Barry's Relatively Speaking: Cigar Box Holds Clues

Posted on Nov 15, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on Karen shares the following experience.

In 1962, my grandmother's only surviving brother died in Stonewall County, Texas. My father and I visited his abandoned farmstead a few months later where 1 found an old cigar box full of yellowed and faded letters sent from Germany decades before. At the time I was 15 years old, an avid stamp collector, and very pleased to have these old German stamps as a momento. Many years later when I became interested in unraveling the family history, I remembered these old letters still put away in that cigar box. Although my father knew his mother's family came from Germany about 1889, he did not know from exactly where. The old letters, once translated, provided the answer. The town, Brucken, was in Wurttemberg. Shortly after this, my father went to Germany to see his parents' homeland. He arrived in Brucken by train, and asked if anyone by the surnames Schwartz or Graeter still lived there. The answer was yes, and my father was directed to an address. Much to his surprise, cousins still lived in the old house. After further conversation, he learned that his own mother had been born in that very house in 1887. It had re-rained the family home for over 100 years. Thus began a wonderful renewal of family ties and many more visits back and forth between our families.

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