I keep forgetting when traveling how often there are issues posting to the blog. In this case it was a lack of internet at the hotel. I figured that I would ignore it and just wait until I returned to the states and catch up. Of course, I didn’t take into account exhaustion, all the catching up I needed to do at work, and a disaster awaiting me at my apartment. The latter used all the extra energy and time I had. Bathroom floor has been replaced, mess has been cleaned up and I am ready for a short re-counting of the last part of my very exciting trip.
There were no great research finds, but this trip was mostly one of exploration for me in a place I had never been before. The next trip will involve lots of research and visits to client’s ancestral neighborhoods. The primary reason for this trip was to be at the first ever RootsTech London, at which I would be one of the speakers from Ancestry® and working at the AncestryProGenealogists® booth at the exhibit hall.
I did spend a large portion of Monday at the Wiener Holocaust Library looking through their amazing collection of books and searching their catalog for material that might provide insight into some client research. Archives are amazing places – sometimes there is duplicated material which can be found elsewhere but might have been overlooked, and sometimes, as was the case here, there are unique books and folders of correspondence which cannot be found anywhere else.
Afterwards, we indulged ourselves, walking the streets of the Strand and visiting the London office of AncestryProGenealogists®. Such fun to meet some of my colleagues in person who I have only seen via Zoom previously.
Our meandering walk took us back to one of the many bridges. It’s always strange coming from an environment where few buildings exist prior to the 19th century, in most places, to a country where 19th century buildings may be considered “new”!
I was a bit surprised to see a New York sign in the distance – I thought maybe there was a display of my favorite city, but it was a travel advert!
On Tuesday, I took a long (over 2.5 hours) train ride down to Exeter. It’s astonishing to me that the country is so big. I always thought England was small and yet I haven’t seen 99% (or maybe more) of it yet! The Exeter archive was charming, and the indexes of registers were phenomenal. I’ll never get used to handling original material. There wasn’t anything in particular at this archive that I was looking for, but my colleague, Deb, from the London office had never been to this archive either, and we decided to explore a new (for us) archive. After we were done exploring and ate a wonderful dinner overlooking a river, I headed back to London. It was a long but very interesting day. I was grateful for the train ride so I could see the green rolling hills and the interesting architecture. The weather was just perfect!
On Wednesday, we had an opportunity to wander around Golders Green, historically a home to a large Jewish population. We were especially eager to see what it looked like today, after seeing some of the photos at the Jewish Museum in London several days ago.
We found a fabulous meat restaurant, Sami’s. All the kosher restaurants and Jewish shops were just reopening after the holiday of Sukkot. Many of the store had been closed for several weeks for the string of holidays beginning with Rosh Hashanah, continuing through Yom Kippur 10 days later, and then 4 days later, Sukkot.
Having this last day to wander around prior to the beginning of the RootsTech conference was terrific. The conference, by the way was really great. I hope that it’s held again next year and that I am invited to speak again. If London isn’t part of your plan but you want to be at RootsTech, check out the dates for the 2020 conference in Salt Lake City.