Yesterday, I came across a fascinating/creepy new search engine that looks up all kinds of records about people. This led me to a genealogy site where I was able to look up records about people from census reports, birth and death records, marriages, etc. As our family history had become a hot topic over the past few weeks here, I was interested to fill in some of the gaps, especially around my great grandmother’s generation. I have to admit to being rather amazed at the information one can find for certain time periods. Census reports that are more than 72 years old are all available and so I was able to reconstruct location and age information from these. I was able to pinpoint the arrival years in the US for my great grandmother’s parents (Jacob in 1890 and Ida in 1892) and to verify where they came from (Russia). I was also able to find some birth and death year information for my grandmother’s siblings. I was able to look at signed copies of WWI and II draft cards. There is a ton of information, but also a ton that is missing. Some items were not recorded, or wrongly recorded. I am just at the beginning of my search, but it is fascinating.
All sorts of questions come to mind when looking over these documents. What was it like, leaving their home country? What brought them to this part of the country? What sorts of work did they do? What was life like back then? What did they love in life, what did they value? In short, who were they?