Sunday, April 27, 2014

Perfect Timing

One of the lessons of the Kling family story was that sometimes it's all about timing. Here's another one along those lines.

In the course of my single-surname research on the Pikholz families, I have found old records of several families which don't go beyond AGAD birth records from the late 1800s. One such couple is Feige-Minke Pikholz and Moses Hubel, who had five children, during the period 1877-97. I also have a record for one granddaughter, born 1903. This family has been sitting undisturbed on my website, for several years, waiting for someone to stumble across it..

One evening, I received an email from a woman in Paris, telling me that her grandfather Israel Leib was the son of this couple. (He is one of the five that I have.) We had a couple of tentative email exchanges, and Tuesday evening she mentioned that two of her fathers' brothers - Munio and David - had come to Israel. I found David's 1993 grave easily enough and then searched for Munio in the usual ways. 

I was messing around on Google and up came a five-day old blog entry from a fellow named Dor, who said that Munio was his great-grandfather. I traced Dor (who has a very common surname and whose blog had no contact information that I could find) and several; days later spoke with him and his mother. The family was sitting shiva for the grandmother - Munio's daughter-in-law - but were very pleased to speak with me.

Turns out that Dor was thirteen years old and made the blog as part of a roots assignment for school. I sent him AGAD documents that gave him four more generations and a memorial scroll from Stryj which named a number of Munio's sisters and cousins. Then I went to the National Archives and ordered Munio's Mandatory Citizenship file.

The timing here is remarkable. Dor's blog entry was five days old when I found it. A week earlier, I would not have found him. And he is probably thinking how easy this was. One simple blog entry and presto, all these documents fall into his lap. 

This was four or five years ago and although they have been on my family mailing list ever since, I have not heard another word from Dor, his mother or the woman in France. (Don't you know that I'd love to get some DNA.)

(Thanks to Marcy Baez-Lopez for reminding me about this story. She will be using a version of it in her genealogical society newsletter, Genealogy Detectives, in Cecil County Maryland.)

Housekeeping notes

The IAJGS Salt Lake City Conference schedule is out - at least a preliminary one. I am scheduled Wednesday for both my talk and the panel discussion.
Session Code Session Title Speaker(s) Room Venue
9:00 AM - 10:15 AM
W-04 Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove Israel Pickholtz Grand Ballroom/B 2nd Floor
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
W-21 Internet Collaboration: How Do We Share Our Family Trees Online? Sallyann Sack-Pikus
Adam Brown
Gary Mokotoff
Israel Pickholtz
Grand Ballroom/B 2nd Floor

Speaking of DNA, we received results last week from a double second cousin of mine. Our grandfathers are brothers and our grandmothers are sisters. So in the larger Pikholz structure, our level of DNA matches should be pretty similar. Not so.

That same day I connected with a non-Pikholz family with many matches to us and four of them joined our project.  They represented two sides of that family and their matches with us were varied. My cousin matched all four of them. I matched none.

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