Fallen Leaves

I admit that I have been putting off this blog post.  Because it makes me sad.  One of the great gifts I’ve experienced in doing genealogy is learning about and sometimes having conversations with older people whose memories and lives can teach us so much.  The downside of that is that I am catching them in the final chapter in the lives.

In the past year or so, four of my parents’ first cousins have passed away.  I already wrote about my mother’s first cousin, Murray Leonard, born Goldschlager, son of my grandfather’s brother David Goldschlager.  You can see my tribute to Murray here, in case you missed it.

Murray Leonard older

Murray Leonard

Murray Leonard

David and Murray Goldschlager

David and Murray Goldschlager

Two of my mother’s other Goldschlager-side first cousins also died in the last year: Frieda Feuerstein Albert and Estelle Feuerstein Kenner, who were sisters and the daughters of Betty Goldschlager, my grandfather’s sister, and her husband Isidor Feuerstein.

Frieda died on July 30, 2015; she was 93. Frieda was born in New York on April 21, 1922. She married Abram Albert in 1943, and in 1957, they moved with their children to Arizona, where Abram opened a bedspread and drapery store in Phoenix. He died in 1991, and Frieda continued to live in Phoenix until her death last summer.

Frieda and Abe

Frieda and Abe

Frieda and Abe Albert at their wedding in 1943

Frieda and Abe Albert at their wedding in 1943

 

Her younger sister Estelle died almost three months ago on May 16, 2016.  She was 86 years old and had been living in Florida for many years.  She was born May 15, 1929.

 

courtesy of Barry Kenner

courtesy of Barry Kenner

Estelle

Estelle

Estelle Feuerstein, Betty's daughter

Estelle Feuerstein, Betty’s daughter

Estelle and Frieda each had three children who survive them—six second cousins I’d never known about until I started doing genealogy research.

I never had a chance to speak to either Frieda or Estelle, but have been in touch with some of their children.  My mother recalls Frieda and Estelle very well, although she had not seen them for many, many years.  She remembers them as beautiful young girls coming to visit her family in Brooklyn when they were living out on Long Island.

The other cousin who died in the past year was my father’s first cousin, Marjorie Cohen.  I wrote about my wonderful conversations with Marjorie here.  She died on July 6, 2015, but I did not learn about it until quite recently.  She was just a few months shy of 90 when she died, and she was living in Ventnor, New Jersey, near Atlantic City, where she had lived for almost all of her adult life after growing up in Philadelphia.  She was born on October 15, 1925, the daughter of Bessie Craig and Stanley Cohen, my grandfather’s brother.

Arthur Seligman, Marjorie, and Eva May Cohen, 1932 Atlantic City

Arthur Seligman, Marjorie, and Eva May Cohen, 1932 Atlantic City

Marjorie Cohen with Pete-page-001 Marjorie model 2-page-001

According to her obituary,

She was a graduate of the Sacred Heart School in Philadelphia and Trinity College in Washington, DC. For 33 years she served as the Director of the AAA Mid-Atlantic Travel Agency in Northfield. During her time with AAA she escorted both cruises and tours throughout the world. In 1978, she was the recipient of the Contemporary Woman of the Year Award for outstanding community involvement by McDonald’s Restaurant and radio station WAYV. Upon retirement she became actively involved in volunteer work with the Atlantic City Medical Center, RNS Cancer and Heart Organization, the LPGA Annual Golf Tournament and served as a Hostess with the Miss America Pageant for a number of years. Throughout her life, she had a deep and abiding love for all animals and was a generous supporter of the Humane Society.  (Press of Atlantic City, July 9, 2015.)

I am so grateful that I had the chance to talk to Marjorie, and I am filled with regret that I never was able to get to Atlantic City to meet with her as I had hoped.

These losses remind me once again how important it is to find my extended family members, especially those whose memories run back the longest.  I wish I had had the chance to meet all of these cousins, and now it is too late.

 

 

36 thoughts on “Fallen Leaves

  1. Your message is beyond important for genealogists — especially the newbies — to read and heed. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in online and repository research that we forget about the wealth of information available from elderly relatives, just for the asking. I am now the oldest person in my immediate family line and 5th oldest among my living cousins. I wonder if anybody in my extended family will ever seek information from me?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Please do. There are so many lovely photos here I’m sure each one or two could make an entire posting if you have some details. There are beautiful examples of period fashions, too. Marjorie was very stylish. So don’t feel you don’t have all the details. The pictures offer many clues to the people and the past.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ok, here’s the story. The photo was taken on the steel pier in Atlantic City. The dog is the dog Pete from Our Gang. Marjorie posed with the dog.

        I believe I wrote about all the photos when I first wrote about these cousins. This post links back to those.

        Liked by 1 person

      • These were quite a while back before we’d found each other’s blogs. And you are right—there’s always more to find in photographs. Thanks!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy, I just had an idea you might want to consider for future postings. If you have photos of Bar Mitzvahs or Bat Mitzvahs I’d love to see them and learn about these important ceremonies in the life of a Jewish child. Also, if there are photos of a wedding at the synagogue or of the couple under the Chuppah, that’s another subject to cover. It’s a chance to add some family stories, too. There is so much my Grandmother never told me and others like me with Jewish relatives would be very interested. It’s one thing to read about it from an online magazine or news site but quite another to learn about it through a family history blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Emily, I don’t have old photos of bar/bat mitzvah celebrations except my husband’s. I have my kids’ photos from the 90s. They’d all kill me if I started posting them! Plus there is nothing in those photos that you can’t find just by searching for photos online. However, if you have specific questions about these rituals, please feel free to ask me. You can always email me separately.
        As it is, I have too many things I want to write about! Thanks for the suggestion, and perhaps once I finish my family history I will branch out to other things—if that ever happens!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Great! Chabad, of course, is ultra-Orthodox, so they have a very traditional practice (no bat mitzvahs for girls, no women allowed to read Torah, etc.). If you’d like some sources with a more modern view, let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The photos are great – I sure would love to know the story behind the circle around the dog’s eye. I’m glad you’ve had the opportunity to at least know about them and you can carry on a relationship with the children. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an interesting post. I have been sharing genealogy information with a cousin living in the Boston area. We are becoming the eldest of our generation and who knows how much longer we’ll be around. We are working hard to gather as much information on our family history as possible and have it in a form that others will find interesting and comprehensible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Nancy, I am so sorry to hear that. I recall that she was not doing well a while back, but then we lost touch—it seems right around the time she must have passed away. I will email you tomorrow. I am so sorry. Thank you for letting me know.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Those old partners, Mortality and Time! I love the choice that you made, to picture these people in their prime when they resounded upon the world, not in their old age – although there are some prodigious ages there! Long lives and full ones – nothing to regret.

    Liked by 1 person

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