I spent the long weekend making some changes to the website we hope will speed some of our genealogical research. The biggest changes are the addition of six different text-based family trees detailing what we know about the ancestors of my wife, Chris Ann Maxwell.
My ancestry is straight Galician Jewish… that is, Jews from an area between what is now Ukraine and Poland.
My wife’s is a little more complicated — one quarter Irish, by way of Taunton, Massachusetts; one quarter Irish by way of Syracuse, Onandaga County, New York; one quarter Eastern European Jewish by way of New York; one-eighth Alsace-Lorraine Jewish by way of New Orleans; and one-eighth Sepharidic Jewish from Holland (and probably Spain) by way of South Carolina.
It has taken me quite a bit of reading to even understand the basics of these cultures.
All of the genealogical lines are quite interesting. The Alsace-Lorraine families contain some luminaries, though the one my wife is proudest of is Keith Godchaux, formerly of the Grateful Dead. This does not count her blood connection to Bernard Baruch, legendary investor and advisor to many Presidents; her marital connection to Hollywood titan Jules Stein; or her direct family connection to Gustave “Gus” Levy, an investment banker and supervising partner at Goldman Sachs who developed many of the industry’s modern financial tools.
She knew about none of these connections before we started following the family strands.
It’s amazing what turns up when you do a little poking around in the DNA.