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I was born in a Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. I started doing our family genealogy over ten years ago after having surgery and being told to stay in bed for two weeks. Now I am hooked on it and I hope to pass down what I've learned about our family to those who will come after me. Like many other family researchers I've become obsessed with discovering all I can about our ancestors and their stories. Stories such as a two family members who were in the civil war, fighting against each. Another story that tells of two children who died on their way to Ellis Island. On my grandmother's (Maria Balko) first trip to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia, her one and a half year old brother (Istvan Balko) died while on the journey and was buried at sea...he never getting the chance to step foot on American soil. On her second trip over she lost her little sister, Anna Balko who was just 9 years old. She died about a month after arriving. She was detained right after her arrival (due to a fever) along with her sister and their mother (Anna Balko). Little Anna was put into the hospital and died from measles...never to see the wonders of the United States. After years of searching I finally found her resting place in Maple Grove Cemetery, Kew Gardens, New York. I am researching my Traum branch of my tree. I was told all Traum's are related but I have yet to confirm this. I have known my Traum's to be German Catholic but I am finding Jewish Traums all over the place in my research. You can find some of my information on facebook at Traum Genealogy. Our ancestors are our heroes as they were the ones who wanted a better life and had the courage to leave all that they knew and had; their loved ones, homes, churches, towns, occupations, etc. and traveled by boat, sometimes for weeks to come to the United States of America hoping to make a better life for themselves. I feel that in some small way we honor them when we search out who they were and their stories for these are the true stories of hardships, survival, life and death. May they know we cared enough to thank them for their courage, strength and sacrifices so that we, their future family would have a better life.

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