Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blog Challenge- Poor Man's Orange - Religion within the family

In an earlier post, I mentioned a challenge thrown out among one of my genealogy groups. The challenge, mentioned in Family Tree Frog's blog, used the movie Poor Man's Orange which centers on a Catholic Irish Family.

When I went through ideas regarding a post, One of them was a post about religion within my family.  Then I thought about religion within my family and I have to admit, I never really think about it when thinking about my research on my family. I've always been told we're Catholics and no more or no less.

Hubby's Family
With my husband's family? This was a major hurdle due to the family's background on both sides and there's been many ideas and reasons why parts of his family have flip flopped. It makes from some really good debates and ideas which have been batted around each time its brought up. Think of a cat with a mouse on a rope - its the same idea as here. I'm not sure if hubby has blogged about it yet, but you can look to see if he has here.

My Family- Paternal
Anyhow, getting back to my family. My paternal side I knew was Catholic because of the crosses in my grandmother's apartment she had when I was growing up. Further, my Uncle John, went to church every weekend hail or shine. I think the only weekends he hadn't gone was when he was really sick or they closed the roads. I still remember when I would stay with my grandmother, she would always say "John will be here after he goes to church." and she looked forward to those times. Sometimes I would even get to see my cousins if they were with him.
Part of St. Patrick's Church (Credit Picture: FB Group)

When it came to my grandmother and uncle's funerals, they were at the same place - St Patrick's in Newburgh, NY. I knew my uncle would have his services there, but to my knowledge I never saw my grandmother go to church which shocked me when I learned her services would be there too. It was only when I started doing my research I was told they allowed my grandmother to have her services there because of my uncle. She hadn't been to a service in years prior to her passing. Again, this was new to me.

Further, when I started to dig back into this part of my family history, I found my father had made his communion when I was sent a picture of him when he was a little boy from his cousin who had it in some family pictures. I didn't know who it was until I sent it to my father asking and he replied back "Its ME!" and my mouth dropped open.
My Father in the late 1930's or Early 1940's (Credit: Cousin Krzysztof)
Then when I found out the population of Polish people that were Roman Catholic I knew it had to be true. Add this to my finding my grandparent's 2nd marriage certificate in St Monica's Catholic Church in NYC, and my great grandparent's marriage certificate, in Russian, in a Catholic Church. This one talks about church banns and how my great grandfather was of a different parish, but still had the banns done in BOTH churches. This was very unique apparently. This meant our association with the Catholic Church went back centuries on this side of our tree!
My Great Grandparents marriage record in Russian (Credit Polish Archives)

My grandfather's side, even though he and my grandmother got married in a Catholic Church, could have converted over to Catholic. I haven't done much research on this side as yet, but it should be interesting to find out more.
St Monica's in NYC (Credit & Google)

My grandparents wedding certificate with Church name (Credit NYC Archives)

My Family- Maternal
Jules and Annie's headstone (Credit: Findagrave)
Now onto my mother's side. On my mother's paternal side, her grandmother, Annie Larsen, I'm not sure what religion she was growing up, although  Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark  was and is the main one in Denmark - the country she comes from. Her and my great grandfather Jules, were married by a Justice of the Peace, so this wouldn't be a clue either. Lastly, I would like to add, while these were all facts, I know Jules was Catholic and they were both heavily into the church AND are actually buried on the church grounds - St Mary's Church in Washingtonville, NY. It could be she converted or just started to follow the Catholic ways after they married.
Picture of St Mary's from their FB Page
As I said, Annie married Jules in a civil ceremony. Jules has always been an interesting creature in my opinion. He was raised in Belgium until he was 1 by his mother who was a servant when she became pregnant. His father was drafted into Belgium's army as a rifleman. However, when he found out about Jules' mother having Jules, he married her. The documents were recorded like they were Roman Catholic and the main religion in Belgium is Catholic. Besides, the documents I found going back to the 1700s all were Catholic in wording. Add this to him being heavily into the church in the USA and being buried with Annie and on the grounds of St. Mary's Church in Washingtonville, NY and I could say the whole line is Catholic.
Jules' Birth Record and info on father from Belgium Archives

Although, some of the cousins off of my line, were either in Catholic or in different religions which was interesting when I was looking at the different people. Some of these are below from a my cousin Jacqueline in Belgium.
Bertha Emma Barbara Verhaeghe known as Sister Maria Rufina
Jean Amand Verhaeghe in his office at church before his death
Picture of Oskar Verhaeghe as priest
Pic of Remi Eugene Verhaeghe as priest
Pic of Remi Leon Julien
Lon Ostrzycki's Church where he is the pastor. Lon's sons, cousins are all priests and/or ministers.

My mother's maternal line is a bit easier. I found my mother had made her communion when we went through her box of papers. Inside a small bible was the picture of her as a little girl and I asked her about it. She didn't remember where, but confirmed it was at her communion. Then when I would go back and ask about her mother, she didn't or wouldn't say much at all. Talking to my cousins and other relatives, I found my grandmother - her mother - was committed in part because of her going around blessing everything she could see, touch, feel, etc. and this was every day and all day.

Then when I went back to my grandmother's mother, I found they were Roman Catholics and Polish. As I've already mentioned above, this was normal to the people of Poland in religion. As I found other cousins, we agreed with the Roman Catholic religion aspect and they had gone back farther - to the 1700s - and found the religion had gone back that far as well. What's even better, is with my grandmother's other siblings, they are still keeping with the religion - my cousin Jason goes, and a few of my mother's cousins and their children all go and are reverends and priests in the south of the US.

With my mother's grandfather, the questionable Apolonius Jagodzinski/Leo Barry/Leo Berry (among other names) I found he came from the Galicia region of Poland. This is one of my brick walls as he changed names, and disappeared for periods of time which I found when I had is alien file pulled and sent to me.

My Takings
Growing up, mainly under my mother's care taking, I was told I was baptized (at St. Patrick's) but never had really gone to church. Growing up, I called myself a Roman Catholic but was mainly a community religion type of person. If someone I was around was going to church, I'd go with them not caring which religion it was.

If asked if today I go to church, I would say honestly - No, I don't. Why? Mainly because when the times for service are on, I'm usually busy doing other things. If they were easier to get to (the churches are only here and there and I'd have to travel to get to a Roman Catholic one) and have times when it would be better for me to attend I would. I do try and catch the Pope's online services for main holidays though.

I never take or put anyone's religion against them. However, if they decided to try and use it as an excuse to do something bad or unjust, then that's something else altogether. However, religion is NOT to blame - the person is.

I learned this by doing research of countries histories in Europe - Like Poland. Before it was attacked, Poland was one of the places on earth that it didn't matter what religion -if any- you had and accepted your unconditionally. This is how it should be no matter what.

September 11th
I do have to put this in here as most people put religion in with this event.

In fact, when September 11th happened, I was working with a Muslim on a few problems we were having at work with a computer program. He stayed away about a week as everyone was having problems with emotions. I as just glad my family was safe and felt for others who weren't. Anyhow, he came in one day and I sat down and I went back to working with him just like before. He sat there and I could tell he wasn't comfortable. I asked what was going on and he told me he felt like I was blaming him.

I looked at him straight in the eye and asked him if he had anything to do with what happened even though I knew he hadn't. He said No. Then I asked him what the problem was then? His mouth dropped open in shock. I told him I knew he hadn't had anything to do with it and whatever was/is going on there would be figured out there, but didn't have anything to do with us and what we were doing. I could see he still wasn't convinced and I asked him what else I could do to make him more comfortable and he couldn't answer. I told him when he figured it out to let me know, but I didn't - and still don't - blame him. In fact, I felt bad for him because of what others did made him feel like he had to stay away from people. That's just wrong.

In Conclusion
Religion can be many things to all of us.  Some people take the book, whichever they are using, and can use it for good or bad - just like anything. People use this for an excuse and that's all it is. An excuse.
You can read one thing and disagree with it and that's fine. However, what I'm seeing more and more is people disagreeing and then things turning nasty with name calling and being verbally attacked. That's just not something that should be done. Its not right. Different views on things (religion, political, taxes, traffic) makes us all different, but just because someone thinks or believes different things shouldn't make them a target for hate that's exploded in the last year.

And that just isn't right - at all. For anyone.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Chat about My Interpretation on Poor Man's Orange

Recently, there was a challenge thrown out among one of my genealogy groups. The challenge was put this way:
Poor Man's Orange - take what you will from this title of Ruth Park's novel published in 1949.  Poor Man's Orange was set in Surry Hills Sydney about a Catholic Irish Family.  Perhaps there were Irish Catholics in your family.  Perhaps your ancestors lived in Surry Hills or Sydney.  Have you got a tale of making do?  Take the theme as laterally as you like or ignore it altogether.  We just want to see you blogging.
Credit: Family Tree Frog
Credit Wikipedia
I never even heard of Poor Man's Orange and found a Curator's Notes on it. What I did learn was this was a 1980s movie made in Australia. I can only put these facts down as to why I've never heard of this movie before.

After reading all of these, I could take this post into a few different directions. I could:

a) Talk about religion within my family. This would be interesting since I found much of my family in different parts of the world.

b) I could talk about my husband's family who, when they immigrated to Australia, landed in Sydney. Again, this could be interesting, but it would probably be more for husband's blog on his genealogy.

c) Or we could take the small statement "Have you got a tale of making do?" which ties in with the Curator’s notes which I quote "The title Poor Man’s Orange refers to having to make do with second best." Again this would be interesting to see the differences in the many generations within my family of doing exactly this - making do.

As you can see, I could go more than one direction with this post. However, because I'm good at multitasking, I think I'll do one post on the religion and one of the statements. This way I get 2 posts out of the one challenge. The other post, as I noted above, would be best left for my husband and his research and blog.

Would it also be worth noting, I've been working with a friend on some fiction writing as well. Her name is Tam Desire and we've just finished a class together about fiction writing, which was a great course. I'd like to add, if I don't seem to be posting here, I'll be working on something - from a temp job assignment, to genealogy, to helping Tam, to working on some of my own stuff. Again, I'm good at multitasking.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 4th and what its meaning is to me - then and now

Growing up July 4th always meant the summer, fairs, swimming and fireworks. When I was a young adult, it just seemed like it was a holiday to be thrown in there. I couldn't (and still can't!) stand the crowds and all that goes along with it. It just seemed to be too much. Of course, when you don't have two pennies to rub together, that might play into things as well. 
Anyhow, then I moved from the US to Australia and as its not a holiday here, it just slips by. We have gone over to visit the US during the July 4th time, but wouldn't you know? We could not find any fireworks and I even asked and one person said there might be some but it was a drive to get to. It was like everyone barred the things that year. 

However, this year? I'm thinking about it because of my genealogy work. My first ancestors to hit the US was in 1892 and was on my maternal side - Alois and Jules Gauquie. This was just a handful of years since The Statue of Liberty's dedication in 1886. I can only imagine what it was like for them. 

Then I think about my paternal side - Adam Wojtkowski. This was the first person on that side to arrive in the US in 1913. True, it was many years since the dedication but I think Adam would have found the statue's meaning and quote even more than the Gauquie's. This was due to the restrictions of rights that had been going on in Poland since before Adam was born and those restrictions were only getting worse. 
Adam's Manifest from Ellis Island's website. The other Wojtkowski (name spelled wrong but all other info correct) people were of same village - not relatives.
Can you imagine not being able to speak your own language in your own country? How about one day being able to go to school and the next being told you can't go to school anymore? Or even having the right to walk down the street and run into a soldier and then being told to go back home even though you were going to do some food shopping (and having very little food as it is) and the soldier not allowing you to keep going and forcing you to turn and go back home without any food? All this was what was going on in Poland. 
1905 May 19 from The Sun in NY NY taken from Chronicling American newspaper section
In each of these instances, although the Gauquie's knew family in the US whereas Adam didn't really  know anyone, you still bought and got onto the ship not knowing if you were going to make it to the US or die on the ship OR if once you got to the US you would be denied from entering the US for some reason and then get shipped back. This was the reality of people immigrating from Europe. One family came, I believe, because they didn't like how just a bit of their rights were being taken away (the Gauquie's from what research I have done). Whereas the other side, had every single thing you can think of taken away just about (the Wojtkowski's from what research I have done). The tale of 2 European groups coming to the US but under such different circumstances! 

My paternal grandmother told me many times growing up about how when they came into the NY Harbor (in September 1920) and saw the Statue of Liberty standing so tall and beautiful with the sun behind her and the water twinkling like jewels, she felt safe and happy for the first time in such a long time. She knew then and there that she had hope and freedom and that's what that lady in the harbor stood for. The whole and each time she told me about this, she had tears in her eyes. The only other time she was like that was talking about her parents. This is what the 4th of July means to me. 
Taken from the National Parks Service website
Taken from the Wiki site
You could feel the change before today, and some say it started after September 11th and how today's children would never know about feeling like how we did in our youth. Here's the story if you want to read it and I have to admit for most of it the author is correct. However, what makes me feel dirty is the current situation within the USA. 

People turning on others just to do it - over anything and everything. There are things going on in the last 6 months and I'm actually - for the first time EVER - ashamed to be an American. If this is making America great again then I'm stumped by how. People shooting others and killing just over 300 times since the start of the year, a president that insults
From Mass Shootings Tracker.org
others and reminds me of things I've seen in the playground by bullies, the government - who we pay for their public service - (which is supposed to make the US people feel reassured about their government) are blocking or delaying live feeds from the White House Press Secretary which is not reassuring anyone about their competencies but makes you wonder what they are hiding and the list goes on and on. 

You should hear about what the international press are even saying about Trump and even if I wanted to try and defend him, you can't. Why? Because he does stupid things like calling people names or re-releasing  a video from years ago and instead of a person's head he amends it to put a News
Taken from Twitter
company's name on it? Further to all of that, he's 'beating' (its a wresting thing but in the eyes of children - during when this clip has been getting paid they will see it - they will think this is alright especially if the President is doing it) up a person or something that has a common media logo on it. The whole thing is just screwy. 

I can just see the people who put so much into the Statue of Liberty which was a symbol OF liberty just shaking their heads and crying. Why? Because American used to be so much better than it is currently. 

Taken from Wikipedia 
I leave you with this part of the famous within The New Colossus:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"

This is what America is about - not what its become over the last 6 months.