Amy Schiwitz <amyschiwitz@...>
I recently joined the group. I live in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. I
consider myself an advanced computer/internet user (I am a millennial
after all). My JGFF Researcher ID number is 579564.
I have been doing genealogy research for about 20 years. However, I am
new to Jewish genealogy research. I only discovered I had a small
amount of Jewish heritage when I did a 23andme DNA test showing 3%
Ashkenazi Jewish admixture.
About 5 years ago I persuaded a great-uncle I had never met to take a
DNA test as well, helping me to narrow down my candidates for my
unknown Jewish ancestor. I have only recently confirmed he was my 3rd
great-grandfather Benjamin HESS, born 19 Nov 1844 in Bergen,
Hesse-Cassel. (This is now Bergen-Enkheim, a suburb of Frankfurt.)
Benjamin HESS immigrated to Leominster, Massachusetts in 1860. At that
time he was 16 years old and the oldest of 12 children. Talk about
running away >from home...! He later married a local non-Jewish woman
named Charlotte Hapgood and I have found no evidence that he was
thereafter a practicing Jew.
According to his 1844 birth record in Bergen, his parents were members
of the Jewish community in Bergen. They were Raphael Joseph HESS II
and Sarchen NEUHOF. I also found their marriage record, showing that
Raphael's father's name was Joseph HESS.
My current research goals are to find out more about this family,
including their descendants who remained in Bergen after Benjamin
emigrated. I would be curious to meet any distant cousins >from this
I have recently requested some records mentioning Raphael HESS II from
the Institut fur Stadtgeschichte in Frankfurt and I imagine I will
need some help transcribing/translating them.
Sincerely, Amy Schiwitz, Birmingham, Alabama email@example.com