Walter emails from Rostov

Dan and Jo,

We are in Rostov having a great time with warm and wonderful people. It is also close to 100 degrees and havent had a chance to swim in the Don which is clean only intermittently. I am also very tired, so only a brief note for now. There arer, sadly, fewer mentions of Tulbowitzes than I had hoped. The problem appears to be that Rostov did this super-wonderful census in 1896 that would have had all sorts of terrific information on them, but as you know, Rose, Abe and Sophie left for US in 890 or 1891 and the rest of the clan left within a few years, so there werte none of them left in '96. Couldnt Shlomo-Aharon and company have held on for a year or two to get into the census? They ought to have anticipated some great-son would show up 110 years later seeking info on them. Maybe they did, but Rose said, "Get your asses in gear and come to Albany." The family may have also been metioned in earlier records that have, lamentably, disappeared. So we have had bad luck in this regard.

The syangogue archivist, Yevgeni Gimududinov found two precious bits of info on the Tulbowitzs We bought the documents from the municipal archives, so will be able to put them up on Ruby Family History at some point. One from 1876 records the birth of a son to Shlomo-Aharon and Sophia (not Sophie as she is recorded on her grave) by the name of Gavriel. Not Eduard, who probably was born in 1878 as the U.S. census said. Gavriel's brithday is Sept 28, 1876 and it is also recorded that Gavriel was circumcized on Oct 3, 1876. The documents gives the rank of "Meshanin" or "townsman" to Shlomo-Aharon. That was a rank that included professionals, artisans, and small business people that was a lower ranking than "merchant". Interestingly, we saw a newspaper later today from 1874 where all the meshanins in Rostov are listed and there is no Tulbowitz there, so maybe the family was rising from poverty and just attained that status in 1875 or 1876. Dan, you mentioned that the U.S. census record about the family said there wete five children (Rose, Edward and who else?) Was the name Gavriel or Gabriel among them? Anyway, meet another family member.

The second listing was from Aug 13, 1879 and records the death of a son named Isai or Yitzhak, aged 3 years and 5 months. So Sophie must have gotten pregnant again almost immediately after giving birth to Yitzhak. Strange--but thats what we have. So meet another family member who was only with us for a short time.

We have a LOT of information on the Jews of Rostov at that time, of the synagogue and cemetery (now gone) and much, much else. But it looks like we'll be leaving here having added only marginally to the concrete knowledge of Tulbowitz's-on-Don. Still, it was very much worth the trip, just being here absorbing the milleu and seeing a city that was down at the heels when I was last here in 1999, now bursting with prosperity--a mini-Moscow. The transformation is incredible. We had dinner at a Cossack restaurant (really!!!) in a recrerational area on the Don last night and the place was full of flashy people flashing cash. Russia is indeed bursting with pride and money.
Anyway, I drank way too much and danced like crazy and then had to get up early for a day of geneological research. Am headed now for a much needed nap.



AP: Famous ancestors adorn most family trees

Here's an interesting article from the Associated Press that says that almost everyone descends from a famous ancestor. In our family, that could be the Kovno Rav. The article goes into detail about actress Brooke Shields' pedigree. Among her ancestors are Catherine de Medici and Lucrezia Borgia, Charlemagne and El Cid, William the Conqueror and King Harold II, vanquished by William at the Battle of Hastings.

Even more surprising, according to Irish computer scientist and genealogy enthusiast, Muhammad, the founder of Islam, appears on the family tree of every person in the Western world. Who knew?

Family Finder search results are promising

I mentioned that JewishGen Family Finder success story in my last post. Well, I figured, we might as well give it a try. The JGFF database lets you query on surnames, towns and countries to discover other people who are researching those sames names and places. I guess it has been running quite a while and has a large number of researchers indexed.

I ran queries on Tulbowitz in Rostov, Rabinovich in Kaunus, Ringel in Rzeszow, and Wolgemuth in Kaliningrad. Three of the four rang up good hits--only the Tulbowitzes came up blank. There are lots of hits for Rabinovich and Ringel, both fairly common names in their regions of Lithuania and Galicia. We will certainly want to follow up with some of those researchers.

The Wolgemuth hits were more specific--two researchers interested in Wolgemuths in Kaliningrad, the modern name for Konigsberg, then the capital of German East Prussia, where our grandmother Elly was born 1900, Both records are old. Bernice Siegel of Brighton MA last updated her record in 1999. Gary Smith, who does not list an address, updated last in 2001.

I sent each of them an email tonight introducing myself as a descendent of the Julius Wolgemuth-Bette Katz family who had two daughters born in Konigsberg in the early years of the last century. We'll cross our fingers and hope that either or both of the emails finds their destination. If so, it may be that we will find someone who can tell us more about our great-grandfather Julius.

Genealogy blog

I came across a good collection of articles and resources at the Jewish section of Genealogy Blog. I may post a few that are relevant to our search.

For example, here is a detailed report about a genealogy success story, in which long lost branches of a Jewish family in Maryland, Uruguay, and the Netherlands are reunited through the Jewish Genealogy Family Finder. So far I have not entered myself in the JGFF, but this article is strong incentive to do so.


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