How to encourage a 90 year old for Genealogy Research

Mom said we have relatives in America

She added that there was a time when “how do you not remember?” that her cousin came to our house to visit.
Really, I did not remember. Maybe I was too young, maybe I was expecting a gift from America, maybe.

I later traveled to America myself. I worked for a software company that was most active in Israel and abroad. A few months after I started working for the company I was asked to travel to the west coast of America, a business trip. The joint preparations were multiple. Multiple on behalf of work but much less on behalf of family research. I updated my Mom that I was planning to travel but Mom did not say anything interesting.

Several years later mother passed away. Dad died two years before that. I called all the relatives I knew and updated them with the sad new. I also started asking questions and asking for stories. The conversations were quite difficult. Difficulty performing and documenting while making the conversation and the difficulty of the stories themselves.
Each one and his war story.

How to combine the genealogy research with a business trip to the United States?

My work at a global high-tech company lead me to occasionally travel to meet with clients in other countries. The business trip in the case of this story brought me to the west coast of the United States. Direct flight of more than fifteen hours. I planned my business tasks and added another, special task to me. I bought a plane ticket within the United States to the eastern coast of the country where my mother’s cousin lives. I planned to meet my relative and his wife.

My mother’s cousin and his wife received me in the air field near their place of residence. We drove to their humble home. On the way we stopped and bought steaks “for dinner”. We got to their house and then the guy, 90 years old, went out and prepared the grill. When the food was ready we sat down for dinner. I opened my laptop and showed pictures of my wife and kids to soften the conversation further. Pictures of kids bring pleasure to adults.

VARGA Leonard US Army

Starting with questions

After dinner and at the end of the display of the children’s pictures we started to talk about the family. I asked my mother’s cousin to tell the story of his childhood with my mother in Budapest and they went through during the war. Lots of questions. Lots of patience and curiosity to hear live stories.

And the informant guy of Hungarian descent began to tell

You can be a part of the story. My relative was open to giving me everything I wanted.
“Make the long story short,” he said. And again, and again. But I wanted the Long Story. And I asked again and again. His wife joined my request and we tried to encourage him so that he tells the story – long and detailed. And the guy told and shared and told.

The story was not easy

A story about a beautiful and happy life that was before, about the mischief of children and parents of yesteryear. About secrets that were hidden from the children and they did not have the power to reveal. On family customs and those customs that have ceased. Whether because of family issues or because of what happened around them. About people’s nicknames and the reasons for those names. About Medicines of yesteryear and how children would avoid these while other enjoy it.

“Make the long story short”

Said and again, and again. I really asked for more. More stories and more nicknames, more secrets and more grandma or mom foods. More. I asked and participated in the story, listening wholeheartedly, listening and trying to sense the taste. And the guy about 90 years old saw and heard and listened and told. He returned to his time of childhood, for better or for worse. His wife and I were a listening and cooperating crowd, we laughed in the right places, we were silent in others.
And he told.

A wonderful story with ups and downs, with connections and solutions, with difficulties and joy.

Lucky me to have heard the stories. The day after I said goodbye to my mothers uncle and his wife.
In May 2019 he passed away at the age of 93.
I kept his stories in video, documented in my memory as well. And now also on the genealogy site.

Of blessed memory.

Zvika Oren, Genealogy specialist
Research and Build Family Trees

Over the years I have gained knowledge and experience in various areas of genealogical research: searching records, deciphering documents and tombstones, conducting personal interviews, discovering genealogies, contacting relatives and people with relevant knowledge, collecting findings and organizing them, transferring documents and photos to digital media (including making backup copies) , As well as the production of a family book (Hebrew or English) based on the material collected.

As part of the genealogy research and family tree building, I collect data and search for more data and information in digital information sources: Yad Vashem databases, search engines, locating tombstones, various archives, immigration records, documents regarding name changes and more. I have conversations and interviews with people for the purpose of genealogical research. At the end of the data collection I process information related to the relevant root research. And everything – to discover the genealogies and to collect the documents and photos, to document the preservation and construction of the family tree.

Feel free to contact me, Zvika Oren – Expert Genealogist +972-525696309

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