Three fourths of my ancestry is a total mystery to me. The other fourth has been traced back to the year 1196.
My father was a Jew whose family emigrated from Russia to the US when he was very young. He left home and enlisted in the Army when he was in his teens, and from that point on never followed the Jewish faith or its traditions.
We children were told that when he married my mother, a Christian, his family held some sort of religious ceremony in which my father was effectively declared dead. Except for one period of a few hours more than 30 years later he never saw nor heard from any of his family the rest of his life.
That was very strange. I came home from high school one day to find that we had visitors, a woman about 30 years old and her 5 year old daughter. She was either my 1st or 2nd cousin – I don’t recall her name. She claimed that she had been trying to locate for my father for quite awhile, and that it was her hope that the family could be reunited.
When my father arrived home from work my cousin rushed to him and hugged him, telling him who she was. For about the next hour it was as if the rest of us were not even there. I had never seen my father so full of emotion as she brought him up to date on his family: when and how his parents had died; which of his brothers and sisters and their spouses were still living and where they were living; how and when the others had died; as well as all about the sons and daughters. Finally, declining to stay for dinner, she again hugged my father saying that now that connection had been made we will stay in touch. Never saw or heard from her again!
Another one-fourth of my ancestry disappears beyond my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was adopted and I know his original surname only.
I’ll discuss the one-fourth I know about in my next post.