My great-great-great Uncle, Solomon Hoffman

by Randy Wasserstrom, Cary, North Carolina In 2004, I went on a genealogical trip to Latvia. In Talsi, I discovered the gravestones of my maternal great great great uncle Solomon (Zalman) Hoffman (1829-1906) and his wife, Chasse (1832-1908). It was a very serendipitous discovery as I had actually been visiting nearby Sassmacken and only stayedContinue reading “My great-great-great Uncle, Solomon Hoffman”

Leaving Courland

Among my collection of interviews is this story, told by Paula Thal Aminoff in 1974, of her brother Jacob, from Talsen, and his efforts to leave Courland (now Latvia) before being drafted into the Russian Army. Ted: You know about Abraham Blumberg.. well, I’ll tell you. His father, Abraham’s father [Jacob Blumberg] was fairly well‑to‑do,Continue reading “Leaving Courland”

The Jordans of Talsen and Scotland

As a child in the 1930-40’s, I would often stay with my maternal grandparents, pictured above. My grandmother, Fanny, was a very tall, thin woman who looked more Scottish than Jewish. Unlike other relatives she did not speak Yiddish but German, and English without a trace of a foreign accent.  Being aware that most of myContinue reading “The Jordans of Talsen and Scotland”

Callout to Researchers

A few weeks ago, I was officially appointed the town leader for both Talsi and Valdemarpils for JewishGen’s Latvia and Estonia Research Division. “What does that mean?” I asked. The goal of town leaders is to maintain contact with area researchers, locate and index records and make them available, and generally serve as a contactContinue reading “Callout to Researchers”

Talsi and Valdemarpils, 1989

I originally wrote this for an old family newsletter, The Thal Gazette. Now over thirty years ago, our brief visit to Talsi and Valdemarpils feels like a completely different time. Because of the recent “openness” of the Soviet Union, our family was able to visit our “hometowns” in Latvia this summer. The four of usContinue reading “Talsi and Valdemarpils, 1989”