The first official meeting of this group took place in March, 1933. As recorded in the Constitution, "Any male or female over the age of 16 who is a member or descendant by blood or marriage of the family of Moritz Farkas and [his wife] Lena [Kunstler] Farkas shall be eligible for membership in this organization." Moritz and Lena were the patriarch and matriarch, honorary members of the Farkas Family Tree.
The idea for the Farkas Family Tree came from my great-aunt Jenny Katz Farkas, who joined the family by marrying great-uncle Alex Farkas. Alex was the oldest of Moritz and Lena's children. My grandma, Hermina Farkas Schwartz, was second-oldest. By the time Jenny suggested a tree association, all the Farkas siblings were married except for Julius and Peter, the bachelor brothers who never married. Moritz and Lena were already grandparents many times over when the tree was started.
The Farkas Family Tree had three specific objectives, according to its Constitution:
- To perpetuate the bond of blood relationship.
- To promote good will and understanding.
- To engage in social activities for the mutual benefit of the organization and the members thereof.
A copy shop took my printouts of the scans and created spiral bound books for me. Next, I prepared an index of every name mentioned in the minutes and reports. Because other than a family history buff, who's going to read all 500 pages? But everyone will, I'm sure, look up their own names and the names of their parents (or children) in the index, then flip to those pages first.
For handy reference, I also created a "who's who in the family" summary page. In addition to the Constitution (with 1949 and 1954 amendments), I included the three-stanza family tree song with lyrics written by my great-aunt Ella, which we used to sing to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic." And I included a listing of all the officers from 1933 through 1964. (Hint: Women could be elected secretary but not serve as president or vice-president/treasurer.)
One of my other cousins created a diagram showing the names of every member of the tree in the photograph of the 25th Anniversary Weekend in June, 1958 at the Pines resort in upstate New York. I put the photo and the diagram on the cover, as you can see. Yes, I'm in the photo, but of course as a very young child (wink). By the time I came of age to be a full-fledged member, the Farkas Family Tree had sputtered out of existence, simply because members had moved away, changed jobs, or had grandchildren of their own to visit. The minutes and historian's reports will live on as time-capsules of a special period in my family's history.