In a previous post, Family Friday: Jose Shabetai Glicker, I discussed my great-uncle “Jose” Shabetai Glicker who lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is a photo of Shabetai’s daughter, Aida Glicker Narovisky (also spelled Narosky, Naroviscky, and Narovischky).
I have written previously about Shabetai, the brother of my grandfather Sam Glicker, and about the last letter received from him about 1950. In the letter, Shabetai mentioned his daughter and the heartache he suffered because his daughter’s husband was a revolutionary.
I thought little more about Shabetai’s family until I started compiling a family tree a few years ago. My grandfather had died in 1969, having outlived his other siblings, but now I wondered what had become of Shabetai’s daughter after the 1950 letter? In 2012, I managed to contact Paulo Valadares, a historian in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Valaderes sent me information about Shabetai that I mentioned in my previous post, and the following message about Shabetai’s daughter:
His daughter was AIDA GLIKER (1911) married to CHAIM RUBIM NAROSKY (1904), “Polish nationality“. The couple were expelled from Brazil [for] “communist activities” on 12/01/1937. I [have] not found Gliker and Narosky currently living in Brazil.
After leaving his home in Yedinitz, Bessarabia, my grandfather Sam Glicker’s older brother Shabetai started his trans-Atlantic voyage in Rotterdam, Holland on July 26, 1913, on the steamship Rotterdam. Two days after sailing from port, the journey was interrupted by an event Shabetai was sure to remember. A crew member, Jan Dunke, jumped overboard. Luckily it was a clear day and the waters were calm. A life buoy and life boat were launched and for two hours Captain Stenger doggedly steered the ship in a circular route searching for Dunke.
When the life boat was first launched with the chief officer on board, Shabetai may have been one of the 2,192 steerage passengers who made their own leap–to the conclusion that the worst had happened and the ship was sinking. The panic had passengers screaming and crying until they could be reassured by the crew. If Shabetai was on deck at the time, he may have been one of the passengers searching for a glimpse of the man in the sea. Remarkably, a small dot was spotted and Dunke was sighted swimming toward the ship. He was plucked out of the sea, and returned on board. Two hours after Dunke jumped into the sea, he was in the ship’s hospital, the S.S. Rotterdam was back on course, and Shabetai was headed for America.
Here’s the ship manifest that recorded Shabetai’s departure from Rotterdam on July 26, 1913 and his arrival in New York City on Monday, August 4:
I never guessed anyone would consider a post titled “Tombstone Tuesday” morbid and yet I’ve heard that comment. Sharing headstone photos of relatives is a natural extension of research and writing about family history. A headstone can be a treasure trove of clues for a genealogist: a birthdate and date of death, whether a spouse, parent, grandparent or great-grandparent.
In the case of Jewish genealogy, a matzevah [Hebrew word: headstone] can be even more valuable. It often shows the Hebrew and/or Yiddish name of the relative as well as their father’s Hebrew or Yiddish name. This information can lead to or confirm other family relationships. In the case of my aunt Clara Firester, her headstone shows her Hebrew name was “Chaya”, in memory of her great-grandmother Chaya Tuba Itzkowitz. This confirmed the name that was listed on the death certificate of Clara’s grandfather (and my great-grandfather) Charles “Chaskel” Itzkowitz for his mother.
I’m very fortunate to have the skills to read the Hebrew and Yiddish names inscribed on headstones. Not everyone does. Almost daily I see a posting on the group page of “Tracing the Tribe – Jewish Genealogy on Facebook” asking for a translation of the Hebrew or Yiddish name on a matzevah. My skills are minimal, though, since I only acquired my knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet as a young adult. With a desire to read Hebrew, I started by checking out a “Berlitz Learn Hebrew” book from the library and studying it during feedings for my younger son. Little did I know at the time that one day this knowledge would help with my chosen hobby.
My knowledge of Hebrew tells me more about Clara. Clara’s name, Chaya, is the feminine derivative of the Hebrew word for “Life”. It is a sad irony that Chaya was the name for Aunt Clara since she died so early in childhood at the age of 3.
Posting headstone photos is valuable for one other reason. Not everyone can visit a cemetery. Those descended from Kohanim (Hebrew word: men who are descended from the Biblical tribe of Aaron), are often unable to visit a cemetery for religious reasons. They might have no opportunity to view a matzevah in person. Even, their parent’s matzevah!
With families scattered far and wide, if may be years or never that a cemetery visit is possible. A digitized photo may be the only opportunity to view a headstone for some.
So I’ll continue posting headstone photos. I might consider a new title, though. Instead of “Tombstone Tuesday”, perhaps “Tuesday Treasure”?
Barney crosses the James River
As told in Shirt-tail Sunday: Barney Rosenblatt, Part 4 – Barney fights the rebels at Harris Farm, Barney emerged unscathed from the Confederate attack at Harris Farm. He continued to march southward with Company D, 25 miles daily–often through the night–crossing the North Anna River on May 25 and the Pamunkey River at Nelson’s Crossing on May 28. When not marching, wherever they stopped his company built breastworks from mud and branches for protection. James Lockwood recalled:
The army did not pitch tents and make a regular camp for months at a time during this campaign; but simply halted when exhausted, built fires and made coffee or cooked — those did who were fortunate enough to have anything — as the times for eating and sleeping came at doubtful periods in those days, and each man was expected to lie down in place and sleep upon his arms, ready for battle at a moment’s notice.”
After days of marching, some days slogging over rain-soaked ground, Artillery Commander John Tidball decided to make a change. He was unhappy with the performance of his Fifteenth New York Artillery which was assigned a Coehorn mortar battery but spoke no English, only German. On May 30, he placed Company D in charge of their mortar battery instead. Barney and his fellow soldiers in Company D were being rewarded for their bravery during the Battle at Harris Farm by being entrusted with a battery of Coehorn mortars. Continue reading
Barney fights the rebels at Harris Farm
As told in Shirt-tail Sunday: Barney Rosenblatt, Part 3 – Barney crosses the Rapidan, Barney remained with Company D in the rear of the troops, guarding the supply and ordnance wagons and General Grant’s headquarters at the Lacy home. Most of the rest of the Army of the Potomac advanced into battle against Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Union soldiers fell into line and marched into a forest that was densely covered with pine trees. Artillery was set up behind shoulder-high breastworks built from logs and mud. When the fighting commenced, Company D’s soldiers could hear the roar of the battle and see the smoke rising from the woods. Barney’s fellow soldier James D. Lockwood (in Company D) recalled:
The firing, if possible, is double what it was before. Pandemonium is turned loose; the earth seems to rock; the sun becomes obscured by the stifling, sulphurous smoke, which fills the atmosphere. Stray bullets strike trees and whistle and scream about, making doleful music for the reserves, and increasing their desire to get near enough to return compliments, and yet they are not called but stand grimly and firmly to arms.”