Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Favorite Family Photograph

I've missed the past couple of weeks, but I'm catching up with today's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver.

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to:

(1) Show us one of your favorite photographs of your family — a group, yourself, your mom, your dad, your sibling(s), your grandparents, etc.  Tell us about it — the date, the event, the setting, the persons in the photograph.

(2) Share it on your own blog, in a comment on this blog, or on Facebook.

The photograph I've chosen is definitely one of my favorites, even though I still don't know who is in it.

This is a photo of a family celebrating a bris.  I'm pretty sure the mohel is the man in the middle wearing a white jacket.  The man to his right is probably the rabbi or possibly the male relative given the honor of holding the child for the ceremony.  I'm guessing the bris has already taken place.  The table is loaded with food, ready for the party.

I've always particularly liked the matching dresses on the two women in the lower left corner of the photo, plus the girl on the right side of the photo.  You can see that several people in the photo resemble each other, supporting the idea that it's a big family get-together.

Yet I have no idea who these people are!

I received the photo from the widowed husband of my cousin.  About a year after she had passed away, he wrote to me.  He had gone through the photos in the home and had set aside those that were not from his side of the family.  He was asking if I wanted them.  Of course I said yes.

Most of the photos were unlabeled.  I was able to figure out some because the people in them were named in other photos.  I also did a massive scanning project and shared the images with cousins from that side of the family, and they were able to identify a good number of the rest.  But no one knows who the people in this photograph are.

Because of the cousin it came from, I believe the people are on the Novitsky side of my family.  I'm hoping one day to learn the names of these cousins.

But I love the photo anyway.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

Lillyan E. Meckler, March 6, 1919–October 17, 2006

Today is the 100th anniversary of my maternal grandmother's birth.  Esther Lillian Gordon was born at 1575 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York.  She knew the address becaue that was the home of her maternal grandparents, Morris (Mendel Herz) and Rose Dorothy (Ruchel Dwojre) Brainin.  The reason she said that she and her two older brothers were born at her grandparents' home was because for her parents' first child, a boy, her mother had gone to the hospital, and the child was stillborn.  Blaming it on the hospital, my great-grandmother then had all of her children after that in her mother's home.

Brainin family (as "Brennan"), 1575 Madison Avenue, 1920 census

Bubbie (Yiddish for grandmother) told me she spoke Yiddish as her first language and that she didn't learn English until she began school.  I have her Hebrew primer.  I don't think she had a bat mitzvah, and she didn't really remember or use Hebrew later in life.

She did continue to speak Yiddish.  The only time I heard her speak Yiddish, however, other than some random words, was when she turned 80.  She had flown out to California for her birthday and was staying at my uncle's home.  Her best friend (my godmother) had come up from Southern California to help celebrate.  I was listening to them talking, and then their voices got louder, and it sounded like an argument — and suddenly I couldn't understand anything they were saying.  I was mesmerized — they were arguing in Yiddish!  It's still the only time in my life I've heard the language used in a conversation, albeit a loud one.  I wish I had been able to record it.