Family History Research

Motivation Monday – Scanning, Sorting

I have been reading so many posts recently about what to do with our genealogical treasures when we die, sorting and scanning photographs and documents, and photographing memorabilia. Then I received the most wonderful letter and package from Ginny, Bob Brouk’s widow. Bob is the focus of my book To Soar with the Tigers. Ginny sent me a few of Bob’s things that he bought while in Rangoon. I needed to make room in my curio cabinet for these items so they wouldn’t be broken. I also knew I needed to photograph them to put into a scrapbook I plan to make this year of that kind of stuff.

The guilt over not finishing my scanning and sorting and documenting all my “stuff” has been simmering for a while and is coming up like a volcanic eruption now. It is time to take care of this, even though I don’t plan to die any time soon.

I spent a good part of my weekend sorting through my boxes of memories. I sorted the stuff into boxes for person. My mom, dad, uncle, husband’s mom, dad, husband himself, then myself and each of my kids. I tossed some stuff I just didn’t need to keep, photographed and scanned other things. I still have many old photos to go through but it will get done.

What did I find? A picture of my high school sweetheart and I when we went to his Junior Prom. That was a blast from the past. So young, thin, full of life. Now…..well we won’t go there. HA! My mom gave me her high school year books and a bunch of other items that I had to just box up until I had time to go through them. I learned a few things about her life I didn’t know. I knew she was a good writer, but she could also draw. She gave me several reports and things she created in school, many of which had drawings. Gorgeous. Sadly, this gift did not get passed to me. I can only draw stick people. HA!

There are many photos from my husband’s side of Lithuanian relatives that are unmarked. It is doubtful we’ll know who these people are but I will scan some of them and post anyway. They are beautiful and who knows – maybe someone will see the photo and tell me who it is some day.

So if you are not going through your “stuff” to organize and label it in some fashion, think about doing so now. Don’t let too much time pass and get rid of the stuff you really don’t need to keep. It will make it easier for whomever you Will your belongings to later.

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The Space Shuttle Challenger, January 28, 1986

I remember that New Years Eve of 1985 feeling so sick to my stomach. I knew something horrible was going to happen in the new year but didn’t know when or to whom.

It was this day, my 13th birthday, that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I was sitting in an 7th grade class and I remember the teacher bringing a television into the classroom. We watched and I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Seems my bad feeling had really been something.

Every year on my birthday the astronauts who died and the explosion pass through my memory and I think back to that fateful day. It also makes me take note of how much time has passed and how much older I am getting. Moments like these and the good ones need to be recorded and passed down. Are you writing your memories?


Maritime Monday – The ship Berlin

My great great grandfather, Jan Zajicek arrived in this country via the port of Baltimore on the ship Berlin.

The Ships List website reports the following information on the ship.

This was the 2,333 gross ton ship BERLIN built in 1867 by Caird & Co, Greenock for North German Lloyd. Her details were – length 285ft x beam 39ft, clipper stem, one funnel, two masts (rigged for sail), iron construction, single screw and a speed of 10 knots. There was passenger accommodation for 84-1st and 600-3rd class. Launched on 1st Oct.1867, she made her maiden voyage in Apr.1868 from Bremen to Southampton and Baltimore. Her first Bremen – South America voyage started in 1879. In 1882 her engines were compounded and she made her last voyage for the company in March 1894 between Bremen and South America. In 1894 she was sold to M.Bruzzo, Italy and was scrapped the following year. [North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.2,p.546] [South Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor]

I was hoping to find a photo of this ship but have been unable. The book, Ships of our Ancestors,by Michael J. Anuta does not have a photograph. It has photos of two other ships with the name of Berlin.

To view information on Joseph Kokoska and Majdalena Priban’s ship Frisia check out my Chicago Family History Blog post.

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Wordless Wednesday – Great Grandma Libbie and Drew

My grandma, Libbie Brouk Holik with my first-born in 2001.