The Search for Number 16, part 1
The Search for Number 16, part 2
I called my grandma to wish her happy birthday on Friday. We first talked about her upcoming DNA test. I explained why I wanted her to do it and what I hope to get from it. The truth is that I don't know what will happen, if anything.
She said something about being "the only one left." I explained that there were cousins everywhere. There's a possibility of a connection through DNA databases, or not, but she's definitely not the last.
After the DNA lesson, I told my grandmother that I found her mother's birth record. My grandmother never knew her mother (death from TB when grandma was 3), so she's learning about her family as I find information. My grandmother's mom was born on the border of Austria and Hungary. This Hungarian influence is news to my grandma.
I then told her the names of her mom's parents...her grandparents. I spelled out the names and she wrote them down. I can't imagine hearing my grandparents' names for the first time on my 83rd birthday, but that was the reality for my grandmother.
"I wish I had known this sooner," she said. At least she knows now. And there's so much more to learn.
The next step for me is to scour the microfilms that contain the birth and marriage information for my Number 16's Austrian village. The records span 1800-1895. I will start with 1895 and move backwards, looking for familiar names that connect to my family. Everything is in Hungarian, so this will take time.
I know there are siblings out there, and I know I can move back several more generations in the family tree. My grandmother knows her grandparents. Now its time to discover some aunts and uncles. Perhaps this can be a goal for 2012.
For now, however, I will be happy knowing my Number 16. One 2011 goal down, two more to go.