Saturday, at my daughter's bat mitzvah celebration, my half-third-cousin-once-removed and neighbor Cary asked me what I know about the one Gutmann in my tree. That would be Reichele Gutmann, who married Meyer Neumann in Wassertruedingen; their daughter Jachet married Henoch Bissinger; they had Max who had Louis whose daughter is my mother. I'm pretty sure Reichele came off my cousin Jim Bennett's research but I've independently confirmed that data; the problem is that the vital records for Wassertruedingen are not available (at least not online) so there wasn't much else to go on there, and I've put my efforts into easier areas.
But I have had "Wassertruedingen" on my list of things to get back to for a while, and Cary's question got me to take another pass at it.
A quick check on FamilySearch turns up Julius Neumann, son of Meyer Neumann and Reichele of Wassertruedingen, born 22 May 1836, and married on 11 Oct 1871 in Frankfurt-am-Main to Franziska Zunz, daughter of Salomon David Zunz and Amalie Schnapper. So Jachet had a brother! I have found no other siblings so far, but this gives me a chance to do descendency research and see if I end up finding new cousins.
So I repeat the strategy of using FamilySearch and providing the father's name and city of birth, and I find that Julius and Franziska had a daughter, Martha Rosa Neumann, born in F-a-M on 19 July 1872. (If you're keeping track, she's my great-grandfather Max's first cousin.)
Now Ancestry's new Social Security Applications database comes to the rescue. I found a record that matches parents' names and dates of birth but adds that Martha's appication was under the name Martha Rosa Abeles, so now I know her married name. That leads me to her passenger list, arriving 30 Aug 1940. The interesting data is, as always, on page 2 -- she is traveling from her son, F. Abeles, 171 New Kings Rd., London; to her son, Karl Abeles, 63-07 Saunders St., Forest Hills, Long Island [Queens], NY.
So now I have two second cousins for my grandfather Louis.
It's not hard to find Carl Abeles living with his wife Alice on Saunders St. in the 1940 census. Born in 1905, he was an "Ex-ray [sic] technician." The SSDI record gives specifics: born 20 Nov 1905, died Mar 1974; his death was listed in the NYT with no survivors, so I presume that Alice predeceased him and that they had no children. (I'm not basing that just on the one NYT listing, but I'm summarizing here.) He appears to have been a radiologist, not just an X-ray technician. This turns into another case of my grandfather having a second cousin who lived in the same area of Queens and who, as far as I know, never knew about each other. (Makes me even more glad to have found Cary!)
A little triangulation goes a long way with F. Abeles. Since he was living in London, a search on FindMyPast.co.uk is called for. That gives me a small list of possible first names: Francis, Fred, Friederich Moritz, Fritz. Going back to FamilySearch, I find a marriage of Friederich M. Abeles to an Elizabeth T. Robinson in Oct-Dec 1941. Searching for more information on Elizabeth by using Google, I find her name on the official publication of persons being naturalised published 12 May 1942 as Abeles, Elizabeth Treslove, 171 New Kings Rd.. That matches the address on Martha's passenger list, which gives me a complete paper trail and confirms that this is the right family.
Turns out Friederich was a well-estemed radiologist in Britain, as his obituary in a professional journal shows, so that seems to have been the family career. He died 29 Jun 1984; Elizabeth remarried and, according to her obituary in the Times of London, died 14 Sep 2002. They also did not have children, as far as I can tell.
So now for completeness' sake, I'd like to know the name of Martha's husband. A Google search for Abeles Frankfurt-am-Main turns up this description of a Stolperstein, a "stumbling stone" which is a kind of Holocaust memorial on the sidewalks of German cities, marking places where Jews who were murdered by the Nazis had lived. The stone tells of Leo Abeles, whose wife left F-a-M in 1933 to join their son Friederich in London.
Furthermore, a Google books search turns up an entry on the marriage of Leo Abeles to Martha Neumann. She is described as the daughter of the deceased bankers Neumann-Zunz, which gives me more information about her parents.
I have not found a definitive record of Martha's death; there is a Martha Abeles whose cremains are at Maimonides Cemetery, listed in both JOWBR and FindAGrave, but the date on that is 1952 and the age is given as 62; but she would have been 80 at that point. So I don't consider that good enough evidence.
In summary, in about an hour I had dug up another branch, and gotten some pretty good information with extremely high confidence. Unfortunately, it looks like this branch does not have any living descendants, but there may be other siblings that I haven't found yet.
And it's interesting that the architect that we used fifteen years ago for some home improvements is named Lisa Abeles... who knows if there's a marriage-of-cousins connection there?