Sunday, August 8, 2021

JewishGen's JGFF / A Family Story Matching Documentation & Cousin Connection

Fuchs is one of those frustrating surnames when doing genealogical research; it's extremely common across Central and Eastern Europe, with most Fuchs families not related to one another.  My Fuchs family lived in what is now Novoselytysa, Zakarpattya Oblast, Ukraine, just across the border with Romania; it was formerly Taracujfalu and Felso-Neresznicze, Hungary and Novoselice, Czechoslovakia as well.  I have all of the Jewish and civil records of the town, and I have been able to connect all of the Fuchs individuals from that town to my 4th great grandparents, Gershon & Toba-Rivka.  (I've also indexed them, and they're searchable on Jewishgen.)  I was pretty sure that implied that Gershon was the first Fuchs in the town (or at least the only brother who had children in the town), but I had no concrete documentation one way or the other.  But now I may have a hint of what happened, thanks to JewishGen's awesome Jewish Genealogy Family Finder (JGFF).

My Entry in JGFF

The Jewish Genealogy Family Finder is an incredible way to connect to others research the same surname, town, or both.  You can register your own research interests for free, with a JewishGen login.  And you can look to see who has registered names/towns of interest to you in the past, and then you can contact them through JewishGen.  Even if there's nothing there today for your research interests, leave that bread crumb for someone to find you in the future!

But anyways, I'd registered my Fuchs family a while back.  (Some of my family names/towns have been registered since the mid-1990s!)  Recently, Itamar from Israel reached out to me because of my listing.  He's descended from Gershon and Toba-Rivka Fuchs as well, on a completely different line than me.  And while he doesn't have photos or documents (yes, I asked), he does have some family stories that have been passed down his line, unlike mine.

He wrote me the following.  (English is his second language.)

I can share with you that story about Gershon Fuchs:
Gershon was born somewhere in the Russian Empire, in that time the Russian army took Jewish children from their home for purpose of cause them to be good soldiers and Russian patriotic. They kept those children away from their Jewishness.
Rabbi Uri of Strelisk saved 3 kids by taking them to the border of Hungary. Gershon was one of those kids.
While I have no documentation (yet) to prove this, this story could explain why Gershon had no Fuchs relatives in his town.  Uri of Strelisk (1757–1826) lived in what was Galicia; the town of Strelisk is currently Novi Strilyshcha, Ukraine.  Galicia was not part of Russia at the time.  What I've been able to find out about Rabbi Uri online shows that he did have relatives and colleagues with whom he visited all over Galicia and the western Russian Empire.  Could Gershon and the two other boys have been linked up with Rabbi Uri through one of these connections?  Or perhaps they were actually from Galicia?  Or perhaps, like some family stories, there's really no connection to Rabbi Uri at all?  I don't know.  But this gives me something to investigate, although I wish it were on one of my lines with a surname much less common than Fuchs!

And I did get a connection to a new cousin out of this.  So register your ancestral surnames and towns on the JGFF.  And see if anyone has already registered them.  Check it out here.  And hopefully find other relatives who can be research partners!

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