My thanks to those of you on the list who responded to my query.
I appreciate the correction as to my use of the word "reincarnation", which,
I learned, generally is applied to a return to life in human form. It was
this belief with which I was somewhat familiar as a belief that was prominent
in mystical thought, including that of Hasidism.
The more appropriate word in referring to returning to life as an animal, I
have been told, is "transmigration," which also can refer to returning in
human form. This belief was foreign to me as a Jewish belief.
As to my family's "shtick," it came down to me through one aunt. She pretty
much had the belief related to farm animals (no doubt because those were the
animals they had in Yarun). And it seemed that coming back as an animal
was directly related to a person doing evil during his/her life.
So far, people on the lists have confirmed similar beliefs in Hasidic
circles. In my opinion, it was probably what I would consider a folk belief that
found its way into the community because it was an extension of other beliefs
about reincaration and such.
While this hasn't really helped me to narrow down my geographic focus, it
was nice to know that Aunt Anna wasn't alone out there.
Arnold D. Samlan
West Hempstead, NY
Researching: SAMLAN (Chicago, Hamilton Ont., Montreal), SHENKER (Montreal),
KOOPERMAN/COOPERMAN/KUPERMAN (Yarun/Yarin), BRODER/BROTHER (HIRCHIRKI??)