A couple of weeks ago I signed up on ancestry.com. It is a great website and a time suck as well. I have had the blessing of having met some of my great grandparents and know the names I need to look up and places they might have lived. The downside is that anything that happened in Cuba has stayed in Cuba unless they immigrated to the U.S. or any other country. No records directly from Cuba are available AND many records from NJ are not public either.
What I have learned so far…
On my dad’s side: My great-grandfather married his sister-in-law 20 years after his first wife died in childbirth. He left his son in the care of his wife’s family and found success in Cuba and eventually called for his son to go to Cuba where he met his long-lost sister-in-law, about 20 years his junior. They courted, married and had three children, one of which is my recently departed grandfather. Only one of their children survives, the eldest that lives in my hometown.
It turns out my family surname originated in France and at some point we were apple farmers. My great-grandmother is one of three children and had a brother who was mute. My father and his family immigrated to the U.S. after spending 3 months in Spain and landed in JFK on February 17,1966.
On my mom’s side so far: My great-grandfather is one of nine children. I am not sure how his parents met. There was apparently an inheritance in Spain that no one ever claimed. My mom’s dads family come from a long line of law enforcement. My grandmother’s mother died during childbirth and as a result my grandmother was nursed by one of my grandfathers aunts. I apparently drive by every day to work by where my mom’s mothers dad is buried, he died when I was 4.5 years old. My grandmother has a sister that we are not sure if she is still living but it is believed she settled somewhere in California where if she is still living would be in her late 70’s. It turns out that one of my great grandmothers brothers turned out to be a murderous delinquent in NYC.
My mom and her family immigrated to the U.S. on a freedom flight into Miami, FL but headed to NJ believing it had better opportunities.
There is much more I have learned and still processing. Some of it boggles my mind and reminds of how small the world really is.I am starting to see a pattern of behavior emerging from both sides and look forward to unwrapping more of my family tree.