Foreign lands, forced migrations, and conflict challenges in genealogy

About a month ago I was working on a family tree for an adoptee that led into a Hungarian family tree; the situation that spun into a direction where many coincidences started to add up to a possible outcome leading to a birth relative. The problem has always been with this particular case is that I am dependent on the accuracy of other people’s genealogy. There is a language barrier, so the interpretation of names has become so unreliable, every step must now be questioned.

When I reach into ancestry hints and pull back another genealogical family tree I am now contacting the owner of the tree to ask about how they came about their information. Especially when I see no documentation. One would think these individuals must have first hand knowledge, but assumptions can just cost my adoptee friend money and patience when it comes time to actually get DNA tests performed on theories.

We have already gone down that rabbit hole, and sadly come out empty handed. I cannot say it was a complete failure. The adoptee got to really face the challenge of contacting someone who could have been a relative, and communicate with them about the possibility. Not something to take lightly. However, in the end it still meant disappointment and costs on both sides. Something I do not want to repeat.

I have picked up a book on Hungarian genealogy, and am now a lot more critical with information I obtain. Let’s just say I am being schooled in a whole other culture that had way too many wars pulling at its borders and overrun by one people or another. I can only imagine that several times in its history many left to find a more stable life elsewhere.

Considering the approximate age of the birth mother is around 1916, I would guess that her parents left Europe during the time of World War I and crossed over into America seeking a more stable surrounding. Even though that theory seems reasonable, I am done guessing with this case. Although I hope to bump into another family tree who can shed light on this family, there will be a need to substantiate it somehow. As I am not familiar with the language of the Catholic Church in Europe, I am hoping it does not require an interpreter of Latin to get that proof.

Oddly enough I have been doing something I normally do not do unless I am seeking out the immediate family of a possible birth relative. I am pulling the tree into the modern era so that I can find living relatives to help substantiate the family members they know. As one cousin stepped forward to provide there hand documented family history, so to will I be seeking out those who can further assist on other branches.

The hope is that I will not have to go back so far that I must establish a generation or more of Hungarians and follow one of them back into America. Seeing as the cousin who stepped forward was a second to fourth genetic cousin, it is entirely possible that our only course will back into this country before civil registration began in Austria-Hungary in 1895.