Fantazia…

This has been a most unproductive week at work, thanks to Ancestry and my search for across-the-pond relatives, which has lead to a few amazing discoveries. But they gradually became fewer while the frustration at not being able to access documents was almost continuous by the end… Eventually I spent most of the time researching living families which could really just complete all the info in a blink of an eye should they bestir themselves and reply to my messages. Gah, (prospective) family! Typical!
Today is the last day of free access and tomorrow, I think, I will get ancestry membership. I am still considering leaving it until I get more info from the Slovakian archive but who am I kidding, I’m way too curious!

Either way, after a week of spending my evenings (and days) in front of a computer screen, tonight I decided to read instead. And the autobiographical piece Dreamsongs by my favourite author George R R Martin,  inspired me to writing my own novel. I have to say that writing a book has always been something I wanted to do. As a child I even wrote a short adventure “book” which I submitted… somewhere… but obviously never heard back, because in the hindsight it was truly atrocious. Nevertheless, they could have at least returned the manuscript, bastards! (So I could burn it and pretend it never happened.)
Yet I like to think I have come a long way since that shameful time. The desire to write and publish something is still there, the inability to write is gone… or so I have to hope. Surely I am a bit more skilled now and a bit less pretentious.
For one, I don’t want to start with a book this time. A short story, with lots of action and a twist or a revelation at the end would be sufficient. And sex, there has to be sex. I sure hope there was no sex in the “book”.

And because I am now much less confident than I was as a kid, I will have a chance to come up with a cool pseudonym! Ideas?

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History week…

I have randomly come across the information that there is a free search week on Ancestry (thanks Facebook), only because my family tree website Geni has restricted its viewing and editing options and I wanted to find out what the hell was going on (so thanks Geni too I guess but I still hate you)…

I have finally looked into what has been bugging me ever since I started building my family tree… ancestry found a mention of a certain Zuzanna Brasen on the New York passenger lists but they are normally only accessibly for a fee. I have indeed found the Zuzanna in question but she seemed to have been a generation younger than my great great grandmother.

The idea that followed was to try and discover the identities of the family members that have reportedly emigrated to the US and haven’t been heard from much since. My grandmother tells a story of a sister or half sister of her mothers who left chasing the American Dream and she also recalls the letters this aunt had been sending to her brother Harmaniak, my gran’s half brother. Apparently they contained ridiculously small amounts of money and silly gift, such as chewing gum. Not knowing whether this great great aunt was a Micik(ova) or a Harmaniak(ova) or even her first name, I started looking blindly for someone… anyone…
Eventually me search lead to a girl of about the right age (born in cca. 1887) called Zuzanna Micik, an 18 year old servant girl who took passage on Kronprinz Wilhelm from Bremen to New York where she landed on January 16th, 1906. What caught my interest was that she, one amongst numerous other Miciks, came from Parnica, a little village in Slovakia, then a part of Austrian-Hungarian Empire, which coincidentally is where my grandmother comes from and where I assume her mother came from before her…

Along with Zuzanna who reported to be going after her sister-in-law in Chicago, came Jan (cca. 1870) and Ondrej (cca. 1876) Harmaniak and Jan Suvada (cca. 1888), all from Parnica. There was also a certain Jan Chilka, whom I have never heard of before but a 51 year old widow Zuzanna Micik-Chylka from Parnica took passage to Boston, MA in 1921. I assume all these Parnica families are somehow related, if a few generations back.

Out of interest I tried to look up other people from Parnica and I came across Andrej (Andrew) Micik (born May 9th, 1877) who traveled to New York with $15 in cash to join his brother John Micik in Port Chester, NY in 1903/04 and became a naturalised American later on. His wife ‘Susan’ was also form Austro-Hungarian Empire and they had 6 children together (at the time of the issue of the naturalisation documents in 1924): Mildred (1907), Mary (1913), Katie (1915), Emil (1918), Adolph (1920) and William (1922). Once again thanks to facebook I have been able to track down their direct descendants. I have contacted one of them yesterday, hoping that she will be able to help fill in the gaps, but haven’t heard back yet. I have a strange feeling that we are related to this family, Andrej Micik from Parnica and my grandmother Maria Micikova were probably more than namesakes… cousins maybe? uncle and niece?

I am hoping to find out more from the archives of Parnica when I get a chance  —>  TO DO List!