Friday, August 12, 2005
I found a picture of my grandmother online (my Nana, Molly Bransky, who died when I was 6 and she was 90; she was the only grandparent I ever knew.) How amazing to see her as a young woman, staring at me from my monitor. I found her in the archives of the Jewish Museum of Maryland; my father's family landed in Baltimore after fleeing from Russia. I had lunch with my parents on Tuesday; my father told me that his grandfather had owned a department store in Baltimore, and had killed himself when he lost his fortune during the Depression. I hadn't heard this story before, so I went online to see if I could find out more. I couldn't find anything about my great-grandfather, but I found this image of my grandmother at a Zionist conference when she was 22 years old. I know she's on the blanket, but the photo key only lists three names out of the four people sitting there, so I don't know for sure whether she's the Princess Leia-looking woman on the far right or the saucy-looking woman sitting next to her (my dad thinks she's the latter, but it's hard to tell in a fuzzy photo.) Either way, here she is, in cyberland. Amazing. My dad was surprised to discover his mother was involved in the Zionist movement at such a young age; many years later, she became acting president of the Women's League of America, after founding a synagogue in Chicago with my grandfather. I feel as if I'm just beginning to scratch the surface of their stories. The Jewish Museum of Maryland offers genealogical research services--I may enlist them to see what else they can uncover about my family's roots.