Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rediscovering Roots

My great-grandmother, "Minnie" on the far left and her Lithuanian family

The Ring

My great-grandfather, George Edgar Osborne, as a young boy.

Many years ago, I inherited a gold wedding ring from my great aunt. I never thought much of it, but toted it with me from place to place in a jewelry box with my other items. One day last month, while I was sorting through my jewelry pieces and deciding what to sell and what to keep, I came across this ring again. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that there was actually something engraved inside of the band: "G.O. to M.G. 4-21" Well, that certainly had me pondering. Who did I know of with those initials in my family? There was only one answer: my maternal great-grandparents.

George and Minnie

George and Minnie Osborne

I know next to nothing about my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother died (supposedly of appendicitis, but there is a family theory that this is incorrect) in 1934, when my grandfather was just a baby. As my great-grandfather, George, was too poor to afford to bury her, he had her converted to the Jewish faith in order to have her buried for free in the Jewish cemetery. Thus leading to the incorrect theory that my great-grandmother was Jewish.

My great-grandmother, Minnie, was full-blooded Lithuanian, and I'm pretty sure that "Minnie" is actually short for something else (probably much longer and harder for the average American to pronounce). This makes researching her quite a challenge. Thankfully, I know a bit more about my great-grandfather, George Edgar Osborne. He was born in 1884, and was married twice. I believe I have managed to track down the record of his first marriage in the Lackawanna County records. If I am correct, George married Gertrude McLaughlin in 1906, and she later died around 1914. We do not know the date of his marriage to my great-grandmother, but if the "21" in the "4-21" on the wedding ring is the year, then it must have been in 1921. I believe my great-grandmother was born in 1901, so if she married in 1921, that would have made her 20 years old (my grandfather confirms that she married young). George and Minnie had 3 daughters and 2 sons. My grandfather was the oldest son. Unfortunately, my great-grandfather was INCREDIBLY closed-mouthed about his life/marriage, so my grandfather knows next to nothing about his family. His paternal grandmother was a full-blooded native american, but we have no idea her name, her husband's name, or even what tribe she came from. Things like this frustrate me so much...so much of my history is lost, and I wonder how much of it I will be able to rediscover...?

Minnie with her 2 daughters

In any case, I am currently working to try and rediscover my roots. I recently managed to obtain some old family photos of my maternal grandparents and great-grandparents. I am sharing some of those pictures here. I love the pictures of my grandparents the best - especially my grandmother, whom I love very much (and am the most like).

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