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).
It 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?
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.