Across an ocean and across a continent, they all wait to introduce themselves. Their faces are hidden in a mist. They are surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains and forest lands. Most of them lived as peasant farmers; perhaps, they were serfs. They were under educated…they were hanging on to survive. How did they learn about the American dream? Who shared that with them? How many actually reached the shores of America? And the ones who were left behind and the ones who came before them, just who are they to me? I only know of nine of them. Through the mist, I cannot reach the thousands of others. They remain unknown to me.
Returning from this quest, I consulted the wise matriarch. I shared with her the unfulfillment of my journey. Her advise was to look close to home, for there I would meet thousands…right there at my fingertips. So I reached out…they were exactly where she said I would find them…close to home.
In the first part of my journey to look across an ocean and a continent, I searched for my father’s family. They were Polish peasants. On that half of my family tree, I grafted two branches and nine people. That is all I know…hidden in the mist. Can you imagine a genealogist with only nine people on one side of her tree?
The wise matriarch, my mother, told me not to despair. She guided me to look close to home right here in America. She bragged that we are related to everybody. Family stories stated that a grandfather was a Pilgrim right off the Mayflower…George Soule himself. Other grandfathers fought in the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I. There they were! There were pioneers, cowboys, housewrights and carpenters, seamstresses, teachers…strong men and women. This half of my tree had many branches and thousands of leaves. Can you imagine a genealogist with such a delightful assortment of ancestors…bet one can?!
Lessons learned: first, look close to home before checking the far horizons. Discoveries await right here. Second, listen to Mama…she flows in wisdom.