On my side of the family, I have been able (through direct physical evidence) been able to trace European roots, from both my parents, back into the old country sides of Germany, Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland and Poland... stretching well into the 1700's. This is accurately founded on paper and by way of Microfilm discoveries. I do have experience with these countries and finding their documented records.
Additionally, my Paternal Grandfather, a former Doctor by profession, hand wrote a autobiography of his life and that of his parents. One day soon, I will transpose this for all to read. It is quite extraordinary as his line of ancestors came in contact with much of todays history that dates back to King Otto of Greece in the royal palace!
I do think when Granddad penned his memoir - I in my heart was the one he meant to write it for in our family.
I attached here to right a photo of one of my earliest memories with my Granddad - Dr. Henry F. Bongardt attended my First Communion when I was 7.
And oddly, here now, I stand for you, among both sides of my parents family, the baby of at least 50 cousins among all my Aunts & Uncles. I have always felt it should be me to carry the Bongardt/Novak lineage history down for our descendants.
In the autobiography that Granddad Bongardt wrote ( perceived by many in our family to be) a tall tale...He recollected much was shared with him on the knee of his mother, Frances Siber (shown below).
He stated, that in our line of descent, there had been a medical connection to a King. And he said that there was a Royal Painter who later married a Princess. Surely it sounded romantic. I can tell you it most definitely captivated my attention from day one. I remember chuckling as a child saying "Ok Granddad... if you say so".
Well one day when my Dad Robert was going to pass away ( son to Granddad Henry), he gave me a very special gift. It was a snapshot book of family photos he had been holding onto for some time as it dated back very far in history. One of the pictures enclosed was of a beautiful lithography image of 3 gloriously dressed children. This photo I have come to find is the only one of its kind. It is of the Siber royal children whom were the sons and daughter of that famous Royal painter!
I truly wish Granddad Henry were here today. I would hug him once more with so many genealogical stories to share. I would give him the gift of certainty knowing that all those "tall tales" he so eloquently painted in my mind were indeed correct in some profoundly accurate ways that still blow me away!
I have learned with experience, that sometimes, its the simplest mementos that we come to inherit that are indeed the real clues to the past.
Something that is left and handed down by a loved one that lies in your possession. It likely may lead you down a path of discovery you never imagined. That is my greatest hope for everyone I come in contact with!
I can say that in my life, because of this memento (a story handwritten by Granddad), that I felt a calling so strong to not only unravel my mysteries found in my family - But to pursue this career I have come to love so deeply for others!
I will share another post in days ahead of Granddad Henry's mystical background that sparked my desire to become a Genealogist. You will understand why these photos enclosed here have such great meaning to me today for myself and for my family and children - God bless!