I met up with my great-uncle and great-aunt about 3 weeks ago. I hadn’t seen them in 17 years. Actually, the last time I saw them was at my great-grandma’s funeral (his mother). But I’m extremely glad that I met up with them. They’re super cool and really know a lot of things about my family history that I had never heard of before.
For example: I am probably not Russian. My grandpa, my great-uncle’s younger brother, was never really interested in the family history. So when I was a girl scout way back when, and I had a family heritage project, where we had to find out what countries our family came from…my grandpa told me Russian. Which is not actually true.
My great-grandfather’s family are Czech, or rather, Czech-Americans at this point. But they lived in the Sudetenland region of old Czechoslovakia. My great-grandma though, was from a Czech family. She was born in Bukovina, Romania, and her family moved to the States when she was a little toddler. I’m sure that my grandpa, who never was much interested in history, probably mistook Romania, where my great-grandma was born, and thought that it was meant to be Russia. So I’m not, as far as I know, actually Russian. But it does mean that I’m very Czech. And my great-uncle and aunt have been to the Czech Republic to see where our family came from. So on at least my dad’s side of my family, I’m actually (because my great-grandparents were not born in the USA) only a 3rd generation American. Which was a pretty flooring realization for me. I know on my mom’s side the family has been in the USA longer, but on my dad’s side, not nearly as long here in the USA. So that’s another little thing my uncle was able to tell me that I had been previously unaware of.
I learned what my great-grandma’s maiden name was, and where her family was from. It’s really fascinating how much I can learn from my older family members. There’s so much that I had either heard incorrect versions of, or just did not know at all. And, my great-aunt is still translating a lot of the old documents. So she said she’ll give me a call when she gets to the German documents. Because having been from the Sudetenland region, a lot of records are in German, which I speak fluently at this point. So she asked if I would be willing to help out. I’m of course thrilled and told her to give me a call whenever. I’m excited to learn more about my family history from my aunt and uncle.
Of course, being Czech instead of Russian (or rather, more Czech than I originally thought) is only part of it.
On my mom’s side of my family, I’m Polish. Actually…my mom is quarter Polish, and as far as I know, my great-grandma who was Polish was actually born in Poland. But that might just be half-forgotten family legend. Don’t know for sure. Someday I’ll figure out the truth. But I know for sure I’m definitely Polish, at least in small part.
So it kind of is not a surprise at all that I’ve been drawn to Slavic beliefs. My family runs the gamut there. Polish and Czech…at the very least, and a part of the German part of my family actually lived in the very eastern part of old German lands. So they were influenced quite a bit by Polish and Czech culture. And then we figure, I’ve always been fascinated by eastern European history and culture. Or rather, central and eastern European. Because Czech/Bohemian history is usually counted among central Europe.
So that was what had me thinking the last few weeks, and what triggered my finally changing my blog name. After all, I’m learning so much about my family history, and who I am, where my family really comes from–my blog should reflect that journey. I’m hoping that once I spend more time with my aunt and uncle, I can shed even more light on where my family comes from.∗