In my last post, just days after I had started my ancestry account, I was so thrilled to work on my tree whenever I could. It seemed like ancestry had everything I needed to fill out whatever I needed or wanted to know about my relatives at the time. However, I’ve reached a point in my searching that has slowed my progress. I still want to expand my tree, but it just isn’t as easy as it was in the first few days, which is a little discouraging.
I’ve had the most trouble on my dad’s side of the family. I think this is mainly because of the name change that I mentioned earlier (Gaidamowicz to Gaid). Eugene A Gaid, my grandfather shortened his name at some point in his life, but I have yet to find when this was. It really has become a mystery to me, and I’m hoping there’s some elaborate reason he did this (probably not). Because of this name change, it has been difficult to find many records of him or of all of his siblings. I think I have all of them, but I barely have any records for the Gaidamowicz family at all. At this point, my great grandparents, Francis and Mary Gaidamowicz, have nothing but estimated birth dates and a few census records of them living in New Jersey. Because Francis was from Poland, I thought to search the records of passenger lists and the immigrants who came through Ellis Island, but I have yet to find any record of him. This is when I thought that Francis might have been Franz or Frank as he came over, but still nothing! I’m now hoping to reach out to my dad’s brother and sister in hopes of finding out anything I can. I even think my aunt lives in my grandparent’s old house in New Jersey, so surely she can help with my research. I’ve also hit this similar problem in attempting to go past my grandmother’s parents on my dad’s side. Helen Joann Zielinski (my grandmother) had 2 sisters and 2 brothers, one of which that died at an early age, but I haven’t found any record of these relatives yet. I know Helen’s parents are John and Anna, but since they were born in Poland, I haven’t been able to find much information on them either. When I first started this process I thought that having unique names like Gaidamowicz and Zielinski would help me, but they have just been interesting to look at so far.
My mom’s side of the family is a whole different story. I’ve had so much success on ancestry with the McGraw and Walsh families. On the McGraw side, I’ve been able to find all of my 3rd great grandparents, which is such a relief. I was surprised when not all of them were born in Ireland, so I’m still wondering how late my family is in the United States. On my mom’s side, I’ve used (or tried to use) findagrave.com to see if I could find a photo of my grandparents graves because I was so young when I last saw them. Unfortunately, most of them don’t seem to be indexed yet. Maybe sometime I will be able to take on the task of finding their graves in Virginia and taking the pictures myself. In using findagrave.com, I actually found the grave of my 3rd great grandmother (Mary Snyder) by looking at her death record, and requested a photo to be taken. This was such an exciting point in my research!
Here’s Mary Snyder’s death certificate that says she was buried at Fernwood Cemetery in Pennsylvania (actually listed in findagrave.com!)
I know I haven’t yet exhausted all of my resources, and I hope to continue my search by contacting more of my family members like my aunts and uncles. I will also look into my grandfather’s service in the military to see what I can uncover there. I already found his draft registration card, which was pretty cool to see. One of the more recent mysteries I hope to solve is how my mom’s sister, Patricia Marie McGraw, died at only 19 years old. I know my mom really does not life to talk about the subject and bringing it up probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Maybe with my new techniques in sleuthing I can find out all the mysteries in my family (or find out more about the Williams family mystery). As for now, I’ll just keep working on finding more relatives through the use of new sites listed in Who do you think you are? and maybe start to contact churches or the states in which my ancestors lived.