Category Archives: Genealogy

From Vienna to Tel Aviv and Back: Reparations Gone Awry

From Vienna to Tel Aviv and Back: Reparations Gone Awry

This is Day 19 of The Family History Writing Challenge. I’ll pick up where Day 18 left off, with Helene and Siegmund Kornmehl fleeing Vienna to Palestine. The context: I was describing the mystery of the late-life adoption of Erika by the subject of this challenge, Adolf and Bertha Schweizer, and went off on theContinue Reading »

Adoption Musings, Part 2: What Happened to Helene Kornmehl?

Adoption Musings, Part 2: What Happened to Helene Kornmehl?

On Days 18 of the Family History Writing Challenge, I turn again to a topic that I’ve touched on before: Nazi record keeping. In “Emigration Questionnaire Raises More Questions,” I discussed the agency created to “accelerate the forced emigration of the Austrian Jews and (starting in October 1939) to organize and carry out their deportation.” But it wasn’tContinue Reading »

Late Life Adoptions, Part 1

Late Life Adoptions, Part 1

This is Day 17 of the Family History Writing Challenge, the first of two about family adoptions.   The second story is odd on the surface — two adults adopting another adult who already has living parents –but I have a great deal of detail about it; that’s for tomorrow. This first is more traditional, butContinue Reading »

A Meaty Heritage

A Meaty Heritage

It’s day 16 of the Family History Writing Challenge and I’m feeling grateful that I’m not a vegetarian. It’s bad enough to have to face the dire fates of various family members while exploring the past; I’m not sure I could cope with feeling guilty about the fact that they were butchers. My ambivalence –nay,Continue Reading »

The Gift of Gab

The Gift of Gab

This is day 15 of the Family History Writing Challenge — the one where I do a little backtracking, a lot of mea culping, and some not-so-gentle admonishing. The Family Picture  Once upon a time, a mysterious picture hung in my mother’s apartment in Atlanta.  The people pictured in it, those featured at the topContinue Reading »

Family History Writing Challenge: Ponderings at the Halfway Mark

Family History Writing Challenge: Ponderings at the Halfway Mark

Today is Day 14 of the Family History Writing Challenge, 2018 — which means tomorrow I’ll be in the home stretch. Yesterday I hit a brick wall in my research, so today I thought I’d take a breather and consider the process. As I said at the start, I took the challenge  because I needContinue Reading »

Struggling with Sponsorship: Who’s That Nephew?

Struggling with Sponsorship: Who’s That Nephew?

This is day 13 of the Family History Writing Challenge and I’ve hit a brick wall — to use a common genealogical term for encountering seemingly insurmountable problems that make you want to bang your head against one (this last is just my interpretation). I’m still poring over the emigration questionnaire of Adolf Schweizer: Emigration documentContinue Reading »

Adolf or Adolph, Schweizer or Schweitzer: Entering Spelling Hell

Adolf or Adolph, Schweizer or Schweitzer: Entering Spelling Hell

This is day 12 or the Family History Writing Challenge, 2018 — and I’m getting a little slap happy. Let’s discuss spelling.  When I read over what I posted yesterday about the various butcher shops in the Kornmehl family, I noticed something that annoyed me: I had misspelled my great uncle Rudolph Kornmehl’s first name.Continue Reading »

Emigration Questionnaire Raises More Questions

Emigration Questionnaire Raises More Questions

This is Day 10 of the Family History Writing Challenge, 2018. The search for Adolph and Bertha Schweitzer continues with the introduction of a document that raises more questions than it answers.  One thing you’ve got to say for the Nazis. They kept good records. In August 1938, the Central Agency for Jewish Emigration inContinue Reading »

Jewish Immigration, Part 2: Sponsorship & Family Rifts

Jewish Immigration, Part 2: Sponsorship & Family Rifts

This is Day 9 of the Family History Writing Challenge, 2018. In yesterday’s post, I described the restrictions against immigrants, especially Jews, coming to the U.S. from Nazi Austria (an accurate term, I decided, for a country that welcomed Hitler and that was instrumental to putting his Final Solution into place–claims of being occupied notwithstanding). Continue Reading »