Thursday, August 11, 2005

Family Portrait

Epstein Family Portrait
Originally uploaded by PhoebeJ.
This is a photo of my paternal grandparents and my aunt taken around 1905. I've begun fooling around with taking digital photos of the old family photos so that I can save them on the Internet. I had visions of scanning them into the computer, but taking photos of photos is easier. (This one needs to be flattened to improve the lower right corner, but over all I'm pleased with the results.)

My grandmother, Alexandra in the old country and Lena in America, came from Kotel Nich, a town in northern Russia along the Volga River. She was one of five daughters and one son in a town with only a handful of Jewish families. There weren't enough eligible bachelors for all of those girls so the choice was to move to Moscow or emigrate to America. I am eternally grateful to my great-grandfather for making the right decision! They came to America circa 1890.

My grandfather, one of 17 children (16 by the same mother!) came to America from Bialystok, Poland, around 1900. He and my grandmother were fixed up by a Singer sewing machine salesman who my grandfather knew in the old country.

When my grandparents married, one of my grandmother's sisters came to live with them. I don't think they were without some relative in residence for years. As each sister married, another single one came to live with them. Weddings were held in the warehouse where my grandfather, who was a candy wholesaler, stored his stock. My grandparents lived above the warehouse. My aunt told me that they covered the boxes with sheets, did some decorating, brought in tables and chairs and held the wedding. She remembered sitting on a fireplace mantle with her cousin Sylvia watching the wedding of one of her aunts. Great aunt Rachel married my grandfather's brother Sam giving us "double cousins".

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