Saturday, January 7, 2017

Alma G Shanks (1923 - 1989) - Find A Grave Memorial

In one quick Google search, today I located where my birth mother and her parents are buried. I'm planning a visit come the spring. I am humbled.

Alma G Shanks (1923 - 1989) - Find A Grave Memorial

From Lithuania With Love

I ordered something from Amazon. It came from Lithuania. Such a small item, a cell phone cover, traveled many miles to arrive at  my door. I think Lithuania is calling me.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Google Maps

All evidence points to this small town (village?), Luokė in Lithuania. The strongest evidence I have are WW One and WW Two draft registration cards, completed when Grampy Martin registered for those drafts as a young man. I went up on Google Maps and grabbed this screen shot. Someday I'd love to visit!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Six Word Memoir Tribute

I remember from afar. My history.

Barbara "Bessie" Sauka Martinkus holding my big sister and her namesake, Barbara

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Family Heirloom - My Maternal Grandmother

Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)
Today's prompt from Lisa Alzo's Accidental Genealogist continues the series of celebrating Fearless Female Ancestors. Actually, when you think about it, these women had to be rather fearless. My maternal grandparents traveled all the way from Lithuania to make their home in Massachusetts. I'm not sure I'd have the guts to go that far away from my homeland to make a new life. Heck, I've never lived any place else except the state of my birth, Massachusetts. So these women really were pioneers, and if it weren't for them...well you know how that goes.
My favorite heirlooms from my family are photos. I don't have any items such as a ring or jewelry or china, but I do have lots of photos. I've scanned in some of them.
This is a photo of my maternal grandmother, Barbara. She is holding my oldest sister, also named Barbara. Our grandmother passed away not long after my sister was born. So none of us ever knew her. Her husband (affectionately known as Grumpy Grampy Martin) on the other hand, lived to the ripe old age of 99. I'm hoping I have that longevity gene.
This looks like Barbara's christening photo. She's all dolled up in typical frilly and long white dresses that babies wear when they get baptized in the Catholic church. Come to think of it, she doesn't look all that too thrilled - she seems to be looking over for her - our - mother who is out of the photo.
So my family heirlooms are my family photos. I've got lots more to scan in, but this is a good start.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

How Did They Meet

Today's prompt in the Fearless Female Ancestors blog series.

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

The story of how my parents and maternal grandparents met is still a bit of a mystery for me. Yesterday, I blogged about finding my maternal grandparent's marriage record from Brockton, Massachusetts. When I was looking around at census records, the 1920 census notated that my maternal grandparents arrived in the United States in 1910 and married in Brockton, Massachusetts in June 1913. I have no clue if they knew each other in Lithuania (then Russia) or if they met upon final destination in Brockton, Massachusetts.

There was a very large Lithuanian community in Brockton, Mass. back in the day. It's entirely possible they only met here in the States. But early research indicates that both of my grandparents were from the same village in Lithuania. So it may be that they agreed to meet up when they both arrived here. Or maybe they were married previously in Lithuania. Hard to know. Ongoing investigation will inform and inspire.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Marriage Records for My Maternal Grandparents

This is my first entry in the Fearless Females blog series that Lisa Alzo presents every March to celebrate National Women's History month. Lisa blogs at The Accidental Genealogist. Every day during the month of March, Lisa gives us a prompt to write about our fearless female ancestors. This year Lisa decideed to write about women who influenced, informed and inspired her. I'll follow her lead. I'm only four days behind, but I'll catch up. In the meantime, here is the prompt for March 4th:

Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one

Referring back to yesterday's prompt about finding my maternal grandparents marriage documents, I came about them quite by accident. I though I had hit a brick wall, but one day, I asked Barbara what our grandmother's maiden name was. Yes, there's a much longer story behind this, but if you read the rest of the blog posts, you'll figure it out. Anyway, Baraba told me our maternal grandmother's maiden name was Barbara Sauka. Until now, I had only seen records that mentioned our grandmother as Bessie and I sure did not know Bessie was a diminutive for the name Barbara. I'd never heard of it.

So imagine my surprise when I went up on Ancestry and typed in the name Barbara Sauka. Bingo I hit a goldmine. Much to my surprise, I discovered the Massachusetts Index for Marriages 1841 to 1951. And there, to my delighted surprise I found the wedding date for my maternal grandparents: June 7, 1913 in Brockton, Massachusetts.

I was, to be honest, gob smacked as some say. Not only did I now know when my grandparent were married, but that they were in fact married right here in Massachusetts. Further investigation of census records states that both of my grandparents came to the United States from Lithuania (then Russia) in 1910. Not only that, but this record also listed the name of both sets of parents for Anton and Barbara. Now I know who my great-grandparent are.

So this is the beginning of a journey for me. Here is a clip of part of that transcription I stumbled upon. With the flip of a page, everything changed.