Saturday, August 1, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Did You Or Your Children Know Their Great-Grandparents?

I'm going to broaden the scope of this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun question from Randy Seaver so I can have a more interesting post.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music) is:

(1) Did you or your children know their great-grandparents?  

(2) Tell us in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.  As always, please leave a link to your work in Comments.


As I've mentioned before, I have no biological children of my own, so if I restricted this question to exactly as asked, it would be a really short post.  Therefore I'm going to expand it a little.

First, neither I nor my siblings knew any of our great-grandparents.  The closest any of us came is the story that I was told not only by my mother but also by my father, that my mother flew with me to Florida when I was but a babe in arms so that her grandmother — my great-grandmother, Sarah Libby (Brainin) Gordon — could see me.  Unfortunately, there is no proof of this visit that I have yet found, even though my grandfather routinely took all sorts of family photos.  How he missed the opportunity to get four generatiosn of women together in one photo is beyond me.  One of these days (soon, obviously) I need to ask some of my cousins on that side of the family, who still live in the Miami area, if they remember this momentous visit.  Anyway, as it stands, it's a story with no documentation.

The only other great-grandparent who survived to when my two siblings and I were alive was my father's paternal grandmother, Laura May (Armstrong) Sellers Ireland, known later in life as Nanny Ireland.  After I began doing family history research, I discovered that Nanny Ireland had lived to 1970.  That was before my family moved to Australia.  We had made some trips back east to visit family, but it was always my mother's family.  My father was not close to his family, so we never visited them.  And that meant we did not meet his grandmother.  When I learned that we had missed that opportunity, I was a little annoyed, but it was way too late to do anything about it at that point.

Keeping this in my generation, I'm not sure if any of my sister's children met a great-grandparent.  The only one who could have would have been her son Garry, who was born in 1983.  My paternal grandfather died in 1985.  Stacy might have brought Garry with her on a trip to Florida, and he might have met Grampa.

But if we take it one additional generation, we have a definite positive.  Stacy's granddaughter, Natalie, absolutely met her great-grandfather — my father.  So by manipulating this challenge just a little (okay, quite a bit), I finally have one positive result!


This photo, from the family reunion/birthday party I coordinated in 2015, includes my father and my grandniece.  My brain seems to be mush at the moment, because I have blanked on how to draw circles around each of them using Photoshop.  My father is on the far left wearing the blue and white shirt.  My stepmother is to his right in the photo, wearing a yellow blouse.  My grandniece is behind her with her back to the camera.  So I have documentation of my story!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Major News Events during Your Life

This week's theme for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver is certainly appropriate given what's going on in the world right now.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music), is:

(1) What are the major news events that happened during your life that you remember where you were when you heard about them?

(2) Tell us in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.  As always, please leave a link to your work in Comments.


Okay, here are mine.

• The first major news event that I remember where I was when it happened was the Moon landing on July 20, 1969.  As I wrote last year for the 50th anniversary of that, I remember my mother having us three kids sit and watch the Moon landing on TV, but I don't actually remember seeing the landing itself.

• The explosion of the Challenger space shuttle on January 28, 1986 happened during the day while I was at work in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California.  I don't recall now how we heard that it had happened, but when we got the news we found a TV set somewhere and set it up so everyone could watch the reports.  I remember that the office supervisor was extremely annoyed that people wanted to learn what had happened, and we had to turn off the TV after a short while.

• I had been living in Berkeley, California for only a few weeks when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck on October 17, 1989.  This became a major news event because it occurred just as a World Series game between the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants was beginning, and a lot of people call it the World Series earthquake.  The film footage that was seen the most in other parts of the country was the liquefaction in the Marina District in San Francisco, the collapse of the double-decker Cyrpress freeway structure, and the part of the Bay Bridge that fell, although the most damage and devastation were actually in downtown Santa Cruz.  I was in the house in Berkeley when the shaking started, and I could tell it was significant.  In the living room, three of the four tall bookcases collapsed into the center of the room and all the books spilled out.  We lost power and I couldn't make outgoing phone calls.

• On September 11, 2001, I was working at the Seismological Society of America.  Someone called to let us know about the collapse of the Twin Towers, and then we followed the news online.  I don't recall that we were allowed to leave work early.  I remember when I got home and turned on the TV, all the channels but two were showing the same CNN footage over and over.  The Food Network had a static slide expressing sympathy, and Comedy Central was running its regular schedule.  I watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and the guests were They Might Be Giants.  Then I gave up on TV for the evening.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Abraham Meckler, July 23, 1912–December 10, 1989

Today is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of my maternal grandfather.  Abraham Meckler (or possibly just Abe) was born in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York to Morris (sometimes Max) Meckler (later Mackler) and Minnie (originally Mushe) Zelda Nowicki.  I don't know the specific location because the lovely City of New York won't release birth records after 1909, even though it has been more than 100 years.  I read a statement once where someone from the city declared that as far as they were concerned, these are not public records in any way.

Meckler family in 1915 New York State census; next to last is "Abie"

From what I was told, Zadie (Yiddish for "grandfather") grew up in a very conservative, traditional Orthodox family.  The two photos I have of his grandparents bear that out, but the one photo I have of his father shows a man with short hair and no head covering.  I don't know if that photo was taken in Europe or in the United States, so maybe the photo was taken here and he became less observant once he immigrated.

I do not have nearly the number of photos of my grandfather that I do of my grandmother.  The earliest one is from his bar mitzvah, which presumably took place in 1925, when he turned 13.


Later in life Zadie had heart problems.  He contracted leukemia from a blood tranfusion he received after a heart attack.  His health slowly worsened, but he held on until he and my grandmother had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, with a big family reunion in Las Vegas, where Bubbie and Zadie had lived for many years.  He passed away about a month later.