Friday, November 20, 2020

Genealogical Quest

 

My grandfather's mother was a 50 year old widow when she decided to leave the small home town in north-east Romania and try her luck in America . Her  children followed her (except my grandfather whose wife objected to emigration).

 Over the years, I got intrigued by her figure (knew about her only from family stories), and so when I retired,  I embarked on a genealogical quest to find out about her american saga. I had very little to begin with.

Genealogy is a highly fascinating subject. It requires a lot of time, work, effort, patience;  there are many frustrations on the way, and yet the reward is immense. First of all, it gives one the chance to learn about oneself. I've found out I had skills unknown to me before, such as analyzing and evaluating evidence from various sources.

It may give one a sense of pride, even superiority.  It's Me with the initiative and curiosity,  not the others in the family, especially not those in America with  all the archives at their disposal. 

Through genealogy one gets to grasp the real meaning of what is known as ' blood connection'. I felt devastated several times, for people I'd never met and never exchanged a word or photo with.

Examples:  a young adopted boy slaughtered his whole adopting family: parents, little sister, grandma, grandpa. The grandma was my relative (G.grandmother's granddaughter). That happened in San Diego, California.

In Florida, a couple with two youngsters (a son and a daughter) got divorced. The father, my relative (G.grandmother's grandson), died  of a heart attack. The mother got murdered by her jealous boyfriend shortly after. The two youngsters became orphans.


Both cases have shattered me. I started my genealogy quest  for pleasure, and there I was soaking in tragedy. There were of course pleasant surprises too  Among the grandchildren of my G.grandmother   - a most valued Michigan senator , and his sister, owner of a big, famous radio station.  The senator died shortly before I started my quest. His eldest daughter and her family still live in the area. His two other daughters live in California.

I had moments that made me smile , For example, I managed to get my G. grandma's picture from the descendants of two of her daughters (she had three daughters and three sons with her). One daughter was working class - a  cook (she and her husband owned the restaurant though). the picture of my G.grandma in the cook's possession was that of a simple, coarse woman; whereas the picture kept by her more educated, younger sister looked  ..refined.There was even a husband's picture and he also looked rather  refined.



wih granddaughter in her arms

refined look 


widower of G.grandma

the two daughters S. and M.

 daughter S.(cook) and husband M. - restaurant owners

 

 younger daughter M.  and  husband B.

I could write an interesting book on my genealogical journey, but I  probably won't.



42 comments:

  1. How interesting and fascinating! There is so much info out there if one takes the time and has the patience to search! Such tragedies though! That would be sad to have found out even if many years have passed since the events. If you wrote such a book I might be tempted to read it!

    betty

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    1. Yes, there's much info out there - some good, some bad, but all of it captivating and thought provoking.

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    1. Well, genealogy is a journey to discoveries. The journey provides a lot of interesting findings and this makes it all worthwhile.

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  3. Gosh, those discoveries would be of some shock to the system, such tragedy.
    I do the Family Tree have done for years, and still doing it - most interesting but time consuming.
    Take care.

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    1. Kudos to you!
      I've concentrated only on this one part of my family, that of my grandfather, that left for another continent and didn't or couldn't keep in touch.

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  4. My American uncle had the same hobby he was looking for his family story and the outcome was that my aunt (my mother's sister) and himself had the same great great grandfather ! His great grandfather who immigrated to NY was the brother of my aunts great grandfather who remained in Germany !! Can you imagine what a coincidence ???

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    1. I can imagine, Gattina. Genealogy opens us up to lots of coincidences and almost incredible facts.

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  5. WOW! Interesting georgeous article! Thank you very much for ypur sharing) I love histiry )

    I like your blog.
    I'm your new follower. Please follow me back: beauty4fem.blogspot.com Nice to meet you, Victoria

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    1. Hi, Victoria
      Welcome to my little blog, and thanks for the comment.
      Nice to make your acquaintance.

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  6. Perhaps sometimes we discover things we don't even want to know, Speaking for myself, I have not the slightest curiosity about those who went before.

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    1. Not knowing certain things may, no doubt, add to one's longevity. But, for several reasons, I do want to know whatever possible about people in my past.

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  7. Such a journey to embark on when one begins searching. Genealogy is a fascinating, time consuming, rewarding endeavor. You have inspired me to do some searching.

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    1. By all means, do it! I highly recommend this kind of search. Regardless of the findings, the journey is a tremendous experience.

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  8. Oh, this is beautiful! Finding these stories is such a journey. Lovely, photos. Yes, it's sad the tragedy you find. My mother's distant cousin burned down his adopted family's home when he was in high school and spent a good part of his twenties in and out of jail. Thankfully, he now lives a few doors down from his great aunt who tried to help him when he was a kid and he is the one who is probably the closest to her. And takes care of most her problems.

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    1. If I understand correctly, that distant cousin burnt down a house, not the people in it.
      It seems, he's now find his place, near his great aunt, and that's good for both of them.

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  9. I love this journey you took to learn about your family. Those shocking discoveries must have felt strange, but the overall knowledge that you gained is amazing.

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    1. I look, indeed, upon the overall picture, and I feel satisfied, even proud of my achievement. It was a tough journey, but I reached the destination.

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  10. It is very fascinating discoveries!
    You got them with their photos. A memoir book about them sounds great, doesn't it?

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Luckily, I got some photos from the descendants. I had nothing - no photos, no documents, only a few names which enabled me to check things at Ellis Island immigration records. This was my starting point.

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  11. Oh, but you should write a book about it, Duta! What a great adventure this has been for you in finding them. Two books have been written about my ancestors, one descendant was Peregrine White who was the first child born when the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock. I joined the CAR when I was young, not by choice, and was not interested in any of this, even though his name is in the newspaper every fall. Of course, now when older relatives have died, I'm interested.
    So way to go, I really admire you for your dedication!!!

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    1. Thank you, Pam for encouraging me.
      I must admit, when I look back at my work I feel proud of myself. It was like "looking for a needle in the haystack".

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  12. You've done remarkably well in your family search. Congratulations. It's not easy to do what you've achieved in this field even though the Web has made it more possible than in pre-internet years.
    When I was working in Mellerstain House (Scotland) a couple of visitors to the Library there approached me, handing me a large envelope. It contained my family history going back to the 17th century. The chap was my cousin. Completely unknown to me!

    The odd thing was, my father had always told me that HIS father, my Granddad, had sired 19 children. I wasn't sure this was true; he often embellished the truth when having a pint or two in the Bricklayer's Arms. In fact, the family tree showed that my Granddad fathered 22 children, mostly female, via two wives, the first wife dying early.

    I was taken from Croydon to Guildford in 1942 to see my Grandfather. He couldn't see me as he was blind. He died in 1983. I had a few visits from one of my many Aunties, but the chap who searched me out and gave me these documents and a photo of Grandfather with some of my Aunts, is the only cousin I've met.

    Yes, Duta, It's a fascinating subject. Start your book, I'm sure you'll make a great job of it.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Philip, for your kind words and the amazing story about your granddad (father to 22 children!).
      You were lucky to get the history of your family handed in to you, by a cousin.

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    2. Oops... my Grandfather died in 1943, not 1983. Sorry.

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    3. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE!

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  13. Such a beautiful post, genealogy is ectremely fascinating! I have tried to look for some informations about my relatives too, but I think in here is a bit harder, because a lot of documents were destroyed during the war. But I will definitely work on that in the future. Beautiful pictures!

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    1. I see what you mean, Natalia. Documents and photos destroyed during the war,no easy access to archives, faulty maintenance of existing archives - all of this make genealogy an almost impossible task in East-european countries like Poland or Romania.

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  14. Duta, this is a fascinating journey and I really love hearing about your family. Even if you don't write a book about your family, please write the stories to be able to share with children and cousins. It means a lot and they will be grateful to have someone who has done the work, if they're anything like my family! I know what you mean about the tragedies and sadnesses and also that sense of discovery, the strength of so many of the people you came from. Now I will wonder about your Michigan Senator relative!

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    1. Thank you, Jeanie, for your very kind words.
      This journey has left me with conflicting thoughts and feelings. I need time to sort them out, and Time at my age, is too precious. We have to be careful on how and on what we spend it.
      (Off the record,and just between the two of us - the name is David Goldfarb, but he changed it to Joe Forbes).

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  15. An interesting journey, DUTA...many branches...limbs...to your family tree.

    Even if you write the "book" only for your own self and immediate family, it would be a worthy effort, I am sure. :)

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    1. Most people engage in 'family tree' building. A family tree usually involves both sides of the family including descendants. I've focused here only on my grandfather's family, particularly on his mother and her closer children who emigrated to America, leaving my grandfather behind.

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  16. que bonito buscar la gealonogia, es algo muy interesante para uno mismo. Esta genial, gracias por compartirlo

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    1. I would say, genealogy is an interestng subject for anyone, not only for myself. True, I had a very good reason to start the whole thing because of the mystery of my grandfather's family that emigrated leaving him and his family behind.

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  17. That is good. Love the old photos. From my mother's side we have long lists of names up to the early Middle Ages, the time of castles and knights. I like it because my mom was proud of it. But there are some tragic verhalen in it.

    The photo with her granddaughter is so nice. She is laughing :)

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    1. Thanks, Aritha. It seems your mother's family has not only personal importance, but also historical one - Middle Ages, castles, knights..

      By the way, the granddaughter as an adult was of a rare beauty. She should have been a model.

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  18. You've certainly been on a journey of discovery.
    Thank you for sharing it with us, and your collection of photographs.

    As it's Friday night (here in the UK), I wish you a good weekend.

    All the best Jan

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    1. You're more than welcome, Jan.
      A wonderful weekend to you, too!

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  19. Genealogy is fascinating and I enjoyed reading about some of your family’s history, Duta. It is also very time consuming as I know too because I started going down that rabbit hole over a year ago, but have since abandoned my project as I had too many questions and no older living relatives to ask questions about certain people. There are great sources online and I may return to the project in future, but there are so many other things I am interested in now.

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    1. 'Time consuming indeed'.
      Nevertheless,since there are good online sources and good available archives - it's worth making the effort and resume your project someday. Good Luck!

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  20. I looked up the story about the adopted boy you mention and it's such a sad situation. I'm so sorry DUTA that you had to find out this way, I'm sure it was quite a shock.

    For myself the story that sticks with me is that my paternal grandmother's father, my great grandfather was a U.S. citizen and he kidnapped my grandmother and her siblings and he took them to live in Mexico and their mother was never able to find them. My dad therefore was born in Mexico and because he had Mexican citizenship, he was unable to come to the U.S.A. and had to do it illegally. If not for that great grandfather, my dad would have been a citizen all along and he never would have suffered as much as he did to get into the U.S.A. Thankfully dad became a U.S. citizen and it was what he was most proud of, besides us his children.

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    1. Kidnapping is always a heart-breaking matter, but in this case it's particularly cruel - the man kidnapped a whole family leaving the mother without her kids and unable to find them! Tt leaves one speechless.

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