Monday, April 01, 2013


When I was growing up, my father would generally refer to any relative, no matter now vague, as "mishpocha" -- family. We could be talking about 7th cousins 5 times removed....for him, the possibility that somewhere back there, we had mutual ancestors was enough reason to establish an intimate relationship.

Since meeting some cousins on my maternal grandfather's side 4 years ago, I've had the opportunity to explore a side of my family about which I knew very little. My grandfather, who died before I was born, came to Canada, and then America, from England during WWI. We've always been in contact with his sister and her sons, but other than that, didn't have very much connection to the family at all.

Through my new New Zealand cousins, we've "met" additional cousins in England and one of them is quite involved in genealogical research.

He identified a great-great-great-grandfather, Joseph, who "pinched" a shirt and some sheets in London in the 1850s and was shipped off to the penal colonies in Australia. I (and the New Zealand cousins who we met 4 years ago, and who now live in Israel!) are descended from Joseph's 1st wife, but there was a second wife and there are some relatives out there somewhere from that relationship.

Anyway, Joseph's sister, Rebecca, went off to visit Joseph in Tasmania and married a nice Jewish boy and the family made its way to New Zealand.

Down a few generations, two of THOSE NZ descendents of Rebecca have made aliyah and over Pesach, I and "our" NZ cousins went to the Golan to visit one of them. Nice friendly family and we enjoyed meeting them.

Now, I need to reiterate, our common ancestor were Simon and Sarah, Rebecca and Joseph's father and mother, born in the late 1700s. 

Puts a new twist on my father's view of "Mishpocha".

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