It’s interesting to talk to my parents every so often and find out so many new things that they just haven’t told me about my family. At first, I really just thought they were clueless, but they had valuable connections and stories to tell me about my ancestors. My mom, for example, led me to a first cousin that I didn’t even realize was my first cousin. I knew Jennifer McGraw Kilburne, who had friended me and my siblings on facebook relatively long ago, had to be related to me somehow, but finding out she was a cousin surprised me. With this discovery, I decided to add all of my cousins I knew about and their spouses to my tree just to expand a little bit more. Another exciting part about finally realizing the connection to Jennifer Kilburne, was the news that she had started her own family genealogy quest not too long ago. She currently runs a McGraw family history page that shows a tree much like my ancestry tree, and has many of the birthdays and birth locations of younger relatives that I probably wouldn’t be able to find online yet. And while this was good and helpful, I’m still stuck with the grandparents who were born in Ireland. I joined an Irish genealogy site, but not surprisingly, to actually get the records you have to pay. I’m continuing to find records of several of these family members, mainly the McGraw side, as they moved into the United States and settled their families here earlier than the Walsh half of my mother’s side.
With the help of my mom, I was able to get some pictures of my grandparents and great grandparents to add to my ancestry tree, which definitely livens up the tree and allows me to actually remember who everyone is (pretty hard with such similar names). I really loved a picture of my Anthony Walsh’s (my great grandfather) work badge at the Philadelphia Electric Company. Unlike work badges and identification today, this was simply a piece of thicker paper on a tiny safety pin. I tried to see if the Philadelphia Electric Company had any archives to look through personnel records, but didn’t seem to find any online.
I find it amazing to read what jobs my ancestors had and hope to highlight these finds in stories on their ancestry pages. Most of them typically had low paying, manual labor jobs, and I’m doubting many of them had a lot of education. Through each new find online and in old records or photos my mom has makes me realize how far my family has come and allows me to paint a clearer picture of these people.
Like usual, I’ve still been stuck on the Gaid side (my dad’s side) of the family. It seems like I’m halfway there in both my family tree and in our interim class. He helped me a little bit with giving me some information about when my great grandparents died and how old they might have been. Francis Gaidamowicz, my great grandfather, most likely died in his mid 90s, which was definitely a surprise to me because most of my grandparents died relatively young. I’m hoping that with these few dates and possible sites of burial I’ll be able to find more information for this side of my family. It’s so hard to work on this side when I know I’ll just hit another dead end. But I’m still determined to find anything I can about Eugene Gaid, Helen Zielinski, and the rest of the Gaidamowicz and Zielinski families!