Photos are: from right to left (1) Lillian Sarter (Mom’s Mother), Eleanore Sarter, Bruno Sarter (Mom’s Father), Edward Brophy (my Father), Lillian Sarter (Mom’s Sister), Tess Heinke, Paul Heinke (Dad’s Aunt and Uncle), (2) Mom on right, Connie Heinke (Dad’s cousin) on left.
Since Mom’s death from the dreaded dementia, I’ve been thinking a lot about family, who is left and who we are as a group in this world. I mean, who ARE we as individuals, as family members and members of society that have made us who we are today. What type of people did I come from? The person from England who comes here and marries a girl and going on to have children, as in the case of Mom’s grandparents…or the man from Spain who marries a girl from Ireland and creates a family, as in the case of Dad’s grandparents…and so on and so on. Without just one of those people making those particular choices, any one of us in this family might not be here today. It’s a crazy thought, but true. One of the links missing would change history.
In the past years, I have been interested in this subject and had asked my mother lots of questions over the years, but it was mostly with her family, not my father’s. In not knowing a lot about my distant relatives, I’ve been inspired to find out who we are and where we came from genealogically and geographically. Did any of them have Diabetes, Dementia, OCD, Parkinson’s Disease or Leukemia? Did they do anything special in the world to add to society in this country or others? Who are they? Were they good people, bad people, famous people, smart or shallow people? Since I had lived most of my young life with my mother and her parents, I of course, know more about that side of the family. I seem to know a lot about her father Bruno and his family, as there is a family tree in Germany of his lineage dating way back with names and dates as I had mentioned in my last post. Her mother Lillian, my grandmother, is a different story however. I have photos of her mother and father but that was where the trail stopped. I know her father was born in England and her mother was born here. They had 2 daughters, Lillian, my grandmother and her sister Adlaide, who I knew. Anything else regarding her family is a mystery to me. I had always thought while growing up that we were a very small family when in fact, there were more than likely plenty of us.
Photos are: (3) Lillian, Aunt Adlaide, Eleanor (Mom), (4) My Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle Sam, Dad and Mom
I really know nothing about my father’s family. I didn’t know his mother or father, my other grandparents. I know his mother had issues and his father died the year before I was born. My father lived with one of her sisters when he was growing up and as an adult he would never speak about his parents. Matter of fact, he was like a closed clam…what was he hiding? What’s in the past that kept him so silent all of those years? Very curious. After moving to Commack, many, many people asked me if I was related to this Brophy or that Brophy. Apparently, there are a lot of Brophy’s in Commack. Who’s to say that they aren’t in my family line somehow, someway? That’s what I want to know about…I went to school with a kid named Jimmy Brophy…Who knows…maybe. Stranger things have happened.
So, this weekend, I started an ancestry.com family tree. I’ve added a few names that I know of and will add more as I go through paperwork that I have from the past that have been recovered after my parents and grandparents passed away. These documents are a wealth of information and I am hoping that it will be very interesting in the end on what I uncover. Who knows…maybe something great, maybe not…regardless, it will be our family history either way, good or bad and I will feel connected to a lot of people, some of them might still be alive. As of this minute, I feel as if my mother is the last of the Mohicans…but I may just be surprised at what I find.