From the Presidents Desk - August 20222022 August President’s Letter
This is part 3 of the story I started in my president’s letter for June 2022.
I left off when I when I lived in Easton and spent quite a bit of time with my mother’s sister that we visited several times a year as I was growing up. But unfortunately, I knew nothing about their family secrets and wouldn’t know for another fifteen years.
In 2000, I was living in Arizona when my aunt passed away. I flew back to Easton to attend the funeral and I met a woman that was there at the house who introduced herself as a sister to my aunt and my mother. I was totally surprised to meet her. I knew nothing about another sister! I spent some time with my ONE and ONLY cousin after all the others left and learned the family secret that my mother had kept from my sisters and brother and me growing up but had promised to explain.
My mother was the youngest of four children and was born in 1922. Her mother and father were married and lived as a family until her father “ran off with a redhead” (as told to me by my cousin as being the family story) sometime during the 1930s.
My mother and my aunt who had just passed away and who was a few years older than my mother were both “given away” to other families to be raised. The two older girls stayed at home with their mother, possibly so they could go to work as this was during the Great Depression. Aha! Could the family that my mother went to live with have the surname she told us was her maiden name?
Of course, I knew nothing about genealogy and curiously the year 2000 was the year that Ancestry.com launched the census images. But it wouldn’t be until about 8 years later that I was bitten by the genealogy bug. And WOW! What I have learned since then! I joined Ancestry.com and started the quest to find the truth about my mother’s heritage.
I will end this part of the story with this revelation. In the 1930 US Federal Census, my mother was still at the home of her birth parents. In the 1940 census, my mother was now 18 and living in the household with the surname that she claimed was her maiden name. So somewhere in between 1930 and 1940, she was “given away”. The exact date for that piece of evidence I am still searching for.
Stay tuned for part 4 next month with more to this story as I get closer to answering this particular research question which is, WHO IS MY MOTHER’S PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER?
Thanks for reading my story.
Katie Gertz, FHSA President