I've mentioned in the past that I have been in touch with several of my mother's second cousins and that we are trying to piece together our family tree to solidify all the connections. Well last night a big piece of the puzzle fell into place.
My mother's second cousin, Michel, who lives in Paris, updated our Geni.com family tree and with those updates I was able to connect an entire group of people that up until a few weeks ago I only heard about maybe once or twice in the past. Turns out that my great grandmother, Bella Kreplak was part of a very big family. I didn't even know the names of most of her brothers and sisters, only their descendants and usually two generations away. I definitely didn't know the names of her parents, Avram Kreplak and Dobe Jablonka.
Bella was one of eight children in a family that lived in Kosow Lacki, Poland. The children in the family were (in no particular order, because I have yet to verify all the birth dates): Bella, Moshe, Yossel, Rivka, Chaya, Esther, Meir and Noeh. Some of you reading this are scratching your heads and thinking to yourselves, what kinds of names are these? Well they are Jewish names used in Poland about 100 years ago. And because everyone had several names and nicknames, putting it all together is sometimes very frustrating. Here's an example.
I usually rely heavily on the GNDBs page on JewishGen. You plug in the name and the country and try to find a translation. But it's not always so easy. Let's take Yossel, Bella's brother. If you plug in Poland and Yossel, it doesn't find anyone. But I know that Yossel, is a nickname for Yossi or Yossef or actually Joseph. So instead, I looked for Yosiel and got this:
Legal/Hebrew: Yoseyf Manso Gender: M Legal Origin: Genesis 30:24
Yiddish: Yosef / Yoysef / Yoyzep / Yozep / Yusef / Yehosef / / Manso
Yiddish Nickname: Josiela / Osip / Yesl / Yos / Yose / Yosefke / Yosefl / Yosek / Yosh / Yoshe / Yoshk / Yoshke / YOSIEL / Yosk / Yoske / Yoskhen / Yoskhin / Yosl / Yoslin / Yospe / Yosye / Yoyze / Yoyzfe / Yoyzl / Yozep / Yozl / Yozlin / Yozpe / Yusl / Yuzek
Local Secular: Jesef / Jojzyp / Josef / Josif / Josyf / Yosif?
Local Secular Nickname: Ios / Iosko / Iospa / Jojze / Jojzel / Jos / Josek / Josel / Josk / Joska / Jospa / Joszk / Joz / Jozek
European Secular: Iosef / Iosek / Iosif / Iozef / Iozek / Josef / Jozef / Josek / Jusef / Yosef / Yossef? / Yousif? / Yozef
European Secular Nickname: Iosel / Iozel / Joscha? / Josiel / Josjek / Joss / Yosek / Yosel?
US Name: Jack / Josef / Joseph
See what I mean? How many ways can you spell this name? And who knew that Joseph translates to Jack? And if you change the output to Argentina you get Jose. And these aren't even the tough ones. Bella's mother was Dobe Jablonka. Dobe to me sounds like Doba, which sounds like a female bear in Hebrew. So here is what I found in the GNDBs:
Legal/Hebrew: Dobra / Dobrush / Dobrushka / Doba / Tova Gender: F Legal Origin: Hebrew calque <>
How do you get to Dorothy from Dobe?
Anyway, back to the second cousins. I am not done yet. There is an entire branch of Kreplak's in Argentina that I want to link up. I think Michel knows the connection to them. He's visited them a couple of times and has a lot of information. It's tricky again, because all their names have taken on a South American flavor. There are Carlos and Julio and Federico in that branch. But at least it seems that the ancestors are still known by their original Yiddish names of Enoch and Pinjes. Enoch is Hanoch and Pinjes is also Pinkus and I already found a few of those in the JRI Poland database on JewishGen.
When I started to compile and rebuild this family tree I had no idea I would run into so many living relatives. This is truly an amazing experience.
So here's a great big warm welcome to all my new relatives, my second and third cousins I never even knew I had.