Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Aussies are in town!

I am an amateur genealogist and have been researching my family line for several years. About 17 years ago Gerry asked me if I could help her research some of her ancestors. My ancestors have been in the US for at least 140 years and some have been here since the 1650s so it was relatively easy to research them. However, Gerry's family came from Croatia & Bohemia during the early 1900s so it's been more difficult to trace them back.

She did get a break when, during a conversation with her Aunt Mary, it was revealed she had a letter from some relatives in Croatia. Of course, it was in Croatian and Gerry doesn't speak the language so she had it translated to English. She had an address of the relatives and decided to send them a letter seeking information on the family. Then she waited for a response. After about 6-8 weeks a letter arrived from a young girl named Melita who is the grand daughter of the lady to whom Gerry wrote. Luckily Melita was studying English in school and was very eager to practice her writing skills.

Gerry and Melita corresponded over the years and one letter mentioned some of the family had migrated to Australia after WWII. That was an important clue for us and since the surname wasn't that common, I got the brilliant idea to search in Australia for anyone with the surname. After all, there only about 23 million Australians so how could it go wrong. I chose to look up the name through the Australian phone books and came up with addresses for 6 possibilities.  Gerry wrote an exploratory letter to each person listed. The first letter that was answered was a miss, but they were nice enough to respond so that was fine. She hit the jackpot on the next letter and found the cousin who had moved to Sydney, Australia during the late 1940s. Their family data matched up and she communicated with him for many years, exchanging Christmas cards, letters, photos etc.

Now you may wonder why the above is important to this blog since many people communicate with relatives in different countries. Last year Gerry received the usual Christmas card and Vivian, the daughter of her cousin informed us that she and her husband Patrick would be vacationing in the US in December of 2014 and January 2015 and wanted to know if we would still be in Tucson in January. We actually had decided to not return this winter but when we knew they were coming to town, we changed our plans so we could meet them.  That is a nice feature of having a home on wheels.

The Aussies arrived on January 6 and we picked them up at the airport. Gerry had a picture of them so she could pick them out of the arriving passengers so that went well. Once they retrieved their luggage, she called me at the cell phone lot and I drove the car up to the arriving passengers area. They were standing on the curb with Gerry and I recognized them immediately.   Patrick and Vivian were finally in Tucson and we were happy to see them.

We all piled into the car and headed out to the Casino del Sol Hotel and Casino where they had booked a room for three nights. After dropping them off at the hotel we parked the car and waited for them in the lobby so we could chat and make some plans for the next few days. They are a delightful couple and have traveled extensively, so were eager to see what Tucson had to offer. After chatting for a couple hours and firming up plans for the next day we bid them goodnight so we could get an early start the next morning.

We did notice there were a number of RVs in the parking lot at the Casino and decided to check them out more closely. It was dry camping (no facilities ) and free. All in all there were around 35 RVs parked there with their slides out, jacks down, grills outside and some had their solar panels hooked up. It looked like the people were there for the duration. Since it was free, I imagine they will stay there for a long time. The local Walmart usually had 3-5 units parked overnite but they all leave in the morning so they don't take up parking spaces needed for the daily customers.

That was our day, how was yours?

1 comment:

  1. I am sure Gerry is ecstatic over meeting her relatives. I know I would be. My lines have been here since the 1700's so I have a hard time getting across the pond, too.
    Enjoy your visit.