Season’s Greetings!

With my last post I completed the stories I’ve been able to find about all the children and descendants of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hinka Alexander as well as those of Seligmann’s brother Lehmann Goldschmidt and his wife Ranchen Frank. It has been a full year since I started blogging about the Goldschmidts, and I am not nearly done. Now I need to sort out what to write about next regarding  the remaining Goldschmidt relatives.

In the meantime, I will be taking a break from blogging for the next couple of weeks. So for now, I wish all who celebrate Christmas a joyous and happy holiday, and my hope for everyone is that 2019 will bring good health, happiness, and a world that is less filled with hate and corruption and more filled with love and justice.

Before I go for 2018, here are three short updates about other family history matters that happened this fall while I was focusing on my Goldschmidt/Goldsmith relatives.

Last month I had lunch with two of my Katzenstein cousins, my fourth cousins Marsha and Carl. Marsha and Carl are third cousins to each other and are descendants of Rahel Katzenstein and Jacob Katz. Rahel was the sister of my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein. We are all three-times great-grandchildren of Scholem Katzenstein and Breine Blumenfeld.  We spent three hours, along with Carl’s wife and my husband, eating and mostly talking and laughing and sharing our stories—past and present. Even though I did not know Carl or Marsha growing up nor did they know each other growing up, we definitely have bonded and are more than just cousins.  We are friends.

My cousins Carl and Marsha

Three descendants of Scholem Katzenstein and Breine Blumenfeld

I also recently heard from my cousin Jean. Jean is my third cousin. We are both great-great-granddaughters of David Rosenzweig and Esther Gelberman. Jean is descended from their daughter Tillie Rosenzweig and her husband Yankel Srulovici (later Strolowitz, then Adler), and I am descended from their daughter Ghitla Rosenzweig and her husband Moritz Goldschlager. Jean sent me this beautiful photograph of her great-aunt and my grandfather’s first cousin, Bertha Adler. I wrote about Bertha here and here. Bertha had been married to Benjamin Bloom, but the marriage did not last, and Bertha did not have any children. I am so delighted that I now know what she looked like. I love how simply elegant she looks. She was 71 years old when this picture was taken and died just four years later.

Bertha Adler Bloom, 1956. Courtesy of Jean Cohen

This is my great-grandmother Ghitla Rosenzweig Goldschlager, Bertha’s aunt. I definitely see a slight family resemblance. Do you?

Ghitla Rosenzweig Goldschlager

Finally, another amazing small world story. I recently posted about my cousin Arthur Mansbach Dannnenberg, the son of Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg and grandson of Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach, my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein’s sister. He was a pediatrician in Philadelphia, and his obituary described in detail what a dedicated doctor he had been.

I received a comment on that post from my fourth cousin Meg, who is a descendant of Abraham Goldschmidt/Goldsmith, who was also a sibling of Eva Goldschmidt and Sarah Goldschmidt. Meg commented that  Dr. Arthur Dannenberg  was the pediatrician who saved her sister’s life in 1946 when she was 10 months old and had meningitis.

What we don’t know is whether Meg’s mother Jean realized that their pediatrician was also her second cousin, once removed. Meg certainly did not know that.

Once again, merry Christmas to all who celebrate and happy New Year! Thank you all for continuing to follow me on my journey!

 

 

 

Break Time

For the next two weeks I will be busy with family—not the ones I research, but the ones who are still here, eating, breathing, and sleeping. Four generations together.

I will be back by August 1, but in the meantime, I will try and keep up with all the other blogs if I get the chance.  It’s hard to find a quiet moment with this crew around!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer.  Here are some photos of my favorite beach. No ancestors lived here, but since 1962, I have spent at least a few days each summer somewhere on this beach. I’ve walked many times along the beach, finding sea glass and shells and heart-shaped stones; I’ve sat on this beach many, many hours with my family—first, as a child, then as a mother, and now as a grandmother. I’ve spent hot days in the warm bay waters, tossed in the waves. I’ve watched storms come in across the horizon, turn the water a dark green, and bring the waves crashing against the sea wall. I’ve watched the tide go in and go out, twice a day, every day. I’ve walked two dogs up and down this beach.  I’ve held my husband’s hand on this beach, my children’s hands, my grandsons’ hands.  I may have more happy family memories from times spent here than I have of any other place on earth.

Through the years….(sadly, I seem to have no pictures on the beach itself before my kids were born).

1983

1985

1987

1988

2010

2016

2016

2016

See you in August!

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?

crossroads-303896_1280

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.

 

Family Time

Of course, doing genealogy means every day is a day of family time.  But this week and next will be time with the current members of the family—starting this week with my dear grandson Nate.

20160720_153353765_iOS

He’s been with us all week, and it’s been such a pleasure to be with this wonderful boy. He was my initial inspiration for researching my family’s history. When he was born six years ago, it made me think about the links back in a long chain that didn’t start with his parents, his grandparents, or his great-grandparents.  It started long before that, but I knew nothing, or almost nothing, about those earlier generations.  I wanted to be able to share their stories with him, but first I had to learn those stories myself.

So here I am, six years later, still working at it and planning to do so until I am done.  And as genealogists often say, we are never done.  Maybe my grandchildren won’t care about any of this—at least until they have grandchildren.  But just in case, I am sticking to it.

The blog may be relatively quiet in the next week or so, though I do have a few things that I am almost ready to post. (And I may also fall behind in reading other blogs, but I will catch up.)  My mission is far from complete, so for all those generations to come, I will return to tell the stories of the generations who came before them.

 

Time for A Break!

I will be absent from the blogosphere for a bit as I travel to see my college friends and then do some traveling with my husband.  I might post a photo or two if the mood hits, but no real posts until June.  I will try and keep up with comments and emails.

For those who are curious as to my destinations, here’s a genealogy quiz: I will be visiting a place where one of my grandmothers spent most of her childhood and then a place where one of my great-grandmothers was born and raised.

No cheating by my family and friends who know my destinations—this quiz is only for those to whom I’ve not revealed my plans.

Hope to catch up with my fellow bloggers when I return.  And when I do, I will finish the story of the Hambergs, tie up a few other loose ends, and then move on to the next major project, my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein’s family.

See you in a bit!

A New Look

You may have noticed a new look when you clicked on the blog.  I have changed the “theme” to a new one for a few technical reasons.  I think this is a little easier to read, but if not, let me know.  The links should be more visible now.  The font is a little larger.cropped-100_0357.jpg

But the main reason I changed it was that my old theme did not have a feature I wanted—the ability to select a particular image to use as the thumbnail when I post the link to another site such as Facebook.  I am hoping this will now work.  This one is a test so I am inserting some random images and then selecting one to be the
“featured” image so I can see if it works when I post the link to the blog.

Sepia Remy and Nate kissing

Please let me know what you think of the new look.

Walk In New York - NYC Vintage - Lower East Side

Bessie Brotman

Bessie Brotman

Why I Love the Internet: The World Wide Web

Internet

Internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Internet continues to provide me with so much more than access to information.  Through my blog, Ancestry, Facebook, Google, and ordinary old email, I continue to find and be found by cousins all over the world.  In the last two weeks, I have seen my network of cousins expand and greatly enrich my knowledge and understanding of my family history.  So a few updates.

First, I heard from a relative of Margaret Swem, the wife of Felix Schoenthal, my Boston relative, and she filled me in on the background and family of Margaret.  Quite interesting information that I will add to the post about Felix and his family.  Once again, having a blog proved useful because Margaret’s relative found my blog by Googling Margaret Swem’s name.

Second, an Israeli second cousin, once removed, of my husband found me through my tree on Ancestry.  I haven’t even done very much yet on my husband’s family, but through this new cousin we’ve learned a great deal about the Shrage family in Zabarazh, a town once in Galicia but now part of Ukraine.  It’s been very exciting learning from our new Israeli cousin.

Third, I’ve heard from a descendant of Hettie Schoenthal, one of Simon Schoenthal’s younger children about whom I’ve yet to blog.  This new cousin has shared some of Hettie’s own remembrances of her life as well as other stories.  I am looking forward to incorporating some of those into the blog as well as some photographs.

Fourth, I’ve been in touch with two British relatives of the UK Selinger cousins, relatives of Julius, Alfred, and Frederick Selinger, all of whom married my Cohen relatives.  I then put the two of them in touch as they had not previously known each other despite being cousins.  That gave me great satisfaction, and now all three of us are hunting for answers about the connections among some of the Selingers.

Fifth, I am in touch with a Goldfarb cousin and hoping to learn more about this recently discovered branch of my Brotman family line.  I just received a huge package of information that I need to go through, enter into my tree, and research.

Sixth, another Hamberg cousin just contacted me this morning.

And last but definitely not least, my cousin Wolfgang in Germany sent me new information about our Seligmann family line.  He and his mother received four new documents about our ancestors.  The first reveals two more generations back in the line of Jacob Seligmann, my four-times great-grandfather from Gaulsheim, Germany.  I will be blogging separately about these documents and what they revealed in the next few days before I return again to the children of Simon Schoenthal.

English: internet Español: internet

English: internet Español: internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turning on my computer in the morning has become a real treat, waiting to see who has found me, who has responded to my inquiries, and which cousin has new information to share.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my good fortune.  Sure, there are still many people who don’t reply to my emails or Facebook messages, but for every person I have found or who has found me, I am so deeply grateful.  The family tree keeps growing, and with it so does the world-wide web of fascinating and generous people whom  I can call my cousins.

Quick Blog Update


I am deep into researching both the Schoenthals and the Hambergs, and I am not sure which way to turn first.  The resources are so rich, and I keep stepping further into both lines, going backwards, forwards, and sideways!  I've been so fascinated with the research that I've not had much time to write about what I am finding, but I will get there.  Right now my biggest question is---do I finish researching the Hambergs or spend time writing about the Schoenthals?  I am not good at being torn in two different directions.  I've got one post ready to go for tomorrow about the Hambergs, but I think after that I will go back to the Schoenthal side.

Anyway, in between digging through German birth, marriage, and death records, I realized that I had neglected to update the family tree pages on the blog.  I’ve now updated the Seligmann family tree page and added a family tree page for the Nusbaum and Dreyfuss lines.  I have also added a Schoenthal page, subject to more updating (as are they all), and eventually I will also add a Hamberg page.  These pages can all be found in the header at the top of the page.

Now back to struggling between more research or some writing….

 

It’s My Blogiversary! Time to Reflect

It was two years ago tomorrow that I posted my first blog post.  It is also the 120th anniversary of my grandmother Gussie Brotman Goldschlager’s birth tomorrow.  And tonight is the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and a long fast day for those who observe.  That’s a lot to process in one day!

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing the blog for two years (although I really started doing genealogy about two years before that).  In some ways it feels much longer because it has become such a big part of my daily life—-doing the research, thinking about it, pulling my notes together, writing up the posts, editing them, adding photos and documents, responding to comments and questions, and reading the blogs of so many other wonderful people.  The blog has provided me with so many more benefits than I had imagined back in September 2013 when my cousin Judy got me started by setting up the template on WordPress.  Not only has it helped me organize my thoughts and record my research, it has made me focus on not just collecting names and dates on a family tree but on the larger questions: who were these people and what were their lives like? Where did they live, and what were those places like? What historical and economic conditions affected their lives? What legacy did they pass down to their descendants, and how has that affected the person I am today?

The blog also has been a magnet that has allowed others to find me.  Every time I get a comment from someone who just happened to find the blog while searching for their family history, I am amazed by what the internet can do. Imagine if my cousin Wolfgang had not found my blog?  I would not know even half of what I now know about the Seligmann family.

jeff gussie amy 1955 abt

My grandmother was born 120 years ago, and she died just over forty years ago.  She was the only grandparent I knew very well, and I loved her very much.  She had a hard and sad childhood, which scarred her in many ways for life, but with her grandchildren she was loving and funny and affectionate.  We probably brought out the best in her.  As I continue to write my novel about her life and that of my grandfather, I hope I am doing her justice and honoring her memory while also capturing the sad underside to her life.

Amy Gussie and Isadore

And as for Yom Kippur, it’s a day for me to contemplate the year gone by and the mistakes I’ve made along the way.  Although I try my best to respect and honor all my relatives, living and dead, when writing the blog, I always worry that someone will be offended or upset by something I have written.  If so, please accept my apologies.

Also, I hope I have expressed my appreciation to all those who have helped me with my research, and I hesitate to make a list for fear of forgetting someone who helped me months ago and whose name might slip through my ever-worsening memory (getting older does really stink).  But let me try to remember as best I can and thank some of those who have provided me with so much research support in the past year:

my wondeful cousins Lotte Furst, Wolfgang Seligmann, Bob Cohn, Steven Seligman, Suzanne and Stephen Michel, Pete Scott, Phyllis Rosner, and Angelika Oppenheimer,  all of whom have provided me with photographs, stories, and insights into our extended family in the past year (as well as all those who helped the year before);

my amazing contacts in Germany who helped me find and understand documents and other resources: Dorothee Lottman-Kaeseler, Matthias Steinke, Helmut Schmahl, Beate Goetz, Gerd Braun, as well as Ralph Baer here in the US;

my DNA tutors, Julie Mulroy, Svetlana Hensmann, and Leah Larkin;  the many people in the Tracing the Tribe and the German Genealogy groups on Facebook, and the members of the GerSig listserv on JewishGen. Also, thank you to my friend Rene Reich-Grafe for answering my endless questions about Germany, its history, culture, and geography.

To all of you, if I have not expressed my gratitude before sufficiently, I apologize.  You’ve really made this journey so much more meaningful and so much more interesting.

Finally, to my family, friends, fellow bloggers, and other readers, thank you for being there.  I would do what I am doing even if no one was paying attention, but it is so much better knowing that others are interested in these stories about people who really were strangers to us all.

For all of you who are observing Yom Kippur, may it be an easy fast and a meaningful and thoughtful day.