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Topic: What got you interested in the Romanovs?  (Read 60357 times)
Reply #30
« on: March 29, 2004, 06:39:58 PM »
JM Offline
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      You are very lucky to have had such excellent teachers. Unfortunately for myself and the rest of my History10 class I know more than the teacher. It's quite sad. I had to correct him because he said Louis XIV was the one who gave aid to the American colonies during the American Revolution. He also said the dauphin was taken to a peasant family to be raised so that he could never claim the French throne. Talk about fairy-tales! Grin
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Reply #31
« on: March 29, 2004, 07:50:41 PM »
_Rodger_ Offline
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Here's an article for your teacher.

http://www.bioforensics.com/conference/mtDNA/badmtdna.pdf
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WARNING!!!!  This post may be hazardous to one's sense of things.  Read with caution.
Reply #32
« on: March 30, 2004, 12:39:20 PM »
Crazy_Claire01 Offline
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Hi, my name's Claire, age 15 and  when I was 13 my mum brought a book about Queen Victoria's Family, I first got interested in Kaiser Wilhelm , then when I had learned all I wanted about his life, suddenly I got hooked on Princess Alix of Hesse's life and then that's what drove me to learn about these rich, misfortunate people. When I read Greg King's The Life and Times of Alexandra Feodorovna, it all seemed like a horrible fairytale but now I can accept the awful truth.
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If you enjoy reading something, keep reading it!!!
Reply #33
« on: March 30, 2004, 01:38:11 PM »
Janet Whitcomb
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Welcome to the discussion board, Claire!  Queen Victoria's children and grandchildren are a good starting point. I have a theory that once a person can understand all the complex families relationships and individual stories re: Victoria and Albert's descendants, that person can understand almost anything!
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Reply #34
« on: March 30, 2004, 02:24:49 PM »
Olenka Offline
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In our Biology class we have these brilliant thick green textbooks that have a whole chapter on haemophilia, and a page devoted to Victoria's family tree, showing how the geneatics were linked to all the royal families of Europe. Unfortunately, we don't use them, as we now have more 'specific' (ie, more boring!) textbooks...'related to the course'. Phfa...pig and filth,,,why can't we have the interesting ones?!
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This 'Olenka' is Olga of Greece, not the Romanov one. She married Prince Pavle of Yugoslavia at Belgrade in 1923, and had 3 children called Aleksandar, Nikola and Yelisaveta.
Reply #35
« on: April 02, 2004, 10:38:24 AM »
Melissa_J Offline
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My junior year in high school ( I went to a private school), we had a new teacher who loved Russian History and started a class for students who wanted to learn something new and had fulfilled all their history credits already and this would be extra credit. I have always loved history and said I would do it, no question. In the class we learned the history, about the culture and a little language also, now I just can't stop reading more and more - I love it! I'm currently getting my master's in education so I can be a history teacher and pass it along. Cheesy
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~ M
Reply #36
« on: April 06, 2004, 07:51:57 AM »
Antonio_P.Caballer Offline
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Hey Thomas,
Endless thanks for sharing this wonderful information about your family with us. It´s so sad you lost your gand mother so soon. I loved my grand parents and learnt a lot through them. If your g. mother knew the grand duke and was invited to the Neues Palais(and this is just like a dream!), perhaps your great grand mother or great great grand mother knew Princess Alice! Some of us look for books describing the palaces and you only needed to ask your grand mother, it´s amazing. I feel a profound admiration for Princess Alice, don´t you? Did your family have some opinion about Viktoria Melita? I´m sorry to say that i´ve always disliked her...not only because of her attitude towards Alix but also because of behavior as grand duchess of Hesse and mother.I think she failed to do her only work in the Grand Duchy, only willing entertainments and never fulfilling her official duties. Thanks to God Ernst and Eleonora married...
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Reply #37
« on: April 06, 2004, 08:57:31 AM »
Janet Whitcomb
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Thomas, so glad you've joined us!  My grandparents all died before I was able to formulate really good questions, but I did have a close and ongoing relationship with my maternal grandmother until her death at age 79, when I was 15, and I treasure the things that she did tell me.

It sounds just like the Grand Duke that he would have been so kind and complimentary of the little girl who grew up to be your grandmother. And how fortunate you are to have such terrific souvenirs!
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Reply #38
« on: April 06, 2004, 11:53:39 PM »
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My experiences may inspire someone else.  One night, in autumn of 1976, I saw an ad in the TV Guide for the old program "In Search Of..."-an oval picture of the IF, with the line, "Did this Princess escape a massacre?"  I was intrigued and watched-the show on Anna Anderson; before this I'd had no interest in the Romanovs.  That night, by one of those odd moments of synchronicity, the late Saturday movie was "Nicholas and Alexandra," which I watched.  Next night, the CBC in Canada ran the 1956 "Anastasia" film.  So I got 3 Romanov programs in 24 hours, at the impressionable age of 12.  And was hooked.  I went to the library and got everything I could find.  One Sunday night in November, 1976, I finished reading "Nicholas and Alexandra."  I set the book down, and said to myself, with all the certainty that you have at that age, "I'm going to write about her."  And that was that.  I started reading more, buying books, researching-on and on it went for the next 15 years (half of which were spent coming to terms with learning how to write what I wanted).  And facing the usual assortment of friends, family, teachers-all wondering what I thought I was doing and why I was wasting my time.  When my bio of Alix was published, I felt vindicated, and haven't looked back as I've continued to publish other books.

The lesson: I firmly believe anyone, with enough passion, conviction, and above all-drive-can do what I've done.  I didn't know enough when I started to believe the people who said I couldn't do it, and so I always tell groups of students I often speak with today the same thing-follow your dreams, and if YOU believe, you'll see them come to fruition.  Which gets a bit away from how I got interested in the Romanovs, but is a message so central to what I believe that it's inseparable from my involvement.

Greg King
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Reply #39
« on: April 07, 2004, 12:26:31 AM »
Penny_Wilson Offline
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Quote
The lesson: I firmly believe anyone, with enough passion, conviction, and above all-drive-can do what I've done.  I didn't know enough when I started to believe the people who said I couldn't do it, and so I always tell groups of students I often speak with today the same thing-follow your dreams, and if YOU believe, you'll see them come to fruition.  Which gets a bit away from how I got interested in the Romanovs, but is a message so central to what I believe that it's inseparable from my involvement.

Greg King


I think this is absolutely true.  I can remember Marvin Lyons telling me that the absolute best piece of history he ever read (and he's read a LOT!) wasn't written by an Oxford don or a multiple PhD residing in an "ivory tower."  It was written by what he called "an Iowa housewife" who wrote it at her kitchen table over a period of twenty years -- two or three hours a night, while her family watched tv or did homework.  She did all her research by mail, sometimes waiting months for pieces of information to arrive.  I never did ask him who she was or what her book was called (duh!) -- I was just so inspired and excited at her story of success that I guess I forgot!

I got interested in the Romanovs at a party.  It was 1974 or 75, and I was seven or eight.  At the time, we lived just outside of New York City, and my parents were active in the social world of the ex-pat British.  This night, it was their turn to throw the party, so I was bundled down into the rec room (wood panelled walls, huge red lava lamps, lime green shag carpet -- we were SWISH!) to watch TV.  "Nicholas and Alexandra" was on, and at various times during the show people would drift in and out.  One lady stayed to watch.  We started talking (I was never shy) and in the silence after the last horrible scenes (probably the first time I ever saw death so vividly portrayed), she said, "They were my family, you know -- distantly."  And they were.  She was a connection of Princess Tatiana Konstantinovna, by that time, Mother Tamara.  By the time she mapped it all out for me in a genealogy (first time I saw one of those, too!) I was just thrilled at how close the Romanovs seemed.  

I think I've always been excited by the six degrees of separation thing.  When Antonia Fraser's bio of Charles II was published, I remember seeing her on a tv interview, talking about her interest in Charles.  She described a very old professor at Oxford (or maybe Cambridge) when she was there:  His father's grandfather often recalled an old children's nurse who lived in their house when he was a child himself (she must have been a faithful old retainer or something) and she could remember being a child and seeing King Charles II playing with his dogs in St. James' Park.  I was SO enchanted with that -- it made it so that Charles was touchable... It was very cool!  Cool
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Reply #40
« on: April 07, 2004, 03:50:09 AM »
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Hi !
Certainly because of my Russian connection (no, I am not a descendant of OTMA or Alexei  Tongue), I began to be interested in the Imperial Family and I think that the first book (in French) I bought and read about them is : "Enquête sur le massacre des Romanov", by Marina Grey. Then I bought the Ferrand books, the memoirs of Princess Paley (a moving reading) and the memoirs of Prince Yussupoff (I think I have been able to read between the lines and it was great...).
A few years later, during my studies, I had the chance to work on the Pierre Gilliard fund (the family photographs). My best souvenir of my studies and a deeply moving one, too...
So I never stopped to be interested in the Romanovs since my first reading.
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Reply #41
« on: April 07, 2004, 11:25:36 AM »
Janet_Ashton Offline
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OK, perhaps I'm going to be the only person to admit to this, but I bet I'm not the only person for whom it's true....
What got me interested was hearing Boney M's song "Rasputin" at a party when I was ten! :-)
Hated the song, hated the lyrics even more when I got to know them, but was intrigued as to what they were singing about....then a couple of years later after Lord Mountbatten was murdered I remember reading a coffee table book about him which my grandmother owned, and seeing a picture of his Russian cousins, and thinking, "Huh - well - I didn't know they were THAT closely related!" - I suppose it made what had seemed a rather distant and strange wolrld seem very familiar to me....so I got out the encyclopaedia and started looking people up...


Janet
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Reply #42
« on: April 07, 2004, 12:43:06 PM »
Katia Offline
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Hello everybody!
I'm new here, but I've been visiting Alexander palace time machine for years.
My mother has always been interested in royal families and she also owned Massie's book Nicholas and Alexandra. I first read it in 1973 or 1974 when I was 13 or 14 years old. I was hooked!The other royal families didn't impress me much, but the Romanovs were something else! The drama - especially the illness of the tsarevich Alexei, and the revolution and the murder of the innocent children - was horrible, but at the same time very, very interesting. Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia looked so heartbreakingly beautiful in the photographs and I felt such a pity for them for they died so young. I have read so many books of the family since then and I've collected books and photographs of the family whenever it's possible.
Last year I had a possibility to visit Sankt Petersburg for the first time and I also visited the church where the remains of the family are buried. It was an emotional moment. I bought a beautiful book "Nicholas II. The imperial family" during my visit.
It's nice to read how everybody else here has been hooked! BTW I'm from Finland, next to Russia!
Katia
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Reply #43
« on: April 07, 2004, 12:53:51 PM »
Jane Offline
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Great story, Janet!  Smiley

Well, let's see.  It's been so interesting for me to read this thread to see what drew other posters to the Romanovs.  I'm not sure what it was that first sparked my interest, but I can't remember when I wasn't interested in the Romanovs!  My grandfather taught history so perhaps I inherited my interests from him.  I recall reading Massie's "Nicholas and Alexandra" fairly early on, then about 20 years ago or so (oh my word, is it that long already?),  I came across an edition of the "Romanov Family Album"--forward written by Mr. Massie, of course, and I devoured it, fascinated by the sepia-toned photos and the "Edwardian" splendor of it all.  I still have that book in my  (now much larger) collection, worn and a bit tattered, but treasured nonetheless.   My "Russian Book Collection," which is ever-expanding, now covers Imperial Russia, the USSR, Faberge, architecture, etc.  It's great to be able to interact with others who share the same inclination.  I'm sure there are books at my local library that have been checked out to me five times or more (some people use drugs, my addiction--thankfully--just books).

Jane
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Reply #44
« on: April 08, 2004, 10:40:40 AM »
Janet Whitcomb
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Like a lot of us, I became interested via the Nicholas and Alexandra phenomenon of the late sixties and early 1970s.  I confess that I first saw the film, partly because I was a history fanatic, and partly  :-/ because one of the stars shared my name! But I was far more interested in British history at the time, and all I knew about Russia was what my history teacher had told us, what I gleaned from Dr. Zhivago, and of course all I'd heard about the Cold War and its trappings of mutual fear and distrust.

Seeing Nicholas and Alexandra, then, was a revalation!  And although I can now spot problems with the film here and there, I will always feel a profound grattitude to all connected with its production.  Robert Massie's book (which I consider a "bible" of sorts) came next, then I spent the following years absolutely obsessed, collecting information wherever and whenever (and often to the detriment of my proscribed university studies, alas), watching films, taking classes and attending museum exhibits, and ultimately being part of a tour to Russia and Ukraine led by my former Russian Studies professor.  The "Six Degrees of Separation" concept intrigued me long before I even heard of it, in fact, since my prof had actually met and interviewed Alexander Kerensky during his own university days.

It's wonderful to know that the multi-layered story that has obsessed my thoughts for so long also has been important to others as well.  So far we've learned that teachers and writers have been inspired by their initial exposure to the Romanov saga, and through the years I've learned that people such as Jackie Kennedy Onasis and Judy Garland also were fascinated.  Perhaps current or budding statesmen (or stateswomen)  Wink also exist who have taken the story to heart and will at some point use their knowledge of what went wrong with the world in general and Russia specifically, plus their own skills of diplomacy, to prevent a World War III.  One can only hope.
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