The Fun of Finding Old Photos

A long time ago I posted a photo of the Scheshko family in the old country (probably Odessa, but maybe Tiraspol). Every member of the family is there, including a boy whose name I don’t have, EXCEPT Malka, the oldest child. That is because she had already emigrated.

Once I realized that Malka was not in the photo, I lost all hope of ever seeing a photo of her. In the United States she became Molly Riskin after marrying Isadore Riskin. Their only child was Charlotte Riskin Vendola.

But in going through that little orange box of photos we recently found, I spotted another photo of Charlotte and her father–this time she’s an adult–and a woman who has got to be her mother, Molly Riskin (Malka Scheshko).

 Moral of that story: never lose hope.

Here’s another photo I found.

This is a photograph taken at the bar mitzvah of Eileen’s son. Charlotte is in the center of the photo, looking striking as usual. Danny to her left and to Danny’s left are their best friends, Sally and Tut.

What I would like to find out is who is seated across from them. Eileen’s son thinks that these might be friends of his parents.The gardener says that there were three men at the bar mitzvah who were some sort of cousins, but nobody who is alive today knows who they were or how they were related. Could they be the men in this photo? The gardener thinks one of the men he vaguely remembers could be named Archie The bar mitzvah happened in 1968–maybe someone someday will see this post and supply names to the faces. Friends or family, I’d love to know who they are!

Always getting a little closer to the information, but not close enough. But finding these old photos is FUN.

This is my last post until September. I plan to do more research in August. Plus it is really really hot here in Phoenix . . . .

 

 

Murray’s Further Military History

Some time back, I wrote about my father-in-law’s U.S. military history. He was part of a heroic team in WWII. His father Isidore, who had served in both Russian and American militaries, must have been very proud of him. At the end of that post, I mentioned that before Murray settled down, got married, and became a business executive, he made one detour.

I mentioned that Murray experienced anti-Semitism while stationed in England. He was deeply affected by what happened there. At the end of the war, the stories of the death camps and murders of Jews at the hands of the Nazis must have also affected him a great deal.

On 14 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel–and this time period found Murray in Israel, as an Israeli soldier. He served with a man who became his best friend and eventually his brother-in-law, Jack Blanc. Jack was an older Canadian soldier who was married with one child (at that time).

Although the quality is not the best, here is an AP photo that was published on 16 August 1948 in newspapers all over the United States of Murray and Jack in Israel (Jack’s name is misspelled). As the caption indicates, Murray is second from the right and Jack on the right..

What a lighthearted photo and caption (pin-up photos?) for such a serious mission they were on.

Here is the full page; check out the bottom left:

Murray was always very proud of his service for Israel, but it did take a toll on his life as he wasn’t able to pursue the higher education he so desperately wanted (I think I have mentioned before he wanted to be a lawyer). He was a soldier in Israel when his peers back in the U.S. were going to college and professional school.

After Israel, Murray came back to New York where Jack Blanc introduced him to a pretty art student from Canada named Diana Shulman. Diana was Jack’s wife’s younger sister. Murray and Diana eventually married and had first the gardener and then his sister. Here is Murray with Diana and the gardener.

 

The gardener wasn’t yet gardening at that point, but I imagine he was pretty active and kept his parents on the go.

 

 

 

More About Eileen

Last week I introduced Eileen Scheshko, the daughter of Celia and Isidore. Here she is on our right, a bit more mature than in the photo with her parents.

The dresses and accessories on Eileen and her friends are absolutely gorgeous and of the era: the 1950s! The sweetheart neckline, the wicker basket handbag, the button earrings!

In 1951, Eileen married Louis Horowitz. The following year she gave birth to her first child, Michelle. The year after that her father, Isidore, passed away. In 1955, her second child and only son was born in the same month that the gardener was born.

In the next photo, Eileen and Lou are seated on our deck in Michigan in April 1985. They were in Kalamazoo/Portage for the occasion of the unveiling of the headstone of Eileen’s brother Murray (the gardener’s father).

Sadly, on 15 June 1994, their only daughter, Michelle, passed away.The inscription reads Michelle Trager, her married name. Her Hebrew name was Malka.

Less than a year later, on 17 April 1995, Uncle Lou passed away as well. Aunt Eileen was plagued the last few years of her life with a brain tumor that caused her excruciating pain. Her strength was remarkable. She herself passed on 6 January 1998 and was buried at New Montefiore Cemetery in New York (where Uncle Lou and Cousin Michelle are buried). Eileen’s parents are buried at Montefiore Cemetery. I added Eileen’s headstone photo and sponsored her memorial at Findagrave.

Eileen lived just long enough to meet her two beautiful grandchildren through her son and his wife.

Enter Eileen

Isidore and Celia Scheshko had a daughter when their son Murray was four-years-old. Eileen Ruth Scheshko was born on 2 December 1925.

The couple still had Celia’s cousin Rose Goodstein Cohen, her husband Isidore Cohen, and daughter Grace boarding with them at that time in their home at 739 Essex Street in Brooklyn. They lived at what is now the yellow house. Thanks to an inspiring comment from Sharon at Branches on Our Civitano Tree and Branches on Our Haimowitz Tree, I discovered that they moved into a brand new house in 1925!

This is only 12 years after Isidore arrived in the United States–and 15 years for Celia. I learned this information from the 1925 New York census. Another interesting piece of info on that census is that both the Scheshkos and the Cohens were apparently naturalized in 1916.

I’ve shared the photos of Isidore and Celia when they were young and before they had children. Here is a photo of them, older, with their daughter all grown up. I suspect Murray was away in the military, but maybe not. Perhaps it is a photo taken upon the occasion of Eileen’s engagement in 1951. If anybody in the family knows, please let me know, and I will correct this post.

Celia’s footwear has changed from those beautiful two-toned boots she wore in the photo I had colorized by Val Erde. A change of shoes happened to me over the years, too, so I completely understand.

I love that the women are wearing similar brooches. Isidore’s double-breasted suit is pretty snazzy!

Yiddish as a First Language

Rather than doling out information in little bits and pieces without a real pattern, I am putting this blog into a holding pattern for now. When I come back, I’ll have some good information and lots of posts!

I’ll leave you with a photo of Murray with his first child, his son, the gardener (my husband).

One generation before this photo, when Murray himself was a young child, he spoke the language of his household, Yiddish. When he started school in New York at age five, he did not speak English. The method in those days was complete immersion with no outside help. Let me tell you, he learned English really fast.

By the time I met him when the gardener and I were in high school in Michigan, he spoke (to my Midwestern ear) English with a strong New York accent.

P.S. Yes, I know the photo has the wrong watermark, but at least it’s one of my watermarks!

Findagrave for Dummies

In the world of family history, there are a nearly unlimited amount of toys to play with–from family tree creators to DNA painters to “search engines” to aid in research. Of course, the problem is finding the time to adequately learn and use each toy.

One of my favorite toys is Findagrave, but I have barely used it (time constraints, you know). Since I don’t know much about it, I had to title this post Findagrave for Dummies because if you are ignorant of the site as I am, the little I’ve recently learned might be useful. If you know more about Findagrave, please chime in with a comment!

Every dead person is entitled to a memorial page on Findagrave. Even if somebody has no actual grave, there is a solution. This is what their FAQs page says about cremation.

 What if someone was cremated or does not have a traditional ‘grave’?

Find A Grave supports common alternative dispositions to traditional burial. This includes cremation, burial at sea, and donated to medical science. In these cases, select the ‘Not buried in a cemetery’ option on the ‘Add a Memorial’ page. If there is an existing cenotaph within a cemetery for someone who had a alternative disposition, do NOT add another memorial under the alternative disposition.

What’s more, not only is every dead person entitled to a memorial page, but so is every pet buried in a pet cemetery (I kid you not).

A memorial page can be created with very little information. It might only be the knowledge that there is a grave in a specific location with the name of the deceased. But as soon as possible, it’s nice to include the birth and death dates, all correct name information, as well as a photo or two of the individual and a photo of the headstone. You can also add a transcription of the headstone, a short bio, and links to family member’s Findagrave memorials.

The first service I began using almost from the beginning was that of requesting photos of headstones. When a memorial had been started, but the headstone photo was not loaded, I would request a volunteer to take a picture. This is invaluable if you are looking for specific dates, for instance, that might be engraved on the stone.

For a few years I’ve added info to memorials in a hit or miss fashion. I had to submit additions and corrections to what I thought was an unseen administrator for approval. It took time to hear back.

I’ve also sponsored memorials for many family members, even ones that weren’t particularly close relations. This is a one time $5 fee that removes all ads from a memorial. I couldn’t bear seeing ads cluttering up memorials of the deceased.

But it was only this weekend, through spending a bit of time with the updated Findagrave website, that I discovered that although I had sponsored a lot of memorials, I only managed six. What did manage mean?

The answer wasn’t readily available, but what I figured out is that the person who adds the person is an automatic manager of that memorial. It can be a complete stranger who, as a volunteer, adds in some cases many graves to the site. This is understandable. It’s what made it easy for me to find people on the site to begin with.

But that is why I had to get permission when I was asking to edit dates and names and other information. I was asking permission of  the manager–most often, a complete stranger with no knowledge of the family. When I first gave birth info on Isidore, the manager accepted it. When I edited it with corrected information once his birth record was found, the manager wanted documentation of the correction. Hmm.

So then I read up on taking over management of family memorials so that I could make sure to put up correct information and that I wouldn’t need to get permission from someone who, hypothetically, might not give it to me.

This weekend, I put in a request to take over management of a whole lot of memorials.

In the meantime, here are the links to the memorial pages of Celia, Isidore, their son Murray, and daughter-in-law Diana.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/148995707/celia-scheshko

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/148995160/isidore-scheshko

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/60566469/murray-harry-castle

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/60566468/diana-dale-castle