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I was born in Hungary to a Hungarian mother and an Austrian father. Hungarian was the first language I learned to speak and write. Later I grew up in Austria where I received my secondary education and where German became the second language I learned to read and write (including the "old script" known as Kurrent and Sütterlin). As a young adult I emigrated to Canada where I learned English and French, my third and fourth languages, and where I completed my education at Carleton University in Ottawa. Genealogy just came to me one day, like some people "get religion". About 1988 I realized that I had nothing to pass on to my descendants about their rich heritage because I did not know enough. All I knew was that my paternal grandfather had four wives and 24 children. I had met three of those children, and that was it. My father was not a talker and, in my teens , I was not terribly interested, and certainly did not ask any questions. When I felt my genes prodding me unmercifully, there was only one blood relative left that I knew of, and she was 93 years old and sitting in Vienna, Austria. Luckily she had a daughter who was extremely well educated and had never married but dedicated her life to taking care of her mother.
To make a very long story short, I flew to Vienna and established squatter's rights at their dining room table where the daughter and I debriefed the last known living direct descendant who shared my grandfather with me. I am sure providence purposely preserved her for me and had chosen very carefully, and very well. This woman of 93 was so sharp and had a memory which was almost embarrassing. She dictated the names of the four wives in the correct sequence, stopping at each one to dictate the names of her children in the right sequence. She did this for each marriage of our common grandfather, and as if that were not enough, for half of them she was able to provide either a date of birth or death. After that came the family legends. This was oral tradition at its best. Fourteen years later I can proudly state that I have been able to establish almost every one of the legends to have been fact. And, believe me, some were quite far out. This woman did not make small talk, nor did she mumble or waffle. All the time she spoke she used complete, grammatically correct sentences that required not one single "oh", or "ah" or "hmm" or "you know". She spoke as if she were reading the text, and everything she said was the truth as she knew it. This is how I got into genealogy, and I cannot thank my lucky star enough for such a wonderful kick-start.
It took me nine years to research and write the family history which turned out to be a 550 page hard cover book I called The Game Ancestry (ISBN 0-9681842) and was published in October 1997. It is generously sprinkled which photos and reproductions of documents and lots of historical, and anecdotal information about the way my ancestors lived and loved. Apart from wanting to preserve our family history and to have all the available information in one place I also wanted to create a book that could be used as a model by anyone wanting to do the same. With that in mind I have put as much effort into its organization as into its contents. That book is now out of print, but a second edition is in the works, and while still getting polished almost daily, it can be seen in its current state at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~fggame/ .
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