About H. Blejer
Curator specialties: Jewish Poland and Lithuania (Suwalki, Lomza, Trakai, general Lithuania); Jews in Volhynia Gubernia, Ukraine; early Jewish immigration to Argentina, especially the Baron Hirsch colonies; Jewish immigration to American Midwest and to South Carolina; early American (Great Migration) period, including early settlers of Massachusetts and Connecticut towns, for example Roxbury, Taunton, Hartford, Milford, and Suffield. Some knowledge of early Southern New Jersey settlements and families. Some knowledge of Huguenot and Scotch-Irish immigration to America. Beginning interest in the settlement of Indiana.
I have an undergraduate degree in history with an emphasis on Medieval and Renaissance and History of Religion. I have two graduate degrees in linguistics, with an emphasis on Arabic language and linguistics, historical linguistics, and Semitic and Afroasiatic. I studied Arabic and Hebrew in various Middle Eastern countries and learned Spanish through immersion - by marrying an Argentine. I also studied French, German, Amharic, Romanian, Aramaic, Berber, and Yiddish. I spent 30 years in information technology, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and computational lingustics.
I got interested in genealogy recently. I started with my husband's family, particularly his father's side. The Blejers were early settlers in a famous agricultural settlement that Baron Hirsch sponsored, bringing Jews from Russia to be farmers in Monigotes / Moisés Ville (Yiddish: מוזעסוויל ), Argentina. With the help of my brother-in-law and a good website maintained by Mario Jeifetz on Moisés Ville families, I was able to find many cousins. More exciting was when I traced the Blejers back to Kherson in Southern Ukraine and found two Blejers (Blyakhers) as signatories in an 1843 document from Novapoltavka, Kherson. I learned that a few thousand Jews had been brought from Courland and Lithuania to be farmers in Southern Ukraine in the early years of the 19th century. So the Blejers were likely from Courland (modern-day Latvia) and were farmers maybe 60 years in the Ukraine and another 10 or so in Argentina. Thereafter they became doctors, lawyers, scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, scholars, psychologists, statesmen, and economists.
That started me thinking about the Frankel and Margolis families that I had heard about from my grandmother, Ann Frankel and her sister Janet Frankel. You can read about the Margolis family that I am descended from through my grandmother, Ann Frankel, in Dr. Neil Rosenstein's book The Margolis Family. It has been very exciting reviving memories of stories my Baba told me, as well as filling in the many blanks. But the most exciting has been how Suwalki and Lithuania and my ancestors have come alive for me and how much I cherish the many cousins who I have encountered. I used a combination of www.ancestry.com, www.jewishgen.org, Google searches, and looking up family names on Facebook. Thanks especially to Hank Mishkoff (related to me through Badana Myszkowsky), A. Cassia Margolis (related to me through our shared ancestor Judah Lejb Margolis the husband of Badana Myszkowsky) and Linda Eve Frankel, the granddaughter of my grandfather Harry Frankel's brother Issac (I.B.) Frankel. Another dear cousin is Kate Margolis Mariscal, whose ancestor was a brother of my ggg grandfather Judah Lejb Margolis. A fascinating thing I learned about my family is that my great grandfather Harry Frankel (son of Chava Margolis) married his uncle's grandaughter, Hattie (Bodana) Bramson, so I am a Margolis both through Harry Frankel and through Hattie Bramson Frankel, whose grandfather Issac Margolis was Chava Margolis' brother. The number of cousin marriages in the Margolis and Frankel families is too numerous to count! My gg grandfather Joseph Frankel took more research and intelligent guesswork to trace. And my Frankel ancestry was supported in the end by the DNA tests that my branch and another branch took, although it was given names that repeated and geography that supported my hypothesis. See his profile to read about my guesswork. Since several of the Margolis aunts and uncles of my gg grandmother were living in Merkine (Merecz) at the time, I strongly suspected that this Frankel family was the correct one. The given names are also names that repeat in our Frankel family and the dates and names match. (Note: The Frankels lived for several hundred years in Ratnycia, an agricultural satellite of Merkine, which has been absorbed into Druskinikiai, a spa town on the border with Belarus. My ancestors' graves can still be found in the cemetery there as of Summer 2012. We have proved that this was their town now through both autosomal and Y-DNA matches with a Frankel (Franklin) family from Ratnycia, as well as through connecting our Frankel tree with the other Ratnycia Frankel trees and seeing how the given names repeat for generations.)
I also have found my Rubenstein relatives. I was totally unaware of my grandfather Jay Rubenstein's siblings or their families until now. I found out that they came from Bilogorodka, Volhynia, Ukraine but I have yet to trace any other relatives except through autosomal DNA matches with families from Bilogorodka and nearby towns with several repeating surnames that are likely those of my great grandparents' ancestors.
And I have been able to document for myself and my children and nieces and nephews my mother's huge and important New England WASP family, who descend from early American -- including Mayflower -- families.
Additionally, through my Colonial American ancestors (Mary Bruen, wife of John Baldwin of Milford and ancestress of Freelove Baldwin, wife of Stephen Stowe, the Martyr of Milford), I am a descendant of many of the important Anglo-Norman families including: de Warenne, de Montfort, de Say and others. I have been working with Pam Wilson to curate the Anglo-Norman and Norman lines and more recently have assisted in the Ducs de Bretagne lines.
Due to my 30-year marriage to an Argentine, I have cultural and familial ties to Argentina and the surrounding region -- Chile and Uruguay - and the Rioplatense culture, so I have begun a number of Geni projects devoted to Argentine and Rioplatense culture, la nueva cancion, and related Altiplano music.
My Mayflower ancestry. I am a direct descendant of:
- John Howland of the Mayflower and his wife, Elizabeth Tilley of the Mayflower
- John Tilley and his wife (parents of Elizabeth Tilliey Howland)
- Thomas Rodgers of the Mayflower, through his son who came later
- Samuel Fuller, age 12, of the Mayflower and his parents Edward Fuller and Mrs. Edward Fuller of the Mayflower
- John Alden of the Mayflower and his wife Priscilla Mullins
- Peter Browne of the Mayflower
- Generation 1: John Tilley + Joan Hurst (both on Mayflower)
- Generation 2: John Howland + Elizabeth Tilley (both on Mayflower)
- Generation 3: Desire Howland + John Gorham
- Generation 4: Elizabeth Gorham + Joseph Hallett
- Generation 5: Lois Hallett + Henry Cobb
- Generation 6: Eunice Cobb + Benadam Gallup II
- Generation 7: Nathan Gallup + Sarah Giddings
- Generation 8: Lodowick Gallup + Margaret Phelps
- Generation 9: Fannie Marie Gallup + Giles Williams
- Generation 10: Arthur Wellsley Williams + Harriet Stowe
- Generation 11: Arthur Williams Jr. + Hazel Adele Johnson
- Generation 12: Anne Browning Williams + Richard Jay Rubenstein
- Generation 13: Hatte Anne Rubenstein + Daniel Norberto Blejer
I live in Alexandria, Virginia where I work in Information Technology. I have a PhD in linguistics. I speak a gazillion languages and love travel and other cultures. My strongest languages other than English are Hebrew, Spanish, and Arabic. I was brought up on the Pacific Ocean in Pt. Reyes Station, California in northwest Marin County, north of San Francisco. It may be one of the most beautiful places on earth. I have lived in: San Francisco, St. Louis, Pt. Reyes Station, Santa Cruz, Jerusalem, Austin, Champagne-Urbana, Cairo, and Alexandria (VA). I was married to Danny Blejer of Cordoba, Argentina for 30 years. We met at a political protest at the Hebrew University on May 2, 1972 and were married in August 1973. Danny died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in 2004. He was 52 years old. He was an amazing man, father, husband, uncle, friend, son-in-law, brother-in-law.
I like music, especially folk and ethnic music, and have a large collection of MP3s and CDs. I love the ocean or any natural body of water. I have been an avid reader since first grade, although I have slowed down recently. I read most everything. I spent my childhood and young adulthood reading fairy tales, fantasy, and science fiction. Now I am more apt to read evolutionary psychology and biology and well-written fiction and history. I like to be outdoors. I like exercise. I like modern art and went on an obsessive modern art bidding spree on eBay when bored a few years ago. The results are soothing and stunning at the same time. Every wall in my house has something interesting hung on it.
I am Jewish by choice but from a mixed marriage and very accepting of other people's beliefs and practices.
Basically I am a happy person, who has lived a good life and seen her children grow up and do interesting things themselves. Right now my obsession is genealogy, but who knows what it will be tomorrow?! I have found out fascinating things about my family and met many great people doing family research.
Postscript (August 2012): As a result of my genealogical research, I took a trip to Lithuania and Poland as part of a group organized by Peggy Friedman and Howard Margol. The trip was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone whose family are Litvak! I have put photographs from the trip in the Margolis and Frankel Family Project here on Geni.