Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I suppose it's been a while since I posted here. When we bought our house four years ago, I knew that I would have to put genealogy on the back burner for a while. I didn't expect it to be this long.

Susan Kitchens has prevailed on me to post after this long absence. She's curating this month's Carnival of Genealogy. In conjunction with the upcoming release of Ken Burns' new documentary The War, the topic this time around is family stories about war. There aren't many war stories in my family. My grandfather enlisted in the Marines in 1944 and fought in the Pacific and was part of the force that occupied Japan, but he didn't talk about it much. I have one ancestor who fought in the Civil War and two in the Revolution, but I don't know much about them yet. But here's a story for you, Susan.

My grandmother was born in Austria-Hungary in 1912, right on the border between Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire in modern-day Ukraine. She was a small girl when World War I broke out, and given their location right on the border, there was a lot of back and forth, to and fro. It was not a great place to be. My grandmother told me that it was a difficult time. They grew their own food, and had a few animals. But the soldiers in the area weren't always well provisioned, and foraged for food as best they could. My grandmother's family, already at the ragged edge of survival as most peasant families in the area were at the time, had only one cow, and they couldn't afford to "donate" it to the cause. So, in order to hide the cow and keep the soldiers from taking it, they moved it inside. As in, inside their house. To the second floor.

Two adults, five kids, and a cow. I can't even imagine....

Posted at 3:05:15 PM Link to this entry