Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nothing Left To Do But Genealogize

John Tetaz learned at his father's deathbed that his ancestors were from Switzerland. While in Europe on business in 1970, he went looking for his relatives. He was told that a 92-year-old woman living near Zurich was a relation, so he knocked on her door, and was met by a "witchy-looking woman with no teeth."

The witch was not her, but she directed Tetaz to the room where his elderly cousin lay.

"I explained in English that I couldn't speak French and I said my ancestors came to Australia and I wondered if we might be related," Tetaz says.

"This old lady pointed to a typewriter that was on top of a cupboard, so I climbed up and got it and she started to type the history of her family."
Genealogy seems to have been the default activity in the Tetaz family. John once discovered a paper written by an uncle during World War I, that began: "My name is Charles August Tetaz. The Germans have taken over my dyestuffs plant and I've been expelled for the war. I have nothing to do, so I will study my family history."
Tetaz says: "I can tell you when I read this my hair stood on end, because he had the same background that I had." Tetaz was then a product manager at a dyestuffs company. [Link]

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