Roots

 Posted by
Mar 262018
 

Italy, Slovenia, and CroatiaOur 2018 adventures will begin March 29, and we’ll travel to three countries. We’ll start in Verona, Italy for two months, and while we have visited Italy a number of times, we’ve not been to Verona. Then we’ll have 2-week stays in both Slovenia and Croatia.

Grandmother Turk's ship, 1913Visiting Slovenia has been on my (Jeannie’s) bucket list as this is where my dad’s side of the family came from.

You may ask, where is Slovenia? It is to the east of Italy at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea. From Venice, the border to Slovenia is less than 100 miles away. The southern border of Slovenia is Croatia. And don’t confuse it with Slovakia, a different place on the other side of Austria and Hungary.

Mr & Mrs John Turk, Jeannie's Paternal GrandparentsI had to research the evolution of the country as it has been called several different names through the years. In 1918 after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of WW1, The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed (actively supported by US President Woodrow Wilson). In 1929 it was renamed to Yugoslavia, and then Slovenia formally declared independence in 1991. Subsequently, what followed was a series of destructive wars that tore the former Yugoslavia apart for a decade.

I could easily spend hours studying the history of the country from early times until its independent state but that distracts me from the larger goal of uncovering the immigration of the Turk family to the US.

Grandfather Turk's documentThe search started about 10 years ago when my aunt JoAnn (dad’s sister) shared some of the genealogy research she had done. She mailed me various documents, obituaries, birth & marriage certificates, and letters written by Grandpa Turk in Slovenian. He was born in the US but when he was 4 years old, the family returned to Slovenia. Then  in 1922 he came back to the US and remained the rest of his life.  I don’t know when his parents entered the US, though there is a certificate of naturalization (citizenship) for his father (my great grandfather) dated January 27, 1892 in Michigan.

Grandmother Turk's Citizenship documentThere is less information about my grandmother, Pauline Kerzich. She came to Ellis Island in 1913 (at about 6 years old) on the USS Martha Washington but I have no records of her parents, and only the first name of her mother. She was born in Ljubljana, which is one of the cities we will visit for a week.

We will stay in Slovenia between June 1 and 16, and I hope to be able to travel back in time for a generation or two and learn:

  • Where were my great-grandparents born, and when did they immigrate to Michigan?
  • Why did my grandfather come back to the US and did any other family members return with him?
  • Can I trace the family tree back any further?
  • Might it be possible to locate any living relatives in Slovenia?

 Stay tuned, but there will be many blogs from Verona Italy as we live there from March 31 until May 31.

  23 Responses to “Roots”

  1. Have a great trip! I can’t wait to follow the travels again this year!

  2. This is a phenomenal back story to what lies ahead for your next adventure. Buon viaggio!

    • Yes it does add an interesting dimension. Look forward to our discoveries and sharing more stories.

  3. AHA!

    Chris, at last, I have found a mistake in your writing! It’s here in your first sentence: “Our 2018 adventures will begin March 29″…….. Silly boy, I am absolutely certain that for you, every day is an adventure; so your 2018 adventures had to begin on January 1, 2018! We hope to continue to be a part of this year’s adventures until December 31, 2018; if only as enthusiastic supporters and spectators. Thanks for allowing us to tag along with you and Jeannie; seeing the beauty in all the places you visit through your eyes. Much love and prayers for safe travels and exciting discoveries.

    Lem (aka Cuz) & Linda

    • Our adventure actually began April 1 1974, such fools that we were and continue to be! Maybe we’ll get to see you this summer if you travel to Fl after June 30.

  4. Sad that we didn’t connect during your home visit this year. I am looking forward to reading of your adventures in new places.
    Safe travels.
    Until next time…

  5. This is very cool to add a different spin to the adventure, a purpose of very personal discovery. And such an exotic area to explore, not many peeps get such opportunity. Looking forward to your sharing the next chapter!

    • Slovenia looks to be a beautiful country and a great place to visit for no other reason. But connecting with the home country of my grandparents will make this a very special trip.

  6. Have a great trip. I hope Jeannie finds some of her ancestors.❤️

    • I’ve pulled together all the information I have and hope visit the archives, now I just need to discover specifically what town they are from!

  7. great post! sounds like the trip for a lifetime!

  8. Best of luck with your genealogy search. How exciting for you. Love the wedding picture and the other documents. Thanks for sharing.

    • I never was that interested in genealogy research, but knowing we’re going to the home country of my grandparents has increased my curiosity. Will share more that we discover…

  9. I’m excited too! I know I’m going to learn so much, especially from this trip. (Getting use to wearing sunglasses in my kitchen – it’s so bright!!)

  10. I’ve been enjoying following your travels and look forward to your upcoming trips! I miss all of our travel while we lived in London for 3 1/2 years and am living vicariously through you both. A few more years of traveling when we can and then we aspire to do what the two of you are doing each year. 🙂

  11. Wow ! I’m so excited for y’all. And I am wishing you two a very safe and fun journey. What an adventure y’all are embarking. Way cool!

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