Friday, February 26, 2010

Geni Work

I have been getting good cousin vibes from the Internet through Geni, the genealogy website. They keep making improvements in how it works. For instance, they have made photos more useful. If you identify a person in a group photo by centering a rectangle on their face, Geni will automatically make that small area into the profile photo for that person. When you see the tree view you see just the face.

One drawback is that you can only identify people in your "family" defined by you, but no more than 4th cousins. I want to suggest that the range of suggested identities be determined by the placement of the "thumbtack" that Geni uses to anchor a path to a particular relative in your tree.

So here is the photo I want to post at the Geni forum is this from my iGoogle Photo set:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Carolyn Knitted Colorful Scarf & Hat Set

Carolyn knitted this very visible coordinated set -- scarf and hat.
Thanks, dear.
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Linda Learned To Knit in Circles

Linda spent a quiet weekend figuring out how to knit using circular needles. See, Carolyn.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

"You Can't Fake Good Writing"

One of the reasons I love my sister-in-law Les (Deux) Rodd is her excellent writing. After she retired from her librarian position in Oakland, she took up again her lifelong desire to write fiction.

Les met Carl Rodd (Linda's brother) through one of those Internet matchmaking services. They were considerably older than the usual couples, but their story was so compelling that they were invited to compete in some sort of reality love competition. Here is my memory of their story. Les posted her profile but fudged a bit on her age. After they actually met and fell in love, Carl said he didn't mind. You could lie about the details of your life, but you can't fake good writing.

Not so good writing.
Since I have been retired I have been working on family genealogy. My main text is my grandmother Leah Kreinik Jacobowitz's memoir, "As I Remember." She typed it on a mechanical typewriter. She must have revised it many times, although there are lots of type-overs and inserts and even some penciled in edits. I have gotten very close to her through this writing. I wouldn't say that she writes elegantly, but she is direct and emotional.

It also helps to be a good reader. Linda is a good reader. She pointed out the difference between descriptions of Leah's (Dudu) descriptions of how my grandfather Elias's father Wolf disciplined his children (never lifted a hand) and how her mother corrected her own children -- by getting on her knees and asking Leah to slap HER, because she must have been a bad mother for her daughter to have behaved so badly. This is heavy stuff.

What Linda noted was that left unsaid was how Leah's father Josef disciplined his children. I think there must have been some slaps.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wolf Wolf Wolf

I got a message from Harold Krongelb about the Hebrew middle name I added to Wolf Jacobowitz's profile.
I used one of those auto translators and got זאב‬ .
But after seeing Harold's note I used Google Translate and got הזאב . Harold says he will ask Sol.
Yup, זאב‬ Ze'ev is Hebrew for wolf. But Hebrew was reserved for holy study and Yiddish was used for mundane stuff.

There are many of Wolf's descendants who have Wolf or some variant as part of their name:
Walter Erin Jacobowitz
Stephen Wolf Tamases
Richard Wolff Brenner
Daniel Wolf Jacobowitz
Wilfred (Billy) Jacobowitz
David Wilfred Jacobowitz (me)
I think there may be more.
Linda found a names/meanings page. It turns out that Ralph means "Wolf Council" or Counsel.
We can add Ralph Aaron Jacobowitz. (Ralph means Wolf in Nordic languages.)

How about that?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Family Connections

I've been sitting home most of these late winter days. I've been keeping busy by working on genealogy through the web site Geni. My primary text is my grandmother Leah Kreinik Jacobowitz's memoir. It feels a bit like obsessing over a dead person's document sort of the way Ted Rodd perseverated on Norma Morton Rodd's Philosophy of Education.

I finally got up the energy to call Walter Jacobowitz, a second cousin. He lives in Morristown, NJ. I was afraid he would be too distant. But we had a very pleasant chat. The relationship became clear when Walter told me he and my other two cousins, Dick Brenner and Steve Tamases entered Princeton together in 1950. This was right after restrictions on Jews had been relaxed. Oh. Walter is just my older cousin. I really looked up to Dick and Steve.

Walter said he was pleased that I was doing this genealogy stuff, but there were some relatives who didn't get it. "Why do this?"

For me, it has to do with the tree structure and the ability of the computer program to map the relationships and make them clearer and to record them for posterity, when posterity get ready to be interested.

Walter remembered PopPop Elias -- how he would sit on the eastern wall of the shul and would sing out a particular Hebrew word "Bom" when it came around in the prayers. A good memory. Elias once told Walter that of all the descendents who had the name Wolf, Walter was the only one who was Wolf (Walter) Jacobowitz, just like his father. Many of us have Wolf as a middle name. You could look it up.

I also found Bernard (Bunny) Jacobowitz, who is from Wolf's brother Bernath's side of the family. Jonathan Deitch and Ellen Ruby may be interested in visiting him in Brooklyn before it is too late. Maybe Walter would like to join us.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Family Connections

I have been entering stories from Leah Kreinick Jacobowitz's memoir into Geni profiles for the people she discusses. Sometimes I can figure out the dates from her writing, but she is more interested in the emotional experience and the family ties than in the dates, The places are touchpoints for feelings.

There are a couple of relatives also on Geni who have more complete records or memories. Together we are putting together a pretty good family structure and history.