There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when they are lowered into the earth, and the third when we no longer remain in the memory of any of the living. It is my desire to keep alive the memory of those who came before me – to fan the flame of their life stories, to tell the tales of their triumphs and their tragedies, to prevent the death of memory within my family.
Over the years I have uncovered incredible stories of courage and character buried beneath the surface of memory just generations after brave ancestors have passed. History has become deeply personal as I’ve seen the roles that my family members have played throughout decades and centuries, living their lives in times and places previously unknown to me.
I was age eleven when I made my first trip to the Clayton Library in Houston: that prominent destination of genealogical pilgrimage for those in search of their roots. Back then I had no idea how important this rite of passage was and how much a part of my life this search for my family history would become. I didn’t find much that day, but several decades later I am still on the hunt.
My family tree has its roots in Ireland, Hungary and Croatia, and its branches have extended on this side of the Atlantic to New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and now Texas where my family and I make our home.
I write several blogs: 100 Years in America (about my Hungarian and Croatian immigrant roots in New York City), Small-leaved Shamrock (my railroading, coal-mining, Civil War era Irish Pennsylvania roots), and A Light That Shines Again (the famine-Irish Massachusetts branch of my family tree). I am also a contributing author to The Catholic Gene, a blog dedicated to helping others find their Catholic ancestors.
In sharing my personal search into my family tree, I hope to help bring others, particularly young people, to an understanding of their own place in history and inspire them to carry on the beloved traditions of the cultures in which their ancestry is rooted.
I’m so glad that you’ve made a visit to smallestleaf.com. I hope you’ll poke around a bit, learn a little more about me and my search for my roots, and find some inspiration for your own ancestral quest.