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August 31, 1984 - Image 80

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-31

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80 Friday, August 31, 1984



Inspired by a genealogy expert, Esther
Allweiss Tschirhart begins her own search
for her family's history.


Special to The Jewish News

Genealogy begins as an interest
Becomes a hobby
Continues as an avocation
Takes over as an obsession
And in its last stages is an incurable
(Source: Anstett a History and
Descendant Record by Marion
It was about two years ago that I
heard genealogist and author Arthur
Kurzweil speak in Detroit about his
experiences tracing his father's fam-
ily back to its ancestral shtetl of Dob-
romil in Poland. He told with stil
vivid excitement &•oing back ther
and meeting his cousins, and• al o
about how he painstakingly turned
up records that traced his lineage
back a - couple hundred years — de-
spite everybody's warning him that
he never would,• that all the Jewish
records in Europe were destroyed.
As he spoke, a strange gleam
came into my eye and I felt a distinct
itch in my blood. And at that mo-
ment, another genealogist was born.
To all those lost Allweisses and
Klatzkins (my parents' family lines)
hiding away on forgotten old mic-
rofilm and 'microfiche, I made an
inner vow: I. will find you!
Don't ask why I made that re-
solve, Jewish genealogists operate on
many levels and have many separate
and intertwined motivations. For
some, it's a love of their parents and
Jewish heritage and history that
spurs them on. Or they may feel a
need to "belong" somewhere, to feel
connected with those who came be-
fore, and to keep alive the memory of


-Esther Allweiss Tschirhart is a member
of the Genealogical Branch — Jewish
Historical Society of Michigan.

these relatives for future genera-
tions. Others of our breed may•take
pride — perhaps to excess in some
cases — in being able to trace their
families back to a great rabbinical
One thing's certain, when
genealogy is your hobby, you don't
spend your vacation afthe seashore
(unless you've got some elderly rela-
tives there to interview). A much
more profitable use ofleisure time for
the genealogist is investigating lib-
raries and archives, or looking for
headstones in old cemeteries. An-
other is attending a conference that
brings genealogists together.
So, it was with great anticipa-
tion that I travelled last month to
Evanston, Ill., for the fourth national .
seminar on Jewish genealogy
entitled "Routes to Roots."
Teacher Janice Goldstein of
Southfield, my comrade for the ad-
venture, had been bitten by the
genealogy bug at the same Kurzweil
lecture given at the Jewish Welfare
Federation Women's Division Spring
Forum. Since then, Jan and I had
merrily traded stories about finding
distant relatives around the world
who we could link to our family trees,
or of getting clues from elderly
cousins who could remember some-
thing about some "missing" relatives
who left the shtetl for America long,
. long ago.
We also joined the Genealogical
- Branch of the Jewish Historical
Society. There was further inspira-
tion for our searches at the bimonthly
meetings, where we heard from as-
sorted experts and the group's
president, Betty Provizer Starkman
of Birmingham, who has been quite


Continued on Page 36



Betty Starkman.and a genealogical chart.

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