After six months of researching my husband’s family tree, I thought I had accomplished my genealogical goal which was to trace the family back to their arrival in Canada. Finding the ship manifest with the original names of his grandparents and great grandparents was the highlight of my research. Still with all these facts, I was missing the greater historical context of why and how they came to Canada. I joined the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS) to learn about the Jewish experience here in Canada and in the world in the early 1900s. Every month the JGS has a speaker who comes to share their story about their family and the research they have done. Every time I came and listened, I learned something new.

In September Harvey Glasner and Ruth Mallin told us about the new JGS website and the new interactive forums for members. When I returned home, I took a look at the forum on Poland. On it there was an entry from David Price who shared a candid story of his family research and even posted some pictures of his family. (Coincidentally, at the meeting, I had met David for the first time when he was giving away some books and other materials.)

During my research, I had found on the website a copy of a birth record for a Pinkas Kupferberg from Zawichost, Poland which I thought might belong to my husband’s great grandfather but, because it was in a different language, I could not verify that it was really for our Pinkas Kupferberg. I thought to myself, I don’t know how these forums are supposed to work but they are for sharing information and perhaps asking questions. I decided to post it on the forum to see if anybody could help with the translation.

Within a few days, I received a reply from David Price. (Does this man ever sleep?) I actually received 5 replies. David translated the document and gave me the key information on the birth record about Pinkas and his parents. He went on to identify 10 siblings and a marriage of one sister. I think my family tree has just grown exponentially. Later the same day I had another reply from another member, Toba Ajzenstadt. Toba added to David’s post and identified 2 more siblings and 2 more marriages. I am so grateful to David and Toba for taking the time to answer my post because this is a significant breakthrough in my research. With their help, my family research has expanded beyond Canada to their homeland in Poland. With contact names on the passenger manifest from their journey to Canada, I am able to say that this family is truly part of my husband’s Kupferberg family tree. I encourage all members to check out the forums, share a family story or ask a question, you never know where it may lead.

My new goal is to trace the Goldman side of the family back to their shtetl somewhere in Russia. This is complicated because the Goldmans left Russia and settled in England/Scotland before coming to Canada. My genealogy adventure continues.

Christine McNamee

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