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Family Research Department News

Fri, Oct 1, 2021

On October 7, 2020, Karen S. Franklin, who conducts outreach and support for genealogical researchers in her capacity as LBI’s Family Research Director, gave an online talk for the Center for Jewish History’s Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute. This time, the subject was her own family history and the lessons she had learned preparing her family’s papers for donation to the LBI Archives.

When her presentation turned to documents related to family friend and longtime LBI volunteer Marianne Salinger – Salinger’s mother was best friends with Franklin’s grandmother in Berlin in the first decades of the 20th century – an attentive viewer noticed the Kew Gardens address of Salinger’s first home in New York. He had lived in the same building in 1943 and remembered Marianne Salinger. She remembered him too!

Later, when LBI’s Head of Public Outreach, Michael Simonson, asked Franklin for a childhood photograph of Salinger to accompany a social media post about the unlikely online meeting of neighbors after nearly eight decades, she selected a photograph from a family picnic in Berlin’s Tiergarten park in 1929. The photo included members of both Franklin’s and Salinger’s families, but also a child from a third family. Salinger identified the child as Joachim Dienstag. After some genealogical sleuthing, Franklin located Dienstag’s descendents in Israel, and soon Salinger was corresponding with Dienstag’s daughter Adva Weinerman. In her first note to Weinerman, Salinger mentioned a lamp sitting on her nightstand. The lamp was one of the few items Salinger had brought with her when she moved out of her Kew Gardens home and into the Hebrew Home in Riverdale. It was a gift from Weinerman’s parents to Salinger’s parents for their wedding in 1919. Salinger told Weinerman she intended to bequeath her the lamp after her passing. When Franklin offered to bring the lamp to Israel, the 97-year-old admonished her. That trip would not be necessary anytime soon.

From LBI News 112