Looking for more house tips? Search through Houseblogs.net!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

on history, and family


I spent some time yesterday morning looking at the Ellis Island immigration records, and found the record of my grandmother's -- and great-grandparents' -- arrival in the US. It's here, if you're interested. I think the site requires a free registration but it's no big deal. The manifest shows that Freida and Kalman Solomianski and their four children -- Liba, Isaak, Sonia, and Gita -- arrived on the George Washington from Germany in 1923, former place of residence Grodek, Poland. They were sponsored by Kalman's brother, whose name looks like 'Honia Solomianski'. My grandmother -- Sonia Solomianski at that time, soon to become Sylvia Solomon -- was seven.

History is interesting, especially when it's personal. I spent a good portion of the day yesterday reading Bill Chapman's journal about his family's restoration of Enon Hall, their ancestral homestead. He's descended from the Hathaways of Virginia, who built Enon Hall on four hundred acres and lived there from the mid-1600s to the late 1930s. Talk about an ancestral pile! His house makes our undertaking look wimpy, although it's fun to see someone really taking the whole 'buy-your-ancestral-home' thing to its proper ending. See, my family on both sides are fairly recent immigrants to the US -- two generations back on my mom's side, three on my dad's -- so I don't have any real ancestral property in the US. I'm hardly a Daughter of the Mayflower or whatever those ladies call themselves. That's one of the reasons I jumped at the chance to have Don's family's house -- no, it's hardly a colonial home, but it was built three years before my grandmother arrived on Ellis Island! That's history, and it belongs to us. That's important.

Speaking of my grandmother, that's her in the pictures above and below. She's the cheeky-looking lass, hugging the sign above and on the right below. The other girl is her sister, my great-aunt Gus. I found these photos on a visit to my mom's house just after I settled in Maryland.


5 comments:

quietnightwing said...

Factual ancestral correction: Gus is a sister-in-law. This was likely before they were all married. Your grandma Sylvia used to double-date with her brother Irv and his girlfriend, Gussie. Note that Grandma Sylvia always strikes a sexy pose. No wonder your great grandpa used to chase Granpa Mike out of the hardware store with a broom.

quietnightwing said...

Factual ancestral correction: Gus is a sister-in-law. This was likely before they were all married. Your grandma Sylvia used to double-date with her brother Irv and his girlfriend, Gussie. Note that Grandma Sylvia always strikes a sexy pose. No wonder your great grandpa used to chase Granpa Mike out of the hardware store with a broom.

Kristin said...

That's fascinating! I'm always so interested in families who immigrated fairly recently because in mine everyone arrived in the U.S. so long ago no one knows when or where. I've been trying to track it down, and I do have one great-great-great grandfather who came here from Ireland, but his name (Thomas Hurley) was apparently a popular one for Irish immigrants in the 1860s, and I can't figure out which ship he arrived on.

Anonymous said...

What a great site
»

Anonymous said...

I am trying to track our common Solomianski ancestors. My great grandfather's last name (Solomianski) was mispelled by an Ellis Island clerk and came out Sullum. I lived 2 1/2 yrs. in Baltimore, and was just there with my family for vacation. It would be great if you could contact me at nathan@sullum.com.