He is single handedly responsible for linking my family and countless others to his meticulously researched and documented work. It is not an understatement to say he has changed lives by reuniting family ties and repairing the ruptures in family groups made by political threats, especially by the Nazis. He is a one man genealogical “Tikkun Olam”.
We made contact in the summer of 2016 when a new searchable Hungarian database came online, which led me to his family tree and enabled me to break through a genealogical brick wall. I owe him a personal debt of gratitude and now he needs help to bring his work to an even higher level.
Almost 12 years ago Mattan was a 28 year old Israeli man who found the 1921 family portrait shown above at his grandfather's house, and became curious about the possibility of having relatives he was unaware of living abroad. In the twilight of his career as a flight attendant for EL AL he decided to start looking for scattered members of the Frank family while he could get free flights to do it.
At the start he was certain that his family had been immune from the Holocaust that had decimated so many other families across Europe (as his grandparents were already in Israel in 1939). To his surprise, he quickly found quite a few living relatives and was told stories of escape, imprisonment, survival and death of his own ancestors and relatives.
He began mapping families connected to his, eventually building a family tree now housed on MyHeritage and containing the records of over 50,000 people from 18,200 nuclear families and counting.
Mattan is now a Masters level student of History and Jewish Studies at Tel Aviv University, as part of the Israeli Inter-University Academic Partnership in Russian and East European Studies. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (Film, Television & New Media Production) from Tel Aviv University, works in the field of Digital Marketing & Informatics, and is totally devoted to studying Jewish families from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (mainly Slovakia, Austria and Hungary). The digital age has allowed him to connect distant relatives who weren’t aware of each other’s existence and has turned all of us into friends and a family again around the world.
Has Mattan’s research opened doors for you? Introduced you to distant cousins?
Many, many people owe him their thanks. Here is a great opportunity to show our appreciation and help his cause, OUR cause, in return!
1. Developing the growing database – obtaining archival records which weren't scanned by the LDS church or aren't available online, documenting Jewish cemeteries and more.
2. Mattan aims to create a new platform that will take genealogical research, and what could be learned from it, a few steps forward.
A decade of frustration with the limited tools available on platforms like MyHeritage, GENI, Ancestry and FamilySearch (besides the many benefits each of those has), resulted in a long list of features that could help any researcher work better, understand more, find more and keep an organized project that won't inherit errors and speculated information to peer researchers.
Mattan hopes to raise funds to enable developing a platform that will improve research and use machine learning processes to digest and learn from the gathered information, and establishing a website with an organized and professional online database allowing anyone interested to easily learn about their family's history and the historical events which affected their ancestors, as well as allow users to share and improve the database with photos, information, records, family recipes and more. The database will initially focus on the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Mattan's specialty), but could be later expanded to other regions worldwide.
Through systematic and interdisciplinary research conducted by Mattan with support from a worldwide team of experienced volunteers, many written, photographed and filmed sources of information will be collected and documented. Together with data-mining and analysis processes of these genealogical records, the project will seek to get a broader narrative about life in these communities, how Jewish dynasties developed and the stories of how and why they scattered across the empire and out of it, and comparing them to Jewish communities in neighboring countries.
Analyzing and understanding the processes responsible for creating and influencing the Austro-Hungarian Jewish community requires a broad and central database that Mattan will build and in so doing will tell its story, as well as how the narrative has been influenced over the years by local, political and/or international events.
To become a reality the project NEEDS your help to be funded.
How is the money going to be spent?
The money raised here will go towards two important goals:
1. Development of the website, including (but not limited to):
· Datamining and Analysis
· Infographics and Animations
· Website Design
· UX (User Experience) & UI (User Interfaces)
· Creating Quality Content
· Producing, Filming and Editing video testimonies
2. Establishing cooperative relations between Mattan's research project and researchers, research institutes, archives and museums dealing in this field and in related fields in Israel and all around the world, in order to maintain fruitful international and interdisciplinary cooperation and knowledge sharing which will benefit the general public while complying with the data rights protection laws of the relevant countries and the GDPR.
So now what?
Do you have family from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (Modern day Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania as well as parts of Poland, the Ukraine, Serbia & Croatia)?
If so, Mattan’s research will benefit you!
1. Please donate now and be as generous as you can
2. To help get the word out, please help raise awareness for this far-reaching project by sharing a link to your Email contacts, your Facebook Timeline, or any connections you have to organizations who would be willing to support Mattan's research so it will reach its full potential.
It would be appreciated if you would add a comment to the post, about your own personal story of the effect Mattan’s research had on YOUR life or knowledge of your own family's history.
Thanks in advance for your generosity and your help,
Dr. Marge Goldin
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