Lidija Sambunjak, professional genealogist

A postcard that revealed a family secret

Old pictures and old letters can sometimes be a very good source for researching our family history. They can contain pieces of information like addresses, pictures of ancestors we never met, handwritings of our loved ones… They can also contain data about our ancestors of which we were completely unaware of.

zatvor-razglednicaI recently got a copy of an old postcard that was sent to me by a client. She wondered if I could translate few sentences written on it. The posctard was written by her long gone uncle from Osijek to a relative who had lived in Serbia.

The picture on the other side of the poscard showed her mother, a certain child from the neighbourhood and two dogs. As I was translating from Croatian into English the words of courtesy written on the postcard, a sentence at the very end, just prior to the signature, caught my attention.

>>I’ll write to you again when you’ll write to me and when you’ll ask me why the mother is in jail…<<

prisonIn jail? My client never knew that her mother was in jail. Family lores were perfectly silent of any such occurence.

And so a simple postcard became a reason for a whole new family history research. What happened to the mother that earned her imprisonment back in 1921? That is yet to be discovered.