I love old photographs – be it ones from my personal history, or those of others. I have a fascination with social history, and so I created the Step Back In Time Linky for bloggers to join in. I love seeing the people and places in a photograph, and hearing the story behind it!
The man in this photograph is my great-grandfather. I remember this photo being on the mantelpiece at my grandmother’s house (I called her Big Nanny) when I was a little girl. I always knew that this was her father, but I didn’t know anything more than that. I always thought it was photograph from him in the military for some reason, but far from it. I phoned up my mum this morning to ask her about him and to see if she knew anything.
It turns out, that this photo is cut down from a larger one – the other people that were in the photo, along with her father were my Big Nanny’s 3rd step-mother, 2 half-sisters as well as herself. My mum told me that Big Nanny didn’t like her step-mother, and that was why she cut it down.
During our chat, mum started telling me what [little] she knew about her mum’s family, and it turned into quite an emotional conversation where we were both crying!
Big Nanny was born in 1913, less than a year before the start of World War I. She was born to Anne & Joseph Maliskas. My great-grandmother died (from flu) when Big Nanny was was a baby, so, she never knew her mother at all, and no photos exist of her. Big Nanny’s name was Maryte (Mary) and she was born in Marijampolė, Lithuania. To the best of my mum’s knowledge, she had a sister called Matilda, and two brothers, called John and Vincent. She also had half brothers and sisters, but mum can’t recall their names.
Joseph Maliskas wasn’t a rich man, and worked as either a farmer or a labourer, as they lived in the countryside. He sent my grandmother out to work in the fields when she was as young as 3 or 4! He was very strict, and didn’t really have anything much to do with the children, which I guess was typical of the time period. Mum puts this photo of him in possibly the 1920s, as she said that Big Nanny was a teenager at the time.
When my grandmother came to England after getting married, she had always planned to go back home to Lithuania – but never did. She never saw any of her family again, and my mum said she would see her mum cry everyday because of it. That really broke my heart. She also said that Big Nanny had an argument with her father, which was something you would never do in those days, saying to him that she would never treat her children as badly as he treated his…
What also breaks my heart is that my mum has no family that she is aware of – any relatives were in Lithuania, and her mum and sister both died (1985 and 1988 respectively), so she doesn’t have anyone to talk about the old photographs and memories with, and can only piece together the little things that she does know.
That is one of the reasons for starting this series on my blog, I think it is very important to know where we came from, and whilst finding out about old photographs from my mum can be very emotional, we both enjoy looking at the very old photos and talking about them.