Monday, January 28, 2008

Dinner Party for Five * 2

I am hosting a dinner party. This shouldn't come as a surprise, since it's the theme for the 41st Carnival of Genealogy. I am allowed four guests from my collection of ancestors.

As a long-time fan of the science fiction television show Star Trek, I am also familiar with the term Kobayashi Maru - the no-win situation. Like the fictional character, James T Kirk, who reprogrammed the simulation so he could win, I am going to reprogram the rules of this carnival, by actually scheduling two separate dinner parties - one for my maternal ancestors, and one for my paternal ancestors. I will still limit myself to four guests in each. I am doing this since limiting myself to one dinner party presented too great of a challenge -- a no-win scenario -- and what I would like to discuss with my paternal ancestors is different than what I would like to discuss with my maternal ancestors.

Dinner Party #1: Maternal Ancestors


1) Myrtle Van Every – my maternal grandmother. She was born in 1900, and came of age as women gained the right to vote. I never knew her, as she passed away in 1951, 18 years before I was born.
2) David Van Every – Myrtle's 2rd great grandfather. Born in 1757, he was a member of the Butler's Rangers, and fled to Canada after the Revolution.
3) Ebenezer Denyer – Born in 1828, he was Myrtle's grandfather, though they never met. He died in 1872, 28 years before she was born. He fought for the Confederacy, though he married Sarah Hartley, who claimed to be 1/8 Native American.
4) Samuel Deutsch – Born in 1861, he was Myrtle's father-in-law, though he died in 1938, only a year and a month after she married his son. He was born in the Transylvanian region of Hungary, and immigrated to America.
5) Myself

(This will actually be part of an all day event. I know my mother is going to want to meet her ancestors, and see her mother again, and I can't deny her that.)

I’ve set this dinner party up to go square against Miss Manners’ rules for topics to avoid during dinner. I love talking about politics, and I hope my ancestors do too. Loyalist, Confederate, Modern Liberal, and 1920's Feminist. (I actually don't know exactly where Myrtle stood on Women's Rights, but there are indications she wouldn't listen to a man who told her what she could or couldn't do.) I don’t know Samuel’s politics, but I am also hopeful my second favorite topic will be raised. Religion. (Miss Manners would likely send regrets to any dinner party I hosted.) Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism, Methodist Episcopal, and a couple unknown divisions of Christianity will be represented. I am hopeful the five of us can discuss our differences of opinion in politics and religion without raised voices.

Food: Dinner will be catered in by a local catering company. My home isn't kosher, and the dinner will have to be for my great-grandfather.

Dinner Party #2: Paternal Ancestors

1) Rose Cantkert (wife of Samuel Newmark)
2) Moshe Leyb Kruvant
3) Belle Wyman (wife of Morris Blatt)
4) Selig Dudelsack/Feinstein
5) Myself

(This dinner party will also be part of an all-day affair for the sake of my father.)

All four of my dinner guests are 2nd great grandparents, representing my four paternal lines. Three out of the four are immigrant patriarchs or matriarchs. Belle Wyman died in Poland. Three out of the four lived in the border-area of Russia and Poland. Moshe Leyb came from Lithuania. They will have a lot in common. But I want to tape record their memories of their lives in the Old Country, as well as their tales of immigration. I will need an interpreter, though likely only one. All four of them should be fluent in Yiddish.

I think for this meal I will hire the catering company again, but I would also like to combine it with a little pot-luck and ask each to bring a family dish. Hopefully, I won't get four different recipes for Borscht.

1 comment:


Sounds like you would need
dessert with dinner, how about
some paczki. I'll bring paczki
if I can meet James T. Kirk.
LOL! Don't worry the maternal
side of the family will like the dessert too.