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Out Of Place

Back for week three of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge. I struggled a bit more with this topic, than others. Not because there were too many to choose just one, but because I wasn't sure what it meant. Out of place...

My mom will tell you that I have found a lot of surprising information over the two decades I have been working on my personal research. I've found evidence to refute a lot of folklore. A supposed death in Florida by lightning strike while on a boat, turned out to be a drowning in New York without any evidence of a boat or lightning. There was proof of a lot of alcohol, though. I suppose all of that would be considered "out of place."

I have found ancestors geographically in unexpected places and still can't find others in places where they should be. Missouri, specifically, continues to haunt me as my searches for a second great grandfather and his family remain fruitless. These discoveries, or lack thereof, could probably be construed as "out of place."

But when I first read "Out of Place," I did immediately think of this picture.

I identify as Jewish. While not a religious person, my Jewish heritage, culture, and tradition have been a significant and profound aspect of my life. I am immensely proud of my Jewish ancestry. It might surprise you to learn that I am actually only about 1/8 (my current DNA Ethnicity Estimate says 13%) Jewish. However, Orthodox Judaism holds that anyone with a Jewish mother also has irrevocable Jewish status. This is true for me. Straight up and down my matriline, or my maternal lineage, this girl right here is Jewish! The Israeli Law of Return even suggests that based on my Jewish ancestry, I have the right to relocate to Israel and acquire Israeli citizenship. (P.S. This is also therefore true for my Native American daughter! *mind blown*)

I remember the first time I saw this picture. These are some of my Jewish ancestors -- in both ethnicity and religion. My second great grandfather, Leon Rosenstrauch, a sexton at the Temple of Covenant of Peace in Easton, Pennsylvania, is sitting front and center. So why are my Jewish relatives wearing Santa hats?! Santa hats!! This definitely appeared to be out of place!

Many of you may be ahead of younger me in your analysis. These, of course, are not Santa hats. They are vintage party hats. This picture is not an image of my Jewish ancestors celebrating Christmas, but rather a festive picture purportedly taken on New Years Eve. The exact year is unknown, but in studying the style of party hats and those in the picture versus those noticeably absent, I suspect it was taken in the mid to late 1930s, likely in New York City.

Genealogy can be like opening Pandora's box. Discoveries can often be surprising and evidence may seem "out of place." In this instance, a little bit of additional research helped to resolve a lot of confusion. Things weren't quite as out of place as they initially seemed.


Disclaimer: Each blog post is created and presented for marketing and entertainment purposes only but are based on larger research which adheres to the standards of The Board of Certification of Genealogists® as set forth in Genealogical Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry Imprint, Turner Publishing, 2014).

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