Friday, May 1, 2009

The Lesson

Most of my time and energy the last 3 weeks have been focused on a scrapbook/photo album gift. In addition, I learned some kind of a lesson, I just haven't figured out what to do with it yet.

Thirty years ago, I started trying to learn about my family's history and how to research it. I know that asking questions from the older generation is ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO. . . And I honestly thought I had done at least SOME of that. One of the biggest puzzles was my paternal paternal Gparents - I knew they were Krajacichs (actually it is Krajacic), and Albert J (my father, their Gson) told me they had had a farm in Appanoose County, Iowa. He gave me one other clue, as well. He told me that his father had to use an assumed name because he had been blacklisted for work due to his union participation in the Eastern NM coal mines.

So here I am, some 30 years later, thrilled to have finally traced the parish (Daddy always said, "check Fuzine", where my Gfather was born! In the meantime, I sent for my Gfather's SS application, and from it learned that my GGparents were Paul (Pavel) and Caroline (Carlina Sporer) Krajacic.

Thanks to the LDS Family History Library (FHL), I was looking at microfiche records and THERE IT WAS - the record of my Gfather's birth in the town of Belo Celo, Fuzine Parish, Croatia!


In the meantime, I've been corresponding with my cousin (Dtr of Father's oldest brother, Julian), who says she has some stuff and will be happy to send it along. Now in the "stuff" is a letter my father wrote her in 1987, in which he told her all of the information it has taken me 30 years to DISCOVER!

I am flabbergasted! I wonder what it was I didn't say, or how I may not have asked, that he didn't think to share that information with me. . . Maybe if he hadn't spent so much time being angry, and if I hadn't spent so much time being angry at him for being angry, we would have had more real conversations. . .

I was visiting him right before he died. Standing in the middle of the living room, out of the blue, he started singing to me what I knew was a Croatian lullaby (I had never heard it, I just KNEW what it was.) I asked him, "why now?" He said, "It was just never the right time."

So, maybe my lesson is that I have to make it be the right time, because where family is concerned, especially when we live far apart, special moments and opportunities for real communication come and go in a heartbeat. . .

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I found the birth record for Julijan Krajacic born to Pavel and Karolina (nee Sporer) Krajacic in Beloselo, Croatia, on 11 February 1886! Yay! Two years later, brother Tomo arrived. Pavel and Karolina lived in the same place at that time. I've wondered what took Pavel and Karolina to Appanoose County, Iowa, of all places. A quick web search revealed that Sporer's were in Iowas as early as 1857 and in Appanoose County as early as 1880.

The internet tells me that the origina of the name "Sporer" is German and it means someone who makes spurs.

It took nearly a month to get the microfiche in from Salt Lake - I've spent the last two Wednesdays rolling through the rolls, as it were. There is a bunch more info - can't wait to go back!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mowers family

Actually, Eulalah Toinette Davis married William Henry and became a Mowers. . . In the 1930 census she lists her occupation as "Minister" and place of work as "church" - I'd love to track that down and find more info. . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Croatia or Slovenia?

My sister has asked if it is possible that our paternal Gparents came from Slovenia instead of Croatia. Today I read the histories (courtesy Wikipedia) of both and so far find nothing to suggest that either Sunger (Romana) or Fuzine (Julian) were part of Slovenia - HOWEVER - they are so close to the border, it is a very good question. The two villages are so close together I would love to know how they met. I'm eager to see the microfiche records from the parish.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Learning the Language

I don't know if I can write a blog or not. I've tried six different ways to start this one, and none has seemed right - but here goes. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences and findings in exploring the history of our ancestors - starting with the generation just below us and working back. Family history research is a natural for folks who love puzzles, (me!) and I love research and language study!

The first of my Mother's ancestors to touch these golden shores came in the early 1600's and over the centuries found their way from the east coast, all the way to the west. My father was a first generation American - born of Croatian immigrants. Rod's heritage is English, French and German with a smattering of Native American. Now come our beautiful Daughters (in-law) who bring Italian, Lithuanian, Irish, more German, and more into the mix. When I was a child and the subject of heritage came up, our stock reply was, "We're Heinz 57", which is even more true for the generation of our grandchildren.

Preface - I believe that the Universe is very happy to provide - you just have to ask.

I'm researching our Krajacic' (h) family which came from Croatia before 1900. I've requested microfilms (From FLS) of the parish church in the village where they said they came from - Fuzine, Croatia. Since they are in Croatian, I though it wouldn't hurt to try to familiarize myself with the language knowing that I will probably have to find someone to translate for me. So the language books I requested came in and I went to the Neighborhood library to pick them up. The desk person provided a friendly, accented greeting and was curious about my wanting to study Croatian. Did you guess already? Yes, she is from Croatia - from a small town in the east - she was very supportive - to the point of telling me there is a Croatian language class at UT and offering to help me translate whatever family records I find. . .

Wish me luck - I'm looking for life stories of those who've come before. . . if you have any to share - send them along!