A kick in the stomach when priorities are lost in genealogy

Today I was thinking about what I haven’t worked on lately. So out of curiosity I googled my grandfather’s address to see what his home looks like today. A few years have passed since I checked on his home.

I saw a towering brick building as wood planks leaned against his entrance. That brick building wasn’t his house. The only portion left of his home was the green wooden gate attached to crumbling brick supporting walls.

That picture was taken in 2013. My heart is going to be crushed when a friend e-mails me pictures of what the property looks like today. I have been meaning to write a letter to the owner to see whether he would send me pictures of the property and tell me whether anything interesting has been found over the years.

I got distracted with other things and never thought I had to worry about the home being demolished anytime soon. With my grandfather being born in 1885 in Russia and I being born in 1976 in the USA, I never had a chance to see the house due to time and finances.

So I am grateful that I had a local man in my grandfather’s southern Russian city take pictures and video of the property from the street 5 1/2 years ago. The guy could not convince the owner to open his gate to take pictures.

Now I appreciate having those photos and video from the street beyond words can say.

I found the friendly guy who took the pictures and video through someone who saw my post on the city’s Facebook page. That opened the door to connect with several people who have helped me with researching my grandparents’ lives.

This discovery of my grandfather’s house being wiped away has changed my priorities. My research needs more focus on the places where my family lived and those places that touched their lives before they are next to be wiped away.

It’s great and important to document the lives of our ancestors but to touch and experience the places of their lives is priceless.

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9 thoughts on “A kick in the stomach when priorities are lost in genealogy

    1. I was lucky that my grandfather was brave enough to write letters to my father in the 1950s to 1970s. It’s worth trying to figure it out. If your grandparents’ town was occupied by the Germans, there could be census records available to identify where they lived.

  1. Chuck Crannell

    I recently found your blog and grateful that I have. My maternal grandmother’s parents came over from Lithuania (my gr-grandfather served in Imperial Guard in Серпухов (Serpuknov)) when he was discharged from active duty around 1903. They settled in coal country in PA, never speaking about where they came from (“we are in America now”). They are my largest brick wall. I’ve already gotten some hints from your blog, I hope they trigger some meaningful progress. Thanks!

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