Where Am I? At A Crossroads

I am once again at a crossroads in my genealogy research.  I have, for now, found as much as I can find about the children of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg.  And I have also exhausted, for now, the resources available for learning about the family of Amalia Hamberg.  There are more Hambergs and Schoenthals to research, however.  Levi Schoenthal had (at least) two sisters—Mina who married Marcus Rosenberg and Fradchen (Fanny), who married Simon Goldschmidt.  Both sisters immigrated to the US and settled at least for some time in western Pennsylvania.  I have written about them some, but there is much more to do.

There is also a lot more to do with the family of Henriette Hamberg, my great-great-grandmother.  Although I have written about some of the other Hambergs—Amalia, Charles/Baruch, Abraham, and Moses—who came to the US in the 19th century, there were many more who stayed in Germany, and their family story is one I need to research more deeply and write about.  It won’t be an easy one to research or to share.

And then there is also some additional information about my Seligmann relatives that has more recently come to light.

On my mother’s side, I have done a fair amount of work on the Goldfarb family, but have yet had a chance to write about them.  They were the cousins I discovered when my cousin shared with me my aunt’s baby book and my grandfather’s notebook.  I have been hoping to get to their story for quite a while, but wanted some closure on the Schoenthal family first.

And then there are my remaining two great-great-grandparents on my father’s side—Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt, parents of my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein, who married Isidore Schoenthal.

First, I have a few sad notices to post about recent losses in the family.  And then? Where do I go next?


Do I finish the Schoenthals by focusing on Fanny and Mina? Do I complete the Hamberg line?

Do I turn back temporarily to the Seligmanns and fill in a few gaps?

Or should I move on to my next two paternal lines, the Katzensteins and Goldschmidts?

Or do I turn to something on my mother’s side—-the Goldfarbs?

This is why people say you are never finished with your family history.  As for where I turn next, I am going to give it some thought and see where I land.  The compulsive side of me says stick with the Schoenthals until I am done.  The less compulsive side (there is no non-compulsive side) says break free, don’t be so logical, jump to something else.  Let’s see which side wins.


36 thoughts on “Where Am I? At A Crossroads

  1. Is one of these a line you have kept putting off for later? Maybe it’s time for you to work on the one you’ve been ignoring. It’s hard when you get to the point where there is no plan. Which line would you want to work on if you weren’t blogging?

    Liked by 1 person

    • All good questions, and no easy answers. I’ve done a lot of research on Mina Schoenthal Rosenberg’s family with LOTS of dead ends. Very frustrating. The Goldfarbs I have compiled a lot of information but nothing in depth and I’d like to start doing that. The Katzenstein/Goldsmith line has been researched in depth by others, so I have the dates and facts, but need to dig deeper. So they are all hanging out there, waiting. If I weren’t blogging? Hmm. Probably Goldfarb or Katzenstein since they are the ones I’ve yet to explore in depth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I forgot to mention the Hambergs. Most of them stayed in Germany, making the research harder. Also sadder since many were killed in the Holocaust. That’s the line I have been “avoiding.”


      • Sounds like the Goldfarbs may win out. I kind of stray away from lines others have done in depth research on OR work on them to see if I can get access to documents to prove the research was well done.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, me too. The only reason to stick with the paternal lines (Rosenberg, Katzenstein, Goldschmidt) is for continuity. Do you jump around between lines when blogging? I like to finish one line before moving on to another. Just a little anal compulsive!


      • I did my paternal line from my Dad to my 4th greats, one generation at a time in 2014. Same for my Mom’s and my husband’s but only to the 3rd greats in 2015. This means I have SOSA (also known as Ahnentafel or Stradonitz method) numbers 4 through 127 and 196 to 219 done for my children. I wanted to continue in this order but the missing ancestors in generation 8 for my children (128-255 minus the ones I’ve done) are mostly for families in Luxembourg and Germany. I’m waiting until my genealogy society opens our new library in Sept or Oct so I can do research there on the days I have “librarian duty.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Have you blogged about these people? I tend to research and then write so I remember how I found what I found and so I can also ask questions as I go. I know many people have different approaches, but so far, this is what has worked for me. So far….

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wrote about them for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Many had been researched but while writing the posts I either came upon new information or asked some questions. The European families are well documented but the America before 1850 or so are a bit sparse.

        Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I think the lawyer in me is so used to linear thinking that I have a hard time going with the flow. It’s interesting to hear how others make these decisions. Thanks, Debi!


  2. As for me I have no plans and go with the flow. As soon as I see something shinny off I go. As a result I have many different research projects going at one time. Yes I know all the bad points about this (they have all visited me at least once) but it does have an up side also. It works for me, but then my blog is of a different slant than yours. Well to be truthful when I figure out what my slant is perhaps I can be more linear. Oh oh what’s that shinny glint over there?…….. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An embarrassment of riches! The wonderful thing is that by pursuing one path you’re not eliminating the others, just postponing them. Which path do you find yourself thinking about the most?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ruth, for your input. The problem is that I think of all of them. It just depends on the day. I am thinking that I will explore each one a bit more without blogging and meanwhile try and write some shorter posts on various subjects until I get inspired!


  4. Hi, Amy – it strikes me, you are not short of ideas, but finding a focus is the issue, and I can sympathise on this. I write basically for myself with only minimal interest from my family. I am a bit of a flitter, jumping from one line to another. On my “to do” list for a long time are three major family narratives – for my mother’s side (well advanced and needs a final spurt); my father ‘s side which seems rather vague and boring, so enthusiasm is lacking; and the story of my husband’s family. But I never seem to have time to get down to the writing, instead blogging to various unrelated prompts. I like the idea of writing ancestral profiles on a blog which can then form the basis for a narrative, should you want to go down that route. But at the end if the day, I would choose the family line that you most identify with and the one that generates your enthusiasm and commitment. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan. I do follow the narrative approach, telling the story of each line from past to “present” (really, usually no more recent than the 1940 census). It’s interesting to see how others do this, and your approach seems much more popular than mine! Thanks again for your thoughts.


  5. I see nothing wrong with working on several line simultaneously provided you have a simple way to keep track of the narratives while researching. In terms of blogging I find that readers respond well to a series of postings about the same line rather than switching between different branches.

    One suggestion I have is to research as the spirit moves you and follow up on where the hunches take you. Keep your offline notes up-to-date and let them sit a while before preparing the blog postings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, EmilyAnn. Your approach sounds similar to mine. I am thinking that my readers, especially my family, will get lost if I hop around too much, as will I. I am trying to write about one family at a time—how were they shaped and affected by the experiences of their parents, grandparents, etc? I can only see that if I focus on one family (in the large sense) at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I share your concerns about the presentation, Amy. That has happened to me in the past. One way to solve that is to post what I call an “interlude series”. This is a bridge between the past and future presentaitons. The work required in crafting such postings is light. It can be as simple as informal postings about family stories or photos. You can even factor in the community and neighborhoods that were the backdrop and do some local history on that. The idea is to keep the readers engaged while you’re formulating the approach and focus for the next installment on a particular family.

        Liked by 1 person

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