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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cracking the Safe of the Past

One of my cousins is going to meet a relative of ours that we never knew existed...didn't know any one was still alive in the old country. We are anxiously awaiting the rich information she will bring back to us. What an incredible tool the internet is to us seeking our past! There are branches of our family~every family really~ that are out there and living and some might live only a few miles from us and have for years and we never knew!
Our paternal side of the family is from Lebanon and my cousin has found the live link...our three grandfathers were brothers and they came over at the turn of the 20th century on ships..one entered through Boston, one through Canada, and the other we are still researching for place of entry. Our grandmothers did too, entered this country by themselves when they were in their teens. That is amazing to me...to come to another country over a vast sea in a ship that perhaps was not very hospitable, to put it delicately. To come over across the ocean not speaking any English and looking for work at age 15 and then ending up staying, meeting a man or woman of your own background, carving out a life of work, marriage, children and housekeeping never to go back to the old country again. Establishing roots in a foreign country yet intertwining the customs of the old ways with a new culture and in many cases losing correspondence with the family left behind. That is what happened here. For generations our relatives in Lebanon thought our ancestry line was no longer in existence and they wondered what happened to the brothers that left for a better life. Needless to say, we are all very excited on both sides of the sea and wouldn't our grandparents be so proud of us! It is like opening a safe that has been sitting unopened for generations...everyone wanted to open it but could never figure out the combination. We think we have the combination now. Aunts and uncles and cousins all that are still alive in both countries are buzzing with remembrances and questions of long told stories and mispronunciation of names with phones running out of charge and fingers flying on the keyboards.

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