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Author Archives: Kristina Tzaneff

Traditions of Spring – “Chestita (Happy) Baba Marta!”

In a month where we celebrate mothers and women, celebrating a holiday called “Baba Marta” or, literally translated, “Grandma March”, seems appropriate to write about.  This is a much-loved Bulgarian custom, truly unique in the world as Bulgaria is the only country to celebrate this holiday. In Bulgarian folklore, “Baba Marta” is the name of … Continue reading »

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Love and Duty

Love and duty.  These two concepts are often regarded as completely different where relationships are concerned.  Depending on whether someone originates from an eastern or a western culture, our idea of relationships, and marriage in particular, is largely influenced by our parents, families and society.   Among western cultures, we tend to “choose” our partners and … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Journeys, Strong Women | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Ellis Island – Part 2, “A New Year”

New Years are about new beginnings.  Often, they are about our resolutions for the year ahead but sometimes they come with the opportunity to make a completely fresh start in life.  Occasionally, we are not even aware of the magnitude of the possibilities which some new beginnings present as they are enshrouded in a protracted … Continue reading »

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Christmas in a New World

The Second World War had been over nearly two years when my father arrived in America in June, 1947.  With so many casualties suffered on both sides, the redrawing of national boundaries and the establishment of once unbeknownst political regimes, the war was still being experienced long after it was declared to be over; its … Continue reading »

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Ellis Island – Part 1

A few years before my father passed away I met my parents in New York for a little reunion.  I flew in from London, where I’d lived for ten years by then, and they took the Amtrak Express up from Washington, D.C. to meet me.  We’d first been to New York together when I was … Continue reading »

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Verification – Do you really know what you are looking for?

Picking up on some of the recent blogs, verification is paramount to writing a family history; after all, it is what sets it apart from a work of fiction.  So how do we go about proving what has happened and separating it from what we think has happened?  The truest answer of course is that … Continue reading »

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Researching Your Past – Part 2

In my effort to put together the pieces of my family history, I have thus far treaded a rather conventional research path.   Up until quite recently my research has been primarily organic, comprised of sifting through century-old documents, travelling to remote villages or interviewing relatives.  There is the added layer of complexity in my particular … Continue reading »

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Researching Your Past – Part 1

Writing a family history involves research, a great amount of research I have slowly and somewhat dauntingly come to find.  This research is pleasant and efficient when much of the historical information one is looking for is already catalogued- whether in libraries, archives or electronically.  Databases such as “” or “” are growing in both … Continue reading »

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Timelining is Everything

“The Past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”  – William Faulkner I used this quote to introduce and pull my work together when I submitted my draft for review over a year ago now; I am forever collecting quotes and clever sayings, populating my office bulletin board with them.  I find they serve both … Continue reading »

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A Rift in Time

I was 18 years old and living in Washington, DC when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.  I distinctly remember reading the news, back from college and perched upon a stool in my parents’ kitchen.  For me, it was more than just a story in the newspapers, it was the past coming together with … Continue reading »

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