Family Evidence Books: Treasure Trove of Galician Genealogy

Note: This blog entry is an adaptation of my article published in The Galitzianer, the research journal of Gesher Galicia. For more details, see Joshua Grayson, “Family Evidence Books: Another Treasure Trove,” The Galitzianer, Quarterly Research Journal of Gesher Galicia 25, no. 2 (June 2018).

 

How Finding Long-lost Relatives Changed My Life

What if you woke up one day and found that you’re not quite who you thought you were? Imagine thinking you know everything about who you are, but then discovering something that makes you see the story of where you come from in a completely new way. While it may sound overly dramatic, revelations uncovered by genealogy research often have this kind of effect.

In Memory of Rolf Grayson (1921-2019)

Rolf Grayson, 2015

It is with the utmost sadness that I inform you of the passing of my beloved grandfather Rolf Grayson. To say that he was an inspiration does not even begin to do justice to this towering figure. In fact, Papa was the person who first introduced me to genealogy, captivating my youthful imagination with stories of his grandparents and great-grandparents.

A Conference and a Symposium

For the past year and a half or so, I have been lucky enough to have been volunteering with Gesher Galicia, one of the foremost Jewish genealogy associations. The organization is devoted to studying and preserving the history and genealogy of Jewish families from Galicia, the former north-easternmost province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As part of my volunteer work, I have helped research and transcribe important documents in Kurrentschrift. Additionally, I helped co-edit the World War 1 series for the Galitzianer, Gesher Galicia’s research journal.

A Tale of Two Stetlach

In my previous post, I described visiting the sites of my great-great grandparents’ homes in the city of Warsaw while attending a conference there. But in fact, the story goes much further. As I mentioned last time, when researching my grandfather’s grandparents, I found their marriage record from 1894. In a previous post, I described how I was able to use it as a springboard to reconstruct a history of many branches of this part of my family.

Stumbling on a Huge Discovery

In modern genealogy research, we can often find surprisingly much from the comfort of our own home. If we are lucky and persistent, we can build up a detailed history of our families stretching back centuries. Frequent readers of this blog will know that in my own research, I was able to build up a huge amount of knowledge about my family’s history in Galicia and Congress Poland without ever leaving Los Angeles. Yet however much you research, there will always be holes. Tantalizing loose ends will gnaw at you, making you wonder what more might be hidden out of reach.