Our elder’s parents were very interesting people. They didn’t talk about it much, but with the help of a budding generous in genealogy (you know who you are), I have a set of clues to look for. As I’ve already found a few tempting pieces, it’s actually causing me to want to continue the work.
The Russian: This is pretty much all we knew of our elder’s father. He was from Russia. I found out a couple of decades ago that he did not give or go by his real name. Some thought it was changed for him at Ellis Island, but the genealogist I corresponded with said that was unlikely. Now we know for certain that Ellis Island had little to do with the name change…they only recorded it.
Search for Answers: I ended up giving up on that hobby due to other duties, but it wasn’t the end of the quest. Another family member found an entrance document from Ellis Island. It gave a year, so we had a little more to go on.
The Manuscript: This is what I’m currently looking for as I go through boxes and bags of papers. Our elder’s mother wrote a book about her Russian Marriage. It is supposedly somewhere in the garage. If it is, it’s quite well concealed as it isn’t in two of the three filing cabinets up there. I have to unbury the third before I can check it.
The Cedar Box: This was a find. The finder didn’t think so, but I most certainly do. Inside the box is an ancient Bible. It’s so old that the binding falls off like sawdust. Before I can go through it I’ll need an expert to put it back into a condition that will keep it from falling completely apart. It does appear to have a lot of things tucked into it and it could have a genealogy form; many older Bibles do.
Also in the box and much more useable are letters. It looks like they are all from our elder’s aunt. I looked at one dated 1904. It’s going to take some work to read them. The handwriting looks like descriptions of copperplate handwriting I’ve heard of. I’m hoping for some time to look at them when I won’t be interrupted.
Why am I making such a fuss about looking for information on our elder’s family? There are several reasons. The most important to me is having a sense of our roots; where we came from. These roots can help bind a family when nothing else will. It’s also medical to a degree. I know that our elder’s mother lost a limb but I don’t know why. If it’s genetic, all of her side of the family needs to know and to tell their doctors.
This really has become something of a treasure hunt. Yes, I’m filling barrels with disintegrating paper and other material, but I am finding something more valuable than jewels. I’m finding our family history.