Getting a bug:
Someone pointed out to me that I was getting a little one-sided in my normal activities - spending 'way too much time at volunteer endeavors and not enough time on family endeavors. Coincidentally, there was a death in our family that brought my two brothers and me together for the first time since 1994. (Unfortunately, the photos of the three of us were technically flawed to the point of their being un-salvageable.) Also, somewhat coincidentally, Ancestry.com had recently made an offer that I couldn't refuse - an offer that allowed me to access a file that Elder Brother had sent me of the family tree he had started documenting shortly after our mother died in 1994. In short, now I am spending much time retrieving and documenting our family tree.
One of the "good deals" that Ancestry.com offered me, enticed me to pay for a 3-month international membership (my description for whatever the real terminology is that they use) to their services. As all of my known blood relatives have been in the USA since the eighteenth century, my interest in "international" records access is to work with Hunky Husband's side of our family tree. HH's mother was born in the former Yugoslavia and his father was born to his paternal grandparents a few years after they came - also from the former Yugoslavia.
As has been the case in much of my personal and professional life, I find that I enjoy the challenge of doing research - even when it is family history rather than science.
A challenge on the male side:
In the past, I have frequently lamented the propensity of women (in the past couple of centuries in the USA, at least) to change their last names. It makes it darned hard to trace them through the years. How much easier it has usually been to trace men whom I've known than to trace the women! I, myself, plead guilty. In my younger years, I took HH's last name. Then, when we divorced, I assumed yet a third last name - which I kept when, years later, we married again. Gah! Although I have used the same last name for the past 40+ years, how much simpler it would have been never to have changed my name at all!
Now, somewhat late in life, I am a huge advocate of having male babies use their fathers' last name and female babies using their mothers'. (Our own two girl babies and their one girl baby seem to have fared well in sharing their fathers' last names and then their husbands' last names. But still....)
Well...as it turns out...it has been much easier tracing HH's maternal line than his paternal line. There have been at least four spellings of his paternal lineage's last name - three of which have no real resemblance (in English) to the name that appears on his great-grandfather's grave marker. I shall persevere (for a time, at least - until my ADD kicks in) in trying to find HH's paternal family member who came over on a ship from the Old Country.
I must thank Hunky Husband for his contributions. Just yesterday afternoon, he entrusted to my hands a file (about two inches thick) of papers containing all that he knew about his own family. Many of the papers are in his father's or mother's handwriting and contain assorted "facts" - themselves using various spellings of names of family members. (My father-in-law, whom you probably have read in past postings, I loved dearly, spelled his own mother-in-law's first name two different ways.) Some years ago, HH had taken photos of his grandparents' grave markers. Here is one of his photos (below) which may show a grave marker for a relative, or for another family of like name nearby.
Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised at the variety of spellings in HH's family members' names. We, in modern times, use somewhat standardized spellings when compared to spellings of previous centuries. However, people still change their names (I'm thinking of making "Hartpence" into "Hart" etc), so why should I expect differently within a somewhat recently immigrated peoples? It would, however, be nice to know how many of the spelling variations are due to errors on a census-taker's part (sorry, Bogie!) or on the part of a family member who did not yet "know" English and how many are due to changes in the way the family members used their own names.
BTW: I never saw anything written in English by either of HH's grandmothers although I could understand their spoken English. I miss hearing their accented English! As I believe often happens, I came to love HH's family very deeply and miss them (in particular his parents) very nearly as deeply as I miss "my own".