The Skowronek Bankers' Family Tree

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Pablo Edronkin

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The common family tree of the Skowronek Bankers and other associated families such as Schoenberg, Eger et al on is a large one, comprising thousands of individuals; here you will find access to it and a few things to consider when trying to interpret it.

You might have been wondering where is the genealogical tree of the Skowronek family because it doesn't appear in these pages. In fact, the tree has already been published at Ancestry.com, before I started writing these articles, so it didn't make much sense to copy it all over again and end up with redundant information; you can review it by going to Ancestry.com. Be aware that it is a large and convoluted one, spanning many centuries, thousands of individuals, and requires you to consider some caveats for proper interpretation.

Rationale

This is not the first tree made for this family; according to witnesses[1.36.1][1.38.1], it existed before WWII, and indeed, the kind of familiar links that can be established prima facie by looking at Polish records suggest that a genealogy should have existed, since rabbinical families customarily have them. Other sources, such as Gottheil[24].

Thus, it was only a matter of reconstructing it. Curiosity and keeping up with tradition are two obvious motives for doing so; however, there are also more practical reasons for this effort, being one the recovery of assets stolen during WWII. In order to do so, relationships must be proven and hence, a genealogy becomes essential.

The whole research project is broad and includes the tree itself, sources and evidences - mostly attached to the tree records - as well as a number of articles, one of which you are reading now. Evidence, of course, is meant to support what is being told by means of the tree and articles, and these, in turn, are meant to complement the information contained in the tree.

As of this writing, the tree contains records on about 17.000 individuals spanning many centuries. This means that the project consists of the equivalent of approximately - at least - 40.000 pages of text, considering that for each individual there is a file record, individual sources, articles, and son.

In all, we have gathered about 200Gb of information, so it might still take a while until we can sift thorough all that. We also know of sources that should still be investigated.

Sources and references

You will often find in the articles contained in this work that some little numbers appear in combination with certain words like this[1]. For those of you that don't know what those are, they refer to the sources for each asseveration or proposition. Without proper proof a work such as this one would be purely fictional. it is the quality and quality of sources that make almost all the difference. These sources and references are listed at a specific page, along with some texts and comments explaining several of them (see The Skowronek Bankers - Sources and References). In order to fully grasp the Skowronek genealogy as a whole you should read the whole material but see the tree and familiarize yourself with the accompanying sources because anyone can make claims but the question is to provide adequate proof for them.

I have not converted them yet into hypertext links since I might still make some significant changes in the structure of the source listings, so bear with me for a while until I am able to make those conversions and just go to the proper page ad look for the right number or code there in the event that you want to check a given source. Indeed, they would be more comfortable to work with once they get converted to links.

Antiquity

Sources of information for this tree can be regarded as historical back to the approximate time of Charlemagne; for such sources there are in general, reliable ways to test whether the available evidence is authentic or not.

Older sources, as well as information about individuals that lived prior to Charlemagne should be regarded as conditional or hypothetical. Historical evidence prior to that time is scant as best and most indications about the existence of certain individuals come from sources that cannot be checked due to the lack of additional evidence, or from religious or traditional sources. This doesn't mean that - for example - rabbinical sources concerning ancient times are wrong; it just means that there is no way - so far - to check whether the information provided by them is true or not, or to what extent. Thus, in my personal view, while I do not pretend to refute sources such as rabbinical texts, the Catholic church and so on, I see questions such as the apparent Davidic nature of the family as probable but still a tale.

Some people have asked me to take a clear stance on this, implying that I should either support the religious belief on this matter or modern scientific practice. But the issue is that it is not possible to take one stance in complete disregard of the other, so I decided to provide the information as is, and let the reader judge for himself.

Credibility

As a general principle, the more sources regarding each person, the more credible the affirmations regarding his or her life become. Credibility thus, varies in each case according to the number and authenticity of the available sources. In some cases sources are not quite credible, there are conflicting reports or no sources are available and interpretation is used as a mean to determine the probability of occurrences. In this case, the position and nature of the position of a questioned individual within the tree is marked as "conditional". Any record or assumption tagged with a comment of conditionality should be taken with a grain of salt.

It is most likely there for interpretation purposes or because there is some degree of suspicion that a given fact or relationship is such, but there are is not enough evidence to actually prove that but it is thought that might be in the future. You can call it speculative and it could be called like that indeed. However, considering how the families that form this whole clan relate to one another, it is necessary to keep conditional records and relationships in view in order to gain a better understanding of the new evidence that might emerge.

For example, a whole family branch - or possible family branch - might emerge from a person that may or may not be truly related to a given ancestor, or at least might or might not be related in the way we guess at some point.

evidence found in the future might prove or disprove such a fact, but often, such evidence relates not to the person in question directly, but some of his or her descendants, like a marriage found between one of them and another person of a different family branch.

Variations in names, titles and surnames

As the story of the family spans several centuries and many countries, names, titles and surnames have evolved for several reasons. The most common variation - and one sometimes surprisingly difficult to grasp - is the variation of surnames. Halpern sometimes becomes Heilprin, or Halperin, but they are the same surname. The same happens in the case of Schoenberg, which can appear also as Schoenenberg, Schönberg, Szejnberg, Szajnberg, Belmonte, Belmont, etc. and again, constitute variations of the same theme[24].

Also, it should be taken into account that surnames sometimes reappear after some generations have elapsed for different reasons, being one of the foremost the desire to keep a famous name alive.

In other cases, surnames are inherited thorough a female line, especially if the mother's surname is of a higher standing or reputation than the father's one, and of course, there is also the persecution factor: In several cases and in order to survive, Jewish people changed or altered their surnames to hide their true identities.

Default relationships

When dealing with such a large family with a convoluted and extended history one might question to what extent one should consider very distant relatives as part of one's own family. Indeed, family is commonly defined as a closed circle of people related in a biological sense. So, a large group of people biologically related but with - in many cases - no knowledge of each other cannot be conceptualized by most people as one family. Instead, the most appropriate way would be to consider the whole dynasty is as a family of families; that is, as a clan.

However, in this particular case and unlike other clans, this one has been a pretty close one for centuries; it was and still is customary to marry within the clan, with other people that technically are distant cousins in practically all cases. Some "new blood" is incorporated into the clan on a regular basis, but in general terms, most marriages are arranged among people that are to a very real extent, cousins. So this is how members of the family of families should be regarded by default: as cousins.

I used this principle to establish links based on interpretation: Whenever there is doubt about people of the same generation that are related to one another but without further knowledge, they should be regarded as cousins.

Errata

Indeed, I am only human and have limited knowledge and time, so I welcome any constructive criticism, comments or questions; please contact me if you have anything to say or ask. To the best of my knowledge I tried to satisfy every condition regarding copyright, citations and recognition for the work done by the authors I have cited. If you feel that something is missing or wrong in this regard, please contact me to make the necessary corrections as well. You will find my contact information here.

Pending issues

As of this writing (2013), these are the following issues that I am aware of with the tree that I should change:

The ownership of the house in which Dwojra Blat and H.A. Braun lived in Slonim; the building did not belong to the family.

There are papers that should be included regarding the amnesty that H.A. Braun took advantage of in order to get out of the USSR by means of the Anders Army.

Birth records of Dwojra Blat (Danusia Blat) have been found; a copy will be included as it becomes available.

Some of the Halperns from Warsaw seem to have originated from the Gombiner family, which leads back to prior generations of the Schoenberg family.

The importance of the Schoenberg family is still not taken fully into account. It remains to be analysed the connection with the Schoenbergs from Austria and Romania, which apparently does exist but needs a lot more of work to be clearly established.

Also, there are some sources that still need to be investigated, including those mentioned by Gottheil in Amsterdam and Hamburg, if they still exist, and public records in cities in Poland other than Warsaw, particularly in the case of Gdansk, Lodz and Krakow.

Conclusions

This tree is an interpretation of historical facts; as such, it may need correction and expansion. Sometimes new information emerges concerning facts that require reinterpretation, revaluation and in the particular case of a tree, redistribution of the people involved because persons assumed to be cousins might be proven to be brothers and sisters, individuals thought to be related by blood are discovered not to be, or vice-versa, etc.

I hope that this research of mine and many others before me will be useful, interesting and entertaining for you.


Auth: P. Edronkin.
Royalty III, Pablo Edronkin.



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