Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Book Review: Finding Black Sheep


"A Step-by-Step Guide To Finding Black Sheep In Your Family," by Carl R. Migden

Do you enjoy reading "Who Done It" mysteries? How about a genealogical Who Done It? And one where the answer is all spelling out for you step-by-step? Interested? "A Step-by-Step Guide To Finding Black Sheep In Your Family," by Carl R. Migden, is just such a book. And a very different kind of genealogical book to boot. The author explores the particular research involved when a Black Sheep is discovered in his family. He recounts the detailed steps he took to uncover records relating to his Black Sheep and outlines particularly methods that could save other researchers hours of time and trouble if they but knew. 

Migden learned as a lad that his family came from "some obscure far off town called Tarnopol" which he learned was in Galicia in the Ukraine. He compiled "The Migden Families from Tarnopol" in 2001. During the years of researching and writing "it never crossed my mind that there could be a Black Sheep in my family." Then he discovered Jack "Kuppy" Migden, born in 1910 in lower east side tenement in Manhattan. By the age of 17, Kuppy realized that a life of crime was his best way "out of his misery and help him escape the level of poverty in which he was living." This goal led Kuppy to his crime of murder in 1939 in the Bronx. 

Migden outlines the many and various public websites he used (lots of newspaper sites) to create a timeline of Kuppy's life of crime and murder. After newspapers he went to courthouse records and finally to prison records. Kuppy served 10 years in Sing-Sing. 

He died in 1997. By then he was living a good clean ordinary life; "he had become a White Sheep." 

The 165-page book, published in 2016, includes actual case history results from courthouses and prisons with over 100 illustrations including samples of letters he wrote. You can order the $15.95 book from eBay; in the search bar type "black sheep in the family."


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