Good old fashioned research #general

suzanne henig <mountolive@...>

Dear Mr. Gross,
My mother and I spent fifty-three years looking for any survivors of her
family, Gottesdiener of Poland, without success. We wrote every
organization you mention and I even joined a genealogical grouop. Nothing.
She died ten years ago and I am keeping my deathbed promise to continue the

Last week someone told me about this website.I put on an inquiry. I had
more than 40 personal responses with lists of names and addresses of
possible Gottesdiener relatives in Krakow, Germany, London, Israel and the
U.S. The names are still coming in. I am in the process of writing
everybody and will keep jewishgen posted. Already I have found a very
distant cousin. I have had more responses in less than a week than in more
than half a century.

Do not, I pray you, discourage anyone >from using this marvelous internet
vehicle as a means of BOTH genealogical finds and relative reunions. The
people on this discussion group are among the kindest, most erudite and
helpful I have ever known and I am a senior citizen.

Dr. Suzanne Henig
San Diego
James Gross wrote:

It may be my imagination, but it seems that several people
are using surname posts as a way of making contact with
distant relatives. <big snip>

james gross <larklane@...>

It may be my imagination, but it seems that several people
are using surname posts as a way of making contact with
distant relatives. I have taken the trouble to go to the JGFF
and printout lists of researchers who are doing similar shtetls
and surnames. Then I see if I have already contacted them.
Some people don't reply, some have old addresses, and some
apparently have no concept of a basic tree chart. But there are
also some who reply with good tree charts.
I personally feel that a good genealogist shouldn't rely exclusively
on this forum for research material or making "hits" and that some
newcomers are doing this. The Jewishgen website, and this list are
undoubtably very helpful, but don't forget the sources available at
the local library and LDS family history center. While you may find
a social security # at the Ancestry site's death index, you still may
want to get the obit or photograph the stone.
What about the direction of your research? Are you trying to find
researchers, or relatives? If you are looking to identify unknown
relatives, they probably won't be on this forum. If they are alive, they
may not even have a computer. I believe this forum is useful when
combined with reading of other genealogy reference material, such
as local JGS newsletters and other reference items.
For those of you trying to make "hits" of new distant relatives,
you may want to consider the "old fashioned approach" to genealogy.
Namely speaking to living relatives, identifying possible select targets,
tracking down obits, calling or writing to cemetaries & funeral homes,
pulling out phonebooks, and making a few calls to potential relatives.
Marriage licenses, naturalizations, and death certificates are just a
few of the documents which are useful.
In summary, I think the reader should be careful about allowing
himself/herself to become a quasi "couch-potato" on the computer.
I know that I have become a bit complacent in the past year and need
to do more archive research. How about you?

James H. Gross
Cherry Hill, N.J.
Gross-Steinberg Family Tree

Nicole Berline <berline@...>

dear Suzanne
I was very interested by your lettrer, since I have a similar
experience: my mother's family was destroyed during the
holocaust, and since then we ( my sister and I) have been unable to
find anybody who
might have survived or just somebody who might have known this family
in Warszawa. So far the forum has not turned anything substantial, but
at least I have some threads, and also it is very comforting to read
the letters posted by people in the same situation, like yourself.
Nevertheless, I wonder if it would not be more efficient to have two
distinct forums: one for true genealogists, and one for people searching
relatives, survivors , yzkor's books, etc... Or is there such a forum ?
( I did not find any on the Net)

best regards

Nicole Berline
tel 01 69 33 49 65
fax 01 69 33 30 19

Adelle Gloger

On Oct. 11,1998 James Gross wrote:

It may be my imagination, but it seems that several people
are using surname posts as a way of making contact with
distant relatives.
I may be a bit dense, but isn't that the purpose of this list and genealogy
in general--to connect with the past weather it be with direct relatives or
distant relatives in order to better know who we are and where we came >from ?
By posting here (and other places) I was able to connect my late mother's
cousin who I had only heard about, but never met. She lives in Philadelphia.
Through her I have met cousins I never knew existed.
Not all names and places are listed on the JGFF, so as a last resort
surname posts are essential.
Thank goodness for JewishGen !

Adelle Gloger
Shaker Hts., Ohio

David Lewin <davidlewin@...>

Simchat Torah is a time for hope! We have just survived Yom Kippur with
its philosophy of "a time to live and time to die".

I feel I must support Suzanne. You must not give up - even though not all
searches end in joy. In my opinion knowing is invariably better than
guessing, and only if you search, have you a chance to find out.

Over the past three years I was blessed in being able to help a number of
people. By sheer coincidence one wrote to me today:

"my internal life has flourished and I owe a great deal of that to you
and Margaret. It's been a little over two years that I met my mother.
Boy that was tough. If you want to know the truth, I really didn't
expect to find her alive. I expected you to eventually come up with
some proof that she died in some way. That would have given me the
closure I needed and also allowed me to continue the fantasy of
what a
wonderful, kind and loving mother I had who was forced to give me up
for some fantastic reason. I went there with "blinders" on so happy
that I finally had a mother like everyone else. She could have been
the devil himself and I would have embraced her with open arms and
asked for her love and acceptance. Actually, she's not that far from
it. I feel some how that I was blessed with finding you and through
you, her. "

Shana Tova!

David Lewin