Stories about my Armenian ancestors in Turkey—and even their early years in America—were rare. Many family members who never made it to America (or France, or Argentina) simply vanished.

There were tragedies and mysteries. In many cases, families never learned what happened to their missing members; they disappeared and were never heard of again. I tried to use modern search methods for some history of my grandfather’s parents, siblings, and other family members. Very little was revealed.

My family wasn’t unusual. The focus was on thriving in the here and now. And on appreciating the opportunity to be in America–not just to survive, but to thrive and contribute to a community.

I learned more from my elderly cousin than from searchable records. His stories touched on family lore—possibly accurate as far as they went, but with no hard evidence. And yet I hung on those stories, and built some of them into my historical fiction, Armenian  Dances.

Knowing about our family’s past generations—who they were and where they came from—anchors us. Knowing people who knew them opens doors to greater understanding of who we are. It humbles us—could we have survived and accomplished what they did, against such odds?

What’s your family’s story?

About Dawn Essegian Lajeunesse

I, like so many others, am a novelist struggling for recognition. My last three novels, THE EYES HAVE IT, IN HER MOTHER'S SHOES and STAR CATCHING, are available in e-book format through Amazon and other formats by request here or on my website. AUTUMN COLORS was my first novel and is still available through Amazon and B&N in multiple formats. My early writings are women's fiction, one also suitable for YA. My work-in-progress is a historical fiction about the Armenians who settled in Troy, NY in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Come visit me at my website: www.dawnlajeunesse.com.
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