Monday, April 26, 2010

What we don't know

I don't like mystery books. I'm not sure why, but they've just never appealed to me. But I do love mysteries.

I first realized this about myself when helping a patient apply for a copy of his birth certificate during my first years working in dialysis. We got stuck on his parents' names. He told me the story of his life, how he'd been born and his father questioned whether he was the father and the family had put him into foster care. He, therefore, didn't know the full names of his parents.

He was able to give me the name of the agency in Brooklyn that had place him, and amazingly, they still existed. They had his records archived, including pictures of him and grades from his early school years. We were able to get his parents' names to get a birth certificate (allowing him to get a California ID), and the agency mailed him a copy of all his records.

It was, I suppose, my first genealogical research. And it was exciting. I got to listen to the stories of this gentleman about his life and find out a little bit more for him about his past.

The mysteries intrigue me and they drive me crazy. My own family mystery of the Miersba family is so tantilizing. I know who and what they are once they are here in the US, but I cannot find who they were back in Prussia. Cannot get clues for why Gottlieb and Suzanne picked up their 5 children and moved half way across the world to make a new life in Minnesota.

What are your family mysteries?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just the beginning

I've always been interested in history. My memories of my favorite books were biographies of Louis Braille, Harriet Tubman, and Helen Keller. I liked the excitement of learning through other people's lives.

I got my undergraduate degree in History from the U of MN, but kind of figured it was useless. Well, now I want to make it useful.

I've been working as a social worker and a therapist, and while I love the private therapy practice I have, the daily grind of social work is no longer for me. So what to do....I've decided to expand my excitement about history and genealogy and eventually translate that into a business. This blog will be a part of that.

I will share my musings on the work that I am doing on my own family history, learning about genealogy, and the practice of researching. I'll share the stories I find and the arcane bits of information.

If you know of anyone who would like to have me do a bit of research for them, let me know. At this time, as I learn my trade (so to speak), I am offering my services for free and I'll let you know the limits of my ability to discover the stories you might be looking for.