Thursday, January 04, 2007

A tree severely pruned

I've been getting back into genealogy research lately, because I don't have enough projects to keep me busy, yah right.

On my dad's side, I can trace one shoot back to about 1600 in England, with very early immigration to what would become Massachusetts. Pretty exciting stuff, reading about long ago ancestors fighting in King Philip's War and the Revolutionary War, owning large farms and mills, and generally being interesting colonial people. (With the family name Blood, how could they not be cool? Still looking for any links to pirates.)

On my mom's side, I can trace her father's ancestry back about as far back in Sweden, thanks to a cool hand-written family tree her father passed down.

But on my mom's mother's side? Her grandparents are the oldest generation, and for them and their relatives I have almost no information. Thanks to the Holocaust, it's a complete dead end. The only thing I can find is that some of them indeed died, in Auschwitz and Riga, Latvia. Thanks to some combination of luck and pluck, my grandmother made her way to Shanghai, China where she met my grandfather and continued our family line. Otherwise we'd all be not even memories, just some tiny bits of data about lost grandparents in some backwater of the internet.

Bleh. Maybe I have reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I'm depressed because of lack of show and balmy weather!!

2 comments:

Helen said...

How awful about your mother's family. It makes me feel sick. I'm so glad your grandmother escaped and survived. It's so interesting she went to Shanghai.

I don't know much about my ancestors but my Grandma once told me that we were direct descendants of Brian Boru, the tenth century Irish king. Now if only some of that royal blood remained...!

Henitsirk said...

Wow, Brian Boru! The Irish are another branch of my family that just peters out in a few generations. I read somewhere that there was a major fire in Ireland that destroyed many public records, making it very hard to do genealogical research.

That family tree from my Swedish grandfather claims that Catherine the Great of Russia was an ancestor. Seems like everyone's family has famous people somewhere in there.

Evidenly many European Jews ended up in Shanghai. There was even a documentary, Shanghai Ghetto, made in the last few years. My grandparents were very lucky to live in the French quarter, so that their lives were much easier than those in the Jewish quarter. I bitterly regret not asking her more about that part of her life, but I was too young when she died. How was it to leave her entire family and travel all that way, presumably alone? My mom was born in Shanghai and her brother was born on the ship sailing to San Francisco. Such stories being lost forever!!