Back in the dark misty times...

Back in the dark misty times...
Genealogy, joyfully discovered ~

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Building our Spanish family

Today I added Bobbie F. and John G. to my family with the promise of two additional contacts who are closely related to them. (Anna and Kristy).   The Gonzales family is large and complex but I can safely say I am working my way through their family tree with the hope of filling in all those branches!  And by now, my secret agents (you know who you are) may have answers beyond anything we'd expected from a corner of the family who may have interesting answers ~

Today Bobbie and I kept tripping over ourselves in our haste to fill the other in on the family history that we know, asking questions about the family history we didn't and sharing the fun of realizing she actually remembers my great grandfather (Tio Juan) and great grandfather (Tia Rita) from her childhood.  How wonderful to connect, share, discuss and expect more adventures as we learn from each other.

In the midst of the fun of discovery, I received an email stating my Spain trip itinerary had changed over the Paris (layover) leg of our journey in September.  At first, I took it in my stride, knowing I would just follow their changes and we would adapt.  Then I noticed the dates were incorrect and they have us flying from NYC the day we should be flying from Malaga!  Surely, this is just a tiny quirk and will soon be ironed out.  I want to only worry about taking sufficient notes, an extra camera battery, enough clothes and finding WiFi for my daily travel blog.  I do not want to worry about getting lost in the labyrinths of airline ticket limbo.   I mean if I get stuck in Paris for a week is one thing.  Getting stuck on a plane going in the wrong direction is quite another!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Are we asking questions of family?

Are we asking questions from living descendants who remember the past?  I didn't ask when I had the chance and I've spoken with so many others who didn't take advantage of their mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers, etc.  One of the sad regrets I have is I didn't write down the stories!  Abuelita and my father told me stories, facts, places and people and I was sure I'd remember but no!  If I/you don't write it down, we will forget or get mixed up! 

I am so looking forward to a report from the Gonzales cousins after next weekend as they have planned out their time with one of two remaining siblings from their father's generation and we are gathering our questions!  It reminded me of how lucky we are to have people who still remember even though they think they don't..... just get them talking about the past and their parents or older siblings and the stories spill out with wreckless abandon ----- to our advantage and then please!  WRITE IT DOWN.

One thing I do, is concentrate very hard trying to put myself back into my child-mind and body to remember places and people.  It often works.  Slowly but surely, think about your grandparents and the times and places you spent together and so many memories may flood back... and again, WRITE IT DOWN.

My son and daughter will one day feel so blessed to have our story for their children.  Now, they are excited just knowing the family tree is being populated with people, dates and stories.  Once I return from Spain, I hope to have so much more 'fleshed' in.  And for that, I am teaching them to ASK QUESTIONS and hopefully, our family history will continue to be handed down to the generations before us.  Let's span the decades and unite the generations as PBS is prone to state each day!!

Good luck!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sentimentality: The difference in people

The other day someone told me that when you get to a certain (older) age, sentiment is no longer an important part of life.  I had to disagree because if getting older tells us that, then I will never get older.  Feeling sentimental about people, places, things and smells, memories and the like is one of the things that surge me ahead some days.  I've often been told I wear rose-colored glasses but if giving up sentimentality is a given to aging, then I will not grow old thank you very much.

I am writing about this personal issue because it made me realize (again) how very different people are in life now and far into the past.  Were our ancestors sentimental?  How could they be when they had to leave everything behind to make a march toward a ship they'd never seen, brave the elements and the watery road to Hawaii with bags and a family trunk filled with meager possessions?  How could they be sentimental, I wonder?  Did they give it up as they aged?  Could they actually ever truly hold on to sentimental things they'd treasured in their homeland?  Did they have anything to treasure at all?  Was the trip abroad and moving on to America the actual treasure?

One of the Gonzales (nee Silvan) descendants has banked memories she isn't even aware of until her nieces and others probe her thoughts through questions, suggestions and oral memories.  She has saved many pieces of her parent's past, as I am prone to do.  I believe this lady will never give up sentimental urgings in exchange for age.  Me?  Never in a million years.

As I prepare for my trip to Spain, I ponder what was left behind in Fuentesauco and the three other villages of our past.  Will I walk down the same streets my abuelita walked on during her short life there in the little village that birthed her father, aunts and uncles?  Will I look across the valley and view the panorama she saw as a child and thought about sometimes when she became an adult?  Will I sift my toes through the dirt and possibly bring some home with me??  Sentimental?  Smiling here.  Of course.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spain reservations made at last ~

My name is officially on airline tickets and Air France will actually fly me and my brother, Steven, to Malaga via Paris.  Four hours in Paris... wish we had a couple of days but I will not get greedy.  I will have my Flip Video ready and photograph the Parisian landscape as we fly low, taxi and land before heading off to our dream of SPAIN AT LAST. 

I will create a Spanish Blog into the Past and it will begin September 10 and end October 2, 2012.  I will plan to include photos, scenery and any snippets of Silvan, Gonzales and Ruiz information I unearth along the way for all of our family tree leaves to enjoy!

Pleased to hear that the Gonzales Reunion in Winters, CA was such a big success Saturday (I was there in mind and heart only) and as Linda R. said this morning, "twenty years is too long to wait in between".  She told me there were two surprise family members to arrive and I hope to find them for a little phone and/or email visit soon. 

1.  Anna Gonzales -- I've been looking for her since she posted a comment some months ago.  So glad she attended the family fun.
2.  Kristy Gonzales -- Another whisper of a relative I had not heard of before.  Glad she arrived to introduce herself too ~

For now, my settling in here in Arizona is happening and I can soon get back to my genealogy quest and begin packing for Spain!  55 days and I'm flying to Espana with Esteban (with bells on).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A blast from the past: Original newspaper obituaries

It is time I jumped back into my genealogy even though I am still in grief mode after losing my dad.  The month of June was filled with bittersweet memories as my mother shared the wild ride of moving from Virginia to Arizona.  While I was in Portland before we lost dad, she gave me a plastic zip lock bag filled with memorabilia she'd saved 'over the years' and thought I'd be interested since I am knee deep in genealogy for many lines of our family.

After mom left for home to face the onslaught of grief she knew lay ahead, I also buried myself in unpacking and ran across the little baggie of papers, so I sat down on the floor in the midst of boxes, furniture strewn across my study and just felt the need to reminisce through tangled memories and felt a little outside myself as I opened the bag and little bits of newspaper clippings fell across my lap.  My mom has always been a saver, very organized and tidy with her files, folders and memories.  I didn't realize the gift she'd bestowed on me until I began to read the clippings and I sat stunned ~

In my hands, lay more than obituaries.  They were human interest stories a bit woven within the obituaries and counting back through my genealogy files, I realized the first one was pulled out when I was only 2 and a half years old!  Great grandpa Frank Garcia Ruiz (May 1949) and Step-great grandma Maria (Mary) Rey Ruiz (also in 1949) and Rita Silvan (my maternal great grandmother in 1953).  Mom cut them all out and saved them and here I sat with them tumbled and yellowed with age.

I was estatic and will add them to the book I am writing about the Silvan and Ruiz families.  For now, I will be happy to email them to family members upon request.  I guess I won't slap myself anymore as I have saved so many items in so many boxes and thought I'd never find a place for them all during my move.  Maybe one day I will offer this wealth of information to descendants also looking for gold.