It’s time to take stock and figure out where I am and where I have been and, of course, where I am going next. I have “finished” my research on the Dreyfuss and Nusbaum families, and when I say “finished,” I know that as with all my family lines, I am never finished. I always have more to do—whether it is trying to go back further in time or trying to connect with descendants. There are a number of unanswered questions, as there always are and always will be. I will write up something to bring some closure to what I know about these two family lines within the next several days. But for today, I just want to think about where I am more generally.
I have now done many of my father’s paternal lines. Starting with the Cohens, I’ve also covered the Seligmans, the Schoenfelds, the Nusbaums, and the Dreyfusses (Dreyfi?), and, of course, all the other names that came with later generations: Sluizer, Weil, Selinger, Bacharach, Wiler, Simon, Meyers, Dinkelspiel, Hano, and so on. I’ve also missed a few lines. I haven’t yet focused on the line that starts with Hart Levy Cohen’s wife, Rachel Jacobs, or with Jacob Cohen’s wife, Sara Jacobs. I haven’t looked at all at the line that begins with Voegele Welsch, wife of Amson Nusbaum. And I am sure there are other maternal lines I need to explore. Of course, those are often the hardest because the names have disappeared from the family, and each of those ancestors dates back close to 200 years ago. But eventually I will get there.
And next I will explore my father’s maternal lines, the Schoenthals and Katzensteins: more German Jews who came to Pennsylvania in the 1840s or so. Who knows what stories, what adventures, what heartbreaks I will discover along the way.
But before I turn to the Schoenthal and Katzenstein families, I have several other questions to research and address. The Seligmann family tree continues to grow both backwards in time and horizontally, thanks to my cousin Wolfgang and all the research he has done. Their stories continue to fascinate and also horrify me. I am also in touch with the daughter of Fred and Ilse Michel, and she has shared stories and photographs with me.
There are also lingering questions regarding the Goldschlagers, now that I’ve found two other families with that name and roots in Romania. We are hoping to hire a Romanian researcher to help us learn more.
And finally, there are those ever elusive Brotmans. Although I am not putting any more hope (or much time) into using DNA as a tool to find my Brotman ancestors, I still have hope that something will turn up. Just this past week someone contacted me, asking about Chaye Fortgang, Joseph Brotman’s first wife and the mother of the first four Brotman children, Abraham, Sophie, David, and Max. He has Fortgang family from Grebow, a town less than ten miles from Tarnobrzeg and also the town that David and Abraham Brotman gave as their home on the ship manifest when immigrating to the US. Perhaps by researching the Fortgang family, I will also learn about Joseph Brotman and his family. In addition, I am focused on the Brotmanville Brotmans, hoping that that line will lead to more answers.
In addition, I will be visiting Tarnobrzeg in person in just about a month. We will be hiring a guide who also does genealogy research, and we will be joined by my newly-found cousin Phyllis, the niece of Frieda, the woman who matched my mother as a close cousin through DNA testing. Phyllis and I have chosen to believe that our grandmothers were in fact first cousins, and we are hoping to find some evidence to corroborate it. So although I am not writing about it on the blog, much of my time right now is spent researching for this trip. Once I am there, I will share my experiences on the blog, so stay tuned.