Sunday, March 27, 2016

Double Cousins, Double the Fun?

There was a cousin named Efrayim Fuchs, who lived in Bnei Brak, Israel, with whom my great uncle Izzy kept in touch.  I'd spoken to Mr. Fuchs about the family in the 1990s, and he told me that his father's name was Baruch Hirsch Rutner and his mother was Kreindel Fuchs--but since his parents weren't legally married (as was common in the area), he went by his mother's maiden name.  I have both Rutners and Fuchses in my family.  So how was Efrayim Fuchs related to me?  I have a new batch of vital records that have helped me to figure it out.

There was a family in the records that looked very similar to the siblings that Efrayim had described--but with a different surname for the mother.
Efrayim Fuchs/Rutner/Steinmecz Birth Record, 1913; page 1

A boy named Froim was born on October 13, 1913 to an unmarried (or at least legally unmarried) woman, 27-year-old Kreindl Steinmecz in Taracújfalu (today's Novoselytsya in Subcarpathian Ukraine).  The second page clarified his father:
Efrayim Fuchs/Rutner/Steinmecz Birth Record, 1913; page 2 (part 1)
33-year-old Burich Rutner attested to the fact that Froim was his son.

Boruch and Kreindel had at least 11 children together, only four or five survived childhood.  Kreindel's name is Steinmetz (and variations on the spelling) for all of them; Baruch (with various spellings) claimed paternity for most of them.  Children included:
  1. Gerson (b. 1908; d. 1908)
  2. Benczin (b. 1909, d. 1909)
  3. Etya (b. 1911, d. 1916)
  4. Efrayim (b. 1913, d. 2000)
  5. Jacob (b. 1917, d. 1918)
  6. Shlomo/Solomon (b. 1917--twin to Jacob; died in the Holocaust)
  7. Gita (b. 1921, d. ?)
  8. Avraham (b. 1922, d. 1923)
  9. Chaim (b. 1923, d. 1923)
  10. Ruchel (b. 1924, married surname Gedalyovich)
  11. David (b. 1927, died in the Holocaust)
So how was this family related to me?  Well, I know that Boruch Hirsch Rutner was a brother to my great grandmother Esther Rutner Joshowitz, as both were children of Shmuel Moshe and Rochel Fuchs Rutner.  Which makes Efrayim a first cousin to my grandmother Minnie Joshowitz Tolchin.
Relationship #1 between my grandmother and Efrayim Fuchs

But what about Steinmetz?  And why were the children called Fuchs when Baruch was going by Rutner (rather than his mother's maiden name of Fuchs) on these records?  Let's look at some of these records more carefully.  Most of the children's birth records don't give much information beyond their parents being Boruch Rutner and Kreindel Steinmetz (with a variety of spellings).  But four of them--the four who survived childhood--do have more information.
Ruchel Fuchs/Rutner/Steinmecz Birth Record, 1924; page 1
A girl named Ruchel was born in December 1924 to Krinda Steinmetz, aged 34.  Boruch actually didn't claim Ruchel legally as his child, but there's an interesting notation on the second page of Ruchel's birth record:
Ruchel Fuchs/Rutner/Steinmecz Birth Record, 1924; page2

"In column 5, the surname of the mother should be not Steimetz but correctly "Fux"-ova. In column 7, for "37" should be the year of birth "1887" in Novoselice. District office (Novoselice) Fac'on #1258/1934."

Similar writing (by the same person on the same day) is found on the birth records of David and Solomon.

Efrayim (so all four children known to have survived to adulthood) had a similar notation on his birth record, but written in different handwriting:
Efrayim Fuchs/Rutner/Steinmecz Birth Record, 1913; page 2 (part 2)
The name of the mother was corrected into "Fuchsová" (Fuchs), not "Steinmec", and her birthdate into 1887. The registry office for Novoselice (Novoselyzja) was Ťačovo.

So it looks like Kreindel was going by her mother's maiden name; her father was likely a Steinmetz.  Could she be related to me as well?  Thankfully she registered her own birth in 1931, meaning I have a copy of her birth record:
Kreindel Fux Birth Record, 1931
Kreindel was a daughter of "Etja Fux."  There were several of those in the town, but only one would have been 18 in 1887:
Etye Fux Birth Record
Etye Fux was a daughter of David and Leia Czig Fux.  David's mother Etya was a sister to my great-great-great grandmother Malka Vizel Fuchs.  (In addition, David's father Mendel was a brother to my great-great-great grandfather Baruch Hersch Fuchs.)  So Efrayim Fuchs was also third cousins once removed to my grandmother--in two different ways.
Relationship #2 between my grandmother and Efrayim Fuchs
So now I know Efrayim Fuchs' relationship to my grandmother--or rather relationships to my grandmother, as it turns out!

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  1. And that's without mentioning the relationship between the two Baruch Hirsch - Efrayim's father and his wife's grandfather.

    I like that you included charts.

  2. The charts you created are a great touch. Well done.

  3. My great grandparents were first cousins. So my grandfather had many double cousins. Unfortunately most died in the Shoah. Your charts really helped explain a confusing family.