Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The Almost Lost Legacy
I hadn't spent a lot of time pondering why I haven't been able to find a lot of information on my Kuck ancestors. I mean I have found information and compared to other ancestors whom I know little about, I do have a lot but with hindsight, I now realize I should have had more. John Kuck and his son George Kuck pictured above are my third and second great grandfathers respectively. John had only one other child that survived to adulthood. George stayed around his father all his life where brother Henry took off for the wilds of Oregon to make his mark. So one might expect that George inherited a lot of the family information and belongings that typically get passed down from generation to generation. George only had two children of his own, one of whom never had children and the other my great grandfather Victor who had two children. One of those my great Uncle recently moved into a nursing home due to failing health and I've seen his photos which didn't have anything about the John Kuck family. In fact, he thought the Kucks came from the Von Klucks who settled Kluckville, Pennsylvania, a fact that I eventually set straight with my research. His brother, my grandfather, also possessed no other pictures other than the one above and even then, with the incorrect people listed in it. Neither has any relics of this part of the family. How does/did that happen?
One reason which I didn't realize before and it is an important lesson to pay attention to the time frame of the world in which our ancestors lived was that my 3rd great grandfather died when his grandson, my great grandfather Victor was away in France fighting a war. He was gone when his ancestor died and estate divided up which could explain the lack of knowledge of where it went or even where John Kuck was buried. The latter was a mystery until I discovered it through my research. But as I found out on my recent vacation to Florida during a morning chat with my grandfather, there was a much larger reason for the lack of photos and relics.
My great grandfather Victor, a man I remember well and have written about those memories in past posts, started out life as a farmer when he returned from the war. Unfortunately he leveraged one farm with another and when the bottom started falling out of the markets in 1929 as a precursor to the Great Depression, he lost them all. On a side note, he also lost a lot in stock and always blamed it on my grandfather who was in his mother's womb about ready to come out when my great grandfather who on the road, called his wife and told her to sell all the stock before the bottom of the market fell out. Naturally she was preoccupied with child birth, didn't, and my great grandfather Victor ended up with stock not worth the paper it was printed on. They bounced around different states and jobs for another 18 years before deciding after my grandfather left home to move down to Florida. They loaded up a car and trailer and also two more containers of stuff that would be freighted and took off.
As some of you may recall, my great grandfather Victor made it into Florida where he wrecked his car and trailer near some town in northern Florida, the name of which currently eludes me right now. While repairs were being made, the ended up falling in love with the town and living there for many years before retiring further south to Fort Myers. Now to the point of this entire post. Of the two containers that were freighted, only one would ever arrive. The other one was lost, never recovered, and you guessed it, was full of the family's more valuable possessions among which were family heirlooms and pictures.
Due to the loss of one container full of furniture and other assorted stuff, only one photograph of my 3rd great grandfather and one additional one of my 2nd great grandfather survived for me to find. Fortunately a few more surfaced through one of John's siblings which I have blogged quite a bit about but still meager by what it might had been had that second container made it to its intended destination. It has also motivated me a bit more to make contact with the descendants of George's brother Henry who went off to Oregon to make his mark. Perhaps he got some family stuff after all and perhaps it has made it intact through the years. Perhaps.