Monday, January 27, 2014

52 Ancestors: #6 -In recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day and to honor the memory of my maternal grandfather, Paul Lichtenthal.

In May of 1938, my family changed forever. I realize that we were blessed that no one in my mother’s immediate family was murdered. We fared so much better than millions of others. I get that. While ours is not a story of horrifying proportions, it still is worthy of being told. It should never have happened. It should never be forgotten.

Paul - probably early 1901

My grandfather, Paul Lichtenthal, was born on December 1, 1900 to hard-working people. His father, Sigmund Lichtenthal was a hat-maker who had come from Tarnopol, Poland to Vienna, Austria. His mother, the former Rosa Berger was from Budapest, Hungary. His younger sister Valerie was born in 1902.

The family business, Lital grew to include 5 men’s hat stores, 3 shoe stores, and a small men’s hat factory.
Paul trained as a hat-maker himself and worked in the family business. On August 12, 1930 he married Rose Spiegel. His parents weren't fond of Rose and her family, feeling they were “elitists” and not of the working class. On March 5, 1932, Paul and Rose had their only child, a daughter (my mother) Doris.
Undated - Paul is standing in the doorway to the right

Saturday, January 25, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks–#5 Claire Theresia Spiegel

Here is my 5th post for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a challenge posed by Amy Johnson Crow.

I love this undated picture!

I don’t know a lot about my Aunt Claire. I remember her as glamorous and funny. Her accent was thicker than her sister’s (my grandmother) and she always appeared so fashionable to me – so maybe that’s where the “glamorous” image came from. I also remember her freckles - I figured that's where my extremely freckled face came from!

She once told me a funny story about walking around in town (Vienna, Austria) and ‘slipping in the violets.” It took me some time to realize “violets” was a euphemism for “horse doo-doo”!! Tante Claire was too ‘genteel” to use the everyday term, I guess!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - #4 John Sved: 1930-2014

Here is my 4th post for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a challenge posed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Last week, I got one of those phone calls. The kind where you look at the caller ID and know your family has just gotten a little bit smaller.

John as a young child
John Sved was my mother’s second cousin. They spent some time together in their youth, but had gone years with little contact. Then, maybe 10 - 15 years ago they reconnected. John- divorced and living alone in New York City, my Mom – an only child whose parents had passed away years ago, rekindled a relationship that most likely began in 1938 when my mother arrived in the United States.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 weeks - #3: Ralph Oppenheim

Here is my third post for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a challenge posed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Ralph would be my first cousin - twice removed. Our common ancestors are EmanuelWeiss and Theresia Passauer, my second-great-grandparents.

Ralph Oppenheim was born on 13 Jan 1896 in New York. 

Portion of Ralph's Birth Certificate

When Ralph was born, his parents, Max Oppenheim and the former Rosa Weiss already had one child, a daughter named Irene.

Undated - New York - L-to-R:
Max, Ralph, Rosa, Irene

Saturday, January 11, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #2 - Rosa Marcovici

Here is my second post for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a challenge posed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Rosa would be my first cousin  - twice removed. Our common ancestor is Joseph Spiegel, Rosa's grandfather and my second great-grandfather.

Rosa Marcovici was born on January 1, 1900* in Iasi, Romania to Chuna Marcovici and Gitel "Gisella" Spiegel. In Iasi the first baby born in the New Year was given lots of gifts, etc. and written up in the newspapers. However, since Rosa was Jewish, the city didn't want a Jew to be their first New Year (and turn of the century) baby. So they made her birth certificate read that she was born at the end of 1899. Gisella said that as she was giving birth to Rosa, she heard the bells chiming in the New Year.

1903 - Iasi, Romania       Rosa looks older than 3 to me in this picture.
* Some of my information has been provided by Rosa's daughter-in-law, Sandy Klapper.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - 52 New Blogs (for me to follow!)

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow and her challenge to blog about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks, I have spent the last few hours reading blogs of some of the participants. (I did finish the laundry and the ironing, but my students might not be happy tomorrow- didn't review any of their projects!)

I've now subscribed to/followed 8 new blogs!!! I particularly enjoyed reading a tribute to one blogger's grandfather ( which served to remind me to share not "just the facts ma'am" but also the human side of our ancestors.

Of interest to others may be the post about finding your "Genealogy Score"

The idea is to arrive at a number that determines how "complete" your genealogy is.
Mine is a sad 5.86%. Here's the chart:

I could "spin" the numbers in my favor to make myself feel better. I could have 100% if I only include Generations 1-5!!

This is a pretty easy way to gauge progress from year-to-year. I hope I remember about this post 12 months from now.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #1 -Aaron L. Samuel

I have amended this post to reflect the new challenge presented by Amy Johnson Crow on her blog:

Her challenge is to blog about one ancestor each week for the entire year. The challenge fits in quite well with my Birthday Blog posts and will encourage me to "fill-in" missing weeks each  month.

BTW - you can find a listing of some of the participants on the blog: Tangled Roots and Trees 


Aaron L. Samuel born January 4, 1824, is my third great-grandfather. Aaron’s name has been passed down to several of his descendants (My grandfather, Aaron Edgar later switched his name around, taking Edgar as his first name. My nephew’s middle name is also Aaron.) It is due to Aaron that our family is now living in the United States. He and his family immigrated to the USA in 1857 on board the packet ship Margaret Evans.

Aaron was the third of six children born to Lazarus Samuel and Sarasta (Sara) Nathan. His mother died ( or left the family??) somewhere between 1832 (Aaron’s sister Kitty may have been born that year) and 1841, as the 1841 UK Census listed Lazarus and four children living at 9 Marmon Street in London, England. (Older sisters Esther and Rachel were no longer living with the family.) This census lists him as working as a cigar maker.

1841England Census