Me & Pop-Pop. The infamous photo where I was being bribed with a writing tablet to sit with my grandfather for a photo. (I was afraid of old people) This is the beginning of “Biff Loves Paper.)
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how I had once again come back to the task of trying to fill in the gaps of my family tree. I had only been able to get so far on Ancestry.com but once a kind reader pointed me in the direction of the free FamilySearch.com website, I was able to almost immediately go back five generations on my paternal grandfather’s mother’s side into the Great Plains of Northeast Hungary.
Growing up and through most of my adult life (read: until about a week ago) I knew nothing of Hungary except for the stuffed cabbages, noodles and cabbage, and chicken paprikash that I ate growing up. (I still occasionally make the paprikash because it’s sooo delicious. It’s a simple broth made from chicken stock, onions, salt, pepper, paprika and sour cream served over stewed chicken with chewy drop noodles. Yummo!)
Learning of my new found 62.5% Hungarian ethnicity and how so many of my relatives came from a single village, I decided to see what I could learn by perusing various tourism sites and reading the history of Hungary on Wikipedia. 1000+ hot springs, inexpensive travel accommodations, wine, goulash, beautiful tiny villages… I wish I had a passport! (They also boast one of the most difficult languages on the planet which is oddly related to Finnish.)
Every time I go back to searching another name, I think about what their rural lives must have been like and how they came upon the decision to take a giant leap of faith to come and start new lives in America. Then I start wishing that I’d been left a journal or two describing life in the old country and what it was like to travel to the US- and that hopefully, the change was for the better.