What's Your Nationality/Background? Share With Us Your Beautiful Story!
What Is Your Nationality? Your background? Share With Us Your Beautiful Story!
I'm half Jewish. Which half - top or bottom - I don't know. I'm also 1/4 English and 1/4 Hollander from my mother's side. On my father's side, we were Jews in Russia, from the Minsk area which I believe was south of Moscow.
Like so many, we came across on the boat during the Bolshevik Revolution. And like so many, our name got changed on the boat. In those days, no one argued. They just wanted to get out of the country. Our last name was/is Fishkind. Some in the family said our original name was Brody. Others say it was Mishnoff, which might have been Russian for Fishkind. A cousin of mine researched it carefully and changed her last name to Brody. We were among the now proverbial Ellis Island records where so many immigrants in New York were recorded. My immediate family moved out to California in 1969. My father was a professional jazz musician, a bass player who worked with many notable artists like Jack Teagarden, Bunny Berrigan, Les Brown, Benny Goodman, Lennie Tristano, Ella Fitzgerald among others. He went down in history as a legendary jazz musician.
Wow, Jozzie!!! You came all by yourself at the age of 12! I'm amazed!
As I posted before, I'm Hungarian by nationality. But what I didn't share is that I wasn't born in Hungary but in a part of Old Hungary which was given to Yugoslavia after the WWI. So in case of my grandparents, parents and finally me (and in case of millions of other unfortunate ones) we grew up bilingual, under a political pressure to give up our language, culture and heritage, and been encouraged to assimilate. Which luckily didn't happen.
I moved to Hungary when I was 18, spent there 11 years before coming to Canada. I got here speaking no English at all, and still working on it hard.
Well, that's my full story unveiled...
I'm mostly Romanian (from Transylvania - no, there's no Dracula roaming the streets) with less than 1/4 Jewish and some Hungarian heritage in the tree too. Spent 1 year in Belgium...didn't pick up any Flemish (a Dutch dialect) as they all speak fluent English and 4 years in the States. In 3 weeks we are immigrating to Canada. Home is such an overestimated notion...that's what I'm telling myself when living 'in-between' is not much fun any longer.
__________________ God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.
not sure about my dad's side... i think probably some irish and english but just don't know much about where they originally came from . i think they have been in the usa for quite some time.
my mother's side: strong english connections. my grandmother's father came through ellis island from manchester, england as did a lot of his family. my grandmothers aunts and cousins, etc, all eventually came over. i am trying to research my family tree in england in fact. i'd love to know how far back i could go as i absolutely love european history! i want to know if any of my family was in the court of henry the viii LOL
We always called our family the International House of Pancakes. Russian Jewish, Afghanistani, German, Irish, Cherokee, Polish, Romanian, Latvian, Portuguese, Italian, African-American - I am sure I have missed some.
The Jewish side were into shipping so they moved alot around the Old World from the great rivers of Russia to Latvia, Romania, Czhechloslovakia, Poland and persevered with that profession until the Great Depression when my grandfather lost his shipping companies, his national contracts with nations such as Poland, as well as his banana plantations in Venezuela. My father went from being a rich Jewish (non-practicing but still identified as such - remember, no country club admission) American boy living on Park Ave NYC - supposedly 2 houses from the Roosevelts - to sharing a twin bed with his dad in a rented room. They each slept next to the others feet. The Great Depression formed his thinking. It was such a shock. Although he experienced great wealth as a small child that was not what influenced him. My Jewish descent grandmother experienced great prejudice in this country, from the small town in Maine where she grew up after passing through Ellis Island, to even being too dark to shop in major NYC department stores - pushed behind the color line. Her family was from Russia but first Afghanistan. We all thought my father was crazy when he figured it out but then we saw footage of people from there - and they looked like my grandmother, father, and siblings - and they were not Jews! I think that there was a mix in a long-ago time - possibly rape from war - possibly friendly mix - and I think they went to Russia to escape the stigma of it and start anew. There for some reason, maybe stronger community, they stuck with the Jewish community rather than the other side. My great-grandfather was close to the Czar and family, guarding them I believe. Also their name meant that they carved the Russian churches so I do not know how Jewish that would be. Indeed they carried the profession of wood working until my generation. They were never known to practice but they were called Jews. So anyway, when I was a little girl and Princess Anastasia appeared, all grown up, my family had to go and meet her. Apparently she had just been found out as a fraud moments before we arrived at the palacial "farmhouse" in upstate NY. My father told us that yes we could go see her and we little girls found her crying in the pantry. It was a very awkward moment.
My father always wanted to find family. He even went to Russia to do so and was immediately removed from his tour group and put in a prison hotel. Then the shock of it gave him pneumonia so he spent his family seeking vacation in a Russian hospital where locals who could speak English would sneak to his bedside and ask him that if and when he returned to the United States would he please make it known that the Russian people do not want the Americans to bomb them. My grandmother had refused to go with him, calling him a fool for trying. (Interestingly we did have some young relatives immigrate to this country just at the time he went there - they have done very well here but we only found them a couple of years ago.) I also have found people with our name listed on a website as heroes of the Great War (WWII) and living in old age in St Petersburg but the website disappeared before I got up the guts to contact them. We know that we are all related somehow as our name is very rare but we have not figured it out. The relative that I found and spoke to on the phone - he has the same distinctive voice that my father had as a young man. They think very different. He sure did burst out into hearty laughter however, when I shared the Anastasia anecdote with him. Anyway, that side is surely Jewish because the Latvian branch were all killed during the Holocaust that people wish to deny now.
My mother's insular Christian family did have relationship with us but very strained. Plus they lived far from us so we did not see them often. In my family the people did not accept marrying someone of another faith - especially not Jew. And the Jewish side did not accept the others either. They had been rejected too many times by U.S. mainstream society so they determined to do the rejecting first. Ditto for my husband's Mexican and Scottish adopted family. We feel bad for it as we are two sick old people with a young son who has absolutely no family except two old sick parents - so we let him with his friends always - they are his family. It is not as we had intended for him.