I got woefully lost tracing my family’s Jewish roots. I fell into a familiar trap. Like many family history researchers on the Internet, I wanted to believe that I was related to the great Moses Levy, a New York merchant who commissioned portraits for most members of his family. My fifth grandmother was a Levy, […]
Nothing is worse than the crushing blow of dashed expectations, especially when it comes to genealogy research. I had high hopes that a recent visit to Charleston, S.C., would turn up something — a gravestone, a house, a place of business, anything — related to my fourth great grandfather, Philip Benjamin (1779-1852). My spirits rose […]
Beware of what you might find when researching your family history. My family in particular seems to have more than its share of ghosts in the closet. Here are a few that I’ve discovered so far.
When Judah P. Benjamin fled the country following the Civil War — he needed to skedaddle since he’d served as Secretary of State for the Confederacy — there was only so much he could take with him. First, the portly attorney could only fit so much on his horse, which he rode through the South, […]
My self-appointed mission: To drive all the way to New Orleans for a special viewing of clothes belonging to my third great grand uncle Judah P. Benjamin. With any luck, the Touch the Wig tour would end with a precious co-mingling of DNA, so that genealogists many years from now would know that I’d made […]
Row 8, plot 85. With the coordinates in hand, it should be simple to find the grave of Rebecca de Mendes Benjamin. But the sun has set over the Dispersed of Judah cemetery, the moon is reduced to a crescent, and an ominous chill has settled in over otherwise warm-blooded New Orleans. Ethan points a meager flashlight borrowed […]