A little more than a year ago, we discovered through Ancestry DNA that my grandfather had 2 families. While my father and his brother grew up believing that they were the only two children in their family, we now know they had 8 half siblings. It's also possible that there may be others.
I will provide the details as I know them, and if any of this sounds like it could match with a family history you know about, I'd love to hear from you.
- 1890: Chaim/Hyman Friedman born in Russia (probably Minsk) to parents Israel and Sarah Friedman (I have found sources indicating that his mother's name was Sarah Grodenso and others where it was Sucy Schefterlowitz)
- 1907: The Friedmans move to America. Israel & Sarah, with children Hyman, Harry, Bella, Ida aka Gasha, and Dora aka Doba
- 1911: Hyman Friedman marries Sophie Rosenzweig (sometimes listed as Rosenberg). They have 8 children: Lena, Ruth, Jenny, Dorothy, Jacob, Ada, Irving, and Theodore (Teddy). They live in the Bronx
- 1928: Hyman Friedman deserts his family, moves to Chicago, changes his name to Herman Frier. Marries Sarah Markman; doesn't tell her about his other family. It seems that he may have left his NY family because he was in some legal trouble. There is a record of grand larceny charges against him being dismissed by a grand jury shortly before he disappeared.
- 1931: My father Ralph is born to "Herman" and Sarah Frier in Chicago
- 1933: Herman travels to New York "on business" where he proposes marriage to a woman named Tilly Ockman. They file a marriage license in NYC on which he is listed as Hyman Friedman M.D.. He takes $7300 worth of cash and jewelry from her and disappears (in today's dollars, he took about $140,000).
- 1934: My uncle Leonard is born to "Herman" and Sarah Frier in Cleveland (not sure when they moved there)
- 1935 +/-: Herman, Sarah, and the boys move to Baltimore.
- 1942: Herman is caught by NY authorities for his 1933 con of Tilly Ockman. Sentenced to 2-4 years in Sing Sing for Grand Larceny. My father and his uncle never saw him again and never knew until last year why he left them. During and after his time in prison he renewed his relationship with his first family.
- 1951: Herman/Hyman Frier/Friedman dies
Of my father's 8 half siblings, 2 are still alive. We were very fortunate to enjoy a family (re)union last year, where we met our new cousins and began explore all of the crazy similarities one finds in a family.
In comparing notes with the "new" half siblings, it has come out that Herman/Hyman frequently left the family on business trips.
Between the things we know he did and the many trips during which no one knows what he did, it's possible that there are others who are also descended from him. If you have a sketchy Herman/Hyman/Chaim Friedman/Fried/Frier in your family history, I'd love to compare notes!
Thanks for your time,