Amazing Coincidences After Finding My Ancestors; We Are One People

1 Feb

It has been a crazy time since I found out the lineage of my two times great grandmother Esther (Etka Lew) Wolff. I have connected with distant family through the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page. I have been welcomed to see our very large family tree on Geni. And I have found out who my ancestors were back to 1720.

Amazing.

But the amazement does not seem to end. In one of the many emails my two distant cousins sent me I saw that a branch of the family, one of my three times great uncles descendants migrated to Kansas City. What! I live in the Kansas City metro area. I have lived here for 18 years with no family except my immediate family. For a while my husband had cousins here, but they moved away. Now I find out I have distant cousins here. Really?

And then I thought about it. Many years ago, when the Bialystok Home for the Aged still existed and they still did a newsletter, I would get the “Bialystoker Stimmer.” I was a supporter of the Home for the Aged because my great grandparents, my grandma and my parents were always supporters. So the tradition continued.

In any case, in one issue I read, there was an article by a man and his daughter from Kansas City. And I knew his daughter. I mentioned the article to her, and we would joke about it and call ourselves “Landsmen,” which we were. So when I heard that I had distant cousins here, I immediately thought of her.

I sent her an email.

“What was your maiden name? I just found out that a branch of my family, last name Lew/Lewin/Levin moved to the Kansas City area. (Originally from Bialystok region). Just curious.”

She wrote back. And it all fit. They were from the same small town, Ciechanowiec. Her dad’s last name was Lewin but he changed it to Levine in the USA. We were third cousins.

And I thought that was all.

But my contacts back east (EW and AB), who had been feeding me all this information, were not done. They had heard of my friend/cousin. But there were others as well. They sent me a diagram. And asked if I recognized any other names. I did. One was a boy the same age as my son, they had gone to school together through second grade and had played together. The family belonged to the same synagogue my family belonged to. We have been friendly acquaintances for 20 years. We are related through the father.

I sent them an email because I find it all so interesting. I would never have expected to find family in Kansas! I am still in a state of determined amazement. Jew from the small Polish village of Ciechanowiec settled in Kansas and Missouri!

When my children were little they went to the local Jewish day school. My daughter used to feel sad sometimes because everyone was related to everyone else, except for her. She had no cousins at the school. I wish I had known this when they were little, as they were in school together, although their children were younger and more my son’s age. We might not be family, but they would have been ‘cousins.’

My daughter lives in Israel now. Many of her cousins who she is in contact with are also third cousins. These are branches of my family and my husband’s family that we have been in contact with forever. She has many second cousins, as my husband’s first cousin moved to Israel 27 years ago. These cousins have all been welcoming and loving. It is strange that some lines of the family stay in contact, and we see these cousins even with the distance in relationship; we consider ourselves close family.

But some lines of a family are lost over time. The movement from Europe. The aftermath of the Shoah; the younger generations moving away.   I had information from my Grandma and my Aunt mentioning these lines of the family, but we had no contact with them.

What an amazing coincidence to find some of these third and fourth cousins in Kansas. Of course we are distantly related. Third and fourth cousins are not so close. But it was surprising to find a connection where I was not expecting to find one.

But even more important, it shows that the Jewish people are really one. We are interconnected. My family, with its approximately 20,000 descendants is a perfect example of the inter-relations between all Jewish families. And even though a number of my family, from both my maternal and paternal sides perished in the Shoah, we remain.

That is the most amazing aspect of my continued search for my ancestors how we are truly one people.

 

https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/serendipity-wins-in-finding-a-family-connection/

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