- Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 January 1913 - 100 years ago.
- List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible). Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?
I loved the idea, but it was pretty late, so I decided to tackle this genealogy exercise in the morning. But when I settled down to bed, I couldn't help but scan my ancestors and try to imagine where they where 100 years ago. Very quickly I realized what should be any easy task for someone like me who has spent hundreds of hours researching her forefathers, was not as easy as it looked. As+Randy Seaver suggested, I cued the mission impossible music and tried to rolled back the clock. Part of me was hoping to use Michael J Fox's time machine from Back to the future. This Friday, was actually the day in the future he had visited. As I was dosing off to sleep, I imagined my self in the DeLorean, with Michael and Tom Cruise (why not?), landing in the old Russian Empire, in search of my relatives.
Cruising back along my family's time line 100 years, takes me almost past my grandparents generation and into my great-grandparents. My grandfather Morris Bogdanow was born on July 10th, 1912 which would have made him about a year and a half old. He was living with his parents Abraham Bogdanow and Mollie Bogdanow (Katz) at 2103 Amsterdam Avenue, in NY City. There is a good chance the building is still standing, but I must admit, I have not visited. Google Maps did fly me right into the building faster than any time machine could have.
|37 Eastman, Claremont NH, home to |
Moses and Freida Bloomfield and
four younger sons 1914.
To visit the rest of my ancestors in 1913, I must now take my DeLorean to Eastern Europe. Minnie Crane (Bloomfield), William's wife was very much dreaming of coming to America. If I was had set my time machine to January 1st, 1914, I would have caught Minnie on the deck of the SS Grosser Kurfurst as she was sailing across the atlantic from Bremen, Germany towards Ellis Island. But in January 1913, the idea of going to America seemed like an impossible dream to Minnie. Minnie, or Menuja Kranowitz as she was known back in Belarus, was fifteen years old, and had spent most of 1912 recovering from a terrible tooth infection and several botched mouth surgeries, alone in Konigsberg, Germany. Her older brother Harry had just visited on his way to catch a the Pinsk Oskar to the US which sailed January 4, 1914.
|Anna Celnik (Rosenblum)|
This powerful exercise, highlighted to me, once again, how little we know about our past. One hundred years, only four generations back, and my family's story is just a silhouetted image, almost within my grasp, but yet foggy and unclear. While all my great-grandparents were all young, either single or about to start a family of their own, the were optimistic of their future. How sad it is to think that world history, intersected with some of their plans and prevented four of my eight great-grandparents from completing their journey the way nature intended. Thanks, +Randy Seaver for this genealogy challenge which truly embodies what we do in genealogy. You have re-inspired my to find my way to Europe to answer some of the major questions I have about my family's story.