourgish name in case it differs. The Luxembourg place names are those used by the Luxembourgers in everyday life. Frequently records abroad regarding emigrated Luxembourgers bear the place names in Luxembourgish language." Consult the Institut Grand-Ducal pages for all the village name variations.

Luxembourg Message Board:

Luxembourg on My Mind:



The merit of originality is not novelty, it is sincerity. The believing man is the original man; he believes for himself, not for another. - Thomas Carlyle

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

H.R. 10 Records Access; now S.2845

UPDATE! The latest from Rootsweb Review:
New Bill Will Close Records to Genealogists
HR10, which was mentioned in the 13 October issue of RootsWeb Review, has passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives and is now part of S.2845. The amendments suggested by David Rencher in his letter to the bill's sponsor, Congressman J. Dennis Hastert, were NOT incorporated into this legislation. Thus, the terms of HR10 will now be considered by the Senate, as part of S.2845.

If S.2845 becomes law, as now written, family historians will face some real challenges in attempts to obtain birth records, even on long-deceased individuals. Specifically, what genealogists need to do issuggest to their lawmakers the addition of Sec. 3061(b)(1)(A)(iii) that
would read: "who is alive on the date that access to their birth certificate is requested."

This addition would clarify that the legislation (soon to be law) applies ONLY to birth certificates of CURRENTLY LIVING PERSONS. If you do not know your U.S. Senator's e-mail address, you can find it at

This bill can be found online at
Put in S.2845 (in the bill number window) and then select item No. 3; and go to Subtitle B--Identity Management Security; Chapter 2--Improved Security for Birth Certificates.

Latest insanity using the excuse of "Homeland Security":

H.R. 10 Records Access. This is an issue for the genealogical community, and anyone else who needs access to vital records in their research. More information:

There is an election campaign going on, but the Congress is still churning out bad laws. Pay attention! To find the email address for your Members of Congress, see: Be aware that a hand-written and mailed letter carries much more weight than an email does. Addresses and phone numbers of Senators: and Representatives:

Get involved!

Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation. - Oscar Wilde