Family History……some of us speak so freely about our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mothers, and fathers, but some of us never have known them.
So……we go thru life not thinking too much about it and then something happens in our life to start being curious and start asking questions and perhaps start hunting for clues and answers. Well that happened to me….after losing my dad in 2011 and being in my 50’s, I wanted to know more. I always knew that Grandma Lucy, my dad’s mom, died when he was only three months old, loved to walk barefoot, as I do, and was creative. My dad would yell at me all the time and tell me that I was just like his mom and loved to be barefoot especially outdoors. But these were things that were shared with him by his four siblings. I think he actually got a kick out of it. He had only seen one picture of his mom when he was in his 70’s and he told me that he stared at it for hours and hours. I am sure soooo many thoughts and questions came into his mind about her. A few years after he died, a mission set in with me to go on a hunt for any information on her. Perhaps family pictures would even turn up. Grandma Lucy settled in Poultney, VT with other family member after arriving in America, not far from where we grew up in Fort Edward, New York. Thus her story begins and the pieces of the puzzle start to fall together.
I first reached out to my cousin Timmy. We went to visit him and his wife Fran and I was amazed as to how much “stuff” he had. It covered his dining room table and included original passports of my Grandmother Lucy and my Grandfather. They came separately to America from Poland. He took photocopies of anything I wanted and I had him take what I thought would be a start and most helpful.
So, how did I start? I went to ancestory.com of course! Yes, I signed up, paid my monthly fee and probably as others, got very frustrated. I did not have a clue as to how to start or proceed. I got a little bit of information, but for the most part, my interest started fading. Timmy told me he had hit a wall as well and no one else in the family was interested in proceeding, but I was! I started talking to people and asking questions about finding their own family history. Then I found my answer! My friend Maria told me about The Family History Center. It is run by the Mormon Church and is complimentary. We had a center not far from where I lived. On June 2nd, my mission started. I arrived one evening and was introduced to Patty who volunteers with them. She works full time and volunteers twice a month at the The Family Center. I pulled out the photocopies of the little information that I gotten from Timmy, told her my story and my mission, and the bond between us began. They have labs there for you to use, and you have access to sites and information, books, and even films. It was quite overwhelming, but Patty was there as a resource to help me thru. She was amazing!!!!! I know that she was working that evening, not by coincidence but on purpose. I have discovered sooooo much. It is now becoming fun. I discovered the ship log that Grandma Lucy was registered with, telling me how old she was and the name of the ship, which I looked up online and found a picture of it! I found the log where my Grandfather came over to America from Poland. The little pieces you get are amazing and putting the puzzle together is awesome! I have now found the names of cousins of my Grandmother Lucy’s children, and have written all three of them. They would now be in their 40’s and I pray that they contact me and have some information about the family. My cousin Tina gave me a copy of the family picture that my dad saw and I have one other picture from my cousin Sharon that looks like it was taken when my Grandmother was in her early teens.
This story, yes, is about my Grandma Lucy however if you would like to find out about your family history, please contact a Family Center near you! Yes, Ancestory.com is a great tool, but if you have gotten frustrated as I was, please do not give up! My journey continues. Deep down I know that my dad and me are very much like my Grandma Lucy. We are different from the other family members and I owe it to my dad to find out everything I can. I know her arms are around my dad now and he received the biggest kiss from her in Heaven.
Please write me YOUR story if you would like to share your journey of findings about YOUR family history and share a photo or two, or perhaps I gave you encouragement to start your mission on discovering things about YOUR family history.
Lastly, maybe you would like to write a Letter To Heaven to someone you lost. Link to this page to find out how you can participate: http://www.unforgettablefacesandstories.com/recommended-books/coming-soon/
Thank you Patty for all your help and support! Without you, I would not be on my trail………