Category Archives: 1900 – 1950

Vincenzo Cortese

The apricot trees in Santa Clara Valley have been planted and watered to flourish into a fruitful county. The nutrients of the soil in which these trees were rooted remain plentiful in the legacy of Vincenzo Cortese. In the year 1911,  thirteen-year-old Vincenzo Cortese followed his father and older brother to Chicago alongside his mother and sister. The journey from ... Read More »

Isobel MacGillivray and Arthur Cobb

My mother, Isobel, was born in 1891 in Inverness, Scotland and immigrated to Utica, NY in 1920. My father, Arthur Cobb, was born in Brechin, Scotland, in 1890, and in 1920 he came to Utica, NY. His mother had already immigrated to Clinton, New York, where she worked as a housekeeper. Isobel and Arthur met through the Scottish club in ... Read More »

Ivan (John) and Sarahfina’s 10 year odyssey

My Grandma and Grandpa decided to leave Simbirsk, Russia and begin a new life in the United States. They started their emigration from Simbursk in Oct. 1900 traveling through Siberia to China. Eventually they left Harbin Manchuria China, with John (Ivan), their only surviving child, and made their way to Kobe, Japan. In March of 1910 – 10 years since ... Read More »

Carl Carlson

My grandfather was born in Sweden and came to America with his wife near the turn of the 20th century. He was known on the East side of St. Paul, Minnesota as “Coffee Carlson” because he delivered coffee to various places throughout that part of town. He married Beda Wilhelmina Rudeen, but there is very little written about them. They ... Read More »

Jennie Mehtala Shank Newman and Her Sisters

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s life could be difficult in Northern Finland. I was told that my grandfather Mehtala made tar, and charcoal from the wood the tar was extracted from. That was a thriving business in Finland; wooden ships built in England needed tar to caulk seams. Finland sent what was needed via a vast network of ... Read More »

George H. Northcott

George H. Northcott was my grandfather. He came to Detroit, Michigan in 1919 from London, Ontario, Canada. He was a mechanical engineer and led a group of engineers who designed and built the London Port Stanley Railroad. He also worked on the great fleet of the ore boats that plied the Great Lakes. (My father was born in Duluth, Minnesota.) ... Read More »

Doris Stoddart McDonald

Doris Stoddart McDonald was born in 1907 in the small town of Colchester, Ontario, just outside of London. Her maternal grandparents were from Devon and her father was the first in his family to emigrate from England to Canada. She always – from the time she was a little girl – wanted to be a nurse. After high school she ... Read More »

Alfred Kuhn

Scroll down for the video story told by Alfred in front of an audience. The women and children were released. When they got home they witnessed a fire in the street in front of their home where locals had piled all the contents from the nearby synagogue and set them aflame. Alfred Kuhn was only four years old when his ... Read More »

Sophie and Eli Katz

The Austro-Hungarian Empire seems like a historic place in a very distant past, but for Irene Abrams, its presence is ingrained in her vivid memory of her beloved grandparents and their journey to America. “My grandfather was a rope maker. He was very tall and strong. My “Zaida” was six feet tall. My “Bubba” was tiny, she was five feet ... Read More »

Herb Neuwalder

After being imprisoned by Nazis in Austria, Herb Neuwalders family was split apart throughout the war. Neuwalder, a Jewish dentist, moved to Italy.  His wife (not Jewish) stayed in Vienna. His son and daughter through Kinder Transport, went to separate foster families in England. Herb  was eventually imprisoned again in an Italian Concentration Camp. The family was reunited in Italy ... Read More »

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