Last Thursday I was fortunate to be able to Zoom with thirteen of my Blumenfeld cousins—Omri, Richard, Jim, Steven, Milton, Kenny, Alan, Debbie, Simeon, Simone, Matthew, Max, and Michael. Some members of the group had known others for their entire lives; others of us had never met in person or otherwise before the Zoom. Most of the group are my fifth cousins—we are all descended from Abraham Katz Blumenfeld and Geitel Katz, who lived in Momberg, Germany, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
We span the globe—Omri from Israel, Richard from Switzerland, and the rest of us from the eastern seaboard of the US from as far north as Maine all the way to Florida. We come from a range of backgrounds—some of us (like me) having roots in the US since the mid-19th century, many of us the children of Holocaust survivors, and three of us born outside the US, one in Israel, one in Canada, and one in Italy. Our religious backgrounds also range from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity. Almost all of us fall into the Baby Boomer generation.
Yet despite our differences, our commonalities far outweigh those differences. We were moved by Omri’s lighting of the Hanukkiah from Israel and our combined voices singing Maoz Tzur. We shared stories of our own lives and the lives of our parents and grandparents. We found much to talk about and to learn from each other, including family heirlooms and family history. For some, learning that they had cousins, albeit distant, was a wonderful revelation because their own family story had not been connected to the larger Blumenfeld family tree.
My only regret is that in the midst of all the warmth, laughter, and stories, I forgot to take a screenshot of all of us on Zoom together. You will have to use your imagination. But here at least is a chart showing the descendants of Abraham Blumenfeld and Geitel Katz to the sixth generation (for most of us, our parents’ generation). It’s quite remarkable to see just how many people one couple generated through their children, grandchildren, and so on.
Overall, it was a wonderful hour for me—to share with those I’ve found through my research (or who found me through my blog or through other cousins) is the best reward of doing family history research. It helps to keep me motivated to continue the search.
UPDATE! Both Omri and Matthew did capture a screenshot of at least part of the group, so I can add these to the post.
Thank you to all who joined in. And I hope all my cousins, friends, and readers had a happy and meaningful holiday, whichever one you celebrated, and I wish you all a new year filled with love, peace, light, and meaning.