It’s a crazy, wonderful ride

The changes in genealogy (including genetic genealogy) seem to mirror what happened once upon a time when this entity called the Wide World Web became a thing. I remember it well. It was the early 90s and I’d been working in IT for about 5 years (just after finishing grad school). I knew my way around a green (or orange) screen, could program in BASIC, … Continue reading It’s a crazy, wonderful ride

Remembering Robert Boyer

The Johnstown High School class of 1949, or rather its yearbook, the Spectator, was the stuff of story and fantasy for me,  thanks to my mother, a master weaver of tales. When I was a child, Mom sat with me, opened the yearbook, turned the pages and recounted bygone tales of her larger-than-life classmates. My imagination was further stirred by images of Johnstown, which was … Continue reading Remembering Robert Boyer

Memorial Weekend Meandering

A few updates on the ancestral research front. So, this weekend seems a good time for a stream-of-consciousness post about some of the discoveries. The more I research my family history, the more I realize how often my assumptions are WRONG.  For example,  I assumed that, since I located the whereabouts of my maternal grandfather and several of his siblings,  there was nothing more to … Continue reading Memorial Weekend Meandering

4th of July 2017

July is a poignant month for my family–early July marks the Anniversaries of my Dad’s death and my paternal Grandfather’s birth. Near the end of the month (July 24th) is the anniversary of The Eastland Disaster, where my great-aunt and 800+ others lost their lives. On that hot July morning in downtown Chicago, they had just boarded the large ship chartered by Western Electric for … Continue reading 4th of July 2017

When dreams come true…

My grandfather, Fritz Ott, along with his brothers, Heinrich (Henry) and Eduard (Edward) came to the USA around the turn of the 20th century settling in Johnstown, PA. Heinrich relocated to Detroit, while Ed and Fritz remained in Johnstown, running a series of restaurants and taverns. Eventually, though, Fritz moved to Cleveland to live with my parents, my sister and me. Growing up, it seemed … Continue reading When dreams come true…

Resources: Eastern European Genealogy

Introduction Eastern European history, records, and ancestry scare some some people, and according to some fellow genealogists, I’m treading where many fear to go. What are you supposed to do though if that’s your ancestry? I am fearless though. I grew up surrounded by Babushkas–nearly every house had one, and every Babushka kept a watchful vigil, dutifully reporting any behavioral infractions to our families.  Annoying? … Continue reading Resources: Eastern European Genealogy

Snow-capped mountains

Working my way back to Eve

As a child,  I read anything I got my hands on including the book of Genesis, which marked my introduction to genealogy. Its opening chapters enthralled, intrigued  and baffled me.  Besides all that begetting (what was “begetting” anyway?),  there were tales of people living to be 900 years or so.  I seldom took these stories literally, but was fascinated that people would portray their history … Continue reading Working my way back to Eve