Life in the Early Days     
European memories;
American opportunities

 

Outside the Pale

Minnie Uberstine's husband, Louis Henkin,  was born in Russia to parents who lived in the Pale of Settlement, the large area the Russian Empire designated on the eastern border of what had been Poland and the western border of Russia.  There opportunities for Jews were non-existent.  But Louis had an uncle who had served in the Russian Army, and so his uncle was permitted to live outside the Pale, said Louis' daughter, Trina Henkin Herman.

Frozen harbor

"His uncle took my father to live with him in Riga," Trina said.  Riga is Russia's port on the Baltic, the northern edge of Russia, and the harbor is "frozen solid from December to February." The town was founded in 1201, was Polish during that country's heyday in the 1500's, was Swedish for a time following the Reformation, but has been mostly Russian since its takeover in 1710 by Peter the Great.


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Medieval town

"Riga was called Paris on the Baltic," Trina said.  "The old town with its narrow cobbled streets, lined with gabled dwellings...has retained much of its medieval character," said an encyclopedia published in 1967.  And so Louis Henkin had a good education before coming to America. 

'The other Henkins'

Louis did not come through Ellis Island; he came through Baltimore, said Trina, who added that he had two brothers, Mutah (for Morris or Moses) and Avram (for Abraham), who also settled in Ohio.  They were much more observant than Louis, and they referred to his family as the "other" Henkins,  according to Trina.

'Yankee Doodle Dandy in a hurry'

The first work that Louis did in America was as a tailor, and later on, he was able to open a grocery store in Cleveland.   He had married an American girl, which made him a citizen, Trina pointed out, and he adopted American ways.  "He was a Yankee Doodle Dandy in a hurry," said Trina.  The grocery store, she said, "was open on Saturdays."   

 

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Minnie, center, and her two sisters, Emma (left) and
Dorothy (right).  Photo
was taken about 1912
in Canton, Ohio.
Photo courtesy of Lois Lavine.

 

 

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Minnie Uberstine
married Louis Henkin
   December 7, 1915, Canton, Ohio.  
Beside Minnie are her parents:
Harris and Etta Uberstine.

 

 


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Photo courtesy of Hanna Henkin Herman


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Critical mother-in-law

Trina, the oldest of Louis and Minnie's three daughters, recalls Louis' mother coming to visit after his father had died.  "She reminded me of the famous painting of Whistler's mother," said Trina.  "She was a very orthodox lady; my mother kept a kosher house, but not kosher enough for her."

A glass of tea

Louis' mother wouldn't eat anything in their house but a tangerine, which is allowed anywhere because it has a protective peel.  And she would have "a glass of tea to do my mother a favor," Trina said, telling the story as if it were yesterday.  She would drink her tea "with a lump of sugar between her teeth," Trina said (which was the custom, and also the way her grandfather Harris' sister, Toby, did it).   

 

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Larry Herman's Bar Mitzvah weekend, 1967

Hannah's daughter, Lynn Herman Atkins, found this old photo, recognized its value,   scanned it, and then sent it to me attached  to an E-mail.

"This very old Polaroid shows many of my great aunts and Uncle Lou, along with Hannah and Elaine," Lynn wrote in the message.   Michelle Herman Yeager, front row at right, was about 11 years old.

The  occasion was a gathering during the weekend Bar Mitzvah celebration for Lynn's brother, Larry.

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Photo courtesy of Lynn Herman Atkins

Asked to provide more details, Lynn kindly sent the following:

The woman in the wheelchair is my maternal grandmother, Minnie Uberstine Henkin; next to her is my mother, Hannah Henkin Herman, and the young girl is Michelle Herman Yeager.

In the next row, from the left:  Alice Uberstine Sorkin, unsure who is next to my grandmother in the wheelchair*; next is Florence Uberstine Jacobs; behind my mom is my great aunt Rose Uberstine Daniels; next to her is Elaine Henkin Herman (Michelle and Leslie's mom); and behind Elaine is Florence Uberstine Jacobs . 

On the right is her husband Herman Jacobs. Their son in the back row is Robert Jacobs, and the eldest brother near the open door is my great Uncle Louis Uberstine.

*That would be Ray Farberman Hoffman, a first cousin of all Harris' children, who is standing between Alice and Florence, according to Ray's daughter, Doris Hoffman Slater.  As the daughter of the oldest Farberman offspring,  Doris is a fount of anecdotes about her parents and grandparents' travels and visitors.  Click The Uberstines: A Prequel to read about her grandmother Ida's visit to her brother, Harris, in the 1930's.

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Hannah Henkin Herman made available many of the precious old photos above, which couldn't be of greater interest to those eager to learn about our family history. 

Her niece, Michelle Herman Yeager, who does commercial  photography (and appears in the Polaroid above at the age of 11), took the superb photo of the portrait of Trina Rogovin Meltzer. 

Lynn Herman Atkins
, her daughter, provided the photo below of the 2000 annual Thanksgiving the family traditionally celebrate in Orlando, Florida, where Hannah and Nathan now make their home.

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SAFETY NOTICE:  Our on-line tree displays are either password protected or cleansed of dates for the living.  The tree chart excerpted below, which covers only the Uberstine-Henkins and their descendants.

At the time of this update,
the tree below, on-line on our web page, requires the
username: CousinsPlus and the password: bread.  

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Copyrightę 1998-2006 Susan M. Rogers.  All rights reserved.