Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Vast and Noble Yichus of the Admou"r meCreedmoor


One of the highlights of the ongoing Moisdos Creedmoor d' Pluto melave malka was the unveiling of the noble, and rather straight, Schmoigerman ilan hayochsin (family tree).

More is coming tomorrow as we decipher the document, but the highlights are:

1) The Schmoigerman family tree began in a village in Spain called "Monte de los Tres Cartas", shortened to Montres, and it is from there that a well known card game, about which more will be told tomorrow, originated in the very family that later became Schmoigerman.

2) The family name at the time of expulsion from Spain was de Menubal, which as you can see is derived from the word "menuval". The family was expelled from Spain 100 years before the Inquisition ever began, for reasons that we will share with you in future posts.

Researchers believe the first Schmoigerman ancestor to reach Spain was a butcher who sold "nevela," or carrion, meat that died of natural causes which of course is not kosher. Apparently because of the prices he charged, the surname was not Nebela but the more refined de Menubal, for it was as if the butcher himself was one and the same as his meat. The surname is a testimony to the nature of the family even from the days of churban bayis sheini, which as der Admou"r cries "iz der antziger binyon I haven't claimed yet fin der insurance!" Yes, der Admou"r possesses a title deed and insurance policy on the second beis hamikdosh, and he explained how he came to possess this document and how it came to be that the property was registered in his ancestor's name!

3) The ancestors of der Admou"r married within the family, with one noble exception. It was that exception whose surname became a part of the Yiddish mikveh vernacular to this very day.

4) The family name became Schmoigerman in Hungary in 1768, when Hoishe Menuvalcso, who bore the Hungarian variant of the de Menubal surname, was branded "shoiteh, menuval, vegas ruach" on one of the first pashkvilkelach issued by the "Adas Charydim Nagyszar" of Nagyszar, Hungary. Apparently this name had something to do with the manner in which Menuvalcso manufactured and sold kokosh cake that contained wood chips, animal waste and other noxious refuse. That pashkvilke was the first printed by my own ancestor, and this is how we bear the surname Pashkvilkemacher rather than Nagyszarvary or a similar Hungarian surname.

5) The Admour's zaide escaped Nagyszar and was not a kapo as was believed. Instead, he was a British double agent who ran a black market, and had his own currency in Mea Shearim, which was a precursor to the food stamp. However, unlike Reb Amram Bloy who also ran a voucher system, the Admou'r's zaide Reb Groinem Schmoigerman sold his vouchers for "tzioinish gelt" which he then converted into pounds sterling. He served as a well known moneychanger, and was known for issuing his own "lira, franken, shekel, dolar, funt" in denominations not produced by the mint or central bank of the issuing entity.

6) The Admou"r was adopted by a secular couple in Canada for a short while when his mother feigned insanity and had herself committed to Creedmoor in order to escape a jail sentence for assisting her husband with several botched burglaries. He ran away from his adoptive parents after six months, and joined his mother, who by then had forged a title deed to her room and two adjacent rooms, in Creedmoor. Rebbetzin Shprintze-Cholerye Schmoigerman was therefore the first Creedmoorer Rebbetzin even if her son and not her husband (an amateur chazzan known as Der Zinger fin Sing-Sing) became Admou"r.

More details on this noble and exalted lineage coming tomorrow, motzash and Sunday as we relate the distinguished history of a family which dedicated itself to gezel, mirmo, machloikes and geneivas daas even as far back as churban bayis sheini!

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