Friday, February 15, 2013

Grandpa's Treasure Chest

My journey started when my oldest son came to me one day a few years ago and asked me what ship my Grandpa came to the United States on. He was exploring the Ellis Island website and he wanted  to find the ship manifest for me. That was a puzzle. I didn't know the answer to that question.  How could I not know that. That seemed like something that I should have known. But I didn't. I was a little embarrassed that I didn't know. So, I began asking the family questions to see what they knew, but they did not know either. How could the family not know that answer? I was told that Grandpa never talked about it and no one ever asked. Heck, I never asked him either, even when I was studying about Ellis Island and the immigrants when I was in school. Hmmmm! Why not? I asked myself. (In my later research, I found this to be a common scenerio in many immigrant households across the county.)


To make a long story short, I eventually ran across an old metal security box that held the papers that were needed for his probate after he had passed away. It was assumed that the only thing that was in that box was those papers and nobody ever looked at the rest of the contents. When I found out about its existence, I wanted to look at it. I was still on the hunt for some information about when he came to the United States. I knew that sometime back in the late seventies, Grandma and Grandpa went back to Hungary to visit.  There had to be passports or something that showed whether he was even a citizen or not. Surely those documents would not have been thrown away after his passing. I needed a clue. So that evening my parents and I, opened that box and began opening the envelopes.

UREKA! We had hit paydirt. I got goosebumps.We had finally found the TREASURE BOX!

Inside these envelopes were land papers, mortgage papers, loan papers, their U.S. passports from the seventies, his Hungarian birth certificate, his wedding certificate and his Hungarian passport from when he came over in 1926 on the RMS Olympic. This  document was nearly a hundred years old and was still in excellent condition. It had probably not been touched since he filed it away after he arrived in the United States. curiousity was piqued... I wanted to learn about the ship, why he came over, did he come alone, did he acquire U.S. citizenship, what was his life in Hungary like, did his parents come from the same village, when did they come over, etc?


Follow along with me and see how I am learning about my Hungarian ancestors, how I am learning the "art" of genealogy, the associated history lessons and how they are all entwined.We will be following the surnames of Farkas, Szam, Jakab, Simon, Papp, Suto and others from towns with names like Mezokovesd, Dudar, Hetyen, Akron, Barberton and others, as well. . It will be an interesting ride. So strap in and off we go to learn what else may come from the Family Treasure Box.

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."   -Benjamin Franklin

No comments:

Post a Comment