Family History Blogs

100th Anniversary: Anna Chuda and John (Ivan) Babij

  • June 15, 2016
100th Anniversary:  Anna Chuda and John (Ivan) Babij

On May 14th 1916, more than one hundred years ago, Anna Chuda and John (Ivan) Babij were married in Saint George’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on East 7th Street in New York City.

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A Letter From The Front: 1945

  • January 14, 2013
A Letter From The Front: 1945

I was sifting through family archives and ran across a newspaper clipping from the local Croswell paper dated sometime in or after May of 1945. In the clipping were articles on local servicemen and their recent overseas postings, hospital admissions, awards and correspondences including the publishing of a letter that Captain Peter Babij sent to Grampa & Gramma Babij dated May 8, 1945 - VE Day. Here is the text of that letter.

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All The Farms

  • August 8, 2008
All The Farms

All The Farms By Anne Spearman Chavez August 8, 2008 Gramma and Grampa Babij were married in New York City. Grampa’s first name was actually Ivan. He always called Gramma “Hainka” which is a version of "Hanna". Could it be there were not just two “Anna Chudas” and our Gramma’s real name was “Hanna?” (Editor's note: There could be more than just two, however we must understand that "Anna" is a derivative of the given name "Hanna", so maybe Grampa was just alluding to that fact when he called Gramma "Hainka".)

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Alternative Realities

  • August 21, 2013
Alternative Realities

___________________________________________________________________ Do We Dream Of Sheep? Say the name or cite the works of Philip K. Dick and thoughts immediately time warp to futuristic dystopias, internal and external, where dark forces vie for control of a world that may not even exist.  Dick was definitely a deeply confused and conflicted individual evidenced by the number of times he married (five) and his frequent bouts with depression and drug addiction.  

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Babijowa Hora (Babij Mountain)

  • November 13, 2008
Babijowa Hora (Babij Mountain)

In Western Ukraine, close by the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains lies a series of mountain ridges [Гора] bordering the town of Dolyna [Доли́на] which transliterates in English to “valley”. One of these so-called "Horas" is called Babijowa Hora (Бабійова Гора) or Babij Mountain.  Apparently, this hilly area called "babyeeka" was named after a WW II resistance fighter whose surname was Babij (Бабій).

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Dark Places In Past Light

  • January 8, 2019
Dark Places In Past Light

_____________________________________________________________________ FIN de SIECLE Two Thousand Eighteen was a year filled with both joy and sorrow; buoyed by success yet scarred by tragedy; suffused with hope but plagued by pessimism; our Future obfuscated by humanity's obsession with personal gain often at the potential risk of species Omnicide.  We have become the personification of an Ouroboros...obsessed with the Past, its lessons ignored, trapped by our own hubris in a repetitive cycle of self-annihilation.

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DNA Test Results

  • February 18, 2017
DNA Test Results

So....I received my DNA test results from MyHeritage.com (an Israeli company - parent to Geni.com) and the results are .... middling to mildly surprising. The key point to keep in mind is that results of this kind only show the population groupings with whom I (we) share DNA with. Click on the featured image for a close-up of the genetic map.

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DNA Test Results Redux

  • January 22, 2019
DNA Test Results Redux

_____________________________________________________________________ The DNA results have been updated as of 5 January 2019 from 23andMe and they seem more in line with what has been published previously by relatives on the Blashill side and what we have been finding in the Ukrainian archives in Lviv/Ternopil Oblasts. This is not to say that the MyHeritage results were inaccurate (they did have a very cool map display), but the 23andMe analysis is much more detailed and scientifically oriented - if one needs to go there. There are maps, that we originally characterized as "graphically challenged”...

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Hard, Not Happy Times

  • September 26, 2010
Hard, Not Happy Times

You know I got to thinking. The perspective of (cousin) Anne's story is from Aunt Stell who was 6 years younger than my mom (Olga Babij Balboni).

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Kathryn Bly’s Quilt

  • February 9, 2013
Kathryn Bly’s Quilt

Kathryn Bly's Quilt - 1906 Unseen for more than 60 years! This is a quilt made by Kathryn Bly in 1906, more than 100 years ago. It has not seen the light of day for at least 60 years - the day that Kathryn died and the quilt subsequently passed on to Ma (Elsie Joyce Blashill). Ma kept the quilt, along with other precious heirlooms like her wedding dress, Dad's Navy officer's blouse, a 48 star Anerican flag, and a boxed set of silverware, in one of those classic chests made of mahogany lined with cedar that graced the living room of the house on Kinmore Court. The "real" story is the tale...

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Portland To Portland

  • July 29, 2014
Portland To Portland

____________________________________________________________________ ALONG THE ROAD OF LIFE I recently received an email response from niece Erin Osgood regarding an earlier message I had sent her announcing my upcoming visit to The Strait. In it she expressed her regrets that she and her family planned to be out of town taking their annual vacation to Maine on the same weekend I would be coming in. Maine. The last time I was "out East" in Maine was a little more than four decades ago, in the Summer of 1972.

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Ruthenia, Galicia and the Babij Surname

  • July 15, 2018
Ruthenia, Galicia and the Babij Surname

_____________________________________________________________________ Cousin Sue Roth sent me an email recently concering the origins of the famous Hollywood director Billy Wilder. It seems Mr. Wilder (nee Samuel) was originally born in the town of Sucha, Galicia then a province of Austria Hungary. So Mr. Wilder was a Ruthenian by birth. Sue termed the revelation "weird".

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The Old Country: In Nomine Patris

  • September 3, 2018
The Old Country:  In Nomine Patris

___________________________________________________________________ FICTION AND FAITH. Upon reaching senescense, we tend to look back on our lives and begin to ask questions of ourselves. Questions that maybe we should have asked of our forebears when they were alive; like where did we come from, and who were we, and the ultimate; what have we become now [not that they would have come up with answers either]?

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The Old Country: Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast

  • September 26, 2017
The Old Country:  Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast

Annunciation (The Savior) Church, a 15th Century Carpathian Wooden Church. ____________________________________________________________________ Dolyna [Долйна]. Well if the itinerary for Day One was ridiculous -- four towns, 350 kilometers or more round trip, and roads that were in places more like obstacle courses -- Day Two would prove to be insane. We're talking about a tour of Sub-Carpathian Ukraine that involves at least 400 kilometers of driving in one day -- a weekend day at that -- smack in the middle of August which is high tourist season for this part of the world - not the smartest...

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The Old Country: Lviv

  • October 1, 2017
The Old Country:  Lviv

Monument to Taras Shevchenko, Lviv. ______________________________________________________________________ DAYS THREE & FOUR Having survived the first two days of my insane itinerary, my guide Diana Borysenko had scheduled us for two relatively relaxing days in Lviv consisting of various historical, museum and church tours, a vist to several unique cafes for coffee and confections, the sampling of local cuisine, and an evening at the Opera House to attend a "gala" presentation of the inaugural season of the LvivMozArt Festival.

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The Old Country: Salt Of The Earth

  • August 11, 2018
The Old Country:  Salt Of The Earth

__________________________________________________________________ A GRAIN OF SALT. Here's a word association experiment -- or narrowing the scope a bit we might call it an Ukrainian Haiku since it encapsulates a few uniquely Ukrainian terms however decidedly non-traditional in structure: Salt >> Chumak >> Galicia >> Ruthenian >> Ukrainian >> Salt of The Earth. Now there is an expression that was once popular among the precariat in the Detroit area where I grew up: "back to the salt mines" which, since Detroit was built over a large glacial deposit of salt,...

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The Old Country: Ternopil Oblast

  • September 23, 2017
The Old Country:  Ternopil Oblast

____________________________________________________________________ UKRAINIAN [Українська]. The earliest recollection I have of hearing the ethnic appellation Ukrainian applied to our family name Babij was in the Fall Quarter of my first year of college during the Kennedy Era when I received a telephone call from a woman (whose name unfortunately I do not recall) inviting me to a gathering of Ukrainian-descendant students to be held at an apartment in the campus married housing complex. The woman went on to describe what typically went on during such occasions: an exchange of tales...

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USS Gilligan DE 508

  • July 11, 2013
USS Gilligan DE 508

A few weeks ago we had a gathering for dinner. During the conversation that evening the discussion turned to patriotism and how each of us defined or felt about it.

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