Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Best Visit With Relatives

Oh, this brings up great memories!  This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun asks you to write about your best visit with relatives:

1)  Have you visited with friends or relatives to find out more about your ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.)?  If so, what was your "best" visit with friends or relatives who provided information, stories, or photographs of your ancestors?

2)  Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ comment.

So, several years ago, in 2002 to be exact, I decided I should visit a lot of the relatives in the New York City area with whom I had been communicating about family history.  I had never met any of them in person, and some were getting up in years (remember, talk to your oldest relatives first!).  I planned a trip out east and coordinated with many of my cousins to meet them.

I stayed at my sister's house in New Jersey (I think it was in Titusville; I'm sure she'll let me know if I'm wrong) and borrowed her car to drive around.  In five days (came in on Saturday, left on Thursday) I put on 700 miles going back and forth from the house.  I drove in all five boroughs of New York City (even Manhattan!) and in the two eastern counties on Long Island (and discovered to my horror that New York City had $7 and $8 bridge tolls).  To meet the one cousin who actually lived in Manhattan, I took the subway.  In all, I met 25 cousins and visited four cemeteries.  I took dozens of photographs (none of them digital, and I can't figure out where I've stored them, unfortunately) and learned tons of new information about my family.

While I was in New Jersey, I took the time to visit Brotherhood Cemetery, in which my great-grandfather is buried.  My great-aunt had asked me to find out if he had a tombstone.  I ended up visiting the cemetery three times before I finally found the tombstone (a story of its own).

In addition to that, I also drove around in the Mt. Holly area to find the house my paternal grandmother was born in.  My father had visited the house a few years previous to that but for some reason hadn't bothered to take a photograph, even though it had a placard giving the date when the family first had a deed for the property (it's apparently still in the family).  So I took a photo and shared that with everyone.

One of my most enduring memories of the trip is when I visited Mt. Zion Cemetery in Maspeth, Queens.  Mt. Zion is an old cemetery, and the tombstones are crowded tightly together.  It's in a hilly area, so you see waves of tombstones, like they're marching down toward you.  Behind the cemetery is some sort of industrial area, and the sky was belching black smoke the entire time I was there.  It's by far the creepiest cemetery I've ever visited, and that was during the day.

Something I regret about the trip is that I missed meeting my great-great-aunt — my great-grandfather's sister — by one year.  She passed away in 2001, the year before I was able to get out there.  At least I was able to speak with her on the phone twice before she died, but I wish I had actually met her.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments on this blog will be previewed by the author to prevent spammers and unkind visitors to the site. The blog is open to everyone, particularly those interested in family history and genealogy.