Friday, November 15, 2013 - do you really want to go there....?

My sister was between jobs this summer and spent a lot of time on opening closet doors. Yes, I know that the more familiar term is, "looking up the family tree." But in our family, you never knew who was going to fall out of the tree or leap out of the closet.

We all knew that our mother was adopted and we knew our biological grandmother. Right now, my sister is trying to track down information about our biological grandfather. These are limbs on the genetic family tree. We are also looking up information on my mother's adoptive parents, whom we consider our true grandparents. That's another limb of the tree. Of course, there is all the information about my father's side of the family, who originally came from Ireland.

My sister has done a lot of work from primary sources, such as, birth certificates and death certificates. I don't know, if they keep old army records, because my adoptive grandfather was in the Prussian army. She might have to learn a little German to read the documents. Piecing together the various parts of the puzzle takes some detective work and a good memory. I have, for example, forgotten my grandmother's maiden name. I think that I heard it once, when I was 9 years-old. I know it started with a "B" and she was born in Dortmund in Germany. Of course, I have to remember that she was married twice and that this might have been the previous married name. We do complicate our lives, don't we :)

Organ Grinder
Hyphenated last names may keep some information from disappearing, but you may run into the problem of stringing your whole family tree, for the past hundred years or more, into one last name, a bit like the Spanish do. I had a friend once, who was married several times. When she applied for jobs, she hyphenated, as her last name, the surnames of her second and third husband. She did this while living with a fourth husband. Hopefully her children will never be interested in Genealogy.

My sister is now working on a lead for more information about our biological grandfather. It's a story she was told once about a taxi driver in London that had a pet monkey who stole people's wallets. I can hardly wait! Now I had thought of training my cats to be a little more industrious, but I had never thought of wallets :)

The picture, an organ grinder in Toronto. They used to have monkeys. I didn't have a picture of a taxi with or without a monkey.

Have a great day!!

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