As in life, I find it impossible to focus on any one thing.

Archive for Magit

Cohen & Magit Family History

In 7th grade, at Van Nuys Junior High, Room 207, I had Mr. Taylor for history. I liked Mr. Taylor and history about as much as I might like a root canal, if I were unlucky enough to have to have one. But, family I’ve always loved. Old pictures I’ve always loved. And now, putting my family into history – I’m loving that too.

Great-grandparents' 50th anniversary, 1934
Blanche & Paul Cohen & family

My Dad’s cousin, Paula, visited my Mom in Los Angeles in January 2009. One Sunday during her stay, I drove up to Mom’s for Sunday brunch. I took with me a photo from my paternal grandmother’s parent’s 50th anniversary. I knew maybe 1/3 of the faces in the picture and hoped Paula could fill most of the blanks in my knowledge.

 I was thrilled when Paula began naming each person, pointing out their spouse and any children, the birth order of the Cohen brothers and sisters, and if they had a yiddish name, what that was as well. I scribbled furiously while she rattled off each name, asked her to repeat a few, and ate brunch impatiently while thinking about getting back on my computer. After returning to San Diego, armed with this new information, I returned to and found many more documents and historical information than I had with my few names and dates. It’s addictive. Once you find a new piece of information or a new person, you have more ammo to keep searching and to find one more.

Another feature on is the Member Connect, where you can find other Ancestry members who are looking for the same people you are. Debra was my first connect. I wrote a short, inter-Ancestry email explaining why I thought we were a “connect” and when she responded in the affirmative, we quickly planned a get-together. Debra introduced me to Joan, who turns out to be the motherload. My Great-grandfather, Meyer MagitJoan shared with me the picture of my great-grandfather, Meyer Magit.

I’ve found a whole bunch of cousins I never knew I had. Many of whom I grew up living 20 minutes from. Another couple of cousins, these on my Mom’s side, have done huge family trees, gathered pictures my Mom had never seen, and were glad to share these with me.

It’s been exhilarating meeting new cousins. I’ve even found a Chicago contingent of cousins on Facebook. The next step is another trip to Chicago, this time with many more leads to follow, gravesites to visit, and new family to meet.