Finding old books and your genealogy–

The internet and the some news media were abuzz on the 30th of March 2016–with the discovery of abandoned houses in Slovakia filled with manuscript, handwritten and printed books. The forced deportation of 70,000 Jews in 1942 did not allow for packing “non-essential” items to take with them. So they left them all in place, pulled the door shut behind them, and left the books to us.

Imagine! Yuri Dojc, freelance photographer and Katya Krousava, historian discussed the privilege to learn of people’s lives as they lived. And the need to go on telling the story to each generation as they come. Dojc emphasized the need to view the past with your brain and not just your eyes. [Add the heart as well.] With what you know and feel. Both hoped we all would learn from the discovery  of materials from all over the world held in personal libraries by a literate people. Kudos to the PBS Newshour for covering the story.

Shortly thereafter, another viewing of The Monuments Men film came on a different television channel with its dramatic story of the discovery and preservation and eventual return to original owners of stolen works of art stashed in mines and caves and basements.

This little-known program, during World War II, of the United States Government and its Army personnel is well-acted and includes personal perspectives of the army officers given that charge. George Clooney is actor, director, and producer of the film. Kudos to Clooney and his project for bringing the story to us.

As a genealogist, who believes that “end of the line” ancestors is an easy out for searchers who give up too easily–I believe the majority of ancestors can be traced, once you get into the right record category for the right time period and place. Coordinating these research dimensions is where the skill is needed.

This approach to research assumes that you also keep looking for the records–especially new discoveries, newly-indexed records that were set-aside previously because they had no index, and online delivery of images not available before.

Genealogy and the search for ancestors have been revolutionized in the modern world where we now live. What was lost can be found. If you look with your heart and brain as well as with your eyes. our favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS And don’t forget that there is almost never only one copy made of anything. Even in times past when copies were made by hand–there are a lot of copies! Family Bibles, portraits, census enumerations, even wills had two copies! Hang in there…

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