JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Passover and Genealogy #general
Passover presents Jewish genealogists with a great
opportunity to research family customs and traditions
that can provide clues to our past. In 1990 a major
survey of the US Jewish population revealed that
Passover Seder was the single most observed Jewish
event of the year, even more than the High Holidays!
There are many reasons for this, but among them is a
deep connection to our families and our past.
Passover is like the obvious clue because we "do
the Seder" every year. I suggest that you inventory
as many of the customs and rituals that you practice
now and those that you remember >from your youth. If
you have older relatives be sure and ask them too.
While many elements of the Seder are the same there
are many differences as well. For example Ashkenazic
Jews tend to make Charoset >from apples, nuts and wine
while Sephardic Jews will use dates in the mixture.
(It tastes great!) How does your family handle the
Afikoman (hidden matzah)? Does the leader barter for
its return or is there a predetermined prize? Do you
sit with pillows or cushions? Do you sit at the table
or on the floor? Do you have backpacks and walking
sticks by your side? These are all clues!
Another great source is ethnomusicology. I had a
flash of insight recently on this topic. While
visiting the website of the sound archives of the
Jewish National Archives in Israel:
( http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/music/passover/ )
I came across a sampling of music clips for the song
"Echad MiYode'ah?" (Who knows One?) Much to my
surprise I found that the Hungarian version of this
song is the one that our family has sung for years. I
had never heard it anywhere else before. We do know
the family lived in the Horodenka area area before the
lucky few came to the US. This musical hint gives a
clue as to a possible migration pattern. I haven't
found anything beyond that, but in genealogy a clue is
a clue. Perhaps your old family tune is also on this
A Happy passover to All.
FRIEDMAN, MANN, Horodenka, Yasinov-Polny
SPIEGEL, Tuleva, Snyatyn