Fascinating exercise in living history

@dawnald (84146)
Shingle Springs, California
July 27, 2009 12:43am CST
Almost finished my first German letter. It's from 1923 from a cousin to my great-grandfather. There's a lot of talk about the inflation of the 1920's, how hard times are, unrest, etc. My grandfather's cousin was apparently trying to find out how he could come over here to the states also. I wonder if he ever made it. But it's very interesting reading about those times that I have read about in history class in a letter from a person who actually lived through them. Got any interesting family history that you'd like to share?
3 people like this
13 responses
27 Jul 09
Hi dawnald, Wow!! that is interesting, please tell us some more about your great-grandfather, what a wonderful thing to have, a letter written all these years ago, sadley I haven't got letters like that. Tamara
28 Jul 09
Hi dawnald, With the information you got, have you ever thought of doing your family tree or finding out about your relations? wow that will be brilliant, my eldest brother is supposed to be doing that as my relatives are spread out all over the world, that is difficult to find, so don't know how far he has got with our family tree, mind you I haven't spoken to him for seven years but my sister does keep in touch with him as they all live near one another. Tamara
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
28 Jul 09
I have a family tree already for that side of the family. somebody already did the work for me. That's my mom's dad's family. For my Dad's family, my aunt has done all the legwork. So that leaves my mom's mom's family and maybe one day I will have the time and the energy!
@p1kef1sh (45640)
27 Jul 09
Now I'd definitely have to research the cousin. I love family history and am very fortunate in that mine is a relatively easy family to trace back to about 1790. Before that it gets a little hazy. My Great Great Grandfather inherited a large fortune from his father, who had in turn inherited from his uncle. I'd love to know how he spent it all. I do mean ALL too! Grrrrr. LOL.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
That was very selfish and inconsiderate of him!!! I have some genealogy information on parts of the family. My Aunt Max has traced my father's side back to 17th century Denmark. I'm just waiting for her to share the information.
@p1kef1sh (45640)
27 Jul 09
Certainly was. Ypu'd have thought that he might have considered that his GG Grandson could use some of his millions to fly over to Amurca to say hello.
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@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
yeah and Australia and lots of places... mean old ggg
@mimpi1911 (25479)
• India
27 Jul 09
That's great! I am getting goose bumps as I read through your post. It must have been an interesting process. History relived through the translation. I remember the time I found out that I am related to a very important figure in Indian history. My mom never told me and we happened to trace it back through family tree!
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@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
And who is this important figure? Details?
@mimpi1911 (25479)
• India
28 Jul 09
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishwar_Chandra_Vidyasagar
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
28 Jul 09
Oh, very interesting. thanks!
@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
27 Jul 09
I don't have any documentation as you do, that is so very fascinating! My step grandfather was an Austrian Jew...was here on business (he was a jeweler) when Hitler invaded Austria. He went back after the war and could not find his family. He returned and married my Irish Catholic grandmother...said a priest in Austria helped him try to find his family and he from then on contributed to the church. He had a daughter and a wife and siblings lost in the Holocaust. He raised my mom and aunt as his own and they loved him as their own too. My father's family's story is interesting too. His father immigrated from Germany as a child. He worked for the government out west...in Minnesota. He was on one of the reservations and met my grandmother's family (Ojibwe) There was a measles epidemic and my grandmother was 14...her parents asked my grandfather who was in his late 20's to marry her and keep her from the epidemic. They had 16 children...eight single births and four sets of twins! Every family has a story...I encourage all to find out who they came from. It is so enlightening and interesting.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
If my great-aunt Annie hadn't kept her father's letters I wouldn't have this much. But it is fascinating. Hopefully I can read enough of the other 5 letters to learn something about the family!
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
PS you're just a mutt aren't you?
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
29 Jul 09
How cool! We should never forget where we came from and it's fantastic that you have access to family history like this. My Grandmother on my Mother's side has traced my family back to smugglers in the English Channel around the 1600's, but I have no knowledge of my Father's side really. I have German heritage on his side though, this I do know. My Grandmother's family line is quite well known in the region of the UK she's from, so thankfully there's a lot of information available. Even a book! I remember reading something a while back that said that the Great Fire of London destroyed many records and because of this, it can be very difficult to trace genealogy through public records. I'm not 100% sure, but I think this is why my Grandmother was only able to trace back to the 1600's and no further herself.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Jul 09
Your smuggler ancestors didn't set the fire, did they? yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for me...
2 people like this
• Canada
28 Jul 09
What a great story, my grandma used to tell me lots of stories about that era too. But it's been so long and so much has happened in my life that I don't remember them. But I think that you should share that story with the world, your letter should be in a museum.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
28 Jul 09
There are 5 more letters to translate yet, plus I wonder if there are others that my mom's cousins have custody of. But it will be interesting to see what comes out of them.
• United States
27 Jul 09
That is so cool, I think I'm living history... Just read my posts...
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
will do that, haven't been by in a while!
1 person likes this
@savypat (20246)
• United States
27 Jul 09
I think that this is a real big deal, I could never do anything like that of course all the languages I know are English and a very little French. I really admire you.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
German was my major in college and my husband has family from Germany visiting every so often, so I at least have some background in it. :-)
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
27 Jul 09
I bet that was alot of fun going through the letter and seeing what they experienced. I don't have a fun or interesting story to tell about my family...with the exception of my grandparents who ran away together to get married....but it's more a memory that a family would appreciate.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
It's an interesting story anyway. And as for mine, it will be interesting to see what the rest of the letters say!
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
27 Jul 09
i absolutely LOVE history! my father in law was a boy in war torn Germany during the Second World War and was only one year away from having to join the Hilter Youth. He and his pals were on a field playing soccer and an American bomber went over head and instead of bombing the young boys, he saluted them! my grandfather was on a ship on the Atlantic ocean while the Titanic went down. (there was about 100 ships on the ocean that particular night).
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@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
My father-in-law actually DID join the Hitler youth. There was an American soldier who wanted to take him home with him. Guess I'm glad he didn't or he never would have met my mother-in-law!
• India
27 Jul 09
My grandfather was a freedom fighter working in a sugar mill in Bhopal,India.So one day he got rid of 4-5 brats irritating him.Later on he went on with Mahatma Gandhi,for the non co operation movement, in a young age of 19.this was my family history
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@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
Wow, your grandfather knew Gandhi? That's really cool.
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
27 Jul 09
GOOD MORNING DAWN, No, i don't , wish i did . I think u are very fortunate to have some family history like that. I really know very little about my family, guess i need to do some research & see what i can find. I guess it was something my family never talked about or if they did i wasn't paying attention as a child. Have a great day.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
My Aunt passed it on to me because I learned German in college and I'm glad I did. Actually once you get used to the old script it almost becomes easy to read.
@nannacroc (4049)
27 Jul 09
I used to love listening to my dads stories of the Home Guard, Dads Army, during the second world war. He was born in 1909 an my eldest daughter learned more about history from him than she would ever have learned at school. Sadly, he never wrote anything down so lots of it is lost to my grandchildren. When someone can tell you about the first radio they had, it was called a 'catswhiker radio' and other things, it really brings history to life. Maybe you could research the cousin and see if he made it to the states.
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@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
27 Jul 09
None of my grandparents wrote anything down either. I do have some people doing some genealogy work on both sides of the family though, so I do have some information!