After spending the weekend surrounded by a treasure trove of my birth family’s photographs and documents, I was talking to a friend this afternoon who’s about to visit his parents for the holidays and is going to try to fill in some blanks in his family tree.
He related a story that’s told about how his immigrant grandparents (on both sides) were shocked and horrified when their offspring married. How could a nice Moravian girl marry a Slovakian pig? Why would a fine young man marry a Bohemian? Insults were traded and at first the couple were ostracized by their respective families. So this piece about “The 46 races” as recognized by the U.S. immigration authorities in 1914 naturally caught my eye.
If you’re spending time with relatives this season and decide that you want to collect some family history for yourself, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a great place to start.
“I remember my relatives talking and talking, and yet as a kid, I didn’t listen. I’d love to go back now and listen.”
– Wayne Dionne, Alexandria, Virginia