Thursday, October 13, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Relatives With Dusty Photo Albums and Wonderful Memories

My husband's cousin, Tammy, and I have been working on their side's Fond family genealogy.  Mordechai Herscovici married Sarah Schwartz about 1873 in Moinesti, Bacau, Romania.  He was 18, she was 15.  Soon after, they found they were expecting their first child.  Mordechai also learned that he would be required to serve in the Romanian army, and knew they didn't treat Jewish soldiers very well.  A friend told him that he would take care of it for $25.  He obtained papers that said that Mordechai, now Marco Fond, was a foreigner to Romania, and he escaped military service.  He and Sarah had twelve children:  Elka, Chaim, Mindel, Harry (who died young), Tidia (who also died young), Mary, Clara, Sadie, Mollie, Manus, Celia, and Lottie.

Marco and Sarah and their family immigrated a few at a time from 1903 to 1906 from Moinesti, Romania.  Sadie and Clara came first, with Uncle Zeidel Binder Fond and his family.  Then Chaim, their brother, came, followed by their Marco, and sister, Mary.  Sarah started several months later with the younger children:  Mollie (our great grandmother), Manus, Celia, and Lottie, and Chaim's wife, Eva, along with a few friends.  Mindel stayed behind with her husband, Sol Snyder (unsure on the last name - family source) because Sol was very religious and didn't think he'd be able to live a kosher lifestyle in America.  They had one son at the time.

While passing through Germany on the train, Mollie was severely burned when the train jerked and she was splashed or fell into the percolator used to heat up coffee.  The train had to be stopped, Mollie was taken to a hospital, and Sarah was told that the group couldn't wait anymore and she would have to leave her child behind to recuperate alone, or stay with her and find some way to support herself and all of the children in a country that she didn't understand the language, and make her own way to America, eventually.  She had no choice and had to leave Mollie behind, begging that they would send her as soon as she was well enough to travel. 

Sarah arrived in New York with the children on 31 July 1904.  Mollie arrived 14 August 1904, but was detained 10 days because she didn't have enough to finish paying the fare.  She eventually made it to Los Angeles, her mother beside herself the entire time, and was finally reunited with her family.  She had scars on her neck and chest from the burns for the rest of her life.

Mollie worked as a seamstress in Los Angeles, and a young man named Jack Shapiro worked as a supervisor there.  Mollie made beautiful handmade button holes, and Jack admired her work and wanted to get to know this girl better.  They married on 25 January 1914 in Los Angeles. They moved a few years later to Salt Lake City where they went into a partnership with two other brothers-in-law, Sam Bercovitz and Ben Berkouf, in a grocery store.  When brother-in-law, Sam Bercovitz, died of the Spanish flu in 1918, Jack and Ben took his wife, Sadie (Mollie's sister), on as a partner in the grocery store, Sadie moved in with Jack and Mollie, and Mollie cared for her three daughters while she worked.

Tammy and I recently visited with Mollie and Jack's oldest daughter, Marion, along with Judy and Floyd, her daughter and son-in-law.  They had several photo albums, put together by their niece, with notes on the backs of most of the photos saying who was who.  These wonderful and generous people allowed us to carefully lift each photo out, scan it, and replace it.  They had no idea what was in the books, and we found the most amazing treasures. Several times I couldn't see well enough to work, from the tears in my eyes.  In addition to beautiful old pictures, Marion is sharp as a tack at the age of 95 and had many stories to tell.  If we showed her a picture, she could immediately tell us the occasion and who was pictured. 

Marco and Sarah Schwartz Fond, 1890's

Mollie Fond, age 21

Mollie Fond, age 23

Jack Shapiro, 1918

Jack and Mollie on their honeymoon in Tijuana
Mollie's sister, Mindel, and her husband Sol Snyder? Mindel and Sol stayed in Romania, survived World War II, and Sadie and Clara sent them enough money so they could emigrate to Israel.  They lost contact with them.  This picture is a treasure!