One of my family lines that I love exploring is the Siegel family. My great grandmother Matilda Siegal was born in Focsani, Romania. She came to the United States as a little girl of 10 years of age in 1905. She lived with her older brother Isidore and then moved in with her sister Rebecca and her husband, Simon Frankel. Rebecca had immigrated just two years earlier from Romania. Their mother, Chaje Goldman, would later immigrate in 1911 and bring along her four other children.
A little over three years ago I sent a message to a user on FamilySearch.
A little over three years ago I sent a message to a user on FamilySearch after viewing a note on my second great aunt, Rebecca Siegel, on their Family Tree. I was thrilled when I received a reply from the user, Barbara. She is the granddaughter of Rebecca. We exchanged messages back and forth, sharing what we each had found in our genealogy research, as well as stories we knew about our family members.
One day I received a message on Facebook from Barbara’s daughter, Amy. She was excited to learn about the family and we quickly became friends. It wasn’t too long before another cousin, Randi, came along and messaged me to introduce herself as well as her mother Andrea. Amy and Randi are both great granddaughters of Rebecca Siegel. Randi descends from Rebecca’s first husband (or so we think, as Rebecca had a child named Dora born approximately 1902 in Romania), Simon Frankel. Amy descends from Rebecca’s second husband, William Faberman.
One day I received a message on Facebook. She was excited to learn about the family and we quickly became friends.
Amy, Randi, and I communicate regularly with each other on Facebook, as well as with Barbara and with Randi’s mother, Andrea. It’s amazing how the photos we share can bring up so many memories. I was able to show them this picture I received from my grandmother. It is of her mother (my great grandmother, Matilda Siegel) and her mother (my grandmother), Chaje Goldman. Matilda is sister to Rebecca, making Amy, Randi, and I third cousins to each other (Amy and Randi are also second cousins to each other).
Randi recently moved to Massachusetts and we made plans to meet up, given how close we now live to each other. Amy agreed to fly in from Colorado to join us and the date was set. We would spend the day in Boston on August 18th for a long-awaited reunion. We counted down the days, planning out the logistics.
The day finally arrived. We got together at a local restaurant for brunch and shared story after story of our families, filling in gaps where one of us had more information. We talked about our cousin Max Frankel, who was “Mr. Hollywood” and even has his own IMDB page https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0291234/, working as property master on films such as I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957). We recounted horrific stories such as when cousin David was assaulted with a knife for being Jewish while he was serving in the Merchant Marines. As the genealogist of the group, I have been able to share documents that help fill in those gaps and reveal more stories.
This is only the beginning….
This reunion meant a lot to me and has helped strengthen my relationship with my family as well as with my ancestors. We are already discussing plans for the next get-together and how we want to involve even more family members. I took it another step further and created a Facebook group for the descendants of Chaje Goldman and Hyman Siegel. We are sharing pictures and stories and will continue to trace the lines of each of their children and hopefully meet more descendants. This is only the beginning….
About Melanie McComb
Melanie McComb is a genealogist at NEHGS. She is an experienced international speaker on such topics as researching in Prince Edward Island and using newspapers and DNA in genealogy. Readers may know Melanie from her blog, The Shamrock Genealogist. Melanie holds a bachelor of science degree from the State University of New York at Oswego. Her areas of interest are Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Kansas, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. She is experienced in genetic genealogy, genealogical technology, social media, military records, and Irish and Jewish research.View all posts by Melanie McComb →