Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Tale of Two Families.....

So I sign up for for 6 of those discounted memberships that let's me see the world.  It's time to do some genealogy work on my family and my hub wants to participate too.

Now you've all see those ads for Ancestry....find your family....hit the little green leaf and off you go....whooosh down your ancestry lane finding your Renaissance great great great great great grandfather etc etc.

So the first day we get out account.....I sit down and look at my poor straggly tree (which currently looks like it's the prototype for the Charlie Brown Xmas remember the thin little crooked tree?) and I poke around.  The leaves I have on my tree which contain hints obviously come from some cousins which used the free trail for two weeks and plucked down some names of immediate family I know already.   Yes I know my aunt and I know my uncle died ....not exactly helpful....and certainly not going beyond the last 50 years of family history.

Then my hub tries his hand at his family tree.....presses a COUPLE of leaves...and viola....he has at least 400 years of history on one side and maybe 200 years on the side....complete with photos from relatives who visited Czechoslovakia and took pictures of a house his family and succeeding generations lived in for a 100 years ...etc etc etc.


So every time he goes on Ancestry, I give him a dirty look....and say something snide like , "Adding another 100 years to your tree?  finding another branch that goes back maybe a thousand years????"


As for me.....I believe I now know all of my grandmother's siblings.  Hooray.  Do I know all of their descendants?  No....because each sibling had like 100 kids (or at least 10) and in my family....people loved to keep the same names around.....Joseph, John, the same middle name this makes research interesting.  Am I looking at Joseph John Frank's record the ORIGINAL born in the 1880's or the Joseph John Frank record from the guy born 1910 or his cousin WITH THE SAME NAME born 1920?

Well....on my Lithuanian side, I have at least found cousins doing heroic work during World War II and being accused of book smuggling.....obtaining Lithuanian books about history and culture and smuggling them into Lithuanian after the Russians took over and banned native language books.

Ha....better than my husband's relatives...who obviously were sitting in their huts....documenting their ancestors by candlelight.

Oh this family research is going to take a very very long time........

Monday, January 06, 2014

Oh the projects we get ourselves into.........

Well, I've been working hard for a month...and my project has gotten bigger not smaller.

In December, I started going through my dad's slides and pictures.  I was down to the last 5 trays of slides when I walked into our office closet and for some reason looked up at the boxes on the shelf.  I had a bad feeling. It was like they were looking down at me and going "nah nah nah." I was missing slides but thought they may have gotten mixed up with the boxes in my parents' estate sale or were thrown away.  

I asked my tall son to bring the boxes heart sunk when I saw the label on the top of the box marked "slides."  Oh and not just a few slides.... thousands of slides.

Well, at least I knew what happened to them.

I had my son stack them next to the kitchen table. My philosophy--keep them in sight-- because if I put them out-of-sight it would be easy to let them sit and sit and sit.  Let's face it ...when they're next to your kitchen table, it's hard to forget they're there.

Right after I found the extra boxes of slides....I said to myself are there more photo albums I'm forgetting about?  I only had 6 more photo albums from my dad to go through...surely I found them all.  Ahhhh.....there were boxes tucked away from my parents in my son's bedroom closet.  So I started poking at the them...and sure enough....I found one cosmetic case, 5 mega envelopes and 8 more photo albums plus all the pictures my mother had put in frames over the years.

So why not make myself more miserable?  I sat down....and said, Okay....I've gone through all the loose pictures we've had of the kids...what about OUR photo albums.  So I started a bookcases and pulled them all out....all of them.  I had a son lug them to the dining room where I had started sorting my pictures.  I sat down....took a deep breath....okie dokey...what do we have here.  

I put them in chronologically order....and in college pictures.....traveling pictures.  

I stood up and looked down....there was a hundred years of my family.....maternal...paternal....ourselves and our children.

Holy shit...that's a lot of pictures and it doesn't even include prints from the slides.

But in a strange way, it was satisfying.  I felt like a squirrel who had found all its nuts.  Nothing hidden, all out in the open....all there. 100 plus years of life.

Now I need to super organize....and maybe with all the pieces here in front of's possible to do this.  It's hard to be make order out of something if pieces are missing and I believe I have all the pieces.  

Well....there are about 5 boxes in the garage I should peek into.  I've looked once...but not very hard.  It would be worth it to take one more look....maybe tonight.....and be sure....all the puzzle pieces have been put out on the board.

And now I begin again......