Category Archives: genealogy

Charms–a shout-out from forty years ago (at least!)

The Facebook headline said, “Any idea who these charms belong to?”–above a photo of two flat metal cutouts engraved with the names “Kathryn” and “Bradley.” If I had seen the post, I would have immediately known, by the names and … Continue reading

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Interview with my father

My father died five years ago. Our relationship continues to evolve. Last summer, while brainstorming an exercise for a group at an artists’ and writers’ retreat organized by my friend Bethany Ides, I invented the ancestor interview. It turned out … Continue reading

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Pitman transcription reveals my great-grandmother’s secrets

Many thanks to my friend Josie Oppenheim, who responded to the previous blog post by locating a Pitman transcriber online. Tracey Jennings, a shorthand expert in the U.K., came up with translations of the four bits of shorthand text scattered … Continue reading

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Anyone out there know Pitman shorthand?

When my great-grandmother, Mary Davies, was 20 years old, she took a trip to Wales with her cousin to visit relatives. It was 1892, she was petite and pretty, and the Welsh boys flocked to pay court to two exotic … Continue reading

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The insane asylum next door

In a letter to my great-grandmother in about 1941, her sister, Emma Davies Sharp Smith, sketched her memories of their childhood home in Columbus, Ohio, where they lived on Marion Street: It was a dead end st. at both ends … Continue reading

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More on Russian immigrants

Here is the sequel to the previous post about my husband’s White Russian grandparents. We left Avram Gorelick walking on the road from the Ukraine to Hamburg, having deserted the Russian army on the eve of World War I. He … Continue reading

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Russian Jewish immigrant stories: Gorelicks and Arenbergs

In the town of Gomel in Byelorus (White Russia), the Torah was read at the synagogue on Mondays and Thursdays. When a boy, such as my father-in-law Jack Gorelick’s father, turned 13, he would go to shul with his father … Continue reading

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