Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hats Off To All Genealogy Volunteers!

Part VII: Roots Trip Series
Writing Friday's post, I realized that though I had found Max and Leah Blumenfeld's memorial on, there was no tombstone photo. I completed my post, and simultaneously submitted a request for a photo. I've done this before. It can take a few weeks, or a few months. Sometimes I never hear back. To my surprise, not even twenty-four hours had passed, my request had was fullfilled. Amazing!!!!

This made me reflect on the power of the internet, the greatness of Find-A-Grave, and our wonderful community of genealogists. I strongly believe that like many aspects of our lives, genealogy has grown in leaps and bounds in the internet age. I for-one, am grateful. Being a mother of three, it's difficult for me to get away on research trips, like the one I took to investigate my Bloomfield roots this summer. I do a lot of my research on-line. Yet today, I was reminded, that behind these amazing websites, there are thousands of volunteers making my work so much easier. There are people uploading data, scanning documents, catching transcription mistakes, translating documents and so much more. On Find-A-Grave, you can request a photo if you know where a grave is located. Your request goes out literally to hundreds of users who live near the cemetery and have volunteered to fill these requests. A perfect strangers, visited Mt. Hebron this Saturday and took a photo of my ancestors headstone! I salute you!
Photo submitted to Find-A-Grave by D.M.

I learned two remarkable things from this photo! First of all, it confirmed my educated theory, that Max and Leah Blumenfeld who are buried at Mt. Hebron Cemetery are indeed the great-great-aunt and uncle I was looking for (see yesterday's post: Which Ancestors to Research). How do I know this? I already knew from the plot numbers that they were next to each other, but seeing a shared headstone confirms they are married. Second, the Hebrew inscriptions says Max, son of Moshe (Hebrew for Moses), and Leah, daughter of Moshe. Our Max was the son of Moses Bloomfield and Leah, the daughter of a different Moses, Moshe Chaim Chinitz. In addition, the dates of birth, which were not on the Find-A-Grave memorial, do correspond to the dates I have on their respective death certificates. 

The other even more important lesson I learned from this photo is Max's Hebrew name. I did suspect that Max was most likely Mottel in Yiddish or Mordechai in Hebrew. But what I did not know, was that his name was actually Israel Mordechai. Why is this important you ask? Israel Mordechai Pomerantz is the forefather of the Bloomfields. He was Max's great-grandfather, my 4th-great-grandfather and the oldest known Pomerantz on our tree. Traditionally, Ashkenazi jews only named a child after an ancestor who had passed away. Therefore, I can now date Israel Mordechai Pomerantz's death to before 1882, which is the year Max was born.  This fact may help research Israel Mordechai Pomerantz. It's a clue to file away for future work.

I'm inspired by all the volunteers who help us piece our family histories together! Thank You!

More about the Bloomfields:
Roots Trips Series: Reports from a Vermont and New Hampshire road trip to research the Bloomfield family history:
Part I: Roots Trip Road-trip planning!
Part II: Three Tips for Genealogy Road Trips
Part III: Roots Trip Gem of the Day, Looking for Moses Bloomfield
Part IV: Why in the World New Hampshire
Part V: Springfield Vermont, Home of the Simpsons and the Bloomfields
Part VI: Which Ancestors to Research?

Guest blog on How I Met The Bloomfields


  1. Smadar, in addition to the fabulous discoveries you made based on receiving that photograph, you are right on track as far as your gratitude for genealogy volunteers. We all owe a debt of gratitude for all the help we've gotten over the years, generously given by those on sites like Find-a-Grave, several genealogy forums and free online genealogy databases. While researching through old, dusty books in a library, or straining our eyes for hours in front of a microfilm reader may have a certain old-fashioned charm to it, I'll take sitting in the comfort of my own home, finding scans and data online, any day!


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