I resigned from my secure public sector job in 1988. This was my ‘Bicentenary Moment’, coinciding with 200 years of European occupation of Australia. A milestone marked by chest-beating events across the nation, of which my decision to abandon regular employment was one of the least known and un-championed by anyone other than myself.
More than two decades of having had to source my own work has taught me a few things. In addition to being operations manager, I now had marketing (finding work) and finance (getting paid to do it) to look after as well. And while I would far prefer that the work came to me – who wouldn’t? – the reality is that this doesn’t happen without a bit of effort. And part of that effort includes cold calling.
I was about to put more than a decade of cold-calling experience to the test. I knew the risks. The modern-day filter for cold-calls is voice mail; email is even easier to ignore.
My first challenge was to find Avrom. The default port of call – the Internet – proved to be fallow ground.
I turned to his publisher: JCR-UK (Jewish Gen and the Jewish Genealogy Society of Great Britain),a link conveniently provided on the last page of the essay. I asked for his contact details, explaining that I was a relative and that my late father had contributed content to the essay.
That was around ten years ago. Days, months and years passed without word from JCR-UK. I should have given up then.
But there were loose ends to tie up as well as an urge to uncover new evidence. Avrom had also mentioned a photo taken of my father in London in 1936. A photo I really wanted. Badly. So I tried again, this time towards the end of 2012.
I had previously noticed a citation about copyright on the last page of the essay, for some reason repeated twice:
I thought it polite to let JCR-UK know that I intended to quote from the essay in my blog. At the back of my mind hovered the thought that the topic of copyright – notwithstanding that I was on reasonably safe ground – might be the prompt to draw out a response.
I was wrong.
Twice defeated, it was time to put my search for Avrom to one side for the time being. There were two reasons. My obsession with finding Avrom was starting to overtake the search for Harris. I needed to regain perspective. I also had other fish to fry.
I had decided that the best place to start looking for help was right here in my backyard: the Sydney branch of the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (AJGS) and its president, Jeannette Tsoulos.
Less than 24 hours had elapsed before Jeannette replied to my initial inquiry. And while she was unable to help with my research, she passed to me the name of and contact details for an AJGS member in Victoria, Bubbles Segall, who might be better able to help.
Would Bubbles live up to the promise of her name?