The winter solstice has passed, and so every day will bring more light. We sure do need it this time of year. The lights added by Hanukkah and Christmas—the candles and the trees—help us all to see beyond the darkness and the cold. And so I wish for all of you a season of lights and a time to find joy and hope and happiness.
I also want to express my gratitude for all the help I’ve received this past year. I cannot express adequately how grateful I am to those cousins who shared family photographs and letters and writings so that I could see the faces behind the names I’d researched, read their own words, and get a real feel for the personality of the individuals whose lives I described. Thank you to Ron, Steve, Sue, Lisa, Celena, Gordon, Ashley, Tracy, Ginger, Sharon and Ezra, Trisha, Maxine, and all the others who shared photographs, stories, letters, and memories of their family members. I hope we all get to meet in person someday soon.
My cousin Wolfgang continued to discover and share with me information about my Seligmann ancestors and their families, which led me to the memoirs of Mathilde Gross Mayer, which inspired me to start learning German. I am so looking forward to going to Germany and meeting Wolfgang and his family and testing my German.
I also am deeply appreciative for all the help I’ve gotten from the members of numerous genealogy Facebook groups and from my fellow genealogy bloggers. Whether it’s helping with research or translation or reading and commenting (and finding errors) on my blog, the genealogy village continues to amaze me with its generosity and dedication.
Looking ahead to 2017, we must continue to do what we can to protect those who are most vulnerable in this country and across the world. Looking backwards as much as I do, I’ve seen what small-mindedness, prejudice, selfishness, and greed can do to a person, a family, a society. As we anticipate 2017, we still need to learn from the past so that we can ensure the best future for everyone and for our world.
On that note, I wish you all a joyous holiday season—whatever holiday you may be celebrating. I find it particularly sweet that this year the first night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve coincide as if the universe is telling us we all came from one source and whatever rituals or traditions or beliefs we have, in the end all that matters is that we honor and respect and love each other despite those differences. May 2017 be a peaceful and healthy and happy year for everyone!