Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Family Friday - I Don't Know My Grandfather's Name.

Yesterday, I alluded to family legends, lores and lies. One thing that always puzzled me was my father-in-law not knowing his father's father. Okay, so his family moved away from Buffalo in the 1920s. That can be one reason. But he did know who his maternal great grandfather was, where he lived and what he did for a living.  He knew his maternal grandfather's name and what he did. Did he know who his grandfather Kruszka was? Nope. Not at all.

This would make sense if his grandfather died in the 1920s or 1930s. But he didn't have a clue. I found the information for him in my research. His name was Michael Kruszka and he died in 1950, when my husband was an infant. There were no memorial cards for either Michael or his late wife, Josephine, who died in 1927 in my in-law's collection of memorial cards. It's possible that DH's aunt had them, but her children are amazingly reticent on the subject of photos and documents.

I've been more fortunate. My parents knew their grandparents' names. At least my mom knew their first names. Dad had more information, as both his grandfathers and his grandmothers died during his lifetime. My mother knew her maternal grandmother's name was Amelia and her paternal grandmother's name was Augusta Wilhelmina "Minnie." I think she knew there was also a Philomena in there too. And there was, Philomena Beckmeyer being her great grandmother.

My mother-in-law had information that was incorrect. She thought both grandmothers were named Agatha. I think it was Agnieszka (Agnes.) She also didn't know all the names of her mother's siblings and nothing about her father's family except for some photos.

My kids? Much more fortunate than I, in that they knew and had relationships with their grandparents. My grandmothers both died young, so I never knew them. By the time I was born my maternal grandfather was married to his 3rd wife and my paternal grandfather was married to his second. I called them grandma, but I was a teenager before my parents admitted they were step-mothers.  We called Grandma Florence's daughter, Aunt Jackie, but my dad said he only had a brother. Talk about family confusion.

Some day, my kids will be a little more interested in their ancestors, and I will be happy to enlighten them as to their origins. Until then? I'll mind my business and keep on hunting for clues to my brick walls.

Copyright 2010-2013, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. I didn't know about Florence until I saw her name here a few years ago...

  2. Because she died before you were born.