--- In jewishgenealogy2000@y..., luvofpeace wrote:
> Hi, I am not sure how to even start. Seems like everyone knows a
>Katz. How do I go about finding people actually related to me? Thanks
>for any help.
- Chances are good that your ancestors who were born in the 1880s (in
my case, great-grandparents) married cousins, and that many ancestors
born in the 1860s married cousins. Especially if they came from small
towns. So try to find the maiden names of your great-grandmother,
great-great-grandmother, great-great-aunts, etc., and research those
names. If you're lucky, researching those names will eventually lead
you to the ancestors of the Katzes, too.
- Suppose the earliest Katz ancestor you know about is Max Katz, born
in 1880. Find out everything you can about him, or, if he's lost in
the mists of memory, everything about his son, Sam. Find out as much
as possible about where these people lived; what brothers, sisters and
in-laws they had; what kind of synagogues they joined (i.e., Russian
Jewish, Lithuanian Jewish, Polish Jews, etc.); etc. Then, if you can,
go to your library or a Mormon Family History Center to ask for help
with looking up census records for your early Katzes. Records from
1910, for example, might show the surname was originally Chatzky, then
your job might be easier.
- Try also to look on the Ellis Island Web site just to see if you can
spot anyone you know, just for the heck of it.
- If this is possible, ask your mom or other female, culturally Jewish
women in your family how people in your family pick names for
first-born children and first-born sons. In my family: the mom names
the first born child, usually after a great-grandparent who recently
died. It might be that in the past, many more children were named
after grandparents, because it was likely that grandparents had died
by the time children were born.
- Figure out if anyone in your Katz family is rich and famous. People
who have a hard time naming their first cousins will often brag about
a fourth cousin once removed who happens to be a billionaire. So, if
you have any "landmark" cousins, you might be able to use them to help
hook up with other Katzes who know about the landmark cousin but not
about your family.
- If you figure out the shtetl -- start looking up info about the
shtetl on JewishGen and searching for it in all the three trillion
databases. If necessary, make educated ancestors about your ancestors
first names. Example: If you're named Mark, your dad was Sidney, your
grandfather was Joe, and your great-grandfather (whom you were named
after) was called Max, maybe Max's father or uncle had a Hebrew name
like Shimon or Shlomo. But don't be dogmatic about name guesses,
because, of course, you could be wrong.
- Some Jews just got the name Katz when the came to the United States
or were assigned surnames around 1800-1830 in Russia, but the "real"
Katzes are descended from a big Jewish family from a German town
called Katznelnbogen. (Or something like that.) Most of the "true"
Katzes are Cohanim. Figuring out how you hook up to that tree might be
hard, but once you hook up, you'll win a mini genealogical jackpot and
immediately be able to hook your tree up to all sorts of big, famous,
giant trees that are already published in books!!!! Chances are if you
look around on sites like http://www.genealogy.com you can find fairly
active "surname research" groups for folks with names like Katz.
- Family Tree DNA (http://www.familytreedna.com) can do Y chromosome
tests to help see whether the men in your Katz family match up with
other Katzes, or men with other surnames. The cost is about $219, but,
if you can afford it, it might be fun to try this. I got the mtDNA
test. The only person who matches my pattern doesn't want to release
any info, so I have no information about him whatsoever, but learning
to interpret the test results is really fun and educational.