Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Gentle Readers,

Someone I Love has had a little extra time lately, so she's been doing a little gynecological genealogical research and reporting back to me. I had thought about looking into my family's past at a well-known site that costs money, but she found a site that's free:

I've established an account there myself, but for the most part I've provided her with family names I already have and let her do the research. She seems to enjoy it, and I can just spend so much time sitting in front of the computer before my back hurts, my feet swell, all this miserable old lady crap, blah blah blah.

I'm fascinated by some things she's learned. First, she discovered that my mother's parents once lived in the same boarding house -- before they were married. It must be where they met. She found my grandfather's record of death, which occurred when my mom was 18. I said, And guess what my grandmother did after her husband died? Naturally, Someone I Love asked What, and I said, She ran a boarding house. It's deja vu all over again.

Then she really surprised me by finding the ship's manifest from my grandmother's family's arrival in the United States. I always knew they had come here from another country when my grandmother was 12, but I didn't know how they arrived, other than by ship.

It seems they left their country and somehow went to Liverpool, where they sailed to the U.S., arriving at Ellis Island. And I thought, Wow! I wonder how they felt as they arrived and saw that first view of the Statue of Liberty.

Of course, maybe they thought, Jeeeezus, it's about time. They had traveled a long way to Liverpool and then spent ten days on board the ship with several children, including a one year old, and there weren't no pampers then. How would you manage diapers during ten days on a ship? And did they all get seasick?

The ship's manifest even says how much money each person had. My great-grandfather arrived in the U.S. with $150. And a dream. At least I hope he had a dream because that's part of the classic immigrant story. Why did they come to the U.S.? I have all these questions I want to ask them, like what were the bathrooms like on the ship and how do you travel so far with a one year old without murdering somebody.

I have romantic thoughts of the famous poem associated with the statue:

Give me your tired, your hungry, your poor
Your one year old who had the shits the entire voyage
The six year old you longed to throw overboard 
The twelve year old who suddenly developed a case of smart-ass mouth as the journey began
The sixteen year old who pretended not to know you as you barfed over the side of the ship while holding the baby
The husband who never helped with the kids once but instead spent his days wandering the decks with the other husbands and chatting up the unmarried whores
And I will detain them all on Ellis Island while you make your getaway to a land where you will never have to wash a baby's butt again.
(Make sure you pick your husband's pocket and grab the $150, leaving him high and dry.)

Then Someone I Love started looking at my father's side of the family and surprised me even more by discovering that my dad's paternal grandmother's father fought in the Civil War from 1864 to 1865 when he was 40 years old. I didn't even know that branch of the family was in the U.S. at that time.

And my dad's paternal grandparents had four children who died and eight who lived to adulthood. My dad's maternal grandparents had 14 kids and all lived to adulthood.

I did get some family information from my parents before they died; for example, my mom had a distant relative who ran away with the milkman and nobody ever spoke to her again (tee hee).

If only we still had milkmen I could find my true love.

Infinities of love,


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