My dad’s grandfather, which would have been my great grandfather, only spoke German because he was from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. None of my dad’s brothers or sisters learned a word of German. I thought I would try and I failed miserably. So that unfortunately kind of got lost. Some of my relatives in Switzerland started researching our heritage and found out that my great grandfather was a bootlegger. He made moonshine whiskey.
My Dad’s family is from Switzerland and England and my mom’s family is from Ireland. My dad tells me this great story about my great-grandfather, who came through Ellis Island and didn’t really have the proper papers but just had instructions and a doctor’s bag and he looked like a doctor so everybody just let him walk right through. I recently got to go to Ellis Island in New York and get the records and had them all printed and gave them to my father for Father’s Day.
He thought it was really sweet.