Europe 2012 – Day 3 – Genealogy!

Sleeping on this trip has been weird. I lie down feeling tired and close my eyes only to feel wide awake. Then soon before I want to be up, I actually fall asleep for a bit. I’ll sleep again someday, in America.

I read that many Poles know English, but I’m not finding them. I really put my Polish to the test today. First, I was in the wrong building, but with the right address. I was given directions I didn’t quite understand. I checked the web site again for the picture of the building and figured out that it was the one with no number and no visible entrance until I walked all the way around it.

Polish State Archive in Lomza

Inside, one person spoke only one sentence in English to me. I had to deal with another person all day who didn’t know a word of English. We managed, only turning to Google translate for two or three words. Forms were filled out for every book, up to five books at a time, and more forms at the end. I got through many books, photographing the pages, and I even got through a few books that weren’t indexed and found a few extra records. I spent too much time on some that were a random sampling of documents. There was still plenty more to do when it was close to 3pm, closing time.

I returned to my hotel in the rain and napped a bit. The rain slowed a bit later and I took a walk. The old synagogue building was just a few blocks away along with the old Jewish hospital. Neither building showed any sign of their former purposes. One is now a high school and didn’t show any sign if its current purpose either.

Former Lomza Synagogue

(This picture looks terrible to me on this Android. Come back next month when I can post the pics from my camera’s SD card instead of just the ones from my Androids, which can only read microSD, or the pics I take using them.)

I decided against cemetery visits because it was late and likely muddy. But it will probably rain tomorrow too. It looks like I’ll be staying in Lomza one more night. That was always a possibility. I’d like to stay at least two more days really, to do more archive research and to visit all the small towns later, after the rain stops, but other cities beckon.

I am already planning to return here to do more and I haven’t even left yet. I’m only worried about the part of my trip after I leave Poland. I haven’t heard back from my potential guides in a while and I’ve spent all my time learning only Polish. I am planning to learn some more Russian on the long train rides to get there. At least, I will if I can’t sleep instead.

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