Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ADHD and My Family Tree

Anyone who knows me knows I suffer from a pretty acute case of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I’ve been this way all of my life; of course when I was a child they didn’t have a name for it other than to refer to me as “hyper.”

 For the most part the disorder serves me well: I am a master multi-tasker and can do several things at once. Sometimes, however, I get so bogged down with my ambition that I don’t do any of things I attempt well. Right now I have so many ideas floating in my head and started that I don’t know which one to tackle first, complete, and move on.


The one project that is taking over my life right now that I enjoy so much I could do every day all day is my family history research.


My research began when I was seeking information about my mother and father. For those of you that have followed my story since I began this blog will remember that I was only a year old when they died so I know nothing about them. Going in search of documents and pictures, news articles and reports, interviewing people who knew them was a way for me to discover who my parents were. That initial foray into family history was opening a Pandora’s Box for me; once I started it I couldn’t stop. Since then I have researched the family tree and connected the dots from Batavia, New York to Sicily, Germany and Canada. My research becomes so involved I forget to eat, the house gets messy and the work that pays our bills gets placed on the back burner until a deadline looms. I’m hooked on genealogy research.

This week I am on a quest, following the trail of Charles Oberlander, world traveler, adventurer, humanitarian. I haven’t quite figured out Charles’ connection to me: he might be my great-grandfather but I’m still working on it. What I do know is he lived a very colorful life. He tried to advocate on behalf of Chinese being mistreated by the Mexican and American governments back in 1892. He traveled to Cuba.

Charles in Cuba

I don’t know yet what he was doing there but I am going to find out. His father Alexander Oberlander and his brother Fredolin were pastors in Syracuse, New York for the Evangelical Lutheran Church; his brother Oscar was a practicing physician. He was one of fourteen children. Sounds like a fascinating story, doesn’t it? And I’ve only scratched the surface with Charles Oberlander; what will I discover with his siblings, parents, and his own offspring?

That’s just the Oberlander branch of my tree. There are others to work on, some I have done extensive work on: Gioia, Gengo, Scibetta; and others I am just beginning to research: Wardynski, Wleklenski.

Wardynski/Wleklinski Family


Grandmother and Grandfather Gioia


I haven’t even really started on my husband’s line yet, but that, too, is an amazing tale. My husband's ancestor is Charles B. Mecum, one of the survivors of the Death Valley 49ers, those brave souls who traversed the harsh desert landscape and made it out alive back in 1849. He is written about in books on the subject.

So I parcel out my time, trying to fit in all my responsibilities such as housework, work-work, and this hobby. Thank Goodness I am an ADHD; it’s the only way I can get all of this accomplished.

1 comment:

Vegas Linda Lou said...

I swear, I never knew you had AHDH--I just thought you were nuts. Whew!