Thanks to the Internet and searchable, international databases, genealogy is more popular than ever. Anyone with a computer can use these new, powerful tools to quickly unravel the secrets of their family’s past.

Joanie Schirm always knew there was more to learn about her parents then they shared, so after they passed away — within two days of each other — Joanie embarked on an exciting adventure.

What she found was so remarkable that she knew she had to put their historic lives into writing, so, in her 60s, Joanie became a first-time author.

Joanie says her father was an amazing storyteller, who escaped Czechoslovakia in 1939 after the Nazis arrived. The young Jewish doctor eventually made his way to China where he met Joanie’s mother, who was born in China to American missionaries.

But after their deaths, she realized that family history was the just the beginning of the story. In an old trunk, she found hundreds of letters, all written in Czech, and as she had them translated, she discovered just how tragic her father’s life had been.

She shares her family’s amazing story and explains why she named her book, “My Dear Boy.” 

Growing Bolder recently went to Joanie’s house and she showed us some of these remarkable documents. Click here to watch the story. And to learn much more about Joanie’s research, click here to visit her website.