Sunday, March 28, 2010

More treasures from my family album

In my previous post, I reprinted two poems that were favorites of my mother. In another recent post entitled “When did March 20th become the first day of spring?” I told you about my grandfather, Nathan Silberman (1875-1970) and showed you a photo of him with my mother and grandmother in the late 1920s or early 1930s, as well as one of him at the age of 71 in 1946.

Today I want to show you a few more treasures from my family album.

These are the women in Nathan Silberman’s life. On the left is his youngest daughter, my mother, Ruth Elizabeth Silberman (1910-1957). In the center is his wife, my grandmother, Rosetta Aarons Silberman (1878-1937). On the right is his firstborn child, my mother’s older sister, my aunt Marion Silberman (1899-1987). The photo may have been taken at West Chester State College where my mother received her teaching certificate in 1930, or it may have been taken in front of the family home on Wyncote Road in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. If it was taken around 1930, my mother would have been about 20, my aunt about 31, and my grandmother about 52.

Here is my mother with her older brother, my uncle Jack (1907-1987), who was better known in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, as Dr. J. DeWolf Silberman, M.D. He graduated from Hahneman University’s Medical School in Philadelphia and practiced in the small town of Annville in Lebanon County for many years. In this photo he may have recently moved to Annville. He married the nurse from Pittsburgh who worked with him, my Aunt Ruth Michaels Silberman (1908-1976). They had one son, my cousin, Jack, Jr. (1934- ).

Here are my mother and her sister in the early or mid-1930s, probably after my Aunt Marion had moved to New York City and married my Uncle Ferdy. They had one son, my cousin Philip, who became Dr. Philip F. Caracena (1935- ).

I do not have a photo of my mother’s other brother, my Uncle Sol Silberman (1903-1989). He lived in Jenkintown his entire life. He and my Aunt Naomi Salus Silberman (1907-1984) had two daughters, my cousins Joan Lynore Silberman Rush (1932?- ) and Eileen Mae Silberman Stone (1935- ).

Nathan and Rosetta (the 1910 census calls her Rosalie) were married in 1898. Marion came along in 1899, Sol in 1903, Jack in 1907, and my mother in 1910. There was also a daughter, Rachel, who did not survive infancy.

Nathan’s parents were Max Silberman (1846-1914) and Sarah Nusbaum Silberman (1849-1925). Rosetta’s parents were Solomon Aarons (1847-1902) and Rachel DeWolf Aarons (1848-1932).

My great-grandfather Max Silberman opened Silberman’s Department Store in Jenkintown around 1880. I have a photograph of him sitting in front of his store, next to a sign that reads, “Gloves, Suspenders, Knit Jackets, Trimmings, Ladies & Gents Underwear At Wholesale Prices.” Sitting on the curb in front of the store are four young boys, one of whom (I think) is my grandfather. When he became an adult, my grandfather played the clarinet in the Pennsylvania National Guard Band during the Spanish-American War and helped found Jenkintown’s volunteer fire department. He had a real estate and insurance office in Jenkintown for many years that my Uncle Sol ran after my grandfather retired. The office was on West Avenue between the Post Office and the bank at the corner of Old York Road; a sign in the window read, “N. Silberman and Son.”

After having had family members live in the same small town in Pennsylvania for well over one hundred years, not a single member of my family lives there now. We cousins have scattered to the four winds.

[A note of clarification, 3/30/2010, or, if you are British, 30/3/2010: In no way did I mean to imply that by playing the clarinet in the Pennsylvania National Guard Band during the Spanish-American War, my grandfather helped found Jenkintown’s volunteer fire department. No, indeedy. They were two separate and totally unrelated events, and this note would not have been necessary if I had put the word also before the word helped in the sentence in question. Thus do we live and learn. Yours for accuracy and clarity in blogging, I remain, RWP]


  1. I love those old photos! Thanks for sharing them and a part of your family history. There may be one or two old photos from my parents' early lives buried around here somewhere, but the bulk of the family photos were bequested to my baby sister (in my mother's will). Unfortunately, this is the sister who has had a series of strokes and is unable to speak. Her husband has no idea what she did with the photos and, so far, has shown zero interest in any sort of search for them. :::sigh:::

  2. This is a very good post; very interesting and informative. You should expand and do a book. You wrote this very well.

    My extended family also totally scattered or deceased

  3. Lovely post, delicious images.
    Interesting how, after 11 generations of being born, marrying and dying all within about 3 miles of the same place, my own family (one branch of) suddenly also spread out... The industrial revolution, and world wars the main changes.

  4. It is so nice to look at old photos.
    It is amazing how all the women look the same I have some as well of my family and they wore the same type of coats,dresses and shoes.Gloves.
    The hair was always in place as opposed to todays disheveled look.
    Like with you today, every one on my side has flown away to different parts of the world.There is no more closeness to be shared on a daily basis as it was in the past. Life is change.:)

  5. Simply fascinating. The photos - black and white and sepia speak of very different times. I love that huge fur collar on your mother's coat.

  6. do you remember my old slides{photos} ???????ah, memories

  7. Thanks for visiting and for commenting, everyone. I love looking at old photos, and so, it seems, do you.

  8. That was my Aunt Marion you mentioned who married Uncle Freddy. Philip Caracena was Uncle Freddy's child from his first marriage. Aunt Marion died in San Diego, Cal and Uncle Freddy went to Colo where Philip lived at one time. I'd love to be in touch with Philip again. I met him in Madison, NJ when I was in 8th grade. I'd like to know more about what happened to Aunt Marion. My research found that much. Winnie Hesson McCormick

  9. Ms. McCormick: As I do not know who you are, I am a bit hesitant to give you information about my cousin, Dr. Philip F. Caracena. But I will attempt to contact him (he is no longer in Colorado) and give him your name and email address so that he can contact you directly, if he wishes to do so.

    A point of clarification: his mother, my Aunt Marion (with an "o") Silberman Caracena died in Abington, Pennsylvania, in 1987. After her divorce from my Uncle Ferdy (he wasn't known as Freddy in our family) in 1946, he married again to another Marian (who spelled her name with an "a", not an "o"; this would be your aunt who died in San Diego, I think). So we are not really related to one another. You are my first cousin's step-cousin, I believe. And the photo in my post is the first Marion (with an "o"), my aunt, not the second one (Marian with an "a"). I do remember seeing a photograph of your Aunt Marian many years ago when I was visiting in Pennsylvania. I'm sorry I do not have a photo of your Aunt Marian to show to you.

    Nice to make your acquaintance. We may not be "blood relatives" but there is a family connection nonetheless.

  10. I really don't know how to do this blog thing, but here I am, stumbling straight into it. It's your "old" cousin, Phil Caracena, come to haunt you in my spare time. I also don't know how to get in email touch with you but that sure would be more efficient than this public forum. BTW, I probably have a few photos of our family that you might not have. Do you realize how much you have come to look like Uncle Jack?

  11. Phil C, what a surprise to receive a new comment on a post of mine that is more than four years old and to find it's from you, my cousin! I'm glad to be in touch with you once again. My email address is:

  12. I am one of your cousin Jack's daughters, Anne Silberman. Jack died in 1995 in his home in New Port Richey, FL. You do look a lot like my grandpa! Thank you for the photos and the update on family history. Grandpa was very tight-lipped about his family, leading me to believe there was a rift. I did not even know he had a sister, other than Marion, and a brother named Sol. I have a twin sister, Lisa Craze, who lives in Seattle, and a younger sister, Linda Silberman, who is currently residing in Harrisburg, PA, with our mother. I am near Taos, NM.

  13. Anne, how nice to meet you! Your sister Lisa commented on another of my posts about a year ago. Blogging is slowly bringing me in touch with a few of my long-lost relatives. If you will send your email address to me at rbrague at windstream dot net, I will send you some photographs of some of your second cousins -- Philips's children (Chris, Kurt, and Elise) and mine (Cary, Mark, and Angela). There is a definite "Silberman look" among some of them unless it is my overactive imagination.

    I remember when Jackie married Sylvia but I never met her. Did you know your grandmother Ruth or only Harriet?

    It has been great hearing from you.