How I Met the Bloomfields
This week we’re happy to present a post written by guest blogger Smadar Belkind Gerson of Past-Present-Future. Smadar graciously shared with us her story about how she made a family connection through Geni.
This is the story of HOW I MET THE BLOOMFIELDS. This story may not become a hit sitcom like How I Met your Mother, but if Geni.com decides to create a reality genealogy series, maybe the Bloomfields can star in an episode.
Three years ago I encountered a distant cousin on the internet who shared my passion for genealogy. I contacted Martha, my cousin—who at eighty years of age—impressed me with her on-line skills. Her quick reply surprised me: “Oh, you’re a Bloomfield. I know who you are.” I had never though of myself as a Bloomfield, but acknowledged that she correctly identified my lineage. We developed an on-line friendship, and Martha was amazed to discover, I hadn’t met any Bloomfields. “Aren’t you on Geni? Many of the Bloomfields are on Geni.com. You should join!” she encouraged.
William Bloomfield, my great-grandfather was the only Bloomfield ancestor I knew about. I could not title this blog How I Met My Great-Grandfather since I never met William Bloomfield. He died long ago, in 1942, before the birth of his grandchildren. William’s living descendants are the descendants of his only daughter, Ethel Girlie Bogdanow (Bloomfield)—my grandmother. None carry the Bloomfield last name. We are seventeen in all: my self, my mother, my uncles, my siblings, my first cousins, my children as well as my nieces and nephews.
I was already on two on-line genealogy websites and reluctant join another, but refusing Martha was no easy task. If it was not for her insistence, I would not have joined Geni. Immediately I discovered a profile for me, and much of my immediate family. I requested permission to join the existing tree, rather than duplicate and start my own. I wrote and introduced myself to the tree administrator, Erica, who according to my tree was my third cousin.
Unlike me, Erica knows a lot of Bloomfields. Except for my geni profile, she had never heard about me, or my great-grandfather William Bloomfield but she was excited to meet a potential relative and gave me access to the Geni tree. Both our curiosities were sparked by how little we knew of each other despite our relative close blood relationship. Our mothers are second cousins but have never heard of each other either. Erica bombarded me with questions about William Bloomfield. Where he was born? Why didn’t he live in New Hampshire with his brothers? Why hadn’t anyone heard of him? I was embarrassed and stumped. I had no idea when or where he was born or that he even had brothers. I did know that my grandmother was born in New Hampshire. The interrogation questioned my belonging to the Bloomfield line and I had few facts to support my claim.
I turned to my mother with a flood of questions about the grandfather she never met. “He was the love of my grandmother’s life,” relayed my mother. She knew he suffered from asthma but died suddenly from an undiagnosed infection. There was talk of a lawsuit but that never happened. My mother told me about the grocery store her grandparents owned in Houston. Then she recalled her grandmother’s journals and promised look for more stories. Armed with details from the journals, I told Erica about William. William met Minnie, my great-grandmother while visiting New York City. They honeymooned in New Hampshire where he introduce her to his family. William’s mother persuaded them to stay and open a grocery store. After a couple of difficult years battling the cold and poor conditions, they relocated to Texas in pursuit of better opportunities for their young family. Erica was astonished and wrote back: “I think you’re confused. That is my great-grandparents story. My great-grandmother lived in New York, moved to New Hampshire and opened a grocery store with my great-grandfather.”
Even though, I had evidence in writing, Erica was still questioning my family history. Both of us needed to do more research. Erica and her uncle, sent me a full hard copy of the family tree prepared in the seventies. Together the three of us, completed uploading the tree onto Geni. The process helped clarify family relationships. Turns out, Erica and I, share quite a bit of DNA. We are triply related. We are double third cousins as well as fourth cousins. Our Bloomfiled second great-grandparents were first cousins. Harry Bloomfield, William’s younger brother, married Ida. Ida, Erica’s great-grandmother, and Minnie my great-grandmother were first cousin. Confusing yet fascinating! When we researched the timeline, we learned that my great-grandparents married a year earlier. In all likelihood, Minnie who was close to her younger cousin Ida, was the matchmaker who introduced Ida to her brother-in-law Harry. It’s possible that Harry and Ida took over William and Minnie’s grocery store, as they departed to Texas.
Our great-grandparents life stories were very much intertwined. Alone, without Geni, Erica and the rest of the Bloomfields, I could not have pieced together, a large chunk of my family history. Jointly, we continue to research our common legacy. My genealogy journey was sparked by an interested in the past. I never expected to MEET THE BLOOMFIELDS of today who have greatly enriched my life. My curiosity in the Bloomfields, lead to the publishing of my first book, Stored Treasures which is based on my great-grandmother’s journals.