Questions about Identity #general


Sally Bruckheimer <sallybru@...>
 

Yes, you are right! All of your information is what your father-in-law
guessed. The truth is that many (I could say most, but that would be
disputed) people in 1900 did not know when they were born, especially
immigrants. There are lots of stories about somebody 'deciding' on a
birthdate, having been born on 'Chanukah' some year.

Of course, if your father-in-law's parents knew his birth date, it was on
the Jewish calendar, which did not help when a NYC clerk wanted a birthdate
for some document. But the truth is, people did not keep track of
birthdates then like they do now. And people often had 10 or 15 kids, with
several of them dying as children along the way. So which kid died? Was it
the 7 year old or the 8 year old - who remembers and who cares. Boys were
'officially' responsible for the commandments at 13, but they were kept
before that, and they had no Bar Mitzvah in Europe 100 or more years ago.

So, there might be some intentional becoming younger as they got older
(I,myself, have to figure out my year of birth when asked, as I am
perpetually 28), but it didn't really matter as they didn't know.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ

"Does any of this have any grain of truth to it?"


henry
 

| Yes, you are right! All of your information is what your father-in-law
| guessed. The truth is that many (I could say most, but that would be
| disputed) people in 1900 did not know when they were born, especially
| immigrants. There are lots of stories about somebody 'deciding' on a
| birthdate, having been born on 'Chanukah' some year.
...
| Sender: "Sally Bruckheimer" <sallybru@...>

Sally,

Even today, some immigrants to the UK do not know their date of birth.
Imagine the situation.
A child is born in the countryside, 50 miles or more >from a town where a
birth can be registered.
The poor parents may not even have a beast of burden for transport.
How long is it going to be before one of them can get to town and register
the birth?
Will they know (remember) the date of birth when they get there?
Are they even going to bother to register the birth?
Does the local law require registration (and enforce that requirement)?
Is there, perhaps, a civil war in the country that prevents them >from
attempting to get to the town?

In my previous job, our customers needed to supply a date of birth, or at
least, their age.
On customer told me that his date of birth was 29th February 1973.
"That can't be your date of birth"
"It's *my* date of birth"
"There was no 29th of February in 1973, It wasn't a leap year!"
"But it *is my* date of birth!"
"How do you know that it's your date of birth?"
"I bought it. It's mine!"
So an unscrupulous countryman had *sold* him a date of birth that didn't
exist!
I didn't find out how much he had paid for it.

Henry Best [London]


Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

Sally Bruckheimer wrote: <But the truth is, people did not keep track of
birthdates then like they do now. And people often had 10 or 15 kids, with
several of them dying as children along the way. So which kid died? Was it
the 7 year old or the 8 year old - who remembers and who cares.>

I really do dispute that - as I have quite a few items >from my family in which
actual birth dates in the years 1802, 1806, 1814, 1816, 1838, 1841, 1863 etc
are printed or engraved on celebratory notices/items. In Vienna, full
birthdates are carved on thousands of tombstones and recorded in hundreds of
thousands of records. In the Familianten records of Bohemia and Moravia,
instituted in 1726, the actual birthdates of each male child and adult is
documented constantly.

Can we therefore conclude that in the Habsburg Empire, birthdates [constantly
demanded and required for form-filling] played a much more important role than
in Russia, Poland or Lithuania? I am sure German Jews also knew their
birthdates.

As for the statement: <So which kid died? Was it the 7 year-old or the 8
year-old - who remembers and who cares.>

This is absolutely impossible - no mother, father or sibling would ever forget
the death of 7 or 8 year-old child. Perhaps a seven day-old child, but never a
7 year-old child. *Never*. That is indeed a "Question of Identity" as by then a
child already has a personality that has made an indelible mark on all the
family. That child will be grieved for ever. Human emotions have not changed.

Celia Male [U.K.]


Bubby <yeruchem18@...>
 

Someone wrote:
"But the truth is, people did not keep track of
birthdates then like they do now. "

May I say this about that: I believe that people did indeed keep track of
birth dates but they were according to the Jewish calendar.

Why do I say this?

Judaism is full of celebrations connected to a person's birthday and a
majority of the Jews in Europe observed these customs. Parents needed to
know their children's birthdates in order to celebrate these milestones at
their proper times.

Some examples:

A pidyon haben (redemption of a firstborn son) is done on the thirtieth days
of a boy's life.

According to a custom that many Jews observe, on the day of a boy's third
birthday, he receives his first haircut and is inaugurated into the cheder
for his education to begin.

In addition, a boy and a girl both become responsible for fulfilling the
commandments as an adult on their 13th and 12th birthdates respectively.
(What we call becoming a Bar or Bas Mitzvah) The boy began putting on
tefillin for the first time and could be counted as part of a minyan. A girl
was often entrusted with additional responsibilities at that time.

I think the confusion arose when upon emigration/immigration they had to
state a secular birthdate. Who knew know how to correspond a Jewish birthday
to a secular calendar?

Fraida Cohen
New York


cecilia <myths@...>
 

Bubby wrote:
May I say this about that: I believe that people did indeed keep track of
birth dates but they were according to the Jewish calendar. [...]
I think the confusion arose when upon emigration/immigration they had to
state a secular birthdate. Who knew know how to correspond a Jewish birthday
to a secular calendar?
This does not explain my 19C ggg-mother (and most of her sisters)'s
dropping years off their ages, since they were all born in London,
where their parents appear to have lived since birth (mother), or a
few weeks after (father - born on North Sea).

They seem (>from censuses) to have started dropping years in their
teens. In 1851 the census shows the children in the birth order
indicated in 1841, but the two eldest, daughters, are "younger" (at 20
and 18, rather than the expected 22 and 21) than the third child, a
son (who was 19, as expected).

Some of the women married, and either then went back to reality, or
started counting >from there. The most "lost" was by a spinster of 44
who claimed to be 28, having aged very slowly over the previous 20
plus years.

Cecilia Nyleve


Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

Henry Best, London: <Even today, some immigrants to the UK do not know their
date of birth. Imagine the situation. A child is born in the countryside, 50
miles or more >from a town where a birth can be registered. The poor parents may
not even have a beast of burden for transport. How long is it going to be
before one of them can get to town and register the birth? Will they know
(remember) the date of birth when they get there? Are they even going to bother
to register the birth? Does the local law require registration (and enforce
that requirement)?

Is there, perhaps, a civil war in the country that prevents them from
attempting to get to the town?>

"Even today" .... what does this mean in terms immigrants to the UK?

When we study genealogy, we must compare *like with like*. The immigrants to
the UK in the past 50 years have been largely >from the Indian subcontinent,
Caribbean and Africa {Horn, East and West].

There is no way we can compare these cultures with those of the Jews of Europe
or other parts of the world and the societies they lived in.

Celia Male [U.K.]


henry
 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Celia Male" <celiamale@...>

| Henry Best, London: <Even today, some immigrants to the UK do not know
| their date of birth. Imagine the situation. A child is born in the countryside,
| 50 miles or more >from a town where a birth can be registered. The poor
| parents may not even have a beast of burden for transport. How long is it
| going to be before one of them can get to town and register the birth? Will
| they know (remember) the date of birth when they get there? Are they even
| going to bother to register the birth? Does the local law require registration
| (and enforce that requirement)?
|
| Is there, perhaps, a civil war in the country that prevents them from
| attempting to get to the town?>
|
| "Even today" .... what does this mean in terms immigrants to the UK?
|
| When we study genealogy, we must compare *like with like*. The immigrants
| to the UK in the past 50 years have been largely >from the Indian
| subcontinent, Caribbean and Africa {Horn, East and West].
|
| There is no way we can compare these cultures with those of the Jews of
| Europe or other parts of the world and the societies they lived in.
|
| Celia Male [U.K.]

So you're saying that every Jew lived in or near a town where a birth could
be registered!
If they didn't, that they all had means of transport to the town of
registration!
That they all had marvellous memories and could remember the precise date
that the child was born, even years later!
That they were all responsible citizens who would try their hardest to
register the birth!
That they all trusted their government enough to register the birth!
That they all had the time available to go to a distant town, maybe several
days journey!
That they were all healthy enough to undertake the journey to town!
That they all survived long enough to get to town to register the birth!
That there was no civil unrest that prevented any of them >from getting to
town!

I'm not comparing cultures here, I'm comparing circumstances.

Anyway, how much different is the Muslim culture >from the Jewish culture?
Having worked alongside Muslims >from the Indian sub-continent, I was amazed
how similar their culture is to the culture of our forefathers.

Henry


henry
 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Celia Male" <celiamale@...>

| Cecilia Nyleve wrote: <This does not explain my 19C ggg-mother (and most
| of her sisters)'s dropping years off their ages, since they were all born in
| London,where their parents appear to have lived since birth (mother), or a few
| weeks after (father - born on North Sea). They seem (>from censuses) to have
| started dropping years in their teens. ...... Some of the women married, and
| either then went back to reality..>
|
| In my last posting re immigrants [mainly Indian, Pakistani, African, Caribbean]
| to the UK in the last 50 years being compared with Jewish immigrants to
| the US in the 19th century, I said one has to compare *like with like* in
| genealogy!
|
| So here we go again. None of us was present when the enumerator called on
| Cecilia's London family with the census forms in 1841 and 1851! Who filled in
| the forms? We will never know. This area is definitely not *like with like*
| compared with official birth records! Apparently the sisters entered their
| correct ages on their marriage certificates. Perhaps they brought along their
| official birth certificates and they themselves [or their parents] were
| responsible for entering the correct data in the synagogue records?

Celia,
I know of several women who missed out on years of state retirement pension
because they didn't want their husbands to know their correct age.
The marriage certificates had the wrong dates of birth on them, making the
women appear younger than they were.
The only documentary evidence of the correct date of birth for each of the
women was her birth certificate.

| "Who filled in the forms? We will never know."

Agreed, but that makes little difference. The census enumerator can only use
the information he is given.
The person who is *supposed* to complete the census form is the head of the
household.
In this case, that would have been the girls' father.
He couldn't have made a mistake, because you've told us elsewhere that
Jewish parents *never* forget their children's dates of birth!

Henry


cecilia <myths@...>
 

Celia Male wrote:
[...] None of us was present when the enumerator called on
Cecilia's London family with the census forms in 1841 and 1851! Who filled in
the forms? We will never know. This area is definitely not *like with like*
compared with official birth records! Apparently the sisters entered their
correct ages on their marriage certificates. Perhaps they brought along their
official birth certificates and they themselves [or their parents] were
responsible for entering the correct data in the synagogue records?
I hasten to say that I am not referring to synagogue records and most
of the sibship were born before statutory registration. I am working
from census records (1841-1891), some statutory marriage records (some
of which I have matched with transcriptions of Great Suynagogue
records) and some statutory death records.

I also need to say that I have no views on birthdays, as opposed to
birthyears.

Cecilia Nyleve


Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

Cecilia Nyleve wrote: <This does not explain my 19C ggg-mother (and most of her
sisters)'s dropping years off their ages, since they were all born in London,
where their parents appear to have lived since birth (mother), or a few weeks
after (father - born on North Sea). They seem (>from censuses) to have started
dropping years in their teens. ...... Some of the women married, and either
then went back to reality..>

In my last posting re immigrants [mainly Indian, Pakistani, African, Caribbean]
to the UK in the last 50 years being compared with Jewish immigrants to the US
in the 19th century, I said one has to compare *like with like* in genealogy!

So here we go again. None of us was present when the enumerator called on
Cecilia's London family with the census forms in 1841 and 1851! Who filled in
the forms? We will never know. This area is definitely not *like with like*
compared with official birth records! Apparently the sisters entered their
correct ages on their marriage certificates. Perhaps they brought along their
official birth certificates and they themselves [or their parents] were
responsible for entering the correct data in the synagogue records?

Celia Male [U.K.]


Judith Romney Wegner
 

At 9:21 PM +0100 9/20/06, Henry Best wrote:

So you're saying that every Jew lived in or near a town where a
birth could be registered!
If they didn't, that they all had means of transport to the town of
registration!
That they all had marvellous memories and could remember the precise
date that the child was born, even years later!
That they were all responsible citizens who would try their hardest
to register the birth!
That they all trusted their government enough to register the birth!
That they all had the time available to go to a distant town, maybe
several days journey!
That they were all healthy enough to undertake the journey to town!
That they all survived long enough to get to town to register the birth!
That there was no civil unrest that prevented any of them >from
getting to town!
I am in complete agreement with Roger Lustig's responses to these
questions. I am sure none of the above (at least during the last
half of the nineteenth century which is the period with which we are
mainly concerned here, would have raised insuperable obstacles to
prevent a new Jewish parent or other appropriate person >from going to
register a child in accordance with the law. More to the point, the
questions asked reflect the mindset of a late 20th century American
and not, as Roger's answers made clear, the very different
circumstances and mindset of a 19th century Russian or Polish Jew.
There certainly could and probably would have been serious penalties
for non-compliance (not to mention later repercussions on the child
itself) that would make the father move heaven and earth to get his
child duly registered.

In this connection,allow me to repeat a small portion of my recent
message, namely the details of the registration of my father's birth
by my grandfather, in a Russian-administered part of Poland in 1901:

"Before me came Yankiel Rumianek, merchant, age 27, permanent
resident of Wysockie Masoviecke, Lomza Gubernia, currently residing
in the town Blonie. In the presence of witnesses Yosel Prachman,
merchant, age 35 and Shulim Alberstein, merchant, age 34, both
residents of the town Blonie, he brought a baby boy and said that the
baby was born at 8 a.m. on November 17, 1901, in the town of Blonie
from his lawful wife Masza Haja nee Przytycka, age 22. The baby
received the name Yosek."

As I said in that message, presumably it was the potential penalties
for noncompliance with the law that motivated him so powerfully to
show up with the baby and the two witnesses, or he most likely would
never have schlepped the the new baby(my late father z"l) in his
arms!

Judith Romney Wegner


Roger Lustig <julierog@...>
 

Actually, Henry, I think Celia is saying pretty near the opposite to
what you ask whether she's saying...

Henry Best wrote:
From: "Celia Male" <celiamale@...>

| Henry Best, London: <Even today, some immigrants to the UK do not know
| their date of birth. Imagine the situation. A child is born in the countryside,
| 50 miles or more >from a town where a birth can be registered. The poor
| parents may not even have a beast of burden for transport. How long is it
| going to be before one of them can get to town and register the birth? Will
| they know (remember) the date of birth when they get there? Are they even
| going to bother to register the birth? Does the local law require registration
| (and enforce that requirement)?
|
| Is there, perhaps, a civil war in the country that prevents them from
| attempting to get to the town?>
|
| "Even today" .... what does this mean in terms immigrants to the UK?
|
| When we study genealogy, we must compare *like with like*. The immigrants
| to the UK in the past 50 years have been largely >from the Indian
| subcontinent, Caribbean and Africa {Horn, East and West].
|
| There is no way we can compare these cultures with those of the Jews of
| Europe or other parts of the world and the societies they lived in.
|
| Celia Male [U.K.]
So you're saying that every Jew lived in or near a town where a birth could
be registered!
The vast majority did. Very few Jews lived on isolated farms; instead,
they lived in villages and towns, most of which had some sort of
governmental presence.

If they didn't, that they all had means of transport to the town of
registration!
How far would it have to be for this to be a problem? Just wondering.

That they all had marvellous memories and could remember the precise date
that the child was born, even years later!
Poll the mothers in your neighborhood--or better yet, the grandmothers.
(I have a 92-year-old relative who's a little unclear on her
grandchildrens' birthdates, so she consults her checkbook; but she was
spot on with a dozen other dates when I met with her recently.)

On the other hand, at least the Jewish men of the age generally knew how
to read and write.

And *boys'* births (or briths--just swap two letters) were very often
written down by the mohel in his little book.

That they were all responsible citizens who would try their hardest to
register the birth!
Citizens? You must be kidding! Try: subjects of an absolute monarch.
With a bureaucracy. It was far easier to register a birth than not to
do so.

That they all trusted their government enough to register the birth!
Trust had nothing to do with it. Fear was generally far more important.
Bureaucracies can be remarkably efficient--and vengeful--when
potential taxation is at issue.

Not having official identity was likely to cause all manner of future
problems. Suppose the child was a son, and the son grew up to be a
merchant, a peddler, or a livestock trader. Such a person would need to
move >from town to town regularly, and would need papers. Such things
are far more difficult to get if you suddenly appear, claiming to be
somebody-or-other born somewhere some time ago--oh, and it never got
written down.

That they all had the time available to go to a distant town, maybe several
days journey!
Again, where *were* these Jews who lived on mountaintops? Check a map
of Eastern Europe: towns weren't all that far apart, certainly not the
ones where most of the Jews lived.

That they were all healthy enough to undertake the journey to town!
Who said they had to do it themselves? The midwife was generally
empowered to do it; and it didn't have to be done immediately either.

That they all survived long enough to get to town to register the birth!
Yes. In all but the tiniest minority of cases, someone survived--a
parent, an uncle, a midwife, a sibling.

That there was no civil unrest that prevented any of them >from getting to
town!
Again, a fairly rare occurrence, especially since births didn't need to
be registered immediately. For any given town, what percentage of the
time in the 19thC was there civil unrest?

I'm not comparing cultures here, I'm comparing circumstances.
So, what *were* the circumstances? I don't think you're representing
life in Eastern European towns as 19thC Jews experienced it.

Anyway, how much different is the Muslim culture >from the Jewish culture?
Having worked alongside Muslims >from the Indian sub-continent, I was amazed
how similar their culture is to the culture of our forefathers.
What was it like for the many Muslims who lived under the Czar? Perhaps
that would be a better comparison. Did the Muslims you met come >from
shtetlach? Big cities? Small villages? Did they or their forefathers
own land? Were they farmers? Were they the majority where they lived,
or a minority? Were their parents and grandparents literate? Did many
members of the community travel regularly?

Roger Lustig
Princeton, NJ


Diane Harman-Hoog <harmanhoog@...>
 

I just wanted to add a comment >from my own experience to this thread. Most
of my genealogy work has been non-Jewish. The wrong dates in censuses and on
documents and in manuscripts is more common than not everywhere that I have
worked. This is especially true before this century. I remember reading in
one of my history books, that the typical household in America would only
have a couple of books, including the Bible. The calendar and the clock did
not really play an important part in their lives and I have always felt that
was the reason for the differences. We remember things like our birthdates
now because we have to repeatedly enter them on forms, doctor visits and the
like.

One relative, whose daughter was born in 1901, always felt maybe her memory
was faulty on that point, although I have seen the birth records and know
that it is correct.

Diane Harman-Hoog
Washington State USA


Nick <tulse04-news@...>
 

May I add my own contribution to this discussion on Questions of Identity.

My greatgrandfather, Marcus Israel Landau (as he was known in England), is
recorded in his naturalisation certificate of 1871 as having been born in
Homel (Gomel) in Russia on 20 May 1837. There is no mention of any previous
name.

We are told by family lore (see below) that his surname was not his actual
surname - he possibly took someone else's identity to escape Russia to avoid
service in the Tsar's army.

If let us say that he assumed someone else's identity why should the
birthdate that is stated on his naturalisation certificate be the actual
date but instead possibly the date of birth of the person whose identity he
assumed.

I assume that a person in Victorian England would have had to use some form
of confirmation of identity - particularly when presenting themselves for
naturalisation.

We also understood that he with his young wife escaped >from Russia at the
age of about 18 to escape service in the Tsar's army - they were apparently
when he was 16 and she was 18.

Yet the naturalisation certificate records that 4 of the 5 children (listed
by name and age) were born in Russia.

According to the notes about my greatgrandfather in my familytree (not notes
made my me):

"Marcus Fredkin was born 1837 in Gomel in the province of
Mogilev, White Russia. He fled Russia at the time of the
pogroms in 1852/3 at the age of fifteen when he was about to
be conscripted into the army of Czarist Russia. Under the
Cantonists system in force >from 1805 to 1856, Jewish
children were conscripted into the army >from the age of
twelve (and younger) with the implicit intent of converting
them to Christianity. Service was for 25 years reckoned
from the day they attained the age of eighteen, the normal
conscription age. For the adolescent conscripts it was
often a death sentence, not >from enemy fire but from
antisemitism >from within the army.

To get out of the country, Marcus used a common method of
escape. He acquired a forged passport which had belonged to
a deceased German Jew by name of Landau. The frontier
guards were not naive and bribe money as well as passport
were required to get past them. So armed, he took flight.
The accuracy and sequence of events is uncertain. (A cousin of my father)
understood that he travelled to Europe via Kiev, Odessa and Constantinople,
eventually arriving in London
with a wife and small son. He cannot verify this."

Well, did he elope with his wife and get married after escaping Russia (or
was he in hiding?).

There is no independent corroboration of the original surname Fredkin (this
is not referred to in the naturalisation certificate).

My father never heard this >from his own father, although it is clear that
the story has come >from other cousins.

This is, in fact, recorded as fact in page 8 of "Uncle Tungsten" by my
father's first cousin Oliver Sacks.

According to Sacks he made his way to Paris and then Frankfurt where he
married. It says that two years later (in 1855) with the first of their
children they moved to England.

Was he travelling all this time with his young wife-to-be? According to her
death announcement in 1871, she was the daughter of the Rav of Chernigov. It
sounds more like today than 150 years ago - and not the sort of thing that
Orthodox rabbi's daughters would do today - let alone then.

It would though have not been possible for them to keep in touch (he on the
move, she in Russia) and meet up later.

The naturalisation certificate records that only the last of the children
was born in England, and that he only came to England about 8 years before
the naturalisation ie 1863.

I have not been able to trace the births of the older children on the
British birth registers.

I suppose that there is one possibility that they were living in England
under another name prior to 1863.

from what I have mentioned above the records might raise more questions than
they settle - and at the minimum question family stories which in the
absence of any evidence to the contrary have been passed down as family
history or lore.

A question of identity - you bet!

--
Nick Landau
London, UK

COHNREICH (Anklam, Germany Krajenka, Poland) ATLAS (Wielkie Oczy (near
Lvov/Lemberg), Poland) WEITZMAN (Cracow), WECHSLER(Schwabach, Germany),
THALHEIMER (Mainbernheim, Germany), KOHN/WEISSKOPF (Wallerstein and
Kleinerdlingen,Germany), LANDAU (only adopted
on leaving Russia/Belarus or later)/FREDKIN (?)
(Gomel, Mogilev, Chernigov, Russia/Belarus)


egrdn@...
 

I have read with great interest the different points of view with regard to
our ancestors and their birthdates. In 1946 my cousin Morris, age 61, wrote
his autobiography for his children. Here are some lines >from his work
explaining why he did not know his birthdate. Note that three Old Russian miles
were the equivalent of 13.92 American/British miles according to an online
converter. Morris has used a slightly larger multiplier in his description
below:

"In order to give the exact date when I was born I would have to search of
my certificate of birth somewhere in a village that used to be in Russia. At
present time that village belongs to Poland. The name of the village is
Wielka Hlusha or in shorthand the Jews called it Lusha. The main city which was
located nearby the village Lusha is named Kovel. The distance >from Lusha to
Kovel was Russian nine miles. This is something like sixty American miles.
In order I should at present time get my birth certificate I would have to go
to a different city named Kobrin which is also the same amount of miles. My
recruiting ought to be in that city of Kobrin but being that I left Russia
before 21 years of age so I never have been in that city, the same I have
never seen Kovel. I am therefore not certain with my age and I do not know
exactly when I was born. The only thing that I do know my yearly time that it
happened in a certain day of September. In according with my estimation I
believe that the year of my birthday starts >from 1885. I am not still sure with
it, it is possible that I was born in 1884."

On the subject of the amount of traveling done by ancestors in this region,
Morris wrote about his father's birthplace [please remember again to use the
multiplier of 13.92 to convert Russian miles to American / British miles]:

"A secluded place somewhere in Russia far away >from a town. All you could
see over there was mud and dirty water. You could also see some fields and
farms..... There were living in that vicinity a round number of 10 thousand
people or more. That vicinity had about a hundred villages and about four
small towns.... Here is the name of one of the small towns: Divin, a small town
population of about 25 hundred. The most of the people were Jews. It
belonged to the state of Grodno. My father's family were born and raised over
there. I knew some of my grand uncles lived over there. My father and my
grandfather were born over there and I am sure that my great grandfather was also
born over there.

As far as I am concerned, I never saw that little town in my eyes. I have
to mention to you that this small town, Divin, was four Russian miles away
from the place where I was born. Then came a small town, its name was Kamin
Kaschirsky. It was three miles away >from the place where I was born. That
little town belonged to the state of Zitomir. That small town was doing
business with my birthplace, or better to say my birthplace used to get all kinds
of merchandise >from there. It seems to me that Kamin Kashirsky was the nearest
place in the mileage but also in connection. When some of the merchants of
my birthplace came out to buy merchandise, they could make it in a full day
to and fro. If they went four in the morning, they came back 10 in the
evening but not all of the time."

[>from what Morris has written, I gather that someone must have registered
his birth, but I do not know how it was done.]

Eleanor Gordon
Lafayette, CA