The Search for Josefa

by Jurgen Worthing


My father, John Worthing, my brother, Bob, and I have been interested in the family history for some time. In 1966 Dad devoted the first twenty pages of his book “Out of My Glass” to family history. Later, in his eighties, he wrote some more details in a series of short pieces about his life.

Bob, starting in 1986, wrote a three volume story of his life which included photographs, taken in the nineteenth century, of many of the family ancestors.

My interest has been more in the form of documentation of records. I made two volumes of photocopies of Dad’s writings and memorabilia. I drew several trees of my family and Clare’s from information that Dad and others provided, and continually updated them as I met and interviewed older members of my family, as well as Clare’s. Eventually the vital statistics were entered into the computer.

A few years ago Bob started to write a series of stories about our, and Gay’s, ancestors in the format of historical short stories. Called “Letters from Beyond” they are in the form of fictional letters from the ancestors, describing what life was like in their times. One of those was from Josefa Nagel Weisz, my father’s great-grandmother. This is the story of our trip to Hungary to find and understand the life of Josefa and her descendants.


  1. What we Knew – Bits of our family history from John Worthing’s perspective, the start of our interest in our ancestors, and the decision to go to their lands and learn how they lived
  2. Preparation for the Trip – The early research before leaving
  3. Topolcany – Our plane ride, arrival in Vienna and, our first visit to Slovakia.
  4. The Trip South to Makö – A long day’s train ride
  5. Makö – Day One – We find the map in the museum
  6. Makö – Day Two – Wandering around the town
  7. Makö – Day Three – Research in the archives and side-trip to Szeged
  8. Lugos – A Side Trip to Lugos to see the home town of Jakob and Franz Bernard
  9. Back to Makö – More research in the archives
  10. Vienna – Where we plan on returning to the U.S.
  11. Nitra – More searching for Jakob’s roots
  12. Bratislava – Where we discover the Three Weiss Men
  13. Back to Vienna – A visit with cousins, then home

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