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Making a family connection
June 24, 2013 - Linda Lobeck
I’ve always been fascinated by history and over the years, learning more about my family history. I can trace my Mom’s side of the family all the way back — many generations to Canada and Germany, but not so far on my Dad’s side.
My grandmother Lucy was indentured (similar to adoption) by a family living in Delta County after traveling to the U.P. on the Orphan Train when she was only four years-old. I had contacted the New York Foundling Hospital where she was left by her mother when she was only a couple of days old. But unfortunately the records from the late 1800s were lost in a fire at the hospital. All I could get was information on her adopted family and the last name of her mother who left her with the sisters at the hospital.
My grandfather came to the United States through Ellis Island as a young man from his native Croatia along with a brother. He died when I was only five years-old, so I have relied on what little my Dad or his siblings knew about his background.
I’ve recently been doing some research and have traced back as far as I could through U.S. sources, including the ship’s manifest. But that’s as far as I’d gotten during the past couple of years — leaving a lot of holes as to who my great-grandparents were and beyond that.
I learned of some websites that have information on genealogy in Croatia, but few have data in English. Not speaking the language is definitely a drawback so I decided to post something on a message board looking for Croatian ancestry. I just listed my maiden name and I’ve gotten a couple of responses — one indicated that the name Marmilic is fairly common in Croatia.
The most recent response looks to be from a cousin of mine — we apparently share the same genealogy that started with my great-great grandfather. I am eager to sit down now and share some information with him on the family that came to the United States. And I'm hoping that he can fill in some blanks with the Croatian side. Although he lives in Australia, he speaks the language of our nationality. It’s exciting to finally be making some progress with that branch of my family tree.
The morale of the story is don’t give up on a search for your ancestry even if it’s been going on for a long time. All it takes is one connection made to start filling in those blanks in your family history.
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My grandparents,Tony and Lucy on their wedding day.