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I just added a mailing list for the Barcan Family. It is a low volume list just for sharing tibits from and to the family: Barcans
My mothers side of the family comes from the Postofsky and Post Branch
on my Grandmother's side of the family, through her Mother, Rose Post.
This image was taken in Polotsk, Belarus where the family lived during this period of the exile, at about 1905CE. The young girl in the upper left is my Great grandmother, who I am named for, the previously mentioned Rose Post. I have found similar images on the internet from Polotsk, with the same exact background, which makes me believe that there was a local photographic studio which produced these. If your family comes from this town, it is likely that you can find a similar photograph. Of course, this is where the family first emerges from the cloud of history, into a photographic and historical record of individuals, with names and faces. In this photograph is Itka Post, Lazar Post, and the very young cousin, Louie Post, all who came to New York. The clan itself, largely migrated to the Bronx, NY. My Grandmother, Esther, grew up surrounded by some 20 cousins who lived in her neighborhood.
Sam and Rose
Rose and her daughters, Esther, Hilda and Ruth Barcan
Rose's Husband, Sam Barcan, formed the second half of the Polotz family tree. A more cultured and radicalized man, with strong leftest leanings, he fled the Russian empire and became a printer for the Yiddish Language Forward. Wealthy by the standards of the day, his steady work, and access to inside information, allowed him to purchase property along the planned Grand Concourse in the Bronx and move the family to the hinderlands of the Bronx, first moving all the way up new Gunhill Road, which was all but farm country at the time, and then on the request of his wife who was becoming lonely, back south to 871 Fairmount Place, not far from the southern entrance of the Bronx Zoo. The pictures we have here show him very well dressed. Evidently that wasn't just for the occasion, he was well dressed all the time and we have many roses pressed in books, a tradition of his from the time period.
Sam and Rose, with the help of the Hebrew Aid Society, found Sam's younger brother in the ruins of Revolutionary Russia. My Grandmother, Esther, would describe going to Ellis Island with her father to pick up the boy, Harry, who Esther called her "Brother" (although he was really her uncle). She described how he looked like the icon of a refuge, with a bloated stomach from malnutrition and diseased. They raised the boy only to see him drafted into Patton's Army in WWII where he survived the entire European invasion from Italy to Germany.
Harry Barcan in Patton's Army
Sam Barcan died in 1936, leaving the family in limbo, smack in the middle of the Great Depression. Fortunately, he was a smart man who invested in real estate up and down the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and had a decent death benefit. Rose took the benefit and paid off all the mortgages, and collected rent for the rest her life, although she suffered severe grief, and for a short time was unable to take care of the girls. She never got over her grief. They had a large house of 871 Fairmount Place and she opened up someof it as a boarding house to supplement income. And there are warm stories of Herny, the French boy, who stayed with them for a while. And before that, The Post cousins would share in taking care of their grandmother and grandfather. Their Grandmother, Chaya, used to wathc movies on Shabbos at the local theater, The ticket would be purchased and arraigned for my my Grandmother, Esther. This was the silent movie era.
It also came down to us, stories of the telephone. They had the only phone on the block and people would take the liberty to call members of the community at the Barcan Phone. Esther was also sent scurrying about to fetch neighbors and tell them they had important calls, often about family overseas.
The Grandfather, Lazer, would learn Gemora in the house, and art and passion which seemed to be lost on the later generations. Esther gave some vivid descriptions of him learning Torah and swaying, which is quite a cocktail with Sam and is intelligentsia and left leaning atheists in the house all the time, sipping on tea and solving all the worlds problems.
Sam had a very close relationship with his older daughter, Esther, and took her too all the Yiddish plays that he could lay free tickets on (through his work at the Newspaper). They also took in museums, poetry readings and all kinds of active culture. Without the distractions of Cell Phones and TV, there was a rich banquet of culture available which they participated in. And it all came to a crashing end upon his death, the facts of which Esther, just refused to confront. She developed a stubborn defiancy towards all adversity in life.
Nathan Israeloff and his grand daughter, my Mother, Sherry.
Wedding of Sherry Israeloff and Morris Safir (My Parents)
My mother, Sherry Iris Israeloff, died young, in 1988, right after Talyah was born. It was a tragic end to a
tragic struggling life. I grabbed all her photographs when she died, and today they are starting to deteriorate.
She annotated every picture. So I tried to digitalize them insitu, in her photo albums. That archive is here:
Sherry Israeloff Photo Archive
He lived for decades on Columbia Street in a housing project near the Williamsburg Bridge on the Lower East Side. After I got married we connected with him and he dragged us from cemetery to cemetery to pull the ivy and weeds off of graves. It was there that I first came to understand that there were Morris Safir and other Safir gravestones dating into the 1800's. Obviously the family had been here far longer than my mothers side of the family with roots connecting to Ottoman Romania and Hebron into the 1830s and 1860s.
Hiram Safir, Grandmother Toby Safir, and Ruben (Me - the baby)
During the First World War, he worked in Fort Green at the Navy Yard, and they
had significant connections to Fort Green and a Rabbi Furst. There was some
connection with the Boy Scouts and Martin Schean, who became my step-father. But that is really all I know for certain.
Hiram and me
My mother and my Grandmother Esther (and her husband Al) will get their own pages as their relationship and mine is very deep and an emotional saga.
At one time, every child in the house had their own Linux Computer and webspace. Being that the youngest, Shmueli-Bear, is now 19 (in feb 2016), they have largely out grown there home pages, although they still more or less exist. I've started to adopt them for their own family history information. Hopefully they will continue to grow there families and have many children, and few spouses.
Their growth, in fact, is the reason for this organization. It is no longer sufficient to just put up family pictures on this website like one sticks pictures on the refrigerator, because there are just too many of them, and each child deserves there own story. So I will try to adapt their own home pages for the things we wish to share with the public. Aside from the children, we now have two grandchildren. And the kids are all over the globe now, from Alaska to Israel. They haven't always had it easy, but they are special kids, every one of them special and heads and shoulders above there peers.
tookster - The other member of our family
Shoshana Rivka Safir and Robert Menachum Klein were married on Sunday, August 24th, 2014
Mazal Tov Shani!
The Loving Couple, Shoshana and Menachum
Dovid, Shmueli, Aviva, Itka
Shani and Me on a quiet birthday in happy times
Shani's Wedding Video
Israel in Jan 2016