Dancing with the ancestors
About this time last year, my sister and I were close to departure on our river cruise to central and eastern Europe. One of the purposes for making the journey was to see that part of the world from which ancestors on our mother's side originated. Being curious people, both my husband and I had questions about our family histories. There seemed to be so many gaps and mysteries. We thought that if we did the Ancestry.com DNA test, some of those questions might be answered. We ordered the kits, spit in a tube, returned it via the U. S. Postal Service. This week, we received our results. My husband is making amazing progress on his, thanks, in part, to the epic amount of work his mother had already done on her familly's geneaology. For my part, I had scraps of paper, prayer cards, old newspaper clippings, and photographs lacking information except for the fascinating faces looking at me over the centuries. When I viewed the statistical breakdown gained from 700,000 genetic markers, I was not only stunned but left with more questions than answers. This is the closest I will come to detective work, and it is compelling. Kudos to the thousands of people who input raw data as best they could, making it digital and available to the millions who want to take a peek at bits of their ancestors lives.
I have scanned two photographs and included them here. Neither of these had identifying marks, except one was written in what could be an old German script, with 1916 in the writing and Timis, Romania at the bottom. Do you think the couple with the two children are in the larger family portrait? Guesses on the uniform the man is wearing in the photograph below? This is going to take time, but what an interesting challenge it is.
I suspect the couple on the left side are my maternal grandparents. Check out Granddad's head of hair!
For some time, my fervent request to people using a camera is to make prints (if possible on archival paper), and label the print. Even if you are using a smart phone or tablet to shoot photographs, printing is one of the best ways to back up the digital information. Otherwise, it will be a series of pixels held captive in an electronic device, the format of which will most likely change.
until next Monday,
a passion for the [email protected]
Keywords: Ancestry.com DNA, Blacks Crossing Photography, Daryl A. Black, Germany, Hungary, New Mexico, Romania, Taos, environmental portraiture, family, genealogy, photography
Thanks, Steve, for your comment. I will write you more (and try not to be boring) under separate cover but this is an amazing process, something I highly recommend. I am running into some serious dead ends, but it doesn't discourage me from attacking things from a slightly different angle. The borders of the Austria-Hungary empire were very amoeboid. Thus, I find relatives who declare Hungary as their homeland, others Romania, still others Czechoslovakia. Only one declared as speaking Slovac. The others, German. And to boot, that represents only 9% of my DNA! It is really bizarre.
This is a compelling endeavor, Daryl. I have lots of printed stuff from my now deceased aunt and have gotten back to the late 1820s when both of my second great grandparents (I'm guessing) came over from Germany. The photographs are wonderful and beg for answers don't they?
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