Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Still Hidden in the Past

I have been working on some genealogy for a good portion of the past year. Mostly I am looking now for information about the "hidden" part of my family. It's not hidden because they are hiding; it's hidden because there was a disconnect over half a century ago that was never brought back together. So here I sit, all these years later trying to piece things together.

In many ways most of my family history on all sides is somewhat hidden. It's just that one part of it existed where I lived. The other part got lost in the disconnect because I didn't live there. For example, I do not know when my one grandfather died. I have a time period but that's it. It is a period of about 18 months almost 60 years ago. I can't find him in the Social Security Death Index because maybe he didn't have a Social Security number? His name has been spelled many different ways in different records (mostly caused by trying to read the writing and transcribe it) which only makes it more difficult.

I have contacted vital records in New York City but they keep asking me for information I don't have such as his parents' names and the missing Social Security number. They keep sending back my check and the application. I will try again, of course, trying to explain in more death why I don't have the information.

Ancestry.com has been very helpful in many ways but I've hit that dead-end over and over again. I put in his last name and get the death information on everyone in my family with that name- except his. I use wild cards in the searches and still nothing.

I keep going, hoping to have some connections and closures of things I wish I had been more aware of and interested in half a century ago. But when you are a teen to twenty-something there are other things you focus on. You go about your life and working on making it. Then, after deaths and disconnects and many years gone by, you realize that you are more than just an orphan from your parents' deaths over 50 years ago, you are now flowing a stream that has more unknown origins than you ever realized.

Will it be a disaster if I never know? Of course not. But I have learned that in one way or another I would like to find more of these roots so that I can pass them on. I have realized that I am not a self-created individual. I come from families, people and places, events and experiences that have combined in a unique way to make me who I am. It would be nice to know where some of that has come from.

If you have information on yourself and your family, I suggest you get it down on paper or somewhere to pass it on. It may seem insignificant today, but you never when- or who might think it interesting.

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