Why I Love the Internet: The World Wide Web


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.

A Distributed Denial of Service Attack on Ancestry.com and other Genealogy Sites



There was an attack on ancestry.com by hackers yesterday, taking down the entire site and all of its associated sites including FindAGrave, newspapers.com, and many of the databases shared by JewishGen.  That means I could not access my tree or do more research except on the FamilySearch website.  Although I have my tree backed up on my computer, I had not backed it up in the last week or so (stupidity on my part), so it was not up to date.

What have I learned from this?  I am too dependent on ancestry.com for storing my family history information.  Yes, I do download copies of all the photographs and most of the documents to my computer, and they are also accessible through FamilyTreeMaker, the family tree software I have on my computer.  All my blog posts are also stored in Word format on my computer as well as on WordPress, the host of this blog.  But what if my hard drive is destroyed? What if WordPress is attacked?  How do we protect our photographs and documents as safely as possible?  I can’t imagine losing everything that I have worked so hard to find and collect, so if others out there have suggestions, please let me know.


Ancestry.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ancestry.com was up very briefly this morning, so I was able to update my hard drive version of my tree with Family Tree Maker.  But it is down again now, and I am just wondering how much at risk my saved files and research are and will be in the future.




Mystery solved, Questions Answered!  The Internet Is Magical



Internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The internet is magical.  I’ve hit a lot of brick walls lately, but I’ve also found some goldmines. Recently I’ve been able to find a number of my third cousins—grandchildren of my grandfather’s first cousins.  I had already located Joe Rosenzweig’s grandchildren and one of Rebecca Rosenzweig’s grandchildren, and now I have located one of Abraham Rosenzweig’s grandchildren, Gerry.

I’ve also located other third cousins previously,  Tillie’s great-granddaughter Jean and her family, and many second cousins: David Goldschlager’s grandson Richard and Betty Goldschlager Feuerstein’s grandchildren Barry, Karyn, Robyn and Gayle.  It’s all quite remarkable.

Gerry and I had a wonderful conversation this morning, sharing information and family stories.  Gerry did tell me that the mystery photo with the Yiddish inscriptions was not a picture of his grandmother Rebecca and her grandsons.  He does not know who the people in the photograph are, but he is certain it is not his grandmother.  Also, since Irving had two daughters and no sons, the reference to “Yitzhak’s son” must be to a different Irving.

I can only imagine what our grandparents would think.  Would Isadore and David and Betty and Leah and her siblings and Abraham and Joe and Rebecca be amazed that we all found each other, or would they have assumed that family members would always have stayed in touch? Certainly they could never have envisioned that someday there would be technology that allows us all to communicate instantly and freely across the oceans and time zones, to send photographs to each other over a digital network, to find personal records and documents that help lead us to one another.  After all, many of us could not have envisioned any of this ourselves just 25 years ago.  Like I said, the internet is magical.  Thank goodness we have it.


Emptiness: The Magic Trick, magician & assista...

Emptiness: The Magic Trick, magician & assistant, top hat and cape, painted panels, magic box, red, black, blue, white, painting, Seatac Airport, Seattle, Washington, USA (Photo credit: Wonderlane)


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