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For high quality
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born there). Now that I know the
name of an Allweiss brother-in-law, I
stand a chance of tracing the sister of
Golde Allweiss who had married Mr.
•Through this find, I learned a lit-
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same time turned up some clues to
keep me hunting. Genealogy, a
hobby? It's reached the incurable ob-
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Tracing her past
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BY ESTHER ALLWEISS TSCHIRHART
Jewish genealogist Betty Pro-
vizer Starkman can trace her
mother's family — the Bodenstein
and Baylin clali — back to 1701 in
eastern Poland. A lineage chart for
the Davidowich family, Starkman's
paternal great-grandmother's fam-
ily, has the names of over 1,500 living
and deceased relatives. Her Provizer
family tree probably will have over
2,000 names when put together, she
Starkman is proof positive that
Jews can trace their family roots
The Birmingham resident is a
lecturer and teacher on the subject of
Jewish genealogy, and since Sep-
tember has served as the founding
•president' of -the Genealogical
Branch-Jewish Historical Society of
Michigan. And one of the things
Starkman enjoys most, when not
tracing her own roots, is helping be-
ginning genealogists get started.
As a child, Starkman says she
was always interested in hearing
stories about her family history. But
her curiosity to do more was aroused
when she learned it was possible to
search microfilmed records of Euro-
pean Jewish communities through a
local branch of the Mormon church
(formally known as the Church of
Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints).
A surprise was in store for
Starkman when she went through
the microfilm she'd ordered from the
Mormom church archives in Salt
"Ten minutes after looking I dis-
covered a man with the same sur-
name as mine — Provizer," she says.
"He was the signator and witness to
the Jewish records for the commu-
nity of Mogielnica, a Warsaw prov-
"He turned out to be my great-
great-great grandfather! It was a
very emotional experience."
Since striking gold that day in
the Bloomfield ,Hills Mormon Li-
brary, Starkman has pursued her
interest .in genealogy. She says she
has found living relatives around the
world — in countries that include Is-
rael, Canada, England, France, Bel-
gium, Argentina, Australia, Brazil
About three years ago,, at Rosh
Hashana, Starkman and her hus-
band went to England where they
met 48 Provizer cousins for the first
time. The cousins took the
Starkmans to their synagogue for the
holidays, and made a "high tea"
where everyone gathered eagerly to
hear Starkman's stories about the
Starkman's genealogical re-
search has uncovered possible links
to composer Irving Berlin and the
late Israeli leader Yigal Allon — and
probably other notables not yet de-
termined, she says. And there are
legends, too, that must be verified.
For example, Starkman says she has
reason to believe the Provizers were
suppliers of goods and services to the
Spanish royal court during the time
of the Inquisition. Another story that
Starkman turned up is that, circa
1913, the Provizers of her grand-
father's generation were supposed to
have inherited a diamond mine in
"But by the time we knew about
it and looking into it, the South Afri-
can government said the 50-year sta-
tute of limitations had run out,"
Starkman says with a chuckle.
Starkman led several workshops
and was on a problem-solving panel
at the recent national Jewish geneal-
ogy seminar in Evanston, Ill.
At her workshop on Holocaust
research, she says she spoke of the
sadness she felt in' meeting cousins
overseas and realizing how many of
their relatives —her relatives — had
perished in the Holocaust.
"You realize that even if your
family came to America before the
war, somebody always stayed behind
and somebody was killed. If you are of
eastern' European origin, there un-
doubtedly are relatives you don't
even know about who were lost," she
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Starkman's quest to find her
family appears never-ending. She
currently is working on connections
going back to 1640s Venice and 1580s
Spain, both on the Provizer side of the
Persons interested in learning .
more about tracing their families can
register for the class "Introduction to
Jewish Genealogy," which Starkmad
will teach 10 a.m. Thursdays, Sept.
13-Nov. 29, at the Midrasha College
of Jewish 'Studies. The 'next
bimonthly meeting of the Jewish
genealogy group will be 7:45 p.m.
Sept. 18 at the United Hebrew
We Are Now Open!!!
FOR TOTS 'N TEENS
TO ALL MY FAITHFUL CUSTOMERS,
THANKS FOR BEING SO PATIENT
Barry Jacobs, formerly of Jerome's Shoes
in Southfield will be opening his own store
in the new indoor fashion mall
.located just south of
on Northwestern Hwy.