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Research :: Letters from Michio


In between a few knitting projects this weekend, I'm also going through many old letters and photos from my uncle. Although he passed away several years ago, I've kept over twenty years' worth of letters he sent me and combined with the details my mom has been able to share, I've filled in some gaps.

Sallie was immensely helpful in providing me with genealogy information from my father's side of the family -- but mostly my grandmother's (Snodgrass) lineage. I think I only have two generations of my father's information.

The biggest obstacle in learning more about my Japanese ancestry is that I don't know the language. I can't speak it, read it or write it. I do have our koseki, but because my mom married a non-Japanese, her husband and children (me and my sisters) wouldn't be on the koseki. And for those of you wondering the obvious, my mom can't read the koseki either -- after more than 5 decades in the U.S., it's increasingly more difficult for her to read Japanese and understand it when it's spoken.

I will be checking some local resources, but I'm also going to "ask the blog" (It worked before!) if anybody could put me in touch with somebody who can read Japanese. The koseki (I have a certified copy) probably covers our family's history from the mid-1800s to the late 80s. I do have some scans of it if that would help.

And now, back to some knitting. If all goes well, I'll have knitting to share this afternoon.


I have someone, I will email you seperately.

This is so cool! What a wonderful piece of family history.

My daughter, Sarah, has a friend at church who can read Japanese. Let me know if you want me to contact her.

The letters must be such treasure to have. It is like a puzzle or mystery to solve !but much more. The Samurai lineage is quite intriguing. Thank you for sharing! Fascinating!

Family history is always fascinating - it is definitely worth tracking down - I wish I had done this before all the relevant people were no longer with us.

Oh, to have all that history there and not be able to interpret it...

Have you tried contacting the local University? I'm sure they have a language dept and some grad/ Phd student would love to have extra money.

We had to do that at work with a Chinese patient. luckily, the resident came over from another hospital with her Attending (M.D. boss) permission to help us.

So wonderful that you have this information.

Holy Moly, you are a descendant of a Samurai!

I can't wait to see what you discover. Please keep us posted.....

That is a tough (and rewarding) challenge. You're so lucky to have some sort of records!

it's hard to tell you how much the photo of this writing touches me.

sorry i can't help with the reading japanese.

but i'm glad you are researching this and finding people, history and answers.

i have a blank on one side of my family history because of family relocation and well kept secrets. it's okay somethings you have to leave but it fills me with warmth to see this handwriting of someone who cared and wanted to pass on the information.

How cool to have these letters! I hope you find someone to help you with the Japanese, and that you share with us what you find out!

Happy New Year, Janet!

I hope that you can find someone who will help you translate! How great is that...the have record of your full family history!

Like Debbie, I was thinking of a local University. I will admit total ignorance on what and how a Koseki works - but were you and your siblings left off of it because of your mother's marriage (as in they wouldn't have let it happen?) or is it just because the direction of the home was going to be more or less non-Japanese so they figured what's the point? Is it a document that can be ammended for future generations?

Wow, a samurai. Do you know who/where? Or am I being daft and that's one of the things you are hunting down?

wow! this is so cool! how awesome to be able to trace your heritage...i always wish that someday i will be able to do this also...untill then i can be happy for you and live through your excitement! good luck on everything..seems like you are on the right track.

Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing …

Thanks for a good read. I will be returning.

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