Family History Writing Challenge, Day 10: A Brief Breather (with Chocolate)

Family History Writing Challenge, Day 10: A Brief Breather (with Chocolate)

It’s been quite the whirlwind week. I hadn’t expected to find enough information about the the first subject of this challenge, Ezriel Kornmehl, to fill more than a few days worth of postings. Instead, I ended up with a goldmine of material — with more to come if I get answers to even a few of the many questions I posed.

What I learned about the process (so far):

  • In some ways, this is less a writing challenge than a research challenge. It’s good discipline to be forced to find enough new material to move a story forward every day.
  • It is an exercise in organization.  I’ve needed to put the discoveries into a form that will make them interesting — and to do it quickly. Because ….
  • It is, above all, a posting-every-day challenge. I can write 350 words a day, no problem. I make my living as a writer. Writing 350 words of family history that I feel comfortable putting into the public eye is another matter altogether. I haven’t always succeeded to my satisfaction in creating posts that can stand on their own. But I’m doing a bit less self-editing —  in one post, I even made the decision not to delete a great chunk of text that became superfluous when I discovered one of my hypotheses wasn’t genealogically sound — and finding a research focus has been invaluable.

Organization fail, or the Best-Laid Plans of Genealogists

Today I also thought I would try to get ahead of the game by organizing my materials on Viktor Kornmehl, the subject of my next series of posts.

Then I got distracted by this listing of the various Kornmehls buried with Viktor’s mother, Kamilla, at Vienna’s Friedhof cemetery (and when I say with, I mean that literally — see plot 49a).

Kornmehl cemetery groupingIt wasn’t just that I got sidetracked by trying to figure out the identity and relationships of the six people who spent eternity together. It was also that the last listing, of Taube Kornmehl-Schmerling, reminded me of a discovery I had made when I first started doing genealogical research:  that one branch of the Kornmehl (or Kornmall) family had changed their name to Schmerling in tribute to a public official whose “liberal” policies made it possible for Jews come to Vienna. Additional research led me to Anton von Schmerling.

I then meandered further around the internet until I came to Schmerling’s Kosher Chocolate, created in Switzerland. Kosher chocolate — as in Barton’s? Was this another piece of my family’s foodie heritage (see The Bride Ate Chocolate)? And how could chocolate not be a distraction?

Schmerling chocolate

I’m eager to explore this avenue of inquiry. But tomorrow it’s back to Viktor who, as far as I know, has only a Freud, not a cacao, connection.

2 Responses to Family History Writing Challenge, Day 10: A Brief Breather (with Chocolate)

  1. Jill says:

    It always goes back to food!

    Your blog challenge has rescued Dr. Ezriel from obscurity. Originally listed as a dead end on a family tree….you have created a whole life for him. From Poland to Vienna to Russia and back to Poland we have followed his life and career. And it has been quite an interesting ride.

    Looking forward to hearing all about Dr. Viktor in the next few weeks. It has been a fascinating February on Freud’s Butcher.

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Yes — this has definitely been a family genealogical intervention, with your help as ever. We have so much information on Dr. Viktor to begin with that I’m exhausted even thinking about organizing it 😉

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