In celebration of Family History Month, we ran a contest throughout the month of October for a chance for one lucky winner to receive a free year of Geni Pro. To enter, you simply needed to submit your answer to the question:
If you could go back in time, which ancestor would you visit and why?
We received lots of entries submitted through Facebook, Twitter, and email. One lucky winner was chosen at random from the list of entries.
Today we are excited to congratulate Beth Popovich for winning a free 1-year subscription of Geni Pro!
Read the heartwarming story of why Beth would most want to visit her great grandfather, George Tircs:
If I could visit one of my ancestors it would be my paternal great grandfather, George Tircs. He was born in 1870 in what is today, Cierne nad Toplou, Slovakia. George was just an ordinary man, a coal miner, who died fairly young at age 46 from lung disease. He was ordinary to most but extraordinary to me because he was father to my beloved grandmother, Ann Tirch. At age 9 months, my twin sister and I went to live with our paternal grandparents, Ann Popovich(Tirch) and George Popovich. As a single mother, everything I have done right raising my daughter is because of the example my grandparents set. My grandmother was my heart and my grandfather, my soul. I started researching my family genealogy after they died. I was in my early twenties and felt like an orphan in the world. Genealogy was a way for me to keep them alive and honor their memory.
My grandmother was eight years old when her father died. She had no pictures of him. No personal possessions of his to hold dear. She only had a handful of memories to last a lifetime. I can still see the look on her face as she talked about her father with my sister and I.
“He had beautiful, coal black hair and ice blue eyes…” she recalled, her own blues eyes alive with emotion. “Before he died us kids went into his bedroom to say goodbye. He always called me, little Annie. I remember that he asked my older brothers to take care of his little Annie. He wanted me to become a nurse and asked them to help me achieve that goal. He died that night. I was, of course, thankful his suffering was over but distraught at the loss of the one person who saw limitless potential in me”.
To me, the fact that my immigrant great grandfather wanted more for my grandmother than just a good marriage is very interesting. He was from the old country and a different generation but he had progressive ideas. And, I know I was a direct beneficiary of his values and ideas. And, in turn, my daughter was influenced by her great great grandfather, George.
Just last year, I finally uncovered the name of the village where George was born. And, learned the names of his parents. That day, I cried and cried tears of happiness because I had fulfilled a promise that I had made to myself to “finish” my grandmother’s story. She would be so happy that I added to the ancestral treasure chest, a cache of memories and love. An inheritance worth more to me than all the gold in the world.
So, even though I have maternal ancestors who were a part of my country’s history, I would choose to visit with my extraordinary great grandfather, George Tirc.
We received so many great answers, so we thought we’d share a few more below:
Judy M. –
“Given the opportunity, I’d go back in time and meet my paternal grandfather. He passed away when my father, the oldest of six boys, was just a young man. I was the youngest of four, my parents’ surprise baby. I was still quite young when I lost my paternal grandmother as well as both of my maternal grandparents I had time with them; not as much as I’d have liked, but I did get to know them. My paternal grandfather, Lorenzo, emigrated from Italy to the US along with his brother, Benjamin. My grandmother, Luisa and Benjamin’s wife Minnie soon followed. I was fortunate enough to visit the town where they were born and the church in which they married. Standing on the same ground where they lived, met and married was even more powerful than I could have imagined. I still have so many questions…”
Yehuda R. –
The ancestor I would visit is my third great grandfather, Kadish Kreines, who lived in Slutsk, Belarus. Based on what I know about him, he seemed to be a very interesting person, and I would love to meet him. He was very gutsy, always standing up for what he believed in.
Signhild T. –
If I could go back in time, I would love to meet my ancestor Poul Nolsoe, born in 1766. He was a great man, who tried to stand up to the oppressors. He was a song writer and also built the first Faroese ship. I really like going on Geni, finding relatives I never heard of.
Ian S. –
The ancestor I would love to visit would be my second great aunt Alice Maria Hayes (Pyett). She had such an amazing life traveling the world with husband Matthew and his horse breaking show, including riding a zebra, as well as traveling to Germany and Imperial Russia. But did she ever marry Matthew and did she have a son? And if she didn’t, who was the son James Hayes in the 1901 England census?
Denise G. –
From a Genealogy perspective I would love to meet my GGrandmother from Sicily….but in reality I would have to go back to 1992 to spend more quality time with my Mom before she got sick with Alzheimers.
Gary C. –
My great grandmother. My heart flutters every time I visit her grave I would love to just walk in her steps.
John M. –
I would like to go back and visit my ggrandmother, Jacoba May Jackson. She has been my brick wall for years. I don’t know her parent names nor who was my ggrandfather. Would love to go back and hear all the stories about her travels from South Africa to China and back.
Coyal G. –
I would like to be able to talk to my 5th great grandmother, Frances “Fanny” Shipp Sullenger. She loved to tell everyone her family history to anyone that would listen, but no one in her family wrote her information down.
Congratulations again to Beth! We hope you enjoy your Geni Pro subscription.