Like so many of us, I’ve been closely following each day’s news about Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine. What I’ve learned, fairly recently, is that I have a family connection there. What follows tells more about my family history than I’ve written about here so far.
That history is more complicated than for most people. My father died in 1950, when I was 3 years old. My mother remarried a couple of years later, and that marriage produced my sister (who’s actually my half sister). My step-father died in 1955 (when I was about 8 and my sister 3 years old). My Mom then married, in 1959, my second step-father, and that marriage lasted almost 50 years, until my mother passed away.
So, I had the families of three people I called “Dad” to keep track of, plus my mother’s side of the family, which was and is large. Admittedly, I didn’t really keep in touch with my birth father’s or first step father’s families as the years went by. After I retired, with plenty of time on my hands, I decided to find out what I could about all of these people I’m related to, though Ancestry.com, and I’ve had at least some degree of success. I was even able to meet a cousin, who’s the granddaughter of my father’s brother, and lives in the same area that I do.
The connection that I think I’ve made to Ukraine is through my maternal grandfather, who I remember only a little bit (he passed away in 1955). I’d always been told that pretty much all of my family originated in Hungary. My grandfather, as it turns out, was born in a place called Stanislau, which was listed as being in Austria (though, in those days, it was the Austro-hungarian Empire, so I guess he could have been called “Hungarian”. Stanislau is known today as Ivano-Frankivsk, and is now located in the Western part of Ukraine–so there’s the connection. Borders of countries change over the years!
In any case, this all gives me even a stronger reason to support Ukraine in it’s current struggle.