In Search of Our Stories

We can all be storytellers. We all have stories to tell not only of our own lives but also those of our ancestors.  Sometimes we know their stories through direct experience or because we are repeating what we have been told, other times, it is pure conjecture based on the bits and pieces we learn from our research. I know this isn’t profound or new news, but I was reminded of the importance a few days ago when speaking with a cousin. Although I had never spoken with him before, I did know who he was – he’d been on my tree for years. His grandfather and mine were brothers. For him though, I was new. He found me through an Ancestry DNA match.

Our great-grandparents were Moses Silberman and Perl Buchbinder. I didn’t know much about them growing up.  My grandfather told us that his father was apprenticed to Abraham Buchbinder who was, not surprisingly a bookbinder. He married the boss’s daughter. After Moses died, Perl came to the US.  Obviously that wasn’t the whole story.perl and moses2

Moses and Perl married when she was 16 and he was 32. From a document submitted around 1900 in Suceawa, Romania, it appears that prior to living in Suceawa, Moses had been a bookbinder in Husiatyń, which was in Galicia, Austrian Empire. It is now called Husyatyn, Ukraine. From Perl’s 1928 ship manifest, we learned that she was from Tłuste
Zaleszczyki, Galicia, Austrian Empire. This is now Tovste, Ukraine.

Although we have not yet found any documents which provide us with information about Perl and Moses’ early years, we do know that by 1883, they lived in Suceawa. Perl’s father, Abraham, died there in 1879. Perl had at least two sisters, one of whom, Golde, was living there by 1878, another sister, Sura was in Suceawa by 1883.

Perl and Moses moved to Suceawa with their two oldest children, David and Lea.  By 1907, they were married and had immigrated to the US where they lived for the rest of their lives.  Perl and Moses had at least 12 children. Their 3rd child, Chaya Ettel died in 1884, less than a month after her birth. Their fourth child, Avraham Yosef died later that year, less than a month after his birth. I can’t imagine the sadness and grief that must have engulfed Perl and Moses. I have found no record of their fifth child, Solomon Wolf, beyond his birth in 1885. I hope that means he lived into adulthood, and that no record meas he  moved away and I just have not identified where he was. There was more sadness to come Ruchel born in 1894 died when she was 10 months old Marjasse died at 18 month old in 1897. Of their daughter, Chaya Ettel, born in 1889, I also have found no information.  Something told to me long ago, makes me think that she died in young adulthood, but like many stories, it has not been substantiated. Of course, these family tragedies hardly describe the totality of their lives.

Many of their children lived to adulthood.  In addition to David and Lea, there were Adolph, Julius, Norbert and Harry. Five of these 6 immigrated to the US and married. Of those 5, 4 had children and many of their descendants are scattered throughout the US. Norbert, the son who remained in Europe also married, one of his daughters immigrated to the US. Norbert was murdered in October 1942 in Mauthausen.

There are so many stories, so many tragedies and so many celebrations. I am grateful to my grandfather for sharing some of his stories, and for giving me at least the outline of his family that I could use as a jumping off point to find more. I am sorry that some of my cousin’s grandparents did not share more of their stories.





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