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Where Did Our Ancestors Come From?
I was wondering about my ancestors, and about their native countries, so I interviewed my family about our family’s past. It was very interesting to learn about my Polish, Russian, and Hungarian roots. I interviewed my mom, my dad, grandmother, and grandfather about our customs and traditions. I found out a lot of interesting things.
Me: Are there any immigration stories about our family?
Mom: Well, Muma, (my great-great-grandmother) came to this country when she was sixteen. She came on a boat and said that everyone was sick.
Dad: My grandfather was one of nine children, and four of his siblings died in Russia of the plague. My grandfather came to America when he was only a teenager. He thought that the streets were paved with gold, before he arrived. He was elated when he saw the Statue of Liberty. He was met by relatives at Ellis Island, and he stayed with them in New York for a while.
Me: That’s amazing! I never knew that about Muma and Grandpa. They obviously taught you a lot about old customs, how do you keep tradition?
Dad: The values that we have are from our ancestors. We have great morals and work ethic. Plus, we still eat food from our countries of ancestry all the time.
Mom: Food is a big part of how we keep tradition. I make Polish, Hungarian and Russian food for all the holidays.
Grandmother: And I eat Hungarian and Polish food at least once a week.
Grandfather: Me too.
Me: We do have some great food from our ancestor’s countries. What are some of your favorites?
Mom: Babka, pierogies, and kielbasi.
Grandmother: Home made cheese, nut loaves, and chicken with dumplings.
Grandfather: Basically the same as your mother and Grandmother, plus palacsinta.
Dad: Potato pancakes and cheese blintzes.
Me: My favorite is stuffed cabbage. Anyway, since I never met any family members who moved here from a foreign country, can you tell me what family gatherings were like with them?
Mom: I never knew what anyone was saying, because they always spoke Hungarian at events.
Grandmother: I always spoke Hungarian with them, because my grandmother taught me how to speak Hungarian.
Dad: I used to tape record my grandfather and my great uncle talking about what it was like to live in Russia. It was amazing to hear how they used to live.
Me: Wow, that does sound amazing. I know we are all very proud of our cultures, right?
Me: Would anyone like to add anything?
Dad: After my grandfather moved here, he couldn’t speak any English. He taught himself to read and write. Then, he raised five successful children, including a college professor, a New Jersey symphony violinist, and a business owner. My grandfather instilled morals from Russia, into our whole family.
I am so proud to be Russian, Hungarian, and Polish. We have many great customs. I love Polish music, Hungarian food is my favorite, and Russian art is beautiful.
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