In 1930, Rose Lily Blieden Handler travelled from her home in Harrisburg, PA, with her daughter and granddaughter to visit her 80 year old mother, Hannah Blieden, in Brooklyn, NY.  At that time, Hannah was living with her youngest daughter, Reve Blieden Bricker and Reve’s family, at 919 E. 10th Street in Brooklyn.

While there, the four generations of women posed for some pictures.

4 Generations of Blieden Women

Hannah must have sent a copy of the picture to her son, Herman, and his family in South Africa.  Herman had a daughter named Millie who had 3 sons. As adults, her sons settled in Canada and Australia.

Fast forward to 2020, one of Millie’s grandsons in Australia found a copy of the photo.  His parents must have kept Millie’s old photos.  Anyway, Millie’s grandson sent it to his cousin, also in Australia, who sent it to her father, David Simmons, for identification.  None of them knew who the people in the photo were.  David, one of Millie’s sons, emailed the photo to me and my brother in the US, and to his brother, Ivor Simmons, in Canada.  The only thing David and his brothers knew for sure, was that it was their mother’s handwriting on the photo.

On the front of the photo, in Millie’s handwriting, it said “4 Generations, Grandma Blieden”.  Based on the age of the photo, I wondered if “Grandma” Blieden could be Hannah, my great-grandmother.  I knew she wasn’t with her youngest daughter, Reve, since I knew my Aunt Reve and it did not look like her.  I wondered if Hannah could be with her oldest daughter, Rose Lily.  This made sense to me since I knew that Rose Lily had a daughter and granddaughter.  What an exciting thought! I had never seen a good photo of my great-grandmother, Hannah, so I really hoped this was her.

How could I prove my theory?

I forwarded the photo to Jim Greve, husband of Gail Garfinkle (1954 – 2007), who had met and knew many of the Handlers over the years. Being an excellent researcher, he searched on the website for “Garfinkle in Harrisburg, PA” and up popped a newspaper article with a similar photo.  He then emailed that to me. (I know Jim from since he also has a family tree online with my Blieden ancestors on it.)

Newspaper article from Harrisburg Telegraph March 27, 1930
Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) · 27 Mar 1930, Thu · Page 6

The newspaper article from the Harrisburg Telegraph in 1930 answered all of our questions. The four generations were Hannah Blieden, her daughter, Rose Lily Handler, Rose’s daughter, Rebecca Handler Garfinkle (Mrs. B. Milton Garfinkle) and Rebecca’s daughter, Tina.

When I started doing family research the late 1970’s, I wrote to Rebecca Garfinkle who graciously answered me and sent me a Blieden family tree and a picture of her mother’s Blieden childhood home inthe Riga, Latvia area.  It is such a small world.

So, over a period of 90 years, the picture of 4 generations of Blieden women travelled from Brooklyn, NY, to South Africa, to Australia, and then back to the United States! What a treasure to have a clear photo that shows what my great-grandmother looked like.

My brother, Ira, who also received the photo from David, used Google Maps to see the neighborhoods where our Harrisburg, PA, family had lived.

Rose Lily Blieden Handler probably lived in this building which was built in 1900.

1006 North 2nd St Harrisburg, PA

Her daughter, Rebecca Handler Garfinkle, lived in this building which was built in 1903.

 1221 N. 2nd Street Harrisburg, PA

1221 N. 2nd Street Harrisburg, PA

As you can see, those neighborhoods still look lovely today.

However, the area that Hannah Blieden lived in with her youngest daughter, son-in-law and grandsons now consists of a Yeshiva and single and multi-family homes probably built in the 1950s.  Therefore, their neighborhood looks nothing like it would have looked in the 1930s.


Post Author: trothman

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