So when did the genealogical research seed get planted? It goes back to 1975. I was in Venice, Italy on a semester abroad program and took a weekend trip Switzerland. As part of that trip I wanted to stop in Siselen, near Berne. I am one-eighth Swiss and knew my great-great grandparents, John and Mary Schwab, had emigrated from Siselen with their family in the late 1800s. I went, not knowing much more than a few names of dead relatives. Siselen is a small town and it took no time to locate the main cemetery. I was startled to walk among the headstones and see so many with the last name Schwab and with such old dates. Even at the time, I wished I had done more research so perhaps I would have been able to identify the graves of relatives—and, who knows, even meet a distant cousin.
The following year I asked my grandmother to record our genealogy for me. And later I received notebooks of historical remembrances she wrote down for the family and for the Cameron County Historical Society. I don’t know if she ever gave her notes to the Historical Society, but I do know I was grateful I had made the request. That was the year my grandmother died. Little did I know it would take me almost 35 years to follow-through.
The first phase of this blog will be my grandparents’ remembrances of Cameron County, Pennsylvania, where they spent most of their lives. Much of it will be information the Historical Society, long-time residents and anyone who enjoys first person history would appreciate. I will be transcribing their comments, grammar and all, with editing done only when absolutely necessary.
After that, I’ll begin telling the stories of my research on specific family lines. My goal when I started a year ago was to trace each line back to Europe. If I complete that task, who knows, maybe I’ll make a trip back to Siselen with a little more knowledge.