In the early 1980’s we lived in the Midwest . I was married and had 3 children. A new doctor had moved into town and I thought it would be nice to invite the new doctor’s wife to join me in attending the monthly doctor’s wives auxiliary meeting and luncheon. The presentation that day was going to be on genealogy the speaker being a doctor’s wife who was a Mormon. Now I knew that Mormons consider genealogy to be of great importance but I certainly was not interested in it. However I would be polite and listen to the presentation. At the end of the presentation the speaker showed us some small assembled folders with three different kinds of genealogy sheets. I looked at these but was not too interested; however I thought it might be interesting to fill in some information and then give one to each of my children for a keepsake. Each folder was only a dollar so I bought three of them.
One night after letting these folders lay around for a few weeks I decided to take a look at them and maybe fill these out with my family information. I started with my name, then my parents and grandparents names; only 3 generations on a Four Generation Ancestor Chart. I did not even ever know my maternal grandparents. I tried to fill in the spaces for the birth dates, death dates, marriage dates and all of a sudden realized that I had very little information on these facts. I talked to my mother and she also did not have very much information on her ancestors. Then I talked to my father who lived in another state and he also had very little information on his ancestors. A large wave of curiosity hit me and now and I was really wondering about this. All I knew was that I was of Norwegian and Bohemian descent and my husband was Greek and I did not know of hardly any other living relatives except a very few aunts, uncles and cousins. Thus my curiosity was sparked and I began an almost ten year endeavor to find out all this information I did not know. I would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning trying to figure out how to find information.
Also since this was early in the 1980’s I did not own a computer yet and had never heard of the Internet. My first small computer which I finally purchased a little later, could not be used to search for information. Instead I wrote various places to obtain funeral notices, census records, church baptismal records, wills and ship passenger lists. I looked through my parents photos some of which had persons whose identity nobody knew. Later on I was astonished to be able to visit living relatives which I never knew, receive personal hand written letters and photos from distant relatives and visit several cemeteries to read headstones of some of my relatives. I hunted and found photos of original towns and farms, family shields and family name changes.
Now I have a Genealogical Record Book that is 4 inches thick and an entire file drawer full of papers, booklets, photos and letters relating to my family tree. Many years later I would not have thought that my genealogical search experience would lead to a search of a different kind.
My new book called “Separated Lives” is a true story about the adoption of a baby boy. Years later when he is an adult I take him on a fascinating but uncertain journey to search for his birth parents. It is available from Dorrance Publishing (in Pittsburgh, PA) www.DorranceBookstore.com, Barnes & Noble (barnesandnoble.com) and Amazon.com. (ISBN: 978-1-4809-1247-2)
Author: Lynn Assimacopoulos