Joseph and Zissel Scheier, of Russia and Milwaukee

I am focusing today on developing my strategies for contacting the living possible relatives of this Scheier line. I have posted about this family before (click here). And contacting the living descendents has been on my genealogy to-do list for a long time. So now I’m going to get serious about doing it.

Briefly, what I know about the family is that Joseph and Zissel Scheier had 9 children, 8 of whom were living as of the 1910 census, and 6 of whom I have found at least names for. The Scheier family came from the Dubno, Russia, area, possibly the smaller town of Verba. The 6 that I have found (Julius, Sam, Pearl, Ida, Louis, and Abe) were all in the US, along with Zissel, by 1902. Father, Joseph, may have come earlier and died before the whole family arrived. I have names for the grandchildren of some of these Scheier children, although I am still searching for a married name for Ida. I also am not sure about whether some of the children had any children of their own, or for some of the female grandchildren what their married names might be.

Here is what I have done so far in my quest to contact them: I have contacted (via letter, Facebook and a phone call from my sister-in-law) one relative with no success; I have found two other individuals who are likely relatives and am trying to figure out how to approach each of them to maximize the likelihood that they might respond to me. In addition, I know there must be others out there, so while I keep looking for names, part of my strategy needs to be broadcasting my search.


I think this is the easier part to describe, so I will start here. This post is a kind of broadcast. It includes the names of the furthest generation back I know in the title. I am tagging the post with the family name as well as the location of Milwaukee which was the central point for the immigrant generation and often their children. I will post publicly on my Facebook wall that I have published this post. I will try to remember to tweet about it. This morning while I was walking and talking with a friend, it occurred to me (duh!) that I could/should post a general inquiry on any Scheier listserv I can find. Now what avenue have I missed?


This is the more difficult step for me, since I am somewhat shy by nature and especially since I haven’t had very good luck so far. I have a suspicion that I am so obsessed about interested in getting information that I haven’t thought through how a cold contact might appear to someone not as interested in family history. It also occurs to me that I need to think through just what I am looking for from any of these folks. And along with that, it occurs to me that I need to think about what I can offer in exchange.

I feel like I don’t have much (that is the big picture reason why I want to find others who know more) but I do have some information and a picture or two, and the family tree as I know it. And I’m willing to share with anyone who is related and interested.

Now I need to figure out how to approach these people in a way that makes them want to be in contact with me. I find myself wondering what I would think in a similar situation and how I would respond. Would I be skeptical? Would I think it was a scam or a nutcase or someone trying to get information from me to steal my identity? What would my concerns if I assumed it was a potential relative? What would intrigue me? Unfortunately, in this world, I can think of many negative responses and it is harder to think of positive ones.

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2 comments on “Joseph and Zissel Scheier, of Russia and Milwaukee
  1. Pat says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I am thrilled to hear from you and will email.


  2. Jonathan Friend says:

    Hi, Pat:

    I just came across your postings on the Scheier family.

    My grandmother was Bertha Scheier Levin, mentioned in your research.

    Please e-mail me for much more information. Let me know where you fit into the family tree.


    Jonathan Friend

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