Sunday, June 16, 2019

When Theories Are Wrong

Sometimes naming patterns can suggest a relationship, and you can theorize how someone is connected into your family.  But sometimes those assumptions are wrong.

More than two years ago, I wrote about Ukraine's Books of Sorrow, in which various districts of Ukraine attempted to list those killed during World War II.  (If you didn't read that post and you have relatives from what is now Ukraine, it's worth checking out the post.)  In that post, I mentioned that there was a Smil-Mozesh Ruttner (born August 14, 1928) from the town of Tyachiv who was listed as having been killed in the war.  Since my great-great grandfather Shmuel Moshe Rutner had died in nearby Kolodne in the previous month, I theorized that this Smil-Mozesh was the child of one of my great grandmother's brothers--possibly one who I hadn't yet discovered.

Well, I was wrong.

I now have the birth record of this child, which lists his parents names:
Birth of Smil Mojse Rutner, Aug 1928
Smil Mojse Rutner was the son of Lazar and Roza (nee Kahan) Rutner.  Contradicting my theory, Lazar was not a brother of my great grandmother--he was her first cousin.  So Smil Mojse was named for Lazar's uncle and was my first cousin, three times removed.  And he was killed in 1944 (like way too many relatives) when he was 16 years old.

So I didn't discover a missing great-great uncle, but I did discover what happened to my great-grandmother's uncle Lazar--because along with this birth record, I have now found birth records for six of Smil Mojse's siblings as well.

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