Two hours ago I found the name of the ship my paternal great-grandparents took from Europe to the U.S.
Took less than an hour to find my great-grandfather’s name on passenger manifest and to confirm they came through Ellis Island.
It wasn’t information that I grew up knowing not because it was a mystery or secret but I expect because it wasn’t something that was considered important. I was told by my grandfather that his father said when he came to America he wanted to be an American and that was it.
Since my great-grandfather died when I was six I can’t say that we did or did not discuss it. I have a bunch of memories with him, but nothing tied into that.
I have been interested in genealogy and general family history for years but didn’t dig into it with serious interest until right after my father died.
His death made me the oldest Wilner male in this branch in the U.S. but internationally I am beat by relatives in England and Israel.
And the information today, well it provided more details and color to the journey my great-grandparents took and gratitude for what I have today.
The Wilners came from a small town in Lithuania called Nemakščiai or Nemoksht in Yiddish. There are multiple records online about it, some provide background on the town that say it was first mentioned in 1386 and a history of Jews living there in the 17th century.
Virtually all of the records mention the slaughter of the Jews during the Holocaust.
I haven’t been able to confirm yet whether that includes any members of my family but find it hard to believe we all managed to escape the mass executions.
One can hope but regardless I am grateful that my great-grandparents got out and that I am sitting in a house in Texas enjoying my vacation because they had the courage to leave.
“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one. Confucius
Been a son, brother, husband, father and uncle, some because I chose to and others because…life.
Got a lot more puzzle pieces to put together, more family stories to uncover on my mom’s side along with more to pull apart on my dad’s.
The more I dig in and learn the more questions I have in some areas and the more certain I am about following through on certain plans and changes for 2022.
Put some of those on paper, er pixels in blog posts and told some of you verbally what my intentions are and am declaring them again for the universe.
That may or may not have power but I can assure you my will to follow through on some is more than enough. I am done with some stuff and prepared to start others.
Don’t mistake the lack of specificity for ambivalence or an inability to spell it out. It’s because some of you don’t deserve any more than I have given and because these words are how I hold myself accountable.
If my great-grandparents could pick up and leave all they knew for a land where they didn’t speak the language there is no reason I can’t do the things I intend to do. Some may be challenging and or painful but in comparison they should be relatively easy.
Probably need to take time to make more updates to that which has been updated but I am drawn back to doing more research and taking a few minutes on the treadmill.
I’ll get back to this, to the Who Am I? A Play In Three Parts and flesh it out further but for now I am lost in thought and research.