My Father, Gorge Kundurdziev, was born in Gevgelija, Macedonia, in 1923, went to "Bulgarian" Schools, and served in the Bulgarian Military in WW2.
I've written about him, on this blog, a few times:
St. Andrew's Russian Orthodox Church, My Father, and Me -- Reconnecting with the man in a photograph, and memories of my childhood
For a brief time, in the 80's, I corresponded with a cousin by mail, and she helped me get some birth and death records out of the country before Yugoslavia broke up, and all correspondence ended in 1990.
I profoundly regret never talking extensively to Dad about his past, and only have memories of the stories Mom told of what little he told her.
Getting those documents in the late 80's led me to become the Family Genealogist and, until now, that effort was by neccessity, and circumstance, focused on my American Roots.
I have 3 photos of my Father in his Uniform from the war, the 1st photos, as far as I know, ever taken of him in the United States, his Immigration File, over 80 photos sent by his relatives to him over 35 years, 6 letters in Macedonian (Bulgarian?), from 1982, from my Aunts, and Cousins, and letters in limited English from a cousin, and Aunt, in 1989.
Almost all of the photos have short notes on the back, but they are in Macedonian or Bulgarian, and the 6 letters from 1982 are also in one of those languages.
I need help translating all that, and with understanding how to research in Yugoslavia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and The Ottoman Empire, and am taking steps in this regard.
Why my Mom kept ONLY those letters I have no clue, but the ones in English, in 1989, were in response to the death of my Father in Dec. 1988.
It has suddenly become very important for me for one simple reason...
The Aunts and Cousins, after surviving years of Yugoslav turmoil, discovered the Internet about 4 years ago, and apparently discovering my 1st blog, where I wrote about my Father, tried to communicate with me.
It was confusing, on all sides, because of their limited English, constantly changing e-mail addresses, unfamiliar names (and unfamiliar cousins, too!), limited responses to my efforts to confirm who they were, and my suspicion based on stories I've read about Europeans who take advantage of Americans researching their roots.
1 person, though, managed to convince me because she had info, and mailing addresses, I could believe, and match to what I knew.
I wrote her, and my Aunts.
She responded, they did not.
I responded again, and never heard from anyone that I could believe, again.
Maybe the letters got lost in transit, I do not know.
My Mother always said that things happen for a reason....
In late 2007 I closed that old blog, and started a new one, re-posting my old stories about my Father, but not using his name, or mine.
As the months went by I noticed Macedonian readers in traffic stats, and one of my Sisters was contacted by someone claiming to be a cousin of the same name, the same person I used to correspond with, and who I trusted a few years back.
This past week my sister finally convinced to me to trust again, and I got an e-mail from this "Cousin" asking for a picture, and for contact.
I sent a picture, and links to pictures on my blog, of my Father, and asking for something similar in return.
The recipient of my e-mail spent 5 minutes exploring my blog links, and then yesterday sent an e-mail to my sister, with info I believe, and a very old photo, probably from the late 1960's.
I NOW BELIEVE. ;-D
There is apparently a 70+ year old sister of my Dad, in tears at this apparent breakthrough in communication, and I can understand why.
The picture includes my Grandfather, and Grandmother, and there is a match with photos that I own. ;-D
Somewhere, the spirits of my Father, and his parents, are smiling, I'm sure of it. ;-D
***UPDATE - 4/13/09***