It’s time for my periodic review of what I have learned and where I am going in my research. I keep a Word document with lists of things I need to do, but sometimes I need to step back and see the whole picture, then step forward and see the details.
On the Brotman side, I think I am in fairly good shape. I have found descendants of all but one of Joseph and Bessie Brotman’s children, although I am not in touch with all of the descendants. The only missing link is Sophie Brotman; I’ve had absolutely no luck finding any records for her. I don’t know when she arrived, whether she married and, if so, who she married, where she lived, where she died. And sadly, I don’t think I ever will. There is no one left alive to ask about Sophie; none of the descendants I’ve spoken with know anything about her. Perhaps one of Abraham’s descendants might know something, so I will contact Paula, the one Abraham descendant I’ve been in touch with, and see if she has ever heard of an aunt named Sophie.
The big research area remaining for me on the Brotman side is finding out whether we are related to any other Brotmans, in particular the Brotmans who settled in Brotmanville. I am in touch with a few of Moses Brotman’s descendants, and one is a genealogist, so we plan to collaborate and see whether we can find the connection between our families. If we can, that may also lead me to other clues about where in Galicia Joseph and Bessie lived and to clues about other family members.
On the Goldschlager branch, I think I am also in fairly good shape. I have found the descendants of Moritz, my great-grandfather, and of Betty and David Goldschlager, my grandfather’s siblings, and I know about the lives of Betty and David and their children. I’d love to go back and research Moritz Goldschlager’s family, but since his parents died when he was a young child, there does not seem to be too much more I can learn. My Romanian researcher did not find anything more related to my Goldschlager relatives, so I may have reached the brick wall with respect to that line.
On the other hand, the Rosenzweig branch, my great-grandmother Ghitla’s family, still has a number of unanswered questions. I have been able to learn a great deal about most of the children of David and Esther Rosenzweig, my great-great-grandparents, but Zusi Rosenzweig remains a mystery. Her descendants were not responsive to my inquiries, so I may have to find another way to get closure on Zusi and her son Nathan and her husband Harry Mintz. I’ve had better luck with Tillie Rosenzweig Strolowitz Adler and her children and grandchildren and have been in touch with two of her great-grandchildren. There are still some loose ends there, but for the most part I have been able to find a fair amount about the children of Tillie and Jankel and even about their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As for the family of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig, I still have some open questions, mostly about the daughters Lillie, Lizzie and Ray. This week I spoke with one of Sarah’s granddaughters, and I am hoping that she will also be able to help me find out more about her grandmother’s sisters, but as of right now, I have not been able to find any of the descendants of Lillie, Lizzie or Ray.
So that’s where I am in this journey to find my mother’s family. I feel as though I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, though there is still plenty of tunnel to get through.
What do I do now besides continue to search for answers to the remaining questions? I have a number of thoughts.
For one, I want to continue to build the relationships I’ve made with all my new cousins on both sides of my mother’s family—the Brotmans and the Goldschlager/Rosenzweigs. Having found them, I don’t want to lose them again. Facebook and email make this so much easier, but it will still take effort. I also want to see if I can organize a meeting for the Rosenzweig/Goldschlager cousins like we had for the Brotmans earlier this month.
I also want to pull all my research together into a format that will make it more easily accessible. I’d like to tell the story of the Brotmans, Goldschlagers and Rosenzweigs as a chronological story so that someone can pick it up and get the whole story without having to jump from blog post to blog post, searching for the next discovery. That is a larger project, and I don’t even know how to start it, but that is what I see as my ultimate goal—to write the book that tells the stories so that our descendants will have it and know who their ancestors were.
And then there is the next huge research task: my father’s side. That will be a very different research experience. His family has been in this country for about fifty years longer than my mother’s family. They came from Germany and from England. They settled and lived in other places: Philadelphia, western Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Mexico, among other places. There will be a lot more American and European records available, which will make the task both easier and harder. I’ve already traced one of my father’s lines back to the 1750s or so in Amsterdam, a full century earlier than I’ve been able to trace any of my mother’s relatives. I look forward to this research with some trepidation because of the size of the task ahead. But I am also excited by the idea that I have more discoveries, more stories, more understanding of my family and of myself ahead of me.