Joyce (Vinski) Kelner
I was so fortunate to be part of an Ancestry tour led by Manja last summer. It was a life time experience to always remember. Our group consisted of about 38 people, and prior to the trip, Manja contacted each of us several times asking for details of where we have/had relatives. Manja set not only an interesting course of wonderful places to visit, but every single person on the tour got to “touch” an aspect of their ancestors. Manja even found cemeteries where family members of long ago were found.
For me personally, I had seen a picture of my fathers’ house as a child. I only had the name of the village and two cousins who now spent summers there, but no phone number for either. Manja researched our route and on this particular day, had directed a stop to what was left of Laslavici, (five whole houses). You cannot imagine how surprised and ecstatic I was when I saw the village sign! It was my dad’s village!!! The bus stopped and we all got out and started walking to find anyone around to ask about my father’s house. I suppose it is not every day that a tour bus stops there – a woman came out of the first house, and it was my cousin!! This was actually the house where my father grew up – and inside, there was a photo of my grandfather and his brothers before they all emigrated to America! To meet these cousins, to walk on the very farm where my dad grew up was beyond emotional. His stories growing up flooded back to me as I walked around the little farm. I saw where my great grandmother had her living space over the barn and the fields that my dad farmed. I will never forget this experience.
Throughout the trip, Manja went over and above for everyone! I know it took her days to plan out our adventures, but, she made it seem so effortless. She entertained us with her stories – we ate wonderful food, drank our fair share! and all in all, this was the Best vacation I have ever had!