Saturday, May 14, 2011

Heartwarming Reunion Made Possible by Kids' Research

This article in the Chicago Sun-Times tells the story of Edith Westerfeld and Gerda Katz, who became friends as little girls as they were fleeing Germany to escape the Nazis (they were 12 and 10, respectively). Then, they never saw each other again. Until now, 70 years later. Edith's daughter came to speak about her mother's experience, to a class of eight-graders at Madison Junior High School in Naperville, IL. From the article:

After Chapman visited the school and talked to them earlier this year, they knew they  wanted to help find Katz.
“Different people looked her up in different search engines,” said Mishal Sherwani, 14. “We found a little community newspaper item about her and her husband’s anniversary.”[...]
Finding Katz didn’t prove all that difficult for the social network-savvy teens.
“I love how the kids didn’t believe they couldn’t find her,” said Susan Rice, communications director for District 203. “They just didn’t think that was possible.”
It is wonderful to see kids so excited about research. I hope to see many more stories of kids taking an interest in genealogical research. They have grown up with technology, and if they become interested in genealogy early, then they will be able to use this technology to find their roots (and find lost friends and relatives) in ways that we probably can't imagine yet.      

Read the full story by Susan Frick Carlman of the Chicago Sun-Times here.                       


  1. Thanks for the offer to look for an immigration record. Patrick O'Rourke b. 1852 Limerick Ireland Emigrated to USA 1872. Lived in Wilkins then East Pittsburgh PA I first found him in the 1880 census, although their first child Anna (Hannah) was born in 1875.

    Married 1874 (1900) census to Ellen Mortel.

    How was the trip to Braddock Catholic Cemetery? That is where a lot of my ancestors are buried. Did you hear the story about the cemetery fight and how they split? It was about the time c. 1891 and records for about ten years are missing. Just when I needed to research to find my grandmothers dead siblings.

  2. Thanks, I'll give it a look :)

    The trip went all right. The cemetery is much larger than I remembered. I managed to find all of the graves I was looking for, though, and the staff was helpful. My connections there are the DiBernardo and Hejnosz families, and Henry Boehm who married Rose DiBernardo.