I’m looking forward to participating in this new blog challenge by Blogher for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). The theme is “Roots,” and I hope that with these posts, I’ll learn more about my ancestors and the culture that has influenced me, and certainly inspired me to write The Red Kimono.
Here’s today’s prompt:
Monday, June 3, 2013
How many generations can you go back in your family? What do you know about your oldest ancestors?
At this time, I’m only able to go back two generations. From dialogue with my cousins, family documents and Ancestry.com, I’ve learned some fascinating facts about my maternal grandparents’ beginnings in America.
My Maternal Ancestors:
Great grandfather: Hachitaro Muto (Arrived in San Francisco ,June 21, 1915 at age 44)
Great grandmother: Yone Muto (Arrived in San Francisco, June 21, 1915, at age 42)
Grandmother: Yoi Muto (Arrived in San Francisco, 1915 with her parents, Hachitaro and Yone, at age 19)
Grandfather: Fukumatsu Sasaki (Arrived in America, 1904, at age 19)
Uncle: Yoshio Sasaki, born April 22, 1916 in Needles, California. First born son of Yoi and Fukumatsu, and the first-born American, Uncle Yoshio was my Miyoko’s (my mother), oldest brother. Miyoko is the youngest of nine children born to Yoi and Fukumatsu.
So, this was new information for me, that my grandmother, Yoi Muto Sasaki, arrived in San Francisco from Japan with her parents. I always assumed she arrived alone, as a picture bride and that my grandparents’ marriage had been pre-arranged.
But, thanks to the Ancestry.com research done by my cousin, Randy, (first-born son of the first-born American in the Sasaki family, Yoshio Sasaki,) I have learned that there are other possibilities, which leads to other questions.
Sadly, our grandparents died before I or most of my cousins were old enough to hear stories of their past. But, my cousin, Steve—Randy’s younger brother—recently scanned several photos from our family ancestry. With these photos and Randy’s research, bit by bit, we are learning more.
Here is some of what Randy has shared:
A ship passenger list indicates that on June 21, 1915, Yoi Muto (our grandmother) arrived in America with her parents when she was 19 years, 8 months old. Each carried only one piece of luggage. Their destination was Needles, California.
Family stories indicate Fukumatsu Sasaki was already living in Needles and worked on the railroad. We are unsure whether or not Yoi and Fukumatsu knew each other prior to actually meeting in Needles, but they were married in Needles, and ten months after Yoi’s arrival in America, their first son, Yoshio, was born on April 22, 1916.
The new Sasaki family–Fukumatsu, Yoi and their son, Yoshio–moved to Sacramento, California, where Fukumatsu became a sailor on a passenger ship. The family remained in Sacramento, where eight more children were born, my mother, Miyoko, being the youngest.
I am grateful that on my father’s side of the family, my grandparents lived long enough to tell old stories of our family history. Those stories continue to be passed down by my uncles and aunts. I’ll admit, when I was younger, I took those stories for granted.
Now, hearing the fascinating tidbits of my mother’s family history, I miss that I could not hear these kinds of stories from her parents.
Thank goodness for the Internet. Not only do sites like Ancestry.com provide invaluable information in researching a family’s genealogy, it makes it much easier to stay in contact with relatives and share these treasures.