Saturday, August 14, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Three (or More) Things about a Great-grandparent

Today for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver has us writing up information about one of our ancestors.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission: Impossible! music):

(1) Pick a great-grandparent of yours—any one of your eight.  Tell us three (or more) things about him or her.

(2) Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or on Facebook.  Be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog post on this post.

I decided to write about my great-grandmother Minnie Zelda (Nowicki) Meckler (c. 1880–1936).  She was my mother's father's mother.  Like Randy, I'm writing more than three things.

Minnie's original name was Mushe; I don't know if she had a middle name at first.  I don't have documentation of her birth, so 1880 is an estimate based on later records stating her age.  She was probably born in Porozowo, Russian Empire, now Porazava, Belarus.

Mushe Nowicki married Moishe Meckler about 1900, again an estimate.  They might have married in Porozowo or somewhere nearby; it was almost definitely in Grodno Gubernia.

Moishe and Mushe had three children in Russia:  Sora, born about 1900; Simcha, born about 1903; and Hirschel, born about 1905.

Moishe immigrated to the United States in 1906; Mushe came later with the three children.  They departed from Antwerp, Belgium on October 14, 1911 and arrived at Ellis Island on October 23 on the Vaderland.  At some point after arrival everyone Americanized their names and they became Morris (sometimes Max), Minnie, Sarah, Sam, and Harry.  To make their family name sound less Jewish, Morris and Sam modified it to Mackler; Harry used Meeckler.

Minnie gave birth to four more children, all in Brooklyn, New York:  my grandfather Abraham, July 23, 1912 (the firsr-born in the United States, exactly 9 months after Minnie's arrival!); Rubin, May 31, 1914; Florence, December 22, 1915; and Elsie, August 24, 1919.

Minnie died August 4, 1936 (her yahrzeit is 17 Av) in Brooklyn of a cerebral hemorrhage.  She was buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens on August 5.

As far as I can tell, Minnie did not become an American citizen.  My great-grandfather Morris naturalized in 1942.

The 1911 passenger list indicates that Minnie was 5'1" tall and had a fair complexion, dark hair, and brown eyes.  I have one photo of her, taken with the three children born in Russia.  Judging by the ages of the children, it was likely taken shortly before Moishe's departure in 1906.


  1. What a lovely photo! They all look so serious, but then that was typical.

    1. Thank you! I'm so happy to have the photo and see what they looked like that young.

  2. I love the photo. Have you tried obtaining any documents from the former USSR? You might have treasures waiting to be discovered.

    1. I have searched for information on American sites, mostly those wiht indices, but not directly from the former USSR. It's on my long list of things to do, though!


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