Monday, February 2, 2009

And in the Beginning ...

It's been a long and strange journey from there to here and back.  For most of my adult life, a good chunk of my free time has been spent chasing my elusive ancestors.  In Siemuszowa and Perth Amboy, Minersville, Primrose, Olstzyn, Gorzow and Lviv.  In Toronto, Edmonton, Rosil'na, Barvinok, Gloversville and Sanok.  And many more places ...

Why? Why do I do this?  Once a fellow tracker I met in the bowels of a Mormon reading room described this crazy passion we shared as the direct result of a mutant gene.  A consuming quest that used to require long Winter nights spent with my head stuck under the hood of a microfilm reader desparately searching in the dim light for some clue to where my ancestors came from.  

Ah, but those days are behind me now.  Since 1978 when Aunt Helen's letter came complete with a xerox of Baba Julia's baptismal certificate, my incessant diggings have taken me far and wide.  And along the way I've had my share of complete dead ends, bad luck and lots of bad memory from relatives and near relatives unable to connect the dots for me.  But now, it's all much clearer.

And so I want to share my family stories with you in the hopes that you might bring along some of your own to tell so that all of us will know our Carpathian ancestors better. Lemkos, Rusyns, Rusnaks, Ruthenians, Carpatho-Rusyns and Ukrainians.  And Poles and Slovaks with Lemko roots.  Whatever you call your Carpathian ancestors in your patch, we might share some common history.  Tales of parents, grandparents and great grandparents leaving their ancestral homes motivated by adventure, the possibility of a better life for their kids, or the utter cruelty of political masters who unilaterally decided back then that it was better for your family to leave at once and never come back home again.  

Whatever happened back in the past to ignite the big bang that hurled us out into various corners of the world, we have manged to survive and thrive and now it's time to get together again and tell our family stories. So come, sit down by the fire, warm yourelf and write a line or two about who you are. Maybe we'll find out that we are directly related, or maybe we won't, but we can all share the tales of our Slavic roots and how we came to be where and who we are today.