Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Start me up”–thank you, Rolling Stones

Finally, it’s started. I had been putting it off because it seemed too daunting. And I wasn’t sure where to start. The first time it fell together but it was still rough. This time I didn’t know what to do. But at least I did it.

I’ve got the first two paragraphs written for my next book! In this book, I will be researching the extended family on my birth mother’s side. My plan is to partner it with Lemonade. I’m thinking of writing it as a story of historical destiny. I don’t have a title yet. Not even a working title. I considered Ukraine/Poland for now. Not very sexy but it serves to identify the project and actually make it real as opposed to a future project. The name sounds like a socio-political diatribe. I’m really not even sure how I’m going to pursue this. At least with Lemonade, I was working with something I knew. Now I’m jumping into the abyss and not knowing what I’m going to find.

I was able, through Ancestry.com, to find information on my biological mother’s parents, my maternal grandparents. I have the birth date of my grandfather and my grandmother. I have my grandmother’s maiden name and her parents’ names. I have the birthplace of both grandparents and even the birthplace of my great-grandfather on my mother’s side.

I figure this information will go far as I do research. Since I’m looking at 19th century birth dates, I’m figuring that I will find a lot of the info in the churches. It was the churches that were centers of social, religious (obviously) and, oftentimes, political activity. Everything had the church’s imprimatur over it–births, marriages, deaths. I’m really anxious to start researching. I just hope that it’s not really difficult to find this info. I have no idea how many people speak English in these cities–Lviv, Ukraine and Krakow, Poland. I understand that Lviv apparently has quite a few English-speakers. Not so sure about Krakow.

In the back of my mind I am hoping that somehow I can come into contact with someone (a journalist, perhaps?) who will be captivated by my story and my efforts and spread the word. Perhaps distant relatives would contact me. Who knows what might happen?

I think one of the things that will fascinate me the most will be the circumstances under which my ancestors lived. Poland was fought over so many times by its neighbors. It’s been carved like a Thanksgiving turkey, bombed, then carved again. It’s current boundaries were an attempt to bring it to some sort of original state.

So, what was life like? What did my family do? In the 1800’s life was obviously so much different. But it was different than America where we were settling the West, warring with Native Americans, carving new states out of the wilderness and fighting a civil war. The technological revolution was underway and new inventions were coming out seemingly daily.

Meanwhile, in eastern Europe, what was happening? This is almost as interesting to me as my family.

The potential to know will start me up.

 

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