We all began this search for a particular reason. How it became an obsession is the same. We cant help but feel the excitement of adding leaves to the branches in our tree. We keep looking for more and more.
In 1970 my History teacher Mrs. Carrol assigned us the project of making a family tree. At first I panicked. I did not know anything about my family. All of my grandparents were deceased. My father had a hard childhood and spent most of it in a childrens home in New York. Did he know anything to tell me. My mother was estranged from her family and I only knew one aunt from my mothers side of the family and one uncle from my fathers side of the family.
My mother was a wealth of information on her family and could fill in most of the blanks. My aunt could fill in some as well but mostly they gave me addresses of other relatives. Their letters and information came in to late for the project but just in time to start my addiction. Hearing from distant relatives to me was like getting gold under the tree on Christmas.
My fathers side was totally different. He was not willing to share anything about his family at all until 1979 when he saw how much info I had on my mothers family. It took him nine years to wonder, want to know, and help me. Finally he started giving me bits and pieces of info on his family that still today in 2011 is my brick wall.
I gave birth to my daughter in 1977 and my father adored her. Two years later he told me that when the children were placed in the home in NY two of his younger sisters were adopted out and never heard from again. He also told me he had a half sister living in NY but he was not even sure if she was still alive or not. I told him when he really wanted to know his family history that I would do everything in my power to find it. He told me he was ready. I found bits and pieces here and there over the next few years and he was always excited about the find. However, I always felt he knew more than he was telling me and wanted me to discover it on my own or was hoping it was not true.
My father died in 1987 with his family history remaining a brick wall to me. But with determination and a few well spent dollars hiring researchers in CT I have managed to get more info than I had. I think it will be my lifelong search to find out what happened to the family of Wesley Russell and Minnie Bertz of Danbury CT? The parents they listed on their marriage license can not be found on this planet. So where do I go now. If records were destroyed in fires how do I find the family beyond them? I guess I just keep trying. I keep digging in every single record with anyone whose name may even resemble theirs. I will never give up because it is something my father asked me to do for him and because it is something I now want to know more than anything else in this world.
I have made arrangements to have a copy of my fathers family hsitory buried with him in a small vault when I pass away if I do not finish it before then simply so I can keep my promise to him and because he has the right to know who he was and where he came from.