Monthly Archives: December 2015

Photo Forensics

My Aunt Lillian – technically, my mother’s Aunt Lillian, but we always called her “Aunt Lillian” – was the keeper of the family photographs. I recall visiting her in the early 1990s, and looking at her photo albums while she told me who people were. Unfortunately, at the time, I really wasn’t paying attention to people I had never heard of before, and who had died prior to my birth.

When Aunt Lillian died in 1995, the photographs remained, but for many of them, no survivor knew who they were, nor where, when, and why they had been recorded. This is one reason I am always on the lookout for cousins with family photographs, and hopefully recollections about who they are.

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Forget not the Chamber Set!

Something unusual I ran across, from the marriage coverage of Louis Selig and Sadie Salomonsky, Norfolk, VA, 14 November 1888.  Newspapers covering weddings, down to who wore what, was pretty common in small towns in the late 19th century, but this particular article actually listed the wedding presents provided to the couple. Many of them, in any case; the article notes “There were other presents made by E[lizabeth] City [NC] friends who were not there.”

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Project Piaski!

I realized there’s a lot of cousins who originate from Piaski, Poland (Sandberg, Prussia).  Many of them, I know little / have very little to say about individually, but on the whole I know a fair bit about the town they came from and the people there. Possibly worth their own site.

4168_Gostyn_1940 (2)

Prussian Land Survey, 1890, with 1940 topographic survey overlay

If you’re related to me via JACOBOWSKY, PAWEL, WOLFF, or SALOMONSKY, or are otherwise just curious, you can subscribe to  Not too much there yet, but it will grow….

Morris Abrahams (1849-1929)

One of my great-great-grandfathers, a man of several name variations and a murky past.

Morris ABRAHAMS was born on 10 September 1849 in “Russia” or “Poland” (even though it was not a political entity in 1849), son of David. Russia in that timeframe could mean anything East of Germany, and the only real clue we have of his birthplace is that his wife – according to family lore – was born in Pinsk, in what is now Belarus.

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Samuel Lester Abelson (1878-1967)

That’s A-B-ELSON, not A-D-ELSON….

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Fred Ochowitz (1907 – 1951)

My grandmother’s older brother. Most of what I know about him is from “what I read in the papers.” Fairly literally.

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Genetic Genealogy – Does it work? Does it help?

Questions come up occasionally about my use of genetic genealogy: using genetic testing for matching family. You may have seen TV ads for 23 & Me or AncestryDNA tests. It’s becoming more and more popular, and I think it’s worthwhile to post a quick overview of what it is, what it can do, and what it can’t. Don’t worry, you won’t need a biology degree for this.

This is just the nickel tour… there’s lots of detailed posts out there that get into the science behind it all, but I thought an overview might be interesting for some of you.

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