On Jan. 23, 1943, my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, (photo in uniform, above) reported to the draft board in Chicago to start his training for WWII. So began the correspondence between him and family & friends, comprising almost 300 letters going both ways. I’m posting many of these World War II letters, each on or near the 70th anniversary of its writing. To start with his induction, click HERE.

This blog began in Nov., 2010, when I posted a century-old love note from Josef Gärtz, my paternal grandfather, to Lisi (Elisabetha) Ebner, my paternal grandmother, and follows their bold decision to strike out for America.

My mom and dad were writers too, recording their lives in diaries and letters from the 1920s-the 1990s. Historical, sweet, joyful, and sad, all that life promises-- and takes away--are recorded here as it happened. It's an ongoing saga of the 20th century. To start at the very beginning, please click HERE.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ancestor Approved, Surprises, and Sharing Award

Recently I've received the Ancestor Approved Award from Nancy at My Ancestors and Me. Thank you so much for making Family Archaeologist one of your choices. My hope is to create a link to all of our ancestors' experiences, and our common humanity, through the words expressed in the diaries, letters, and documents I'm sharing.
This award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here. Leslie asks that the recipients list ten things that they've learned about any of their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened them AND pass the award on to ten other bloggers who are doing their ancestors proud.

Here are my ten surprising, enlightening, or humbling discoveries:

1. Surprised: By searching through my trove of ancient letters, I was surprised to discover what a prolific correspondent my paternal grandmother, Elisabetha (Lisi) Gartz was. She corresponded for sixty years with the little girl for whom she’d been governess, for forty years with that girl’s mother, Mrs. Jickeli, (my grandmother’s boss in Hermannstadt, Transylvania/Siebenbürgen), and for decades with range of family and friends from the old country. The scores of letters they wrote in return, and that my grandmother saved, are proof of their lasting affection for all those decades.
2. I was shocked to find the loving, devoted, prayerful letters my grandmother composed to my uncle as he trained for and served in World War II. She was rather distant and uninvolved with her grandchildren, and I never saw this side of her. 
3. I’ve been humbled by the work ethic of my grandparents and parents -- learning more through notes and letters about their ability to work unceasingly, without respite, for most of their lives. I also realize now this maniacal devotion to work, while serving the new immigrants well, could have used a little tempering.
4. I was surprised to find the level of note-making and labeling on family photos and miscellaneous documents. It’s almost as if everyone was planning to to communicate with the future.
5. On my roots-finding trip to Romania in 2007, I was awestruck by the beauty of the homeland , Transylvania / Siebenbürgen, my grandparents left behind.
6. Finding out that the original Gärtz who emigrated to Transylvania came from Gerstheim, in Alsace-Lorraine, was a real surprise.
7. I’ve been humbled by the beautiful, loving letters, so sweet and sincere in their expression of love, between my grandmother and her little charge, Lisbeth.
8. I was stunned to find my grandfather kept a diary of his trip to America, and wrote a letter to Lisi just before boarding the ship (see previous posts) confirming the story he often told us when we were growing up.
9. I was surprised to find my dad kept diaries: from the ages of 19-21, in the 1930s, and again from 1950-1956, starting right after I was born. I was enlightened to learn about his youthful dramas and what life was like when I was too young to remember.
10. I was surprised to find out my grandmother had several siblings who died as infants or very young. She never spoke of them.

I'm passing on the Ancestor Approved Award to the following blogs. I chose them because their content is interesting and/or informative and fun to read. As far as I could tell, none have the "Ancestor Approved" logo on their sites. 


Kathy Reed said...

Here is a response to a question you posed on another blog. I answered there and I'm repeating it here.
@Linda Gartz - Linda, if I click on your name next to the blogger symbol, it takes me right to your blog. Then I can email you directly. If you click on a blogger's profile, you can usually get their email address. That's what I do. I hope you see this response.

TCasteel said...

Thank you so much for the compliment and recognition. I would love to travel, like you did, to Romania (Segenthau / Sagul).

Nancy said...

Linda, about your #4: your ancestors didn't want to be forgotten. Perhaps they knew you'd come along, searching for them. It's wonderful to find a family historian whose ancestors kept such good records. That was a very good list.

I also wanted to let you know to keep up with the comments on my blog about comments. I'll be sharing the results of the poll on Monday or Tuesday next, after I compile everything. Lots of people have made comments and 2 responded particularly to your question. I was going to do it in the results post, and still may.

The reason I wrote the poll is because -exactly as you say - I never know who/if anyone comes back to read responses I may write.

Take care.

Linda Gartz said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Nancy. I'll be sure to follow up on your site.

Greta Koehl said...

Linda - Thank you so much for this award. It is always wonderful to receive such appreciation and encouragement from fellow bloggers; doesn't matter how many times we receive an award - it helps us to know that people are reading and "getting" what we write. I hope to put up a "10 Things" post in the near future specifically relating to European research in response to you and another person (who does some East European research) who has given me this award. You should be able to identify with some of the joys (and frustrations) of European research!

Sandy Arnone said...

Linda - Many thanks for for finding my blog worthy of the reward it's now . I will work at putting up 10 surprising, enlightening or humbling discoveries. I've traveled quite a bit in the past, but was never able visit beautiful Romania. Your blog Family Archaeologist is excellent. The award is now displayed on SpittalStreet.com

Lisa / Smallest Leaf said...

Thanks so much for honoring 100 Years in America, Linda. I'm so glad you've enjoyed reading, and thrilled to be now following your blog. Such great treasures! I'm glad that you are taking the time to write out your family's story. Count me as one of your faithful readers.

100 Years in America
Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture

Linda Gartz said...

I loved hearing from all the other great bloggers who so deserve to be recognized. I'll keep in touch.