Archive for Tag: Rosenthal


Unfinished with Uzhgorod

Monday, 10 June 2013

My last archive visit was in Uzhgorod, the impenetrable archive. That’s what everyone says about it. I didn’t find it so difficult, besides the huge language barrier. My translator did all the talking for me. We waited for the director to call about when I could do my research, but he didn’t. On my last day in the city, we got proactive and I finally hit the jackpot.

The director stopped in a couple of times but one archivist was in the room with us the whole time. I was presented with five books of Jewish and civil births. I was cautious at first, not knowing how much they would let me photograph. But she didn’t seem to mind and I ended up with over 200 pages. If I’d been asked, I would have requested marriages first, but I was just happy to have the access.

I haven’t been including a lot of images of the records in these posts because they’ve been in Russian. I doubt many of my readers could make them out. But these records were in Hungarian and Czech, so they’re easier to deal with.

I was particularly excited over a few of the records I found for my Rosenthal family. The handwriting was a bit messy, but I found my grandfather’s birth record. It occurred to me as I looked at it that it was the first time I had seen the record of a birth for a grandparent. Earlier in the trip, I tried to find the record for my other grandmother, but she was not registered. I didn’t have the chance to look for the other two.

Abraham Rosenthal Birth

Three siblings were registered together. There was another brother in this group that died as a child, so years later, they probably wouldn’t feel the need to record his birth. Between these two records, they switched from Hungarian to Czech.

Rosenthal Group

Interestingly, these were all delayed registrations and the second page refers back to another book where they were taken from. So maybe the missing Moshe is in those books? Something to look for on my next visit.

And finally, I found Hana’s birth. A cousin once asked me what her “real” name was. Well, in Hungarian, it was Hana. She went by Honka most of her life.

Hana "Honka" Rosenthal

Another thing that was interesting to see was David’s signature on several records. There are no pictures of him and his wife, but now I’ve seen his handwriting. This sample is one of the neater ones.

David Rozenthal

Years ago, someone searched these records for me and found some information, but only provided extracts of the data. They found my great-grandmother, Eszter Schwimmer, the mother of all these Rosenthals, but not their father. I was able to find David Alter in the records. (Eszter’s record is a Hungarian civil registration, a completely different format and not as easily shown here.)

David Alter Rosenthal

But the biggest surprise was some pages after David. He was an only child, as everyone agreed. I found that hard to believe and assumed he probably had siblings who died young, or maybe there were stillbirths or miscarriages.

And then I found one sister, born in 1878, Ester Gitel. She died in 1880, less than two years old.

Ester Gitel Rosenthal

Although I did not digitize any book in its entirety, I did take a lot of pictures. Two of the books had 15-20 records per page. I have already indexed them and need to get them onto my web site. But I did not get to see every book of birth registrations, and of course I have to go back again for marriages and deaths.

But at least now, I’ve finally finished sorting through the records that I brought back from Europe. Planning my next trip won’t feel like I’m getting ahead of myself. Now, where can I find a few weeks open in my calendar before the end of the year?

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Kopinovtsi, Ukraine

Friday, 21 December 2012

This entry is for my Rosenthal family. Kopinovtsi is a small village northwest of Mukachevo. It is our Rosenthal ancestral village.

My driver didn’t like using the GPS that he had in his car, opting instead to stop and ask for directions every few people we saw. We were doing fine until we ran out of people. By the time we saw another, we had already driven past the village and off of the paved road. Kopinovtsi sits on a kind of side street to the main road, and we drove past both entrances. Neither had a sign with the village name, as every other village seemed to have.

After a quick stop, and asking more directions, we stopped at the Village Council building. Several people were soon on their cell phones to help. A cousin told me that our house was somewhat recently half post office, so I didn’t think it would be too hard to find. They knew that a Jewish family had once lived in the house directly across the street, but were able to verify it was my family. Down the street, a woman remembered Hershie and his family, while another spoke on the phone to a relative of her husband’s who knew them also.

The house turns out to be one third post office, one third library, and one third in ruins. The people in the village even offered to sell it to me. The post office was locked up, but I walked through the other sections. The back yard was pretty big with a mikveh at the back. It had its own private bridge over a picturesque stream; the water used to be suitable for drinking.

In all my excitement, I didn’t take any pictures of the village, just looking down the street, to get a feel for the area. Maybe on a future visit to the country, I’ll swing by there again.

This was the most personal part of my trip, where I visited the house my grandfather was born and raised in.

The URL of this post is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/12/21/kopinovtsi-ukraine/.
All photos and content Copyright 2012 by Banai Lynn Feldstein.

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Europe 2012 – Day 20 – Mighty Genealogy Browncoat

Friday, 13 July 2012

I have done the impossible and that makes me mighty.

I’ve decided to award myself with a new title, as stated in the title of this blog post.

Ask any genealogist with family from Trans-Carpathia and they’ll tell you no one gets records from the Uzhgorod archive. There is a system in place to order specific records, forms at the archive are in Ukrainian, with a huge back-log.

I don’t even know what was said, but my translator was just as determined as I was. I explained to her how proper research works, how you can’t just order specific records because there are other events you didn’t even know about and can’t know without searching for yourself, among other things.

And today, I saw the old record books and took at least 100 photos of the pages. Among them, I saw the record for my grandfather’s birth, Abraham Rosenthal – that’s the first grandparent birth record I’ve ever seen. I found my great-grandfather’s birth, David Alter, as well as that of a sister who died young that no one knew about. That kind of record would be impossible to find without just flipping through the pages of the books – everyone insisted he was an only child. I always found that hard to believe, that other children just didn’t survive, and I was right.

I only wish we’d called back sooner. They only brought out the books of births this time, and I really only had time for them with just one day. So again I’m planning ahead for my next trip to Europe, which will undoubtedly include Uzhgorod to continue my research there.

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Europe 2012 – Day 13 – Kopinovtsi

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Things went a little wrong today. And a lot right. I wrote the previous post in the morning waiting for my ride. Over two hours, I waited for my guide, blogged, fought with downloading am image emailed to me, and bought some water down the street. Finally I walked back to Hesed Shpira where I learned my guide had car trouble. Someone else helped instead, but he didn’t know any English. We first got a SIM card for my phone, then had to walk to another location to activate Internet. At least now I’m connected.

Next, we took a bus across town to the archive, and he left, I think because someone there allegedly knew English. But she said, in English, that she could speak but not understand. I know exactly what she meant. Suddenly everyone was asked if they knew English and lots of people tried to help. Someone was called who knew some English. I was walked into an office and my phone rang. Then I was spoken to in English again and they suggested returning on Monday. And it sounded like they might let me see the records I want. I’ll bring a translator then and find out.

That phone call was the director of Hesed Shpira sending his son to pick me up for a ride to Kopinovtsi. How did he know I was about done?

After passing through a few villages on a road made out of potholes, we left the paved road. There wasn’t even a sign at the village border like all the others had. And then we found the house with help from the locals. They knew that Jews had lived there, as if they had been the only Jews in the village. Were they? I didn’t think about that to ask at the time. A couple of phone calls verified it was my Rosenthals. They spoke to people who knew the family. I learned that after the war, Hershie returned and sold the house, eventually moving to America. They verified his three kids by name and knew that he had married his cousin (first cousin, once removed, actually). I even met someone who knew Hershie.

I hope I took enough pictures. Not thinking, I didn’t take any with my Androids to post them now. Which means I didn’t mark it by GPS either. Why would I forget to do that when I was doing so well this trip? I guess I got caught up in the moment. In Polish towns, I was looking for the towns generally, or addresses for a client. In Ukraine, I was looking for the house where my grandfather was born and raised.

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Childhood Memory Monday – My Grandparents, Part 2

Monday, 17 January 2011

Week 2 of Sharing Memories is about grandparents. This is the second part, for my maternal grandparents.

Mom’s Parents

Abraham and Ida Rosenthal, October 1977

Bubby and Zaida, as we called them, were Ida nee Halpert and Abraham Rosenthal. The Yiddish terms for grandparents are actually Bubba and Zeide, but I think me or my brother may have mixed them up when we were young, and they stuck that way. They lived in Cape Coral, on the west coast of Florida.

I remember Bubby used to ride in the back seat of the car; I think she said she was more comfortable there. I can remember bits of what was probably the last time I visited them. At least once, I was put on a plane and sent to visit them alone; my brother did that at least once too. On 16 June 1985, they came to visit us and I asked them about their families — it’s written in my diary. It says that they came to visit, but I remember going to their home and asking, so there may have been two different times when I did that.

Banai and Ida Rosenthal, 1981

Bubby gave me a copy of a family tree that my cousin Don Halpert had drawn up years before. She made some corrections and additions, but I’ve done a lot more to it since then.

Zaida had a boat and liked to take us out fishing. I remember the visit when Bubby taught me to play Pinochle (which I’ve completely forgotten) and let me eat as many Oreos as I wanted. I was sick the next day when we were supposed to go fishing, so we went the day after. I remember catching a lady fish, and Zaida cut it up for bait. One of us caught a catfish. A while later, I thought it was finally dead when it stopped thrashing around, but Zaida said it wasn’t and threw it back in the water to prove it to me. I don’t think we brought any fish back for dinner.

Zaida’s Car

In high school, I had a long trip to school; the school had a deal with the county that we use the Metrorail, but we had to be bussed out of the way to get there. So on during phone call, I apparently complained about the long trip, and also the long pubic bus ride back home when I had to go to work after school and always arrived late. Zaida had been in a car accident recently and bought a new car while his old one was being fixed. He offered it to us. He wouldn’t ship the car, insisting we drive over to pick it up. When we arrived, both my brother and I wanted his newer car, while he preferred his older car, but he didn’t want to hassle with the titles, etc. My brother drove the car home and I rode with him. On the drive home, the thermostat froze, overheating the car. On Christmas. On Alligator Alley. It took us a long time to get it home, repeatedly stopping and letting it cool off, while we all climbed into my parents’ car where we kept the engine and the heater running. I ended up sleeping in my parents’ car for the last part of that trip and I completely missed when we finally drove ahead and called for a tow truck to finish the journey. Sadly, I never got to drive that car to school. Ever. It mostly went to my brother, though I got to use it sometimes. My parents bought me a car the last weekend of my senior year, so I got to drive the last three days in that one.

Gifts

Ida knitted two dolls for me with matching, oversized shawls. I never named them (inanimate objects have to be named immediately or the names don’t “stick”), though I sometimes refer to them as Ida and Mary. The one on the left has two faces — on the back, her eyes are closed.

I also have a jewelry box, given to me in 1973, apparently before we adopted their Yiddish titles, since it’s from “Grandma, grandpa”. It was from Windsor, Ontario, which is where my mother and her brothers grew up.

Missed Funerals

Both of my mother’s parents died in 1997, which was the year I finally moved out of Florida. Abraham is buried in St. Petersburg, Florida and Ida is up in Windsor, Ontario with more of her family. I have visited both of them since.

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Cemetery Sunday – Royal Palm, St. Petersburg, Florida

Sunday, 24 January 2010

This week’s cemetery is also in Florida. I only visited once in 1999. Royal Palm Cemetery, as I recall, was a very large cemetery for multiple faiths. My maternal grandfather, Abraham “Abie” Rosenthal is my only relative buried there.

Abraham Rosenthal, Gravestone

Besides seeing my shoes reflected on the stone, you can see a row of stones across the top. Jewish tradition in America is to leave stones instead of flowers, to differentiate ourselves from other religions. In Israel, leaving flowers is normal.

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