TO THE FATHERLAND...WITH MY FATHER!
Where would I choose to go? To Germany, the place of my family's roots. I would purchase a companion ticket so my 87 year-old father could join me (guide me, actually) on a journey to discover our beginnings -- clues to which we've found on and through the Web. Something we've wanted to do for a long time.
Our destinations: Berlin and Lychen, in search of church records and personal interviews with locals in an attempt to discover links to our past. I would document our travels and discoveries through daily diary entries, JPEGs, audio and video files. (Canon GL1).
While "Wrege" is a rather unusual surname, I never gave our ancestry much thought when I was growing up in Louisville, Kentucky. I'd heard tales of my grandfather's education in an all German-speaking school in New Albany, Indiana, and of my great grandfather immigrating to America in the eighteen hundreds to escape conscription into an army that was to fight Russia's Czar. Or something like that.
My 87 year-old father (who uses his WebTV every day) got me interested in our family genealogy, inasmuch as the Web provided such a wondrous tool for discovery. What better use of Internet technology than to bring family together, or at least find out where (and whom) you came from. My father, who speaks enough German to get us around, says to begin with the church records of local births.
By registering the domain wrege.com and putting up some bits and pieces there, I have been contacted over the years by Wreges from various parts of the country. I guess searching on our own name is fairly common when your surname isn't. Some contact me and provide their own traces of the family tree's shadow. It hasn't come together yet. And that would be the goal of this quest.
WHY SHOULD ANYONE CARE?
I would hope that most folks would identify with a personal search for family origins. As a nation of immigrants, the vast majority of our families originated overseas. The Web has afforded such a powerful means by which families can knit their past with their present and fully appreciate the dissolution of borders that a family network represents.
Beyond the search for family origins, this trip would be my first exposure to Germany and the German culture. My first impressions would give me inspiration to compose the daily diary entries and, one hopes, provide an entertaining travelogue for your audience.
ABOUT DON WREGE
Professional background: http://www.eyesongs.com/eyesongs/resume.html
Writing samples: http://www.mediawhore.com/Wrants/
Thank you very much for your consideration,