02 January 2012

Today is the beginning

--> The solution to the “Celebrity Cipher” puzzle in this morning’s newspaper is appropriate as a lead for my first blog post:

“The beginning is always today.” -- Mary W. Shelley
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca

During my four+ years of obsessive study and research into my family history, I’ve steadily built a mailing list of cousins, colleagues, and landsman. Initially the sharing was frequent. Now, less so as the “discoveries” have taken more blood, sweat and tears time and are, while exciting for me, perhaps a bit boring esoteric for all but the most genealogically inclined (perhaps the play-by-play of how I located the woman who traveled to Ellis Island with my great grandfather is more than one bargained for). The fact is that my research has produced ever so much more than that nicely colored .pdf family tree (don’t you want to know how my great grandmother used pastry as a weapon?). Email has not been the best venue for sharing.

I spend all of my a great deal of time in front of my computer or, when time and travel allows, out in court houses, archives or cemeteries.  But, collaboration with the living has been one of the most satisfying and fruitful methods of advancement for my family research. I have sought out contacts with close and far-flung relations that have added appreciably to my knowledge of family. I believe, from how open and welcoming most of these cold-call relations have been, that both sides have appreciated this newly shared knowledge.

My research has benefited from the helping hands and ideas of colleagues whose only interest is in sharing the joy of discovery. I have also found that lending a hand and sharing my developed and developing skills as a researcher brings me great satisfaction (if not for working on another’s tree, I never would have ventured into pre-1900 federal census records; it reinvigorates my research when I can be reminded how easy it often was early on in my research to find records).

Other researchers have found me via posted family trees or my shtetl webpage: http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/yurovshchina/index.html
This has helped build my knowledge of Lubin/Labun/Yurovshchina – my father’s family town.

That brings me to the name of this blog:  (going) The Extra Yad.  This play on English and Hebrew* words reflects the several realities of my involvement with family history: 
·      my desire to lend a hand and share knowledge and skills,
·      my realization that one cannot do this kind of research in isolation, without the helping hands of others, and
·      my personal problem strength (I will stick with a problem over the long-haul, turning it upside down and inside out, in an effort to solve it, i.e., “going the extra yard”).

Today is the beginning: blogging. My hope is to encourage dialogue and sharing. If something I post strikes a chord, elicits a memory, makes you smile, please share: post a response or send me an email.  Please add to the discussion.

* “Yad” in Hebrew means hand.  It is the name of the pointer used while reading from the Torah scroll.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to GeneaBloggers. I have been blogging for a few months. You might be interested in my blog about my husband's ancestry at A Jewish Genealogy Journey.

    I look forward to reading your blog.


Comments on posts are always welcome but will be approved before posting. I actually prefer to just let people comment without going through this rigmarole, but I've recently had to delete some posts that I had not vetted before publication. So, please don't be offended. I love to hear from you!