From stories of amazing resilience to Jewish naming traditions. My guest, professional genealogist Caitlin Hollander (from Hollander-Waas Jewish Heritage Services) shares her family history stories, advice on researching Jewish ancestors and so much more.


Minute Notes:

[00:47] How did you get started tracing your family history?

Caitlin shares stories of her grandfather.

[02:15] I ask Caitlin about her heritage, from a mix of backgrounds including Jewish and Italian.

[03:18] Caitlin shares stories about her favourite ancestors – in particular about a grandmother that married the local butcher. We chat about our female ancestors and their careers.

[05:00] Caitlin explains her Jewish-German ancestors, the terrible impact of Holocaust and survival stories.

[09:58] How does Caitlin cope with researching such harrowing stories?

[14:00] If you could meet anyone of your ancestors – who would you meet and why?

Caitlin shares stories of the resilient women in her tree, whom often defied convention. We share some stories about our favourite female ancestors and how we relate to them as women.

[16:30] Caitlin explains the use of Jewish mother’s surnames, the fluidity of surnames and the use of patronyms within Ashkenazi Jewish communities.

[21:46] What kind of markers do you use to ensure you’ve found the right person? What impact has DNA had upon your research techniques?

Caitlin explains the pro’s and con’s of working with endogamy within genetic genealogy research. She delves into the inter-marriage between certain families and how this can help you to ascertain whether you are on the “right track”.

[26:53] Caitlin shares a story about finding someone based on their signature – having to use a wide range of clues due to the fluidity of names and places.

[29:33] Caitlin explains a very old Jewish tradition of re-naming the sick in order to trick the Angel of Death. She explains the way people have negotiated with these traditions.

[33:33] Caitlin tells us a story about how sometimes names can tell us about our ancestors feelings about one another.

[35:54] Do you have a favourite time period?

Caitlin explains her love of different places and the types of records they produce.

Caitlin shares why she loves tracing her family history.

[37:58] How do you think the pandemic will effect the future of genealogy?

[40:11] What would you say to someone who is thinking of tracing their family history – but is worried that now is not the best time?

Caitlin shares her hopes, her frustrations and the loss of records and some more stories from her personal family history.

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