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RE: [S-R] Family secrets

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  • Nancy Hayes
    I don t know if my dad ever asked his parents any family history-related questions when he was growing up, but my mom always told me that whenever she would
    Message 1 of 37 , Apr 29, 2010
      I don't know if my dad ever asked his parents any family history-related
      questions when he was growing up, but my mom always told me that whenever
      she would even think of asking any such thing or much of anything else, her
      parents told her, "children are to be seen, not heard", or another one was
      "speak only when you're spoken to"; so she and her sister learned very fast
      that asking questions wouldn't get them any answers.

      When I was growing up, my parents would answer my family history questions
      if they had the answers; and of course mom didn't have much to tell me; just
      a small bit about her dad and a half-sister; otherwise I'd hear, "I don't
      know" which they really didn't know. That really exasperated me to no end,
      so I decided to become the detective in the family. My parents would go
      with me to the different libraries to do research when my kids were in grade
      school; they were excited I think that someone was doing family history
      research, but this was something that neither one of them would ever do
      themselves. Some of the relatives on both family sides would tell me what
      they wanted me to know like the basic birth, marriage and death dates and a
      few would absolutely think I was nuts for wanting to 'live in the past'; one
      relative actually told me, "the past is the past, just leave it there".
      Well that made me dig even more into my research as her attitude seemed like
      she didn't want certain things brought to light; I never found any skeletons
      in her or anyone else's closet and about a year before she died, she mailed
      me her completed family history sheet that I had given her years ago. So
      this proves 'don't give up' even when a relative seems to be totally
      uncaring in your research project. You might get a surprise of information
      in your mailbox some day like I did.



      From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of jjmcbm
      Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11:06 PM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [S-R] Family secrets

      I don't know if it's just my family or, an ethnic thing. When me and my sibs
      were kids, we would always ask about family history, how to speak the
      language, etc. but, never got anywhere. My dad always said he didn't know
      or, couldn't remember. Aunts and uncles were the same way. Cousins tell me
      now their parent was the same. When we were kids, at family gatherings
      people and my dad would speak the language and, five minutes later, if we
      asked, he'd say, I don't know. Now that I've been researching for a few
      years, I can tell my dad something I know and, he'll give back a little but,
      I still have to pry a bit. I wonder sometimes, if when they were kids, it
      was ground into them not to speak the language or, act a certain way. Maybe
      by teachers in school or, family or, friends. Maybe there was a fear or,
      embaresment about being an immigrant family in the 30's. Maybe they were
      trying too hard to be American, I don't know. Has anyone else had a similar
      situation or know anything. My dad and 1 sister is all thats left and,
      they're not talking. Don't know how much time they have left and, family
      stories etc. will be lost.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Marge Friel
      I could be speaking out of line, but my experience for PA has been that I indicate within my request for a death cert that I am doing genealogy and the person
      Message 37 of 37 , Apr 30, 2010
        I could be speaking out of line, but my experience for PA has been that I indicate within my request for a death cert that I am doing genealogy and the person is somehow related to me....but, I've never requested for uncle, aunt, cousin,etc. only for grandparents and great grandparents. 

        --- On Fri, 4/30/10, M Jenner <hawaiijenner@...> wrote:

        From: M Jenner <hawaiijenner@...>
        Subject: Re: [S-R] Re: Family secrets
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, April 30, 2010, 12:31 PM


        My grandmother made my uncle lie in her obituary. She said, don't put in the paper that I was born in Czechoslovakia, they will think I am a communist. She really believed that. Now if anyone reads her obituary in years to come, they will never know she was born in Slovakia. I have a third cousin I communicate with in Slovakia and sometimes when I ask a question that maybe he doesn't think he wants to answer, he just ignores it and doesn't respond. They seem to be much more private people than we are as Americans but we haven't lived though what they lived through. His grandfather' s property was taken from him, his great-uncle refused to turn over his property and was thrown in prison. The great uncle son fled to the US to avoid being put in prison. There were stories the cousin had come back to see his parents and was taken by the Russians. They were so fearful. I solved that mystery for them. I found the cousins Social Security application and his
        Social Security Death notification. It turn out he was here the whole time. He died in Schenectady, NY. I contacted the library there but they couldn't find an obituary. I would really like to know what his profession was and if he had any family here, but don't have much to go on. I think he died in 1994. I don't know if I could get a copy of his death certificate since I am not a descendant. I was thinking maybe he went there to work for GE. It has been several years, but maybe I should write to the library and see if there are any city directories from the time he lived there that I could find out where he lived or worked. These Slovak people really knew how to hide their lives. I don't know if he didn't have any family to write an obituary or if he was still afraid someone would find him after all of those years. He came to New Jersey first according to his application in 1953. So he was here for forty years.

        ____________ _________ _________ __
        From: maxine <maxine96@cox. net>
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@ yahoogroups. com
        Sent: Fri, April 30, 2010 4:55:09 AM
        Subject: Re: [S-R] Re: Family secrets

        I read, in many places, that many of our people did NOT talk about the ole country because they were afraid. Should any info they stated went back to the ole country, their people might be in danger. Any thoughts on this? maxine sasala

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