Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Family Folk Lore

My Oma (Oma means grandmother in German) was born in 1921 in Germany. She lived there until after WWII and then fled from east Germany to Iceland with her three children. In Iceland she married my grandfather, a fisherman who had a beard Santa would be jealous of!
Anyways, no one knows who my Oma's dad was. It is something that everyone in our family wants to know more about but there is really not a lot we can do except make up stories about what might have happened. It has turned into quite the novel! Oma had the exact same name as her mother. She was raised by her grandparents, as their daughter, while her mom (my great grandmother) fled to Denmark, and then later Iceland. Her birth certificate looks as though it may have been altered or forged because she has almost the same birth date as her mother (except for the year). It's like her mother tried to make it look like they were the same person.

From what I gather this is a photo of my great grandmother. She looks much like the rest of that side of the family.

And here is my grandmother, my Oma.

When I was younger I would hear stories (family folk lore) about how Oma's dad may have been a Jew. It makes sense since Hitler was getting pretty popular around the time Oma was born, and with the whole being raised by her grandparents as their daughter thing. But I would look at photos of Jews and no offense but my Oma's nose is not Jewish... and she didn't get her nose from her mother either. So I was never convinced. I mean, it might be true, but I don't think so.

Last fall I was looking at some photos a friend posted on facebook from her Korea trip when I saw a photo of an older woman and thought to myself "wow, she looks like Oma" and then all of a sudden I was like.... holy snickerdoodles! what if my Oma was part Asian? So I decided to see if that could be a possibility. So I dug up some old photos of Oma, and googled some half Asian photos on the internet and did some history research. Turns out the second largest group of immigrants in Germany in 1920 were from China (google it) and they were mostly University students, the same age as my great grandmother when she got pregnant (if I am wrong please correct me and you are welcome to send me info and sources for info if you would like, it would be much appreciated!).

Then I started gathering little facts that made this new story about my Oma's origins more.... believable.... I guess.
1. Our family LOVES sushi!
2. Mom had surgery on her eyes a couple of years ago (don't tell her I told you about this) and it turns out the kind of surgery she had is among the more popular kinds of plastic surgery in Asia, to make the eyes look more western or something.
3. Oma had black hair and brown eyes while the rest of the family had lighter hair and blue eyes.
4. Oma was short, very short!
5. when I put my face in one of those face thingies on the internet that tells you which celebrities you look most like, they always tell me I look like a bunch of Asian famous people I don't know...
6. We are very much into technology, alternative medicine and rice

ok, yeah, most of that stuff is just fluff. But its a fun thought, being part Asian. This would mean I am the same amount Asian (don't know which country in Asia though) as I am German and Danish.... I don't know if there is any room left to be Icelandic.... ohh well.

This is a photo of me and my Oma, I miss her!


Miss Understood said...

Wow! That's so interesting. It must be like fun trying to find these things out.
And lol... maybe it's just me but on the picture there that you posted with your Oma, you really look a little Asian if you think about it!

Btw.. love the way you write.. like.. "holy snickerdoodles"

lmt said...

this is cool. I am totally into learning about my grandparents too. I love your thoughts about it all, and the research... good job!

utkarsh..the zealous traveller... said...

nice.. :)

janet h said...

hey but the banner of your blog (where we see your face) is you right?! and honestly...hm.. i thought you were asian LOLLLLLL. after reading this, i then discovered you're NOT! how interesting!

MiriamR said...

cool stories :) sucks that your sort of at a dead end with that. Have you found anything about her in the German archives or anything? They took really good records of everything during the war.

Anyways off topic, are you on pinterest? You should do it. Its great for inspiring yourself to do well what ever you need to do that day.

Unifer said...

haha you guys make me smile :D
We were thinking about getting a DNA test done (it would be best if my mothers younger brother had the DNA test since he has the same parents as my mom so we could then be sure that the genes were coming from the right place, if you know what I mean. And because I guess its easier to read male DNA or whatever... I don't understand that stuff... my dad tried to explain it... and I tried to understand it... didn't really work though.
@ Janet h: hahah that is so funny! people often comment about my eyes being "special" or whatever, I guess because I am super tall, I have a big nose but my eyes sort of look Asian.
@Miriam: I have never heard of pinterest, I guess Ill have to google it :D and we haven't really checked any archives either. that is a good idea though. We sort of have ideas about what we could do, like check where greatgrandma was when she got pregnant and see if we can find records of immigrants in that area, that is if the DNA test can tell us we should be looking for Asian ancestors... its sort of like looking for a needle in a haystack. but its way exciting though! also, we might be able to find people who knew my grandma... but its sort of something that needs to happen soon, because people aren't getting any younger!
thanks for your comments dudes and dudettes. HUGS!

Hera said...

Hérna er góð síða http://www.familytreedna.com/
Hafið þið reynt að fá nýtt fæðingarvottorð fyrir ömmu þína frá Þýskalandi?
Núna er bara að byrja á þessu öllu saman. Ég er Family History Consultant í deildinni okkar. Það er bara stórkostlegt hvað maður finnur er maður byrjar.
Gangi þér vel.
'eg vissi ekki að allir gyðingar væru með sama nef. :)

Unifer said...

takk Hera! nei ég held ekki að allir gyðingar séu með sama nef heldur :) en þeir eru vanalega með stærra nef en Asíubúar. Svo var ég að horfa á Glee þátt þar sem var mikið talað um að gyðingar eru með stórt nef og svona... áhrif fjölmiðla alveg að fara með mig! :D