Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Who Has Helped You the Most with Your Family History?

Saturday night has rolled around once again and we have a fun challenge from Randy Seaver this week:

1)  Ellen Thompson-Jennings wrote Who Has Helped You The Most With Your Family History? on her Hound on the Hunt blog this week.  That is a great prompt for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  Thank you, Ellen!

This is a super easy one for me, as there is one person on each side of the family who gave me terrific starts.

On the paternal side of my family, my Nana, Julia (Scerbak) Sabo (1893-1985) was not only a saver of “old stuff,” she was also very aware of the members of her family and details that pertained to their lives.

That was super important because my great grandparents were all the immigrants on that branch of my family tree. Nana not only knew all about her family – knowing her grandmothers’ maiden names immediately filled in the branches back to my 2X great grandmothers, but she had saved photos from the early 1900s in Passaic, New Jersey along with many photos and letters from relatives back in Slovakia.

And, for what she didn’t know – like the ancestral towns of her father- and mother-in-law – she had old documents like my grandfather’s original 1893 baptismal certificate from Mahanoy City, which included the European home of his parents!

Nana also shared many stories about all the various family members from her side and my grandfather’s side of the family. [My paternal grandfather died when my dad was only 10, so he wasn’t around to share stories.]

On the maternal side of my family, multiple relatives helped me learn about my ancestors. However, one, my grandfather’s cousin, Charles Adams Chadwick (1923-2006), was the most outstanding contributor to my knowledge about this side of the family.

Although Charles was my grandfather’s first cousin, he was only 5 months older than my mother. Like my father, Charles also lost his dad when he was ten years old. His mother, Vera Pearl (Adams) Chadwick, never remarried and wasn’t keen on Charles ever marrying her and leaving home.

Charles gave in to his mother’s wishes and dutifully drove her around to visit family and friends. He then patiently sat and actually listened to all the gossip about everyone and life in the old days in Maine.

Charles had an excellent memory and, when I became interested in the family history, he’d write me ten-page letters sharing all he knew about the people of whom I was asking.

Charles also became the keeper of the family mementos and when Aunt Pearl died in 1973, Charles carefully safeguarded all the documents and photos that Aunt Pearl had saved. She had photos of her grandparents – who were my 3X great grandparents!

If it weren’t for Nana and Charles, much of the family history from the 1800s would have been lost!

Thanks, Randy and Ellen for a great challenge this week.


One thought on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Who Has Helped You the Most with Your Family History?”

  1. Actually, you were pretty fortunate to have Nana and Charles and their wonderful memories to get you started, and keep you going!

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