A Genealogical Study


Goldberg (En)






Goldberg (Fr)





Saul Marks


Graduation from Durham University, June 2002


Like many children, though maybe at a slightly younger age, I was about 9 or 10 when I first asked my parents “What’s my family tree?” My grandparents were mostly from big families, so my parents knew all their aunts, uncles and cousins. Between them, they put together quite an impressive tree, if horrendously scruffy and totally unorthodox in design. However, it was a great basis from which to start. Then, in 1992 (I think), I had a school project to trace my immediate family tree. I used the earlier version, standardised it into an orthodox format by separating it into one tree for each grandparent, and submitted it.


My maternal grandmother’s family are very close and it was nice to be able to picture each of my relatives in their appropriate positions on the tree. For my Bar Mitzvah in 1993, the family historian of that family, my great-aunt Lynda Harvey, gave me a large family tree taking the ancestry back a further generation to include her grandparents. This simple document, drawn up by hand on the reverse of some large accounting sheets, is still very inspiring, giving a real feel to the heritage of the family and how individuals gradually migrated in ones and twos from Poland to the West over several decades.


My father had never known where his paternal grandparents came from, what their original surname was or, indeed, much about them at all, other than what he remembered from their time in Liverpool. In the mid-1990s, he and I began to try to trace the family, but had virtually no information to start with. In 1998, I decided to go to Manchester Central Library and Greater Manchester County Record Office to see what information was held there. Having discovered the "St Catherine’s Index" of births, marriages and deaths, my pursuit of my ancestry on all sides of the family exploded, prompting numerous visits to various libraries to gather information. In the November of that year, I decided to try the Internet, and was taught the basics by one of my school librarians and another boy. I vowed to my father I would solve the mystery of his grandparents before he died.


Having discovered the JewishGen site on my first day, my passion for unearthing my roots gradually grew into an obsession. With the help of a friend in Miami, José Gutstein, who specialised in the history and genealogy of the Polish town of my family's origin, I expanded greatly on Lynda Harvey’s work on her family. The St Catherine’s Index, the censuses and contact with senior family members pushed back the boundaries of knowledge on two other sides of the family, but still the big mystery on the Marks side remained. Finally, in 2002, a telephone call to a cousin in Vancouver yielded a few snippets of information hitherto unknown. From these, I was able to locate almost the entire Tarakhovskii family, thereby providing my father with the answers to many of the questions he had asked for over 50 years.


Since then, more and more discoveries have been made and, when I realised a teaching career was not for me, I decided to try and make some money from my obsession. Thus, in January 2003, Brother’s Wish Genealogy Service was born. Having completed the Award for Continuing Education from the University of Sunderland, by completing courses in beginners', intermediate and advanced genealogy, I was then invited to return as a lecturer, and run my own course in Jewish genealogy, which I did.



Saul Marks

Rev 25 Apr 2005


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