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  • Roots and Branches: Who Will Carry On Your Work?

    Miriam Weiner

    Published Date : February-March 1989
    Genealogists are a unique breed who extract life and nurture understanding by probing deep into the roots of family trees. Like most researchers and other scientists who do their investigation alone, the genealogist hopes to eventually share the fruits of labor with many and for the benefit of others. This exploration will become part of the inheritance to succeeding family members. However, not all family members share the enthusiasm and dedication, which at times can border on obsession, that characterizes the tender of some family historians.

    My niece is the designated “genealogist-to-be” in the case of my family. I have chosen her to carry on this legacy and assume the role as guardian of the family history. She accepted this responsibility forthrightly.

    The first time she visited my home we began with a tour of the pictorial gallery lining my walls. As we approached the section of my father’s side of the family, I told her about my great-grandmother’s arrival in this country and her grandfather’s early years in the Midwest. She gazed at the pictures and listened intently. I pointed to the photo of my grandfather, Alexander Rabkin, and told her how he came to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1917, where he sold produce and in 1923 opened a “fine open air motion picture place,” according to the newspaper announcement.

    Each photo on the wall reminds me of another family story -- of someone I either knew personally or have come to know historically as our family mosaic takes shape through the exploration of our roots. The names have led to faces. The documents and family stories have been woven into a unique history and heritage that will be passed from generation to generation.

    During another visit, I told my protogee about my extensive research and the dedication involved in building my library and archives. She seemed to understand the tremendous responsibility I was describing. I decided to send articles, pictures, and books to her mother, who will assist in starting the files and organizing the materials. it is a great relief to know that the newest member of our family tree will carry forth our family history.

    Miriam Weiner, a certified genealogist, has prepared a Beginner’s Guide (55 pages) on how to research Jewish family history that includes charts, a list of archives and libraries, bibliography, maps, family group sheets, and more. It can he ordered for $10.00 plus $2.50 postage/handling by writing to her at 136 Sandpiper Key, Secaucus, NJ 07094.

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