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So, here is a fun (true) Cinderella story. I've been doing Czech genealogy with this distant relative, who recently ran across Berta Czuber (b. 1879). (Not literally, I mean in the records.) He's pretty sure she belongs to my branch, and I think I know which person she connects to. There are only so many people with that name who are master tailors at that time period in that tiny village.

So, imagine a family of shepherds. They move every year because they're always following the sheep. Eventually one son decides to settle down, marries a village girl and has kids. The next generation (and every generation thereafter), they are tailors. Well, one guy takes his tailoring and moves to the big city of Prague. And all fortunes change. His son gets educated. Actually, he gets so much education that he becomes a bona fide professor at the university. Rags to riches, right? (*cough* -- obviously, riches of the mind, not riches of the bank *cough*). But the story isn't over yet.

Mr. Smart Math Professor (Emanuel Czuber, if you want to find him in Wikipedia) has a daughter, Berta. She goes off to a ball in Prague--and meets a guy named Ferdinand. Archduke Ferdinand Carl of Austria, to be precise. The little brother of the guy who got shot in Sarajevo, thus starting the War to End All Wars. Ferdinand and Berta fall in luuuuurve, and parents flip out. No way, says professor dad. The emperor is not gonna like this, and he's going to take it out on my job. NO WAY! yells Uncle Emperor Franz Josef. But Ferdinand and Berta have a love that cannot be stopped. So they get married in Switzerland anyway, and keep it secret for two years. Then Uncle Franz Josef finds out. Blam! Blam! Blam! That's the sound of Uncle FJ blasting Ferdinand off the family tree tapestry on the wall. (He can't order them to get divorced because they are all Catholic, and that would not exactly go over well when you're the emperor. Plus--they obviously wouldn't do that, anyway. Because love.) Ferdinand has to change his name. Now he's no longer "von Oesterreich" but merely "Burg." And he's not allowed to set foot in the Austrian empire. They did let him come back for a funeral, though... Unfortunately for Berta, he died in 1915--and she kept on living and living, until 1979, when she was 99 and a half. No children, so the line ends there.

Now I'm thinking that I might need to study WWI all over again. Suddenly it seems very close to home!

Date: 2016-02-21 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robinellen.livejournal.com
Very cool story...especially because it's real. ;)

Date: 2016-02-21 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] olmue.livejournal.com
Berta is my 3rd cousin 3x removed. I wish I'd known about her before! I was born before she died. (Er, not that I would have known her, me being in a small square house in NJ and she being in a palace in Tirol and all...)

Date: 2016-02-22 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calepin.livejournal.com
Awesome!

On a related note, I've been marathon-watching the Finding Your Roots shows--despite the formulaic format, the individual stories are so compelling! I'm especially appreciating how varied the African-American experiences are, so much nuance I haven't seen before.

Date: 2016-02-22 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] olmue.livejournal.com
I think that's part of the draw--the stories. And of course, the detective hunt to piece them all together.

And yes, there is no such thing as one monolithic experience for each ethnic group. Where and when you live can really change the shape of that story!

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