The discovery that changes my world……


Unless i have totally been misled, ( or done faulty investigative procedure) , it happened last night while sitting on the back patio at the casita in Costa Rica. It was raining, so i was spending the time researching the Hungarian connection. All of my life i have been aware of oral tradition that my fathers family were from Hungary. That his great grandfather was some sort of judge or judicial official. That his grandmother was “ a gypsy”. That their home was turned into an orphanage during WW2. Where they came from was the mystery.

I knew that my great grandfather came to Canada in 1906. His wife and kids in 1907. Census shows them living on Currys Lane in Whitney Pier Sydney Nova Scotia in 1911. I knew they were there as well from family stories of how he ( Joseph Gall) worked at the steel coking ovens and died in a fall from a crane there. This was confirmed by death records in 1917. But still, no link as to the origin town or village.

Serendipitously, I connected via an internet search, with a woman in Hamilton Ontario , ( Nadine Pozer), who shares the same great grandparents. ( and passion for digging up family history). Nadine had done her research and had his widow’s (Julia Gall) history in Hamilton, but no connection as to Joseph Gall. She shared all of this with me witout hesitation. I am hugely indebted to her for this. 

Nadine has her own blog detailing her journey “ mom on the mountain” or google Nadine Pozer…..

She provided photos of Julia and her kids, illuminating that part of the family history. Still, no info as to the home location in Hungary.

So, for the intervening years i have been slowly hunting, proving each step forward. I obtained a copy of my grandparents wedding licence from their day in Hamilton in 1926. On that document, it listed, among the usual witnesses, etc, the names of both sets of parents ( my great grandparents) , AND , THEIR HOME TOWNS IN EUROPE!

I was over the moon, finally knowing! Or so i thought……


The town listed in Hungary on the document in clear handwriting was POPSY Hungary. I emediately began the search, only to find there was no such place. Could not find anything close or sound alike. Radix Forum ( Hungarian site) proved several hits, but all those people advised “ no such place”……

Tons of on line reading in English snd mostly unintelligible Hungarian  later, that brings me to now……and how again, luck strikes now and then.

I found a site “” with a SEARCHABLE function and typed in POPSY. ( ready for the usual negative response). It returned quite a number of hits buried in archival documents, mostly leading to persons of that name. Hours of reading later, i came across two pages in a gazeteer….


So, again i turned to digging about this town and found that it is in the far north east section of Hungary near the russian border. From my grandfather, he told us that his mother was “ Russian” and “ a gypsy”……and on the marriage document her family surname was listed as ULYANA.

Seems to square with that info. 

Here is a google earth image of Papos

And a couple of street views…..

So, if all of this is correct, ( under scrutiny to be proven otherwise) ,this is the town of origin for Joseph and Julia Gall in 1906/1907 ( or at least that of Joseph Gall…….as Julia Gall’s obituary lists her place of birth as “ Yugoslavia”)……..but thats another investigation!

Now, based on this info,  we can get on with the exploration of individuals via church records, etc…

This stuff gives me great pleasure. I aim to complete as much of the investigation as i can from here on……with the help of others welcomed!

Gotta cast the net wider now! :)


Up close…..

This little guy, some sort of a warbler, came driving into the kitchen window early in the morning while i was having coffee……sine crash helmet!

He was knocked cold, and at first it didnt look good. His eyes were shut, but then he stiffened his legs and grabbed my finger.

I sat with him in my hand for a few minutes and he came around……opened his eyes and kept twitching his neck.

I sat him on the hammock folded on the chair and in another few minutes he took off into the forest.

Right as rain! 


 This wall of plants was put in about 3 yrs ago.

It had become leggy and thin, resulting in the need for a “ hard cut” renovation.

Oscar and his son ( the neighbourhood gardener) came over and did the dirty work. Cut the hibiscus back to about a meter high, and used the cuttings to bolster the hedge between existing plants. The cuttings are rammed into the ground in a cross like pattern and hopefully will root soon as this is still “ wet season”.

There was a feral laurel tree in the mix that was removed, and as well, a volunteer avacado tree was uncovered. It was pruned a little and should be bearing fruit in the next year or so.  The next picture shows the finished result.

This little guy ( about 5 inches head to tail) was found while cutting.

They are nocturnal and very LOUD ……

He was sleepy and slow to move, i put him on the window ledge where he seemed happy to wait for night fall.they seem to take on the colour of the background in a short time, blending in…..

….not a very glamorous pose….

Their legs are way longer than their bodies.



A sighting…..

…….found a NON poisonous visitor on the west fence line this Sunday while cutting out a feral tree.

A slender tree boa. About 8 inches long and lethargic. Neat pattern and colouring. Set him free on the edge of the forest.

This picture is from a herpetology site, and shows the difference between the boa ( non poisonous) , and a fer de lance ( poisonous).

This is the first serpiente seen on the property since 2010. The boa is on the left…..