Lisa Dashman <ldashman@...>
For a couple of years, I had been searching for a great-uncle, Harold
HYMAN. All I knew was that he was born and lived in Brooklyn, was the
youngest of 3 brothers, and probably died relatively young in the 1970s.
Of the few remaining cousins who knew him, none had solid information about
his whereabouts. I was told his wife moved to California after he died,
but could not locate her. I was told that his two surviving children had
apparently severed connections with the family, and could not locate either
of them. I was told that he lived and died in Brooklyn, or maybe somewhere
in Long Island, and was certainly buried in that area, like the rest of the
Polite phone calls to every Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn, Queens and Long
Island turned up no Harold HYMAN of the correct vintage. One cousin was
pretty sure that Gutterman's Funeral Directors had managed the funeral, so
I phoned them, but was told that their records go back only 10 or so years.
Another cousin remembered that her own rabbi at the time had officiated,
so I phoned his synogogue, but the office manager told me he had retired
years ago to Florida, and had not kept records available. I checked the
SSDI and found 3 Harold HYMAN possibilities, but none where I could easily
obtain a copy of a death certificate.
Puzzled and getting frustrated, I decided to just let the problem sit and
focus on other things. After a few days, I went back and reviewed all my
notes. For some reason, I decided to try Gutterman's again -- the worst
that could happen was that someone else there would tell me they had no
But that's not what happened. This time, a gentleman asked for a
guesstimate on the year and place of death, and said he'd get back to me.
And he did: he went into their archives warehouse, found someone who
matched the name, year and town of one of the SSDI Harold HYMANs, and told
me where he is buried -- in Staten Island -- and the contact data for the
When I contacted that cemetery, it turned out that not only was Harold
there, but his son Martin (who died in 1973, almost exactly a year before
his father) was also there.
So, the moral is (for those who do not know it yet), try to avoid
assumptions and never give up. Use all the information you get, put the
puzzle pieces together in different ways until they make sense or at least
give you another clue.
Now, as to why Harold and his son are in Staten Island when the rest of the
extended family are in a couple of Brooklyn cemeteries? Well, that's