Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chasing Elusive Ancestors and Learning History (2)

Provicchio Luca, Dalmatia, Austria; now Prviæ Luka, Croatia. It is so small, that you can't see it on the modern map. I found it in my 1898 map. Now Prvic Luka can be viewed all over the internet through travel agency websites. Judging from the pictures, it is so beautiful. Here is a link to a website that explains about Prvic Luka.

I was also able to get a video from a wonderful elderly woman to whom I would forever be grateful, who was a relative of my godfather and who was born on the island. Since then she has passed away. Her daughter had taken this video on one of her vacations to the island. I was given a narrating tour of Prvic Luka. I visited the parish where papa and his family attended. I even saw the house, where papa was born...naturally it was made of stone, so it was able to withstand the ravages of time. I couldn't help but cry...How emotional it was for me, and all this, was a benefit that I received while browsing the internet. Here is a link to a very similar view of my papa's house and side street.

This was the first step in the right direction.

Barney was so excited that finally He had proof in his hand confirming Papa's birthplace and real name. The name papa used in the United States was an invented name. I began to take an intense interest in pursuing this further. I was constantly browsing the internet, looking for forums that would deal with Prvic Luka, feeding in my real last name "Bumbak." Bingo! What a wonderful surprise....amazingly, I ended up finding a fifth cousin through the internet, who lived in the United States, but would spend the summers out there with her father and mother, and she was on the forum. Between all our excitable talking, I ended up speaking with my fourth cousin, her father, but noone knew anything on papa. The only thing they said was that papa left the island on a ship, when he was about 15 or 16 years old, and probably went to Argentina. All they knew was that he never returned or contacted his parents after his departure. So there ended my search regarding Papa. I did find through the Family History Center's Catholic parish records of Prvic Luka that our surname went back to the 1700s on the Island.There were no synagogues on the island. Also my grandmother Anna Kordich (also pronounced Cordova) was born in the island of Zlarin. I was told growing up, that my father's mother was Sephardic, and that papa attended the synagogue on 112th street back in the old neighborhood. Before he died he gave my mother two stars of David, to be given to my sister and I when we married. Because it is so old, I have it safely tucked away. Every so often I would take it out and look at it, and try to understand its meaning.This has created a conflict within me, because Mama raised us as Catholics.

I don't speak Croatian, so I thought if I would feed the letter into Babelfish, I would get a top notch translation. Trusting that it was done properly, I sent it to the Croatian government. Hmmmmmmm....weeks and months passed and I wondered why I never got a response. Geeeeez.......I hope I didn't say anything wrong to offend....I should have left it to the professionals. Many countries expect you to write in their language. I believe, from now on, I should stick only to the Spanish language, I am more familiar with that. Because it would have been very expensive in hiring a translator or a researcher of that country, I decided to give up the European chase.

Not wanting to give up completely since I am a determined person by nature, I decided to focus on finding something on papa, here in the United States. I was very much surprised when I found out that he had been married not once or twice but three times, mama's marriage was the last. The family only knew of the two times. Papa lied about his birthplace, and his name was not his real name. Even on mama's marriage certificate he lied about his birthplace as well as on other documents. I couldn't understand why he would do that. This is what makes genealogical research frustrating.

To be continued...........Chasing Elusive Ancestors (3)


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