25 September 2008

Unlocking tales of family treasures

Just in time for the High Holidays - a time of year when we remember our ancestors, their stories and their histories - my story on family heirlooms was just published in the Jerusalem Post.

Genealogists in several countries participated.

To read it in the Jerusalem Post Online Edition, click here, or go to www.jpost.com -> Jewish World -> Jewish Features. Unlocking tales of family treasures is the second in the list of three today. By tomorrow you may have to hit "more" as more stories have been added for the holiday issues.

Asked about her collection of family heirlooms, Linda Silverman Shefler will likely say that as a child, she was somewhat of a nudnik!

As far back as she can remember, she would pester her grandmothers with questions: Who were those people in all the photographs? What did those documents she couldn't read really say? To whom did this or that object belong?

Eldest of the 10 grandchildren on each side of the family, Shefler was the only one who showed interest in the family history: "I believe that's what made me the logical candidate to inherit so many wonderful family treasures."

Shefler began researching her family 23 years ago after her grandmother died and she inherited a drawerful of photographs. She began to research a previously unknown Cleveland, Ohio branch, and her journey of discovery has gathered 80 direct ancestors, 10 generations and more than 11,000 relatives, going back (in one branch) to the late 1600s. "There's still so much research to do," she adds.

Other genners mentioned in the story: Stan Diamond (Canada), Bernard Kouchel (Florida), Ann Rabinowitz (Florida), Shelly Levin (California), Linda Silverman Shefler (US/Israel), Chaim Freedman (Israel), Rachelle Berliner (Georgia), Meryl Frank (New Jersey), Meyer Denn (Texas), Helen Horwitz (New Mexico), Frayda Zelman Naor (New York City), and Ina Levitt Yanover (Canada).

Shana tova u'metukah to all Tracing the Tribe readers. For you and your families, I wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and sweet New Year, filled with amazing genealogical discoveries and everything else you wish for yourselves.

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