I was watching genealogy shows on Netflix so I decided to try to find out about my paternal grandmother. I knew her parents came from Poland before she was born. She was born in 1926. I searched on ancestry.com and found nothing.
For the last two weeks of her life she lived in a nursing home because my parents had to go to Tennessee for my vet school graduation and to move me home. Sorry Grandma. When they went to admit her they needed her birth certificate. She got mad. She finally admitted to my dad that there wasn’t one in her name.
Turns out that her parents informally changed her name to Doris from Hedwig. Since we found this out pre-Harry Potter Hedwig wasn’t nearly so cool. She was Doris after age 5.
I searched for Hedwig. Nothing. Finally I searched under her sister’s name and found them in the 1920 census. It is obvious that the census taker was not overly concerned with accuracy since “Hedwick” is listed as a three year old boy. Other family names are spelled wrong too. It says her parents came over in 1903 – way earlier than I thought. I didn’t find anything earlier than 1920 for them yet.
I called my mother tell her the deep dark family secret that grandma was male – birthing six children was especially tricky if that was the case. She told me to look at her side of the family. That one gets interesting.
To be continued ….