Nick Gombash recently blogged about his wish for a genealogy time machine. Although I have had the wonderful opportunity to hear my mother-in-law share the family stories, I have often wished I could go back in time and ask some questions to clarify the family lore.
The top three ancestors of my husband's I would like to go back in time to meet are as follows:
Who: Max Levitt, who died May 3, 1935
When: Early 1890's, around when he immigrated
Where: New York City, before he moved to Woodbine, New Jersey
Why: When exactly did he immigrate, and from where, exactly? What are his parents' names and was it Max or his father who changed the family name from Levitas to Levitt because Levitas sounded "too fancy"? When exactly did he find out about the opportunity for jobs in Woodbine, New Jersey, and did he really make the decision to move there so quickly that when his son (Manuel, Emmanuel?) declared that he didn't want to move and ran away, he wasn't able to find him?
Who: Morris Goldstein
When: July 1914, the month he immigrated to America
Where: Iasi, Romania
Why: The family story says that his older brother, Max Goldstein, changed his name from Yancu to Goldstein. I would love to ask Morris (or his brother, Max) to tell me exactly when and where this name change was done. Morris came over under the name Goldstein, so presumably he changed his name in Romania, but did Max change his name before immigrating from Romania, or after reaching America? Also, what was it like to make this trip at the age of 17, with just his older sister accompanying him?
Who: Anna Honenváld
When: 1909-1911, when her daughter married and later left home for America
Where: Bonyhád, Tolna District, Hungary
Why: Her husband was Samuel Holländer, who would also be interesting to speak with. What did she think of her son-in-law, Josef Handler, who married her daughter, Lena Holländer? What were her feelings about their immigration to America? And what about when Lena returned to Hungary for a several-month visit in 1915? Was Lena eager to return to her husband in America?
Thanks, Nick, for this fun idea!