I decided I would start with a profile of Ezriel for this challenge because he is the older of the two Kornmehls I plan to focus on — and also because I am waiting for permission to reproduce a document relating to Viktor. But I realized that my information about Ezriel is far sketchier than what I have about Viktor, requiring more blanks to be filled in.
I also realized — well, I should say realized more overtly — that writing is not so difficult. Getting the information to write about is far harder.
So today I’m going to break down the research process. I was planning to stop at 350 words, but that didn’t happen, and I’m not halfway through.
What I thought I knew:
Who Ezriel’s father and grandparents were, when they were born, who his father’s midwife was, and where they lived.
Why I thought I knew it:
Ezriel is described as the “son of Leiser Kornmehl, merchant in Tarnow” in the biographical information about Ezriel that a researcher at the University of Vienna, which Ezriel attended from March 1914 to June 1916, sent Jill Leibman Kornmehl.
My friend Lydia, who has also been invaluable in helping with research, found a reference to a Samuel Leiser Kornmehl b. 28 Mar 1864 in Tarnow, father Baruch, mother Shiend, midwife Taube Baumster, witness Pinkas Shilay in Ancestry.com.
I then looked at the huge family tree that Leonard Schneider — the premier source of family connection knowledge — created, and found the following:
Baruch Hersch Kornmehl (Innkeeper) 1834-1896 m. Chane Scheindel Schillay
Reisal Blume Kornmehl b.1850 m. Guttman Sommer
Jakob Kornmehl 1854-1855
Gutman Markus Kornmehl b. 1857- m. Rywka Rausch
Chana Kornmehl 1861-1925 m. Aron Rudkiewicz
Samuel Lesser Kornmehl 1864-1892 m. Dwora Grossbard (Zabno)
Shulem Kornmehl b. 1867
Moses Kornmehl 1869-1869
(Aside: I am saddened by the deaths of these two babies, thrilled to find a reference to the name Grossbard, which turns up later in a document relating to Siegmund Kornmehl, Freud’s butcher. I am also very pleased to see the name Sommer. Henry Sommer is one of the relatives who turned up in the comments section of this blog.)
Why I am no longer sure if Samuel Lesser Kornmehl is Ezriel’s father:
He died in 1892 according to this family tree; Ezriel was born February 11th 1891 in Tarnow according to the records of the University of Vienna. This doesn’t make the father-son relationship impossible, but Leiser Kornmehl is described in the university records as “a Tarnow merchant” instead of “deceased.”
Also, Lydia found a variety of other references that may or may not have to do with Leiser:
One L. Kornmehl had a paraffin business in Krakow in 1926, address Lwowska 21. In the same year at the same address he had a roof tiles business. This could be Leiser Kornmehl, though it may not be. Leiser Kornmehl is also mentioned in a Polish newspaper of 1902, probably as Tarnow resident.
And I know that Ezriel went back to Poland after he graduated from the university, which suggests that he still had family there.
There are a few possibilities:
The death date of Samuel Leiser Kornmehl in the family tree is wrong. Dying at 28 would be dying quite young.
This man is not Ezriel’s father. I don’t have the branch of the family tree that might have the information about Samuel Leiser Kornmehl’s children.
What I need to do to remedy that:
Try to find a death certificate for Samuel Leiser Kornmehl.
Write to Leonard and ask him to send me sections 8 to 10 of the family tree.