One of the complications in my family is the large number of schisms, which end up with various branches not speaking to each other over various slights, real or imagined. These range from drunkenness at a wedding leading to a serious injury to how nice a coat someone bought his wife. Since these things happened on both sides of my family, I assume they are not actually uncommon. They’re just annoying, because they make it hard to track down people who might have genealogical information.
The short version is that my father had once said that my great-grandfather, Shachne Feinstein, had a brother who was an artist and who at one time was the director of the Jewish Museum of Minsk. For a variety of reasons, I believe that artist may have been Chaim Feinstein. (I have no evidence yet, but reading about Lithuanian Jewish artists of the right time period turned up Chaim who worked in woodcuts and was from Kovno, both of which would fit what I had been told.) There is a tenuous connection to my father’s cousin, Shlomo, who also had a brother who may have emigrated to South Africa in the 1930’s, around the same time that Shlomo emigrated to Petah Tikva (in what is now Israel). Incidentally, Petah Tikva plays a big role in my family because my mother’s father got his smicha (rabbinical degree) at a Yeshiva there.
Shlomo actually stayed with us briefly in the 1970’s, when he came to the U.S. for medical treatment. And we visited him and his family in Petah Tikva around 1974. I figure there is a fair chance his daughter would know something. But I haven’t been able to track her down. My other relatives in Israel want nothing to do with that branch of the family, so it isn’t so simple.
I knew Shlomo was an architect and that he was responsible for a fair amount of the early development of Petah Tikva. What I didn’t know until today is that there’s a junior high in Petah Tikva named after him.
That doesn’t help me at all with my search for info on Chaim, but it’s still cool.