Chasing Ancestors (2016)

Chasing Ancestors

by Marc Mangel

We all have ancestors – it is a law of biology

(unlike whether, or for how long, we have descendants)

But where are they in time and space?

How do we find them?

And once found, how do we learn from them?

From the past and across great distance

What can they tell us about ourselves?

I am searching ancestors – chasing them in time

and space

Just today, I found another. Isak Pflugeisen– will you teach your great-grandson?

I want to learn from you.

I am chasing ancestors.

I am seeking their secrets.

My grandparents – four — handed to me by my parents

Though I only knew one of them

But even they had secrets

Why Markus Pflugeisen, rather than Markus Mangel (now answered)

Toni and Markus dying within a year of each other

in Vienna, before the real horrors started

Bessie – you had three husbands but two are invisible thus far

From where did you really come David Silver – second husband of Bessie– and why do you keep your secrets from me?

Each generation back

There are 2 times as many ancestors

now the complexity sets in!

But I have chased some of you down – hard as you tried to remain hidden

Markus Mangel ~ Marjem Pflugeisen, my father’s paternal grandparents

Moses Josef (Behrer) Bruck ~ Marjem (Meth) Bruck, his maternal grandparents

Abraham Leiben ~ Sarah nee?, my mother’s maternal grandparents


I am descended from two couples called Abraham and Sarah!


Some secrets resolved

Markus Mangel dies the day before the birth of his son,

who becomes Markus Pflugeisen

Great-great-grandparents – 16 of you whom I must track down.

Can I ever find you all?

I have found 4 – Toni’s grandparents

Jechiel Mechi Benzion Behrer ~Chave Sarah Brück

Jakob Menkes ~ Chaje Meth

Only 12 remain, a lifetime of chasing

Cousins!! Now that is something — how to count them

And their mysteries!!

Isak and Riwka – were you twins? Or did you

change in your age in a census? And why?

I am in the 21st century seeking people from the 19th.

I lack a time machine but have devices thought

impossible even for a futuristic world

They transport me in time and space to Austria, to Poland, to Russia 150 years ago,  200 years ago.


I am chasing ancestors.


Oct (2017)