Monday, February 28, 2011

The State Kids find their family

When I started my tree on ancestry a few years ago, I couldn't believe how many trees were out there and I started adding people to my tree like a shopaholic let loose in the Twice As Nice consignment shop on 'fill your bag for five bucks day.'  I quickly learned what a bad move that was, but that's a post for another day.  That tree, though, ended up changing the lives of 5 "State Kids."  

On July 5, 2008, I received this message on
Diane: Small world!! Ethel E Pollock was my Aunt whom I never met. My Dad was George F. Pollock 1916/1943 whom I also never knew because he Died when I was only 6 Months old. I have just this week joined and began researching my roots. Perhaps we could share some info. Just got a copy of my Dad's and Granddad"s death cert, they were both George F Pollock. I also have 4 siblings (three in Mass and one in N H) one brother is also George F Pollock (the third).
Got to go, perhaps some time we could share info. I live in Mass.
Victor F Pollock
Long story short - Victor is my first cousin once removed - his father and my grandmother were siblings.  I didn't know that his father had even existed because, at that time, I didn't know a whole lot about the Pollock family.  The more we talked, the more I learned about Victor and his four siblings.  Their father, George, had died of heart disease when they were very small children.  Their mother, Ruby, had given the kids - Victor, George, Reggie, Marion and Ruby - away to foster care and had walked away, never looking back.  The five of them lived horrendous lives, going from foster home to foster home, suffering terrible abuse.  The whole time thinking that the only family they had in the world - was each other.  George has written about their experiences in both his blog and his book, State Kid.

Fast forward. The 5 siblings are now all in their 60s and 70s.  They've all been successful in life and have great families.  Still, something was missing.  Victor decided to start researching his roots and that's how he found me.  We talked online and he was ecstatic to know that he still had a living aunt, his father's sister, Lillian.  We made arrangements to meet at her house.  What an incredibly moving experience that was!  The most poignant moment was watching this man in his 60s reach out and touch his aunt's hand for the first time and say: "I can't believe I'm actually touching someone who once touched my father."  

Victor and Aunt Lillian

Later that summer, there was a family reunion where the 5 siblings met other family members for the first time.  That was my introduction to the 'character' of the family - cousin George!  Or as he now prefers to be called: George Francis Pollock III, American Royalty.  The American Royalty part was added after he learned he was no longer just a State Kid, but related to, among others, several Presidents and he is the 9th great-grandson of William Brewster, Mayflower Pilgrim.  As he says - 'not bad for a State Kid!'  

Victor, George and their siblings have gotten very close to Aunt Lillian and her family.  The 'girls' went on a trip to Aruba together!  There was a big party for Marion's 70th birthday and for the first time in her life, family other than her siblings attended.  Here are the 5 of them having a blast!

Reggie, Ruby, Victor, Marion and George Francis Pollock III, A.R.

Shortly after the reunion last summer, I got an email from George.  He talked about how "after living our entire lives thinking we were alone in the world, we finally have what everyone else has - a family."  

Things like that last sentence are what make all the hours and hours of research worth every second.  

I love a challenge!

On her Roots and Rambles blog, Marian Pierre-Louis has put out a challenge : "What you are you going to do to show the world that genealogists are hip?" The librarians have put out a video. ( I won't post their link here - no free marketing from me!) Knitters are graffiti bombing. Got me thinking because anyone who knows me knows that if there's one thing I love - it's a good challenge! And right after that, of course, is free stuff! So after a pot of hi-test coffee, here's what I came up with.

We could market toward the 'younger' generation - get them interested in genealogy. Why not put our findings in a rap song?? Brilliant - or at least I thought so! Play along with me here and imagine it's Eminem or JayZ presenting the final research to a client. (You DO know who they are, right??) Put on your bling and your shades, cross your arms and strike a pose while I get the music thumping - and then sing along with me:

Just got done with your tree and now who did I see?

Found some secrets gonna blow your fam out to the sea
There's a thing called a census, found a Boyle, first name Clare
Born in eighteen hundred eighty in a place called Kildare

U thought your great-grandma only had four?

Got news for ya, sistah - she had a few more
The baby daddy's name was Theodore Lester
Bet ya never knew they had Theresa and Esther!

They landed at the "Island" back about '23

Moved on to South Boston, lived on Broadway by the T
Their crib - it was small - they lived on the third floor
Paid about a sawbuck for 3 rooms - maybe four

Made his money tanning hides down in Newmarket Square

She spent hours cleaning house for those rich folks O'Hare
She died in 37, he passed on in 58
She had a heart attack, and he was overweight!

So now you know your roots, go pass on my name

And let all your peeps know

What do you think? Is there an Ancestry commercial in my future? Maybe I'll be known as the Comedian Genealogist... :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

All Roads Lead to Roxbury


The journey that led to all 8 of my greatgrandparents living at the same time in the small town of Roxbury, Massachusetts.

My ancestors came from Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany and Nova Scotia.  They all traveled by boat.  William Brewster arrived on the Mayflower.   One of the Hegartys, in his attempt to leave Ireland for Nova Scotia, shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland.  His descendants eventually made it to America when the Boyle/Hegarty clans landed at Ellis Island.  The Craibes sailed from Ireland to Nova Scotia, stayed awhile and then traveled down through Canada.  Thomas and Margaret Bowen escaped the Irish Potato Famine.  The Adams fought in the Revolution - two became Presidents.  Philetus Pollock fought in the Civil War in Connecticut.  The Pollock/Pierce clan then migrated from Connecticut to Rhode Island, finally settling in Massachusetts. 

All their roads led to Roxbury - resulting in all 8 of my greatgrandparents living there at the same time.  What are the odds of that?