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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Old Papers

Today as part of my cleaning/organizing program I decided to tackle the office. I started with my file cabinet. I cleaned the bottom drawer and found some envelopes I didn't know were there. Then, I went to work on the top of the cabinet.

It seems that whenever I empty one box, I put whatever I want to save on top of the cabinet without really looking at it. Today, I went through those old envelopes, and learned a lot. My house in Woodhaven was assessed for $5,100.00 in 1929 resulting in a tax bill of $135.66 which at that time I'm sure was a huge amount. I also found some old funeral bills. When my father's father died in 1926, the cost was only $356.00. The letterhead of the bill had a logo of a horse-drawn coach. Nineteen years later, in 1945, the cost had risen to $433.50 with a sales tax of $3.50. They used the same funeral director, but this time theyincluded the services of a lady director. Now it would cost about $10,000.00 and they probably wouldn't use the services of a lady director to prepare a woman.

I also learned a lot more. For one thing, I always thought my father's middle name was Charles, but according to his Baptismal certificate his name was Frederick. I also found my grandmother's death certificate. I don't remember much about her, she died when I was six years old and all I can remember of her is the little old lady laying on a bed in my aunt's dining room. The day she went into the hospital for the last time, my cousin wanted me to say good-bye, but I guess I was scared so I ran away. Unfortunately, I couldn't cross the street, so I hid behind a very small tree on Rockaway Blvd., but that's a story for another day.

Because my father's mother is the only grandmother I ever met, I've always felt that my family started with my parents. I've always envied people who could trace the family back for three or more generations. But today, I learned more about my grandmother and I may be able to trace the family back to their roots in Germany. Another project to keep me busy - tracing my family tree.

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