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Year-End Message - 2007

Dear Friends,

It’s just over a year since I launched the website devoted to my ancestral village of Tluste, Poland (present-day Tovste, Ukraine). After having spent so much time researching and developing the site over the past years, 2007 was a year to relax a bit and appreciate the fruits of my past efforts.

The frequency of updating the site continues to be dictated by my limited leisure time which, over the past 12 months, has had competition from many other interests and activities.

Nevertheless, I did find time to make a number of improvements to some web pages –motivated in part by interactions with readers and their personal contributions.

Among pages updated or introduced over the last year:

Life and Times” – a popular page for people seeking to get a sense of what Tluste was like in former times

Event Timeline” – updated to include new details from other sources, making it a very comprehensive account of the centuries-old history of Tluste/Tovste

Where is Tovste?” – revised and expanded, with inspiration from an interested reader

Travel Information” – substantially revised to take account of new useful information on travel and accommodation in and around the region of Tovste, based on my personal experiences.

Surroundings”, including a brand new page on the nearby castle of Czerwonogrod, inspired by a reader who was hidden in a nearby convent during WWII

Jewish Cemetery” – completely revised to include images of some of the gravestones, transcribed and translated with the help of Sara Mages (part of a pilot project, pending further work)

Memoirs” – inclusion of excerpts from poignant memoirs that I have come across, many with a connection to Tovste.

Ba’al Shem Tov” – completely revised to offer more insights into the founder of the Hassidic religious movement who was arguably Tluste’s most influential resident.

Theodor Wacyk” – added a brand new page to introduce the man who painted the frescoes that once adorned the beautiful Greek Catholic church

Useful Links” – one of the pages of the site that is often visited by users (although it is in need of even more frequent updating)

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As I review this list, I guess it wasn’t such a quiet year after all. But my “to do” list continues to grow month by month. Among the items I would like to get done over the coming year or two:

Processing a wealth of information in the Ellis Island database on people who emigrated from Tluste; and hundreds of records in the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names; as well as interesting data in various business directories and passenger ship records that I have yet to review in detail.

Encouraging/facilitating the process of translating into English the invaluable Hebrew texts contained in the Sefer Tluste; and arranging for other translations, including a translation from Polish into English of Jan Zubrzycki’s 1923 monograph on Tluste.

Adding considerable information on historical landownership in Tluste, gleaned from my research into my own family (largely absent from the website).

Adding personal accounts of families who once lived in Tluste, as a precursor to eventually trying to recreate the essence of what was once a thriving town.

And last, but not least, actually promoting awareness of the website among interested user groups – something I have yet to do since launching the site over a year ago!

The list of tasks could go and on…

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It’s been gratifying that despite my having made little effort to advertise the website, many people with connections to Tluste have stumbled across it and have taken the time to write to express their gratitude for the contents. As 2007 ends and we begin the new year, I have assembled a collection of those comments, while respecting the contributors’ anonymity, in a new page titled “Your Comments” – located near the bottom of the left-hand menu.

I hope that you will continue to visit the website from time to time. I may be in touch with some of you again individually to follow up on prior commitments – both yours and mine.

With kind regards
Douglas Hykle (Chajko)