Monday, September 15, 2014

Where in the world is Uncle Moritz?

As a child how everyone was related was of no interest to me. They were family. We saw them on holidays and family events. Why we were all at the same events was not a question I asked. By the time our family history bug bit it was too late to ask questions. No grandparents. No parents. Only one aunt was still living. Even cousins older than I were gone.  There were not even many papers remaining that would help answer the questions that began to arise. This is the story of my really rude awakening and awareness of what I was missing. My first challenge would contain a Brick Wall. How likely was that?

Here is what I knew.  My mother, Sally Segall Greenfield, had a first cousin, Ruth Leibovitz, who was one of her closest friends. I knew Ruth, I knew her sister, Lillian, and I knew Ruth's mother, Aunt Jennie.  Through all my growing up years I never wondered where Uncle Somebody was! Perceptive kid, eh?  My first efforts and already some empty spots began to appear. Why was Aunt Jennie's name Leibovitz? Where did that come from? Well, some searching and my maternal grandmother's maiden name was -- Leibovitz (Leibovici).  Granma must have had a brother.

And to further prove that I had the right Moritz-Morris my grandfather's signature was right there on Moritz' Naturalization card. And in addition, there was even a marriage license to be found.  So it would seem all the answers had been found. Morris and Jennie were married. They had two daughters, one was Ruth, my mother's close friend/cousin, and Lillian. But no, we were
not yet through with the mystery of Moritz. In the 1930 census Aunt Jennie and her girls are living with the Weiss family, Jennie's parents, and Jennie is listed as a widow.  BUT when and how did Moritz die?

Now you know the unsolved mystery.  I have searched all the places I have thought of to look. I have sent messages through JewishGen to see if he was known elsewhere. Did he die? Did he disappear and start a new life? Was he in an accident that I have not found listed anywhere?  It seems he will remain a mystery forever.  But I learned an important lesson.

Since this search I have been sending a message to all of my nieces, nephews, grandchildren and the children of friends. Here is the message.  ASK QUESTIONS!  Ask your grandparents to write names on the back of old pictures. Let your grandparents and parents tell you their stories and, if you can, record those stories. You will never be sorry to have those artifacts; you will only be sorry if you don't.  August 14, 2006  As I begin the updating and redesign of my blog the mystery remains. All efforts to find proof of death have failed. Maybe this new beginning will help.

1 comment:

Joanne Cowden said...
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