Tuesday, January 4, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - New Year's traditions and resolutions

Happy new year! First, a couple of resolutions for 2011's genealogy projects:
  • Learn all about my new Mac FTM software and move my files from the old PC version to the Mac.
  • Keep entering info and citing sources (this is one of my weak spots--I love to solve genealogy mysteries but don't find it anywhere near as much fun to write things up).
  • Label more of the family photos that I protected in individual sleeves last year.
  • Keep blogging as cousin bait! Can't wait to meet my newly found cousins this spring.
Now for traditions. Whenever my father and his brother and brothers-in-law got together (which might have been on New Year's Day but also one or two other holidays), they played pinochle. I still have the two-deck card set they used. Although I never understood the game, I know they were expert and enthusiastic about playing. So at the table would be my father, Harold Burk; his brother, Sidney Burk; and his brothers-in-law, Charles Lang (married to my aunt Millie) and David Bourstein (married to my aunt Miriam). Lots of laughter but also intense concentration.

The New Year's Eve I most vividly remember was when I was 17 and went to Times Square with my boyfriend, my closest girlfriend, and her boyfriend. Maybe we took the subway (who remembers? It was that long ago), or perhaps one of the guys drove us all from the Bronx. I remember the crowds and excitement, the cold, and the jubilation when the ball dropped at midnight. We all counted along (yes, just like on TV) and kissed at the stroke of the new year. Once was enough. I can say "been there, done that."

My husband's family had a quieter New Year's Eve in Cleveland Heights, because his father Edgar J. Wood always had a gig playing in a band that evening. Insurance adjuster by day, Ed was a professional piano player on the weekends and was booked for New Year's Eve by October every year. Photo above shows him in one of the college bands he joined while at Tufts. He and his friends worked their way across the Atlantic and back by playing on cruise ships, then picked up gigs in Europe to cover room and board for the summer between semesters.

May the new year bring you many family tree discoveries and reunions with long-lost relatives.


  1. Thank you for participating in my 52-week series. I really enjoyed reading about your family's New Year's memories.

    Here is the link to the series in case your readers want to join in the fun:

  2. Hi Amy, Thanks for reading and thanks for the new 52-week series. I'll make the logo clickable so readers can go directly to your site!