E is for Eastern European Ancestors
This is the first of four Wednesday A-to-Z posts related to my research for a novel based on my ancestors: sixteen great-great grandparents who shared the experience of emigrating from (out of) Eastern Europe (and ultimately immigrating (in)to the United States.)
Those of you who have researched any of your family history know the exciting experience of discovering a new relative or a "lost" ancestor. Since the advent of internet ancestry sites, such as Ancestry.com, finding elusive elements of your family tree is exceptionally easier than when I first began my research.
The detective work involved, though, was possibly more fun back when the search involved greater effort than typing in a name and clicking on a "search" key.
Some of branches of my family tree originated in the Eastern European countries of Bohemia, Prussia, and Bavaria. Accomplishing my research in those areas required heavy dependence on library books and the internet. Closer to home, my sister and I took a "cemetery" tour I had mapped out, traveling around the Wisconsin countryside to all of the known locations where relatives were reportedly interred.
Every encounter of successfully discovering another ancestor's cemetery tombstone is an energizing event.
But writing stories about life in Eastern Europe during the early 1800s,
based on my earlier research, is equally exhilarating!
Here is a page from my cemetery research files:
|Maternal Great-Great Grandparents, Caroline Heider & Gustave Maigatter|
In 1866, Gustave immigrated with his parents from Magdeburg, an important Prussian fortress until 1912:
most of the city was destroyed in World War II (1939-1945).