Book Reviews, Cat Reviews and Life Reviews

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Location: Washington State, United States

25 September 2006

A Long Time Ago


A Long Time Ago.... was the last time I posted in this here blog. For shame! My bad! I think I have a reason that might suffice for two of those days; the rest of the days fell into my becoming even more compulsive-obsessive.
The large into the small- I came into possession of a bunch of old family papers/documents. For a history fanatic, this was a gold-mine. Included was the service record of my great-great grandfather, dated 1876. What is wonderful is that it has a complete physical description of him, with the shape of his chin and mouth, and even the color of his eyebrows. Way cool. All of this information in beautiful calligraphy (and all in Dutch!) The most emotional were my mother's and grandparents identifications from the war. My mother had no idea that these papers even existed. Most people threw them out after the liberation. There were also food ration coupons from during the war. There were letters dated from 1902, and also during the war.
In Holland, when someone dies, the family has a death notice made. They are on cards with a gray or black border (the envelopes also has the borders.) They are sent out and delivered immediately. I think this is a wonderful thing to do; it honors the person. My grandmother had saved them all from 1905 until she died (1987.) Here are all these cards that people had held so long ago, and meant so much to them. And my grandmothere had saved them.
She had saved a ton of letters also. It amazed me that she kept in such close contact with everyone after she emmigrated. Reading the letters are somewhat of a chore, not only are they in Dutch, the handwriting! Some of it is extremely diagonal.
I am still trying to translate everything, and then I have to scan it and save it to CDs. I have entered everything that I could get so far into the family tree. Based on the information, I was able to add over 100 names to the tree, all by searching the Dutch databases.
I can't figure out how my grandmother was able to save all this stuff. Two World Wars and an emmigration. And my mother didn't even know all these papers still existed. Blows my mind.
So, I'm sorry that I haven't written anything on the blog, but I have been working!

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4 Comments:

Blogger Lizza said...

Your fans have missed your posts terribly.

But wow, that IS a gold mine! I'd be way enthralled too if that had happened to me. So you're forgiven for your long absence. :-)

It must be great to hold those pieces of family history in your hands--real-life time capsules, so to speak. Good luck with the rest of the things you have to do.

25 September, 2006 18:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Lizza: we've missed your posts!
I love old family history stuff.
When I was younger (like in my 20's) I wanted to write a history of our family. My grandmother was NOT happy about that. Now that she's gone, so much of the history is gone, too.
Your family has to come first, but don't forget about us blog-family-friends who miss you!

26 September, 2006 13:13  
Blogger Kara said...

Wow. My papers rarely survive my annual apartment moves. I get excited if I stumble upon an old utility bill...so I can only imagine your delight.

26 September, 2006 13:35  
Anonymous INAMINI said...

Lizza- I think this is only the beginning of the wrok, but luckily I love it (in an obsessive-compulsive way.)

Morgen- thanks for missing me. Unfortunately, my grandparents are gone, so I'm pressing a lot of responsibility on my parents' memories. It's really neat to see things fit together!

kara- weirdly enough, my dad's mother saved a lot of old utility bills (cleaning bills, film developing claim slips...), but they probably pre-date yours by a few decades. Must be a danish-Dutch kind of thing.

26 September, 2006 18:54  

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