Chapter 8 – The Golden Land

Amidst the poverty and the persecution that defined Jewish life in the Russian Pale of Settlement, there was one potential way out of the misery – immigration to America, di goldeneh medina, the Golden Land. Between 1881 and 1920, approximately three million Ashkenazi...

Chapter 9 – An Epic Era

Unbeknownst to Nathan Polonsky and his family when they arrived in Brooklyn in 1914, they were on the cusp of one of the most epic periods of history that America, and arguably the world, has ever known. Over the next three decades, the country would experience two...

Chapter 10 – Lest We Forget

We are extremely fortunate that our Polonsky ancestors immigrated to America between 1905 and 1914, prior to World War I. Immigration to America was dramatically curtailed after 1914, and very few Russian Jews were permitted entry to the United States after that...

Chapter 11 – The Family Patriarch

The patriarch of the Polonsky family in America is Nathan Polonsky (c. 1863–1929). Nathan’s birth name in Russia was Menakhem Nahum Polonsky. Nathan was most likely born in the town of Shpola, in the Zvenigorodka uezd (district) of the Kiev guberniya(province) of the...

Chapter 12 – We the People

As discussed in the preceding chapter, the patriarch of our branch of the Polonsky family in America was Nathan Polonsky, born around the time of the American Civil War, in Shpola, Russia. He and his wife Bessie Polonsky represent the first generation of the Polonsky...

Chapter 22 – Family Connections

In the spring of 2008, when I began assembling a basic family tree in preparation for my son Joshua’s Bar Mitzvah, I did not know any of my cousins outside of my own (Paull) branch of the Polonsky family. Never before had I met any member of the Adler, Chaber,...

Chapter 23 – Broken Bridges

Given how close the Polonsky family was for three generations in America, it is difficult to fathom how an entire generation has grown up having virtually no interaction with their second cousins. This chapter explores the dynamics of our family, to better understand...

Chapter 24 – Family Remembrances

Vital records and family trees are important tools in understanding the relationships between the members of a family. They can tell us how we are connected to one another, and from whom we descend. However, they tell us very little about who we are as human beings....