Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,

My new interest: genealogy

Probably it's a consequence of aging, but I've suddenly become
interested in genealogy research. Actually there is a mystery I am
trying to solve, which is what the family name was in Romania, before
it was changed to Schwartz. Also I would like to determine if there
is any Sephardic ancestry, such as one might find in Romania. The
evidence I've gotten so far is not favorable towards that.

I did manage to confirm the claims I was descended from the Plymouth
colonists, which was almost too easy. After all, it's what Americans
use as an excuse to have an autumn feast. Otherwise we'd have to do
it on Halloween, and we would choke on the candy. Or we could have it
on Columbus Day, but then we'd be Canadians.

The story that my great grandfather had immigrated from Ireland,
however, proved false. I do not know whether it was something my
grandmother herself believed, because she was a baby when her father
died, and she herself died when only in her early sixties. This left
many years in which I and other descendants could distort the story.
His parents were born in Ireland, but he was not.

This reminds me of one time my other grandmother making a comment
about "the Irish," to which I responded, "Hey!" and Grandma quickly
realized she'd made that comment to an Irish-American. :)

I haven't yet looked much at the ancestry on my mother's side. Partly
that's because it was my mother's extended family that was,
effectively, my own extended family. There isn't as much mystery for
me, and anyway you've got the picture if you think of chicken soup
being used to extort a promise that you will be good. That's my
grandmother, whom I adored nevertheless. I like the scene in King
of the Hill
where Hank's mother's Jewish boyfriend hugs Hank and
tells him he'll never get away. That's the picture. I put a lock on
my bedroom door one day, and the family went ballistic. My mother
pounded on the door and demanded I remove the lock. I was 28 years
old. This is the origin of Jewish humor. There would be no Jewish
humor as a Jewish phenomenon if it weren't both ridiculous to be
Jewish and possible to be proud of that ridiculousness.

I did not remove the lock, and all was well within a few days. When I
left for Minnesota, my mother was gone, but I had my Grandma, whom I
adored. Grandma and I didn't speak for months, but then all was well.
By "all was well" I mean that she never forgave me for leaving, and
she never came to visit, and she never stopped suggesting my wife
married me for the money I got from my mother's life insurance, but
that was just Grandma. She was from Brooklyn.

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