About life in the last third / Avram's Past / Genealogy

The internet is a miracle maker

A few days ago I got an email from what turns out to be my third cousin. I will call him TC.  The email said that his great grandfather was Aron-Moysha Borodinsky.  He found me on  the major Jewish genealogy site, JewishGen.  My heart almost stopped when I began to read the email.  My great grandmother Bessie (Basya )Borodinsky born in 1878 in the Ukrainian village of Priluki had a brother named Aron-Moysha Borodinsky. Basya had two sisters that had  left for San Francisco and she joined them there in 1897.  About five years ago, I became interested in my family history.  I knew  Bessie  well.  She lived to be almost a hundred years old.  I even have a photo of my son with her, my grandmother, my mother and me.  I spent a lot of time with Bessie while growing up. She told me stories of Priluki of told me about her older brother Aron.  Unfortunately by the time I became interested in my family history, not only was she dead but also my grandmother and my mother.  It took a lot of effort to find out even what Bessie maiden name was. I did know the name of the village. To make a very long story short,  I was able to put together the story of the Borodinsky family starting in 1760 and going on to about 2004. I even sent someone to Priluki to photo copy the Jewish archives which were just piled up in the back of an abandon church (soon after we got copies of the relevant pages, the documents were taken away by the authorities to add to the central achieves, something that might take twenty years).  That is how I learned that Aron-Moysha married and had four children.  And there were many other members of the extended Borodinsky family living in Priluki at the beginning of the 20th century.  I never knew what happened to them but assume that whoever was left died either in a pogrom or, the Holocaust or WWII.   I wrote back to TC and told him I was his third cousin and told him a bit about what happened to the sisters of his great grandfather and what extensive family he had in the San Francisco bay area .  TC lives by the way in Israel.  He told me what happened to the family (yes most died at the hands of the germans, or fighting in the war) but one of the daughters of Aron survived (she would have been the 1st cousin of my grandmother).  She knew about the family in San Francisco from her father, Aron but there was no way to contact them, she died about ten years ago in Israel.  TC was actually born in Priluki and I was amazed to learn there were still Jews there.  Not only that but the Jewish grave yard is intact and I am sure I can find the graves of Bessie’s parents.  TC has offered to go with me to Priluki.  And it also turns out that recently his mother (the second cousin of my mother) moved to the San Francisco area.  I just spoke to her via a friend that speak Russian and hope to see her soon.  She is all alone here and is so happy to learn that she has a big family in the bay area.  TC has photos of the family from before 1900.  He and I can put together the pieces of our family and reunite them after 110 years.  How amazing!

One thought on “The internet is a miracle maker

  1. Very interesting. I did the same thing with my paternal ancestors, although I started doing the research back in the late 1970s before the Internet or even personal computers. So it was a lot harder back then. But I found many of my Slovenian relatives and visited them in 1981. Since the advent of the Internet and email becoming more affordable to them, I now have contact with them whenever I want. It’s great emailing/sharing pictures, and the younger relatives can speak enough English to communicate with me. Thank goodness for the Internet and email! My Dad died at age 54 (in 1980) without ever knowing his many Slovenian first cousins. It was great going there and seeing people that looked like him – especially after he died. I’m sure you feel the same way.


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