Everything’s Relative: Found in the Bible

Everything’s Relative: Found in the Bible

In 1968, one of my dad's cousins decided to climb the family tree, so to speak. She embarked on a genealogical expedition with an explorer's zeal, requesting information from each family member. My mom dutifully recorded what she knew, with blue ball-point pen in her perfect Palmer script. She consulted...

In 1968, one of my dad’s cousins decided to climb the family tree, so to speak. She embarked on a genealogical expedition with an explorer’s zeal, requesting information from each family member. My mom dutifully recorded what she knew, with blue ball-point pen in her perfect Palmer script. She consulted with Dad on every point of fact, and his brother and sisters also submitted what they knew.

A few decades later, when my husband and I decided to investigate our respective family histories, I contacted that now-elderly cousin to see if she’d ever completed her proposed work. To my disappointment, a failing memory caused her to deny any knowledge of the project.

Undeterred, I began sorting through memorial cards, birthday lists and certificates I’d kept following Mom’s death. The next step was a research request to the regional archives in Trebon, Czech Republic, which required my grandparents’ marriage date to complete. I remembered finding among Mom’s keepsakes an elaborate document, brittle with age, that was undoubtedly the marriage certificate I needed. Unfortunately, we had determined to safeguard it so carefully that it now refused to be found.

I searched every drawer, cabinet, box and binder—even ransacked the hope chest and safe-deposit box. Nothing. My husband suggested I try the family Bible. Dubious yet desperate, I opened its red cardboard storage box and flipped the book’s pages. Still nothing. Exasperated, I lifted the Bible from the box. Underneath lay two folded pieces of graying paper. Expecting further disappointment, I snapped open the top sheet.

“Thanks, Mom,” I whispered, gasping in recognition. There, in blue ball-point in Mom’s perfect Palmer script, was a duplicate of the family facts she’d compiled 30 years ago, put aside for us to find. And there at the bottom was the elusive date of my grandparents’ wedding: 1893. The other paper revealed a more extraordinary surprise—a family tree documenting in Czech the names and dates of my great-grandfather and his descendants.

It seems our industrious cousin, unknown to me, had requested those Trebon records decades ago, and my mom had the foresight to safeguard them. All I had to do was open the box.

Sometimes you don’t find what you’re looking for—you find something better instead: You find what was looking for you.

Patricia Jane Hassler
La Grange, Ill.

Got an amusing or unusual family history story to share? We’ll pay $25 for every item we use. E-mail relative@familytreemagazine.com or send to: Everything’s Relative, Family Tree Magazine, 1507 Dana Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45207. Sorry, we can’t return or acknowledge submissions.

Related Products

No Comments

Leave a Reply