Sunday, November 24, 2013

Motivation Monday: Those Brickwalls Are Crumbling

When I began this blog in 2008, I put the following sentence at the top: Adventures in genealogy . . . finding out who my ancestors were and connecting with cousins today!  What adventures I've had, and what joy in finding cousins all over the map. 

Botpalad, hometown of Moritz Farkas
Nothing is as motivating as a breakthrough, right? November is possibly my best-ever month for bringing down brickwalls, which only makes me want to dig deeper. It's been so exciting that it's hard to know where to begin...remember, all of this happened in the past 25 days, and the month isn't over yet :)
  • "Hello Cousin" was the subject line on a much-anticipated e-mail from Israel. After many months of searching, I've finally connected with long-lost Schwartz cousins on my maternal grandfather's side! My 2d cousin confirmed our relationship and sent me wonderful photos of herself and the rest of our family in Israel. Next up: A Skype session! All in the same month that Sis and I met "Philly Cuz" for the first time in person--she's also a 2d cousin on the Schwartz side. And in the same month, I saw my 1st cuz from Queens (Hi, Ira!)
  • "James Elmer Larimer" was the subject line on an e-mail that arrived out of the blue. As I wrote just recently, this gentleman is trying to find the connection between hubby's Larimer line and his family (still working on that). He was kind enough to share the wagon-train journal kept by James Elmer Larimer's widow, Asenath Larimer, who went with her brother John Cornwell and three of his neighbors to join the Gold Rush in 1852. The journal is an incredible first-person account of what it was like to walk day after day through an unknown landscape, battle illness and accidents, and--hardest of all, in some ways--to leave loved ones behind, never knowing if the family would see one another again. Spoiler alert: Asenath is reunited with her young children after all!
  • "I'm the grandson of ... " read the Ancestry message I received from a first cousin, 1x removed of my hubby's! He's just beginning to trace his family tree and I'm delighted to share what I know about Thomas Haskell Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest, our common ancestors. Can't wait to hear from him again.
  • Remember microfilm? Last week I located the handwritten birth entry of my great-grandpa Moritz Farkas in the records of Botpalad, Hungary, contained on a Family History Library microfilm titled "Anyakönyvek Izraelita Hitközseg, Fehérgyarmat." Now I can search the same records for any siblings, knowing I'm in the correct part of the world at the correct time. I'm very motivated to keep cranking through this microfilm, even though part is in Hungarian and part is in German :( 
  • Cousin JW, who was thought to be a family friend but turns out to be a cousin of the Farkas family, sent naturalization records and other documents from her parents and grandparents so I can connect her line to our line. I'm almost there. This is an immense breakthrough because we believe it will show we're actually related to a large group of Farkas descendants in Europe and the U.S.
  • "Captain Slatter" was the subject line from a lady whose father trained under Captain Jack Slatter in 1941. Captain Jack (actually John Daniel Slatter) was hubby's great-uncle and a renowned bandmaster for 50 years. Replying to this inquiry, I sent a photo of Capt. Jack and a request to hear her father's memories of the good Captain. It's a small world after all!
So many ancestors, so many cousins, so little time. I'm motivated! 


  1. I'm so thrilled to be on this journey with you dear Cuz! Love from "Philly Cuz"

  2. I am excited for you, too! In the 2 1/2 years I have been blogging, I have been contacted by a number of cousins of mine and my husband's. I recently heard from a second cousin in Montana with whom I spent two hours on the phone and we have exchanged wonderful emails describing our grandmothers (who were sisters) and the various great aunts.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your last sentence: So many ancestors, so little time!

  3. Talk about miracles! Everything has been lining up so well. New cousins, new info, new links to the family....2013 has been an excellent year for your genealogy! Thank you,