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The Game Ancestry.
Felix G. Game's Book about his Family's History
Relying on the exceptionally sharp mind of his 93 year-old cousin who was the only one left to untangle his grandfather's four wives and 24 children, the author embarks on researching his ancestry, and combines basic, vital information with human experiences that are considerably outside of the ordinary. The fascinating thing about The Game Ancestry is that its contents are the result of pure research, and that all information is impeccably documented. When grandfather earns a silver bravery medal at the battle of Santa Lucia in 1848 against the Piemontese, and a second one in 1866 in the Battle of Königgrätz against the Prussians, the reader is shown the documents on which these decorations are based. When uncle Hans is glorified as an early flying ace with something like 400 missions into enemy air space while sitting in an orange crate, it is shown that he was bestowed almost every decoration not once, but some of them three times, and what he did to earn these medals. Other personages encountered are: a young Austrian officer sent to Russia to spy, who while there, meets a beautiful rich girl whom he marries, and then back in Vienna becomes a high ranking officer. We also meet his nephew who was lost at sea with his bride while on their honeymoon cruise which was interrupted by the outbreak of the first World War. When all research into this marine disaster ends in a dead end because the files "have perished in the fire of the Palace of Justice in Vienna" the author's persistent digging and his lasting good fortune leads to the files that not even the Viennese archives know about, and he is finally able to substantiate yet another of the old cousin's stories that this young honeymooner cousin really died a hero, and that the emperor awarded him one of the highest decorations 2 years after his death.
The author's father, an artillery officer, is shown lugging field pieces around the mountainous terrain of the Balkans during the First World War getting his own share of medals - one of them for continuing to direct the fire of his battery with a piece of shrapnel stuck in his head which he only gets removed, and the wound dressed after it is too dark to keep on shooting. Not trained for anything else, this career officer is having a difficult time in the years of no army and no war, and welcomes the opportunity to don a uniform again in 1939, and for a short while he can relive the past grandeur of an officer who can go out every morning for a ride on his personal horse.
On the maternal, the Hungarian side, the reader meets a plainer, but no less interesting group of people, who under the genealogist's scrutiny turn out to be the descendants of German colonists enticed by Empress Maria Theresa to settle in Hungary during the 1700s. As a culmination of his research efforts, the author finds a village full of living relatives and flies over to meet them with touching results.
In the final chapter the author is reminiscing about how much a boy could get away with in a school system that somehow managed to impart knowledge while at the same time disciplining and tolerating a few hundred youngsters constantly bent on mischief. The reader also becomes privy to the first impressions of an immigrant in the 1950s, and the very fine people who helped him out without expecting anything in return.
Anyone interested in family research will probably enjoy reading this book which at the same time can serve as a model for how to organize and write a family history.
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