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The Wertheimer Family of Gemmingen:

Connecting With My Cousin via JewishGen

By Lowell N. Halpern


Former Synagogue of
Gemmingen, Germany


Last year I posted the names of my maternal great-great grandparents on JewishGen’s Family Finder database. A week later I received an email from a woman named Miriam Perlson-Cohn who stated that her great-great-grandparents had the same exact names and came from the same village: Jekutiel (Kusel) Levi Wertheimer and Clara Grombacher Wertheimer, of Gemmingen, Germany.

halpern family
L to R: Susan and Lowell Halpern, Fred Cohn and Miriam Perlson-Cohn, June 2014.

After emailing and exchanging information for several months, we came to the conclusion that we were truly cousins! It turns out that Miriam’s great-grandfather, Low (Loeb/Leopold) Wertheimer, and my great-grandfather, Isak (Isaac) Wertheimer, were brothers. We spoke by phone and confirmed many facts. Since then we have accounted for common relatives reaching back to 1739!

My wife Susan and I had a trip planned to California in June 2014. My new cousin lives only twenty-five minutes from our destination, so we arranged to meet Miriam and her husband Fred. The four of us spent the day together and shared a wonderful time over dinner on the Wharf in San Francisco. This has been a truly awesome and meaningful experience that I now treasure. I sincerely appreciate how JewishGen got us connected!

Postscript: I just completed writing a book about my ancestors, and my autobiography, for the benefit of my offspring and other relatives, which will be printed shortly. The culmination of this is that my wife and I have planned a journey in June 2015 to visit the birthplaces of my grandparents. My oldest daughter and my grandson will be joining us.

August 2014
Lakeworth, Florida, USA

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Research Notes and Hints

Lowell and Miriam made their connection through JewishGen’s Family Finder . Family Finder plays a role in many of the success stories we receive. If you haven’t yet posted the surnames you’re researching, we strongly encourage you to do so.

Other helpful JewishGen resources for those of you who are researching family history in Germany include the Germany Database at and the German Jewish Special Interest Group (SIG) at .

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Updated on September 5, 2014.

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