September 17 2009 5 17 /09 /September /2009 21:22


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      Each of the millions of emigrantions from Europe is its own dramatic story; these are stories of sadness and joy, of loss and discovery... of all that was left behind, and all that awaited, startled, and trans-formed.  Each emigrant's new life in USA, Latin America, Australia, etc., from the day of his/her arrival, altered each of them forever.  For the languages, cultures, customs, and materials of their new homes differed greatly from that they had known in the "Old Country."



      This page contains part of the story of one 2nd generation Russia to NYC (New York City) immigrant Annie Cohen, a tale told by her nephew who learned of her existence and much more, 30 years after her death.   Annie's existence had been kept secret by her parents and sister for 71 years, since the date she was sent away and hidden.  During that 71 years, Annie, those that hid her, and those who cared for her, all died.  So this is a story of discovery, and it begins in 1995.  [The book is entitled Annie's Ghosts, by Steve Luxenberg (2009 Hyperion Press, Nonfiction, incl. footnote pgs 365-387)]


1972 COHEN Annie burialPg. 15-  [an unnamed overseer at the Michigan Department of Community Health]:  "I get dozens of calls a month from people just like you... family members who have just discovered that they have a relative they never knew about...  State law doesn't let me tell them anything... "  Mr. Luxenberg, the author:  "But she's been dead thirty years... I'm her next of kin."  Overseer:  "That doesn't matter.  You'll need a court order."  Mr. Luxenberg is persistent through 400 pages though, successfully "pursuing the secret that would ultimately lead me back to the beginnRadziwillow-2 by LUXENBERG Steveing of the 20th century, through Ellis Island to the crowded streets of Detroit's... immigrant communities, through the spectacular boom of the auto industry's early years and the crushing bust of the Depression, through the wartime revival that transformd the cityRadziwillow, Ukraine by LUXENBERG Steve into the nation's Arsenal of Democracy, through the Holocaust that brought a relative to Detroit and into my mother's secret, through the postwar exodus that robbed the city's old neighborhoods of both population and prosperity."

     Wherever you live in the world, you are likely to have emigrants who left Europe on your family tree.  European Emigrant Heritage (EEH) stands ready to facilitate your securing the heritage of your family's past.

Ethnic Map NYC 1919 - 1, Key

These map sections (not from Mr. Luxenberg's book) show the ethnic communities of Manhattan, NYC in 1919.  The below section shows the parts of NYC's Lower East Side in red where Mr. Luxenberg's family lived during the first half of the 20th century (1900-1950).

Ethnic Map NYC 1919 - 4, S Manhattan


The Recently Departed
       One need not delve past the "Great War" (1914-1918) to make a living in asset genealogy.  The brothers Steven & Christopher Smyrl, legal genea-logists, have made a great concern working on cases given them by local solicitors.  The brothers are shown below researching the case of a woman who died in 1999 never having married.  Steven is the author of Irish Metho- dists - Where Do I Start?, which is the first in the series ‘Exploring Irish Genealogy,’ published by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations.  EEH researchers often refer to Steven's book.

  Pottery the Old Way

         The effect of modern technology on Europe's many diverse cultures is unfortunately negative.  Though electrically-powered wheels are common today, many potters still prefer to throw on a human-powered wheel. Whether chosen for aesthetic purposes, out of a sense of traditionalism, or simply for exercise, these human-powered designs usually incorporate a heavy flywheel whPotter-s-kickwheel.jpgich is brought up to speed, and kept there, by the operator’s leg muscles. The simplest “kickwheel” is exactly that: the flywheel turns below the seated potter’s feet and is kept in motion by repeatedly kicking its surface.

       Named for
studio potter Bernard Leach, the Leach treadle wheel was in fact de- signed by his sons.  Bern- ard’s grandson Simon is a renowned studio potter and teacher, still uses and promotes the treadle wheel design. They are expensive to buy, but the plans and designs are widely known and shared.

       Potter Lloyd Cledwyn hosts a site dedicated to the Leach treadle wheel, including photos of an original wheel, a high resolution scan of some early blueprints, and some nice original assembly illustrations.

       Simon Leach himself habowl.jpgs published a large photo gallery meticulously documenting the construction of his newly-commissioned treadle wheels. Simon’s YouTube channel is also a great source of information, and features several clips detailing the assembly, history, and operation of the Leach wheel.

       Plenty of information is available, between and among the various other online resources, for potters who want to build a Leach wheel for themselves. 




Frequently Asked Questions to EEH

Q:  Why have I never heard of your type of business?

A:  Unknown inheritances are rare events.  Also, unknown inheritance genealogy is one of the few businesses that does not need to advertise.  We start with the property and then attempt to discover any lawful heirs.  

Q:  Can I lose any money? 

A:  Our only fee is a percentage of what we actually recover for you.  You never give us any money, so there is no way you can lose any money.  In addition, EEH pays all research costs from its own funds, without reimburse­ment, regardless of the outcome of the inheritance claim. 

Do you know for certain whether your grandfathers had other marriages, or children by an-other woman?

Do you know the father of your paternal grandfather? 

What town was this great-grandfather born in, and what were the names of his siblings, nieces, and nephews?  If one of them was an only child, never married, and died intestate in London or Philadelphia, how hard would the solicitor have looked for you?

If one of the above relatives owned several rental properties but didn't list them in his will, and some of the properties were unknown to his surviving wife, and thus they were not probated, and ever since then the property has been inhabited by "squatters," would you know about it?

Q:  How can you have found something when I know all the assets my relatives had?

A:  Many people keep their wealth private.  Even if you have a close relationship with an uncle for example, and remain close throughout his lifetime, he may live frugally and give little indication of his wealth.  Below are links to two such cases.  After viewing each link, click the  (back arrow) in the upper left corner of your screen, to return to the EEH website.  

Q:  Are there any guarantees?

A:  EEH can give no guarantee that our attempt to recover your family's assets will be successful, because unforeseen circumstances may prevent it.  For example, a person or persons more closely related to the original owner of the asset may be found.  What we do guarantee it this:  WE WILL DO THE BEST WE CAN TO PROVE, EXPEDITE, AND MAXI-MIZE YOUR INHERITANCE, AND AT NO TIME WILL YOU BE REQUIRED TO INVEST A PENNY. 

Q:  What if the debts exceed the assets?

A:  Let's suppose  that the asset accruing to your family is a parcel of land worth €100.000.  If the land is encumbered by a €30.000 mortgage and a €40.000 lien for back taxes, the net recovery would be €30.000, and EEH's percentage would be calculated only on that  €30.000.  Supposing however that the back taxes were €120.000, so that there is nothing to recover.  In that event, you would receive nothing, and EEH would receive its percentage of nothing, i.e., nothing.  Part of the taxes would remain unpaid, but neither you nor EEH would be responsible for paying them.  One is not responsible for the debts of a deceased relative; debts are not inherited. 

Q:  How does your genealogical research work?

A:  Here is a typical example.  The research of a Philip LEOPOLD uncovers that his original surname was LEPAR and that he was born in Kriukai, Lithuania, the son of Yehuda-Leib LEPAR.  This is confirmed by a search in the All-Lithuania Database (ALD) and turns up several LEPAR families in Kriukai. 

In order to find the descendants of the original great-grandfather, Gaddail LEPAR, it was necessary to locate a tombstone, using the Kovno-Slatis cemetery index, produced by the "Chevren Kad­isha," the burial society of Viliampolka.  This index does not cover the entire cemetery, but shows the names, section and row numbers of those who died in the Ghetto between 1941and 1943, a period which contained many of the key deaths in the family.







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