Monday, January 19, 2009

The Genealogy Shuffle

Over the past 10 years or so since I first started my research, I'm had several occasions to kick up my feet. In a couple of cases I did actually jump up from my chair at the sight of a missing link record or an e-mail from someone. In other instances, my butt would be dancing around in my chair as I typed an e-mail to a new found connection.

The first time I felt this excitement was on my very first trip to a cemetery to visit grave sites. Early on in my research, I went with my dad and 2 nieces to Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, NY. I had the death certificates of my gg-grandparents Solomon and Rebecca Lutsky which showed them buried there in the early 1940s. First we found Solomon and there was a picture on the headstone. Wow! I didn't expect it and this was before I got my hands on my grandmothers photos so it was the first time I was seeing his face. Next we found Rebecca's headstone. Unfortunately her picture was missing. There were 2 unexpected burials in the same section, my g-grandfather Louis Lutsky and also Rebecca's mother Rachel Kantorowitz. Louis's picture was in good grandmother certainly did not get her good looks from him but the family resemblance was obvious. Rachel's face had been broken/chipped away from her picture. Solomon and Rebecca's headstones had large bushes growing in front of them. These must have been cute little shrubs when they were first planted but now my dad had to sit on them so I could photograph the stones. I went back again the following year armed with pruning shears and trash bags to cut the bushes back to stubs. Surprise number two...we found Rebecca's picture, the enameled porcelain plate, in perfect condition on the ground in front of the stone. I kept it with me for a year until I could go back with adhesive and caulk to re-attach it to her stone.

A couple of connections that came right on top of each other almost 2 years ago have greatly advanced my research and put me in regular contact with closely related cousins that I didn't know about. Thanks to the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF), I came into contact with my 2nd cousin once removed Shari Videlock Malkin. She hadn't touched her research in more than 2 years but she had so much information about the family of my grandma Irene's mother, Lena Belinsky. I knew Lena had 2 brothers but she committed suicide when my grandmother was a baby and I never expected to find out much about the family. I hovered excitedly over my e-mail waiting for new information. I was able to meet Shari's mother Enid last year when I was visiting my dad in Florida. While Shari and I were exchanging information, she decided to check the Pages of Testimony on the Yad Vashem website. She found a listing for a Sara Belinki Avrutzki, most likely the sister of Lena and Shari's grandfather Shlomo. A fellow genealogist in Israel made contact with the woman who submitted the PofT and it turned out we did have the right family. I now exchange letters with Sara's daughter Rita in Israel and I'm in contact with Rita's granddaughter, my 3rd cousin, Ella (also in Israel) via e-mail and Facebook.

The most recent reason to kick up my feet occurred recently. I found the 1897 Russian census listing for my g-grandmother Sara Zymburska and her family in Lomza, Poland. No one in my family can even remember where Sara is buried or when she died so this was big. Unfortunately I just hit another dead end but at least I pushed the brick wall back a few feet.

I wouldn't mind feeling the urge to kick my feet up more often but I'll take it where I can get it. Maybe it wouldn't mean as much if it happened more often.


Taylorstales-Genealogy said...

Those are indeed some reasons to celebrate! Knocking down a brick wall usually always opens a few more doors for me, so I understand how you feel. It is exciting though. Thanks for sharing!


I think you are right. If it happened all the time, it wouldn't be a "Merry" dance. Great Job!