Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘family tree’

Here’s a question most amateur genealogists must ask themselves at some stage in their researches. How far do we go sideways with the family tree before we decide the relationship is just too distant to be meaningful?

It is not an irrelevent question for the Kahn line. A lot of time has been spent in the last couple of years identifying tenuous and far-flung links. We now have a very good idea of our German connections and the verdure of the tree in that area is fairly dense and bushy. Much more information is indisputably available if we continue the sideways move. But…

… take the case of Moses Marks Samuels, as an example. He’s on our ancestry.com chart and recently we noticed a waving fig leaf against his name, suggesting another had included the man in his family tree. On investigation, we found that the researcher’s wife was the granddaughter of the grandson of the brother of Moses Marks, the husband of the daughter of our Victor, the great-grandfather of me. Thus, a valid direct line can be drawn between a Philadelphian researcher and all of us Kahns.

A great thinker once posited that we are all just six steps away from everyone else in the world. If that’s right, I’d better upgrade my ancestry.com subscription to premium level. But how relevant is it for me to research the family tree of (for instance) the wife of the man in Philly? Countless new avenues would be opened and the nexus would become more and more complex, each additional entry opening several other avenues to be explored. It’s exponential and almost infinite. In theory, if time and space are indeed curved and limited only by infinity, we could travel down this road forever and end up back where we started, but we still wouldn’t have any idea what happened to Victor’s siblings.

So I’m resisting the temptation to keep adding distant names to the tree. On the other hand, the Philly man’s wife is a genuine relative… so…

… where do we stop? Or do we keep going until our subscriptions (and mortal tenancies) expire?

By the way, we’d love to hear from Amanda again. Please email us: contactme@kahngene.org.uk (AK).

Read Full Post »

Academic genealogy has taken a back seat lately. That’s because we moved home for the second time in as many years. We hadn’t even opened every box from the last relocation before we started packing again. Now we’re ensconced in an old converted Primitive Methodist chapel in rural Lincolnshire, ‘out on the marsh’ as we like to call it. The walls are damp in places, drainage is dubious, heating clamours, hedges are overgrown and the sugar beet campaign has started – beware mud on road. But from all windows we have views over fields; Gedney Church is just visible on the southern edge and Boston Stump is just invisible to the north-west. To the north and east the sea wall forms a pencil-straight horizon worthy of any draughtsman.

So far within our extended curtilage we’ve enjoyed the antics of a covey of about 50 French partridge, a flock of some fifteen tree sparrows, a thieving magpie, several pheasants, lots of tits and finches, a lone muntjac and Lenny. We’ve exchanged the close social accessibility of village life for the bucolic isolation of the countryside. Here we’d like to stay for a while; my next change of address will include the words ‘late of…’.

Within a few days of moving in, with unopened boxes piled in various rooms and the air still redolent of perspiring removal men, cousin David and his wife Anne arrived. They were just finishing a whistle-stop tour of Great Britain as part of their vacation from Canada. We tried to recall when we last met and came to the conclusion it was in 1959 when my sister Maxine married. Half a century ago! After such an interval, perhaps it’s not surprising that I had to keep reminding myself that I was not chatting to Uncle Phil but to his son. Thus can be implied several definitions of ‘distant relations.’

We had a grand if brief time. Now we’re all settling back into the mellowness of autumn with inevitable long nights becoming longer. This is the time for renewed research into the family’s history. After an instant of stirring excitement over a potential USA far-cousin, we were disappointed to find the link was an inadvertent red herring dropped by a misinterpreted coincidence of name and dates. But the search continues with no waning of enthusiasm.

All new developments will be reported here. (AK)

Read Full Post »

Owing to other commitments (such as trying to overcome winter sadness and ennui), research on the family tree has been a little in abeyance lately. However, thanks to contacts in the UK, Germany, France, USA and (now) Holland, we are slowly expanding our store of knowledge about this wide-spread family of ours.

In common with all amateur genealogists, we face obstinate hurdles. Contradictions and inconsistencies increase with every piece of information. Forenames change; surnames are misspelt or misrepresented in some way. Dates are vague and sometimes surmised. Locations shift awkwardly. Children are omitted or wrongly ascribed to parentage.

Perhaps not unusually, we have several specific difficulties. The French Revolution altered dates and spellings of surnames. Kahn, for example, is spelt Cahn by French registering authorities. Then we have Kahen, Kaan and the infamous Kahnn. Nausen becomes Nathan. Some family members eschew their given names; Alexander Gaston has always been Gaston Victor to us – until recently. And some of our forebears have so many forenames we have no idea whether they’re diminutives, nick-names or good old-fashioned cock-ups.

Entire territories change hands. One minute Luxembourg is Prussian; the next it’s French. Schweich in Germany became French for a while. And we know what happened to European records and archives in modern history, from the middle 1930s to the end of the 40s. Did the politicians and generals of the day have no concept of the problems they’d cause future genealogists?

Despite confusions, we’ve made progress this year. Four paces forwards, two back, means we end the year in credit. In fact, that understates the case. 2010 has been a bumper year for the Moselle River crop of Kahns.

But we still haven’t traced Victor’s siblings. Each piece of evidence so far points to him being an only child, almost the sole incidence of such in the entire Kahn tree. And yet, intuition suggests otherwise.

Perhaps the New Year will bring the breakthrough we seek. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has kept our hunger assuaged with morsels, multiple-pages, articles and entire books of information. We do appreciate your help. May you all prosper in wealth, health and harmony throughout 2011and beyond.

AGK

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers