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.

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