Family History Writing Challenge, Day 8: When Ezriel Met Ernestyna

Family History Writing Challenge, Day 8: When Ezriel Met Ernestyna

It turns out Ezriel Kornmehl married well. Mazel tov. His wife, the former Ernestyna Karp, didn’t do too badly either.

The History of the Jews of Jaslo says of the couple:

[Ezriel] was the son in law of Mordechai Karp and a doctor. He was the only Jewish doctor to work for the general governmental health insurance office in the city. He was well regarded and respected by his Jewish and non-Jewish patients…. Mrs. Kornmehl was highly respected in the community and especially in the Zionist movement of the city of Jaslo. She was very active in social work and helped the sick, orphans and needy people…. She always listened attentively and tried to help solve the problem with sensitivity and finesse.

Josef Israëls A Jewish Wedding (but not that of Ezriel and Ernestyna)

Josef Israels’ A Jewish Wedding (but not that of Ezriel and Ernestyna)

I naturally wondered how this well-suited couple met and when they married. And while I plan to try to get their marriage certificate, as well as other documents, I thought it would be fun to speculate on a couple of possibilities in the meantime.

They met at school in Krakow.

Jill Leibman Kornmehl got an email today from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow in answer to her inquiry about Ezriel’s attendance there.

He was born on 4th February 1891 in Tarnów, his confession was mosaic, his nationality was Jewish and his citizenship was Austrian. His father or carer was Leizer, merchant, who lived in Tarnów. He attended the Second High School (II Gimnazjum) in Tarnów, where he graduated on 21st September 1911. He studied at the Faculty of Medicine for five semesters from the winter semester 1911/12 to winter semester 1913/14. He successfully attempted his first exam for the doctoral degree on 6th February 1914. He left the university on 24th March 1914.

I couldn’t help but recall that the academic records of the University of Vienna also described Ezriel as being of “mosaic confession,” which I took as mistranslated idiom meaning he was a follower of Moses, i.e., Jewish. But not only is the odd phrase used again here, but Ezriel’s nationality (in addition to his “confession”) is noted as Jewish.  My father used to say about someone who looked very Jewish that the person looked like “two Jews.”  This doubling of Ezriel’s Jewishness brought my father’s joke to mind.

End of digression.

Could Ernestyna have met Ezriel at Jagellonian, i.e., is it likely that, being female, she would gone to a university? It was noted that, when he died, Mordechai Karp “left a wife and four sons and two daughters. All finished academic studies and received diplomas.” I’m not sure whether “all” includes the daughters, or what level of education they “received diplomas” in, but two female Jewish doctors, Dr. Klementyna Welfeld and Dr. Maria Menasse Zucker, are on the roster of Jaslo’s professionals. Why wouldn’t the daughter of one of the town’s movers and shakers be educated at Poland’s most prestigious institution of higher learning?

Wait a minute… I just did something I should have done before I got started on this line of speculation: looked up Ernestyna’s birth year. Damn. She was born in 1897, making her six years younger than Ezriel, so unless she was a prodigy, she would not have been at school with him.

No way I’m going to delete half my post now, not with a 350-word minimum for this writing challenge. Sorry.

How about this next idea?

Ezriel’s father had business in Jaslo.

Oil was discovered in the Jaslo area in 1863 and the petroleum refinery of Gartenberg & Schreier was built in Niglowic, about 2 kilometers from the city, in 1890. It is noted in the history of Jaslo that “a number of Jews were employed in high and middle management” at the refinery.

I wrote about how petroleum was important to the roofing business of Ezriel’s father. Maybe Leiser Kornmehl traveled regularly to Jaslo — it wasn’t very far from Tarnow — to buy supplies. And maybe he heard that a big macher in town had an eligible daughter; he had a nice son, a doctor.

Hmmm… matchmaking, roof making… surely, there’s got to be a fiddler in the story somewhere.



4 Responses to Family History Writing Challenge, Day 8: When Ezriel Met Ernestyna

  1. Lydia Davis says:

    Great painting–I didn’t know about this Dutch painter Josef Israels before. And I like the fact that you included a speculation that goes up a dead end… This happens so often in genealogical research–that we get all excited about something that turns out to be impossible. A father who is born after his son, for instance?

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      It’s the kind of speculation that would have been deleted if I wasn’t under these daily deadlines, so I suppose it’s a good thing to be able to document the process that I — and so many others — go through. I think seasoned genealogists look to the dates first, so that fathers born after sons — and women who are too young to be classmates — are eliminated immediately. It’s a habit to learn to get into.

  2. […] It’s hard to believe that, after spending eight days with him, I’m ending my journey with Ezriel. At least for now. There are many questions still to be answered, including the one I posed yesterday — i.e., how Ezriel met his wife, Ernestyna. […]

  3. […] 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 […]

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