Sarah Volfson was Ari’s 4x great-grandmother.
This photo shows Sarah with her husband David Nisman and son Chaim (Hymie), who was born in 1888.
According to Sarah’s daughter,
My perents acquired a smal part of land, my mother and father worked very hard, and also my brothers were working on the land. After about two years we were ordered out of that vilage as Jewish we could not live in a village and we must not possess any land. So, at this time that small town being rebuld, my father bough a small house and a very big garden. We had grown moust food for aur aun need. We also had chickens and geese, ducks, and I used to take them to a swamp near aur garden, I loved to do it.
Sarah must have been born in about 1855, probably in Belarus, and married in about 1873. I have no records of these events. We don’t know who her parents were.
So what do we know about her?
She had at least six children, with the oldest, Shmuel (Sam), being born on 31 May 1874 in Parichi, Babruysk, Belarus. Sam emigrated to New York in 1904 and worked as a carpenter, owning a furniture repair shop. There were two daughters, Haya, born in about 1879, and Freida.
Another son, Kofman, was born on 9 May 1879. He was also a carpenter and also emigrated to New York in 1904, where he had several children. Confusingly, he sometimes used the name Joseph, which was also the name of his younger brother who stayed in Russia. Joseph’s son Israel told us this, in a letter to my great-uncle Lionel:
My father Joseph/Yossef Nisman who stayed in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine was born in 1882 and died in 1942 during the war. My father had 5 children: Gregory, Anna, Dora, Michael and myself. My sister Dora stayed in touch with your brother Bernard through the letters. And even your mother in 1936 or 1937 wanted to come to us with your brother Bernard in order to make a shidech. My family was in touch with your mother until probably 1937 (when started repression period in Russia) and we tore up all the letters and photos of your family because they were very afraid that somebody will find the letters so the communication stopped. However my sister Dora kept two pictures of your mother and your brother Bernard.
The youngest son, Chaim (Hymie), was a furrier and emigrated to New York in 1922. According to his naturalization petition, he was born in Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine.
Hymie married and had four daughters.
We know from Freida that Sarah came to London some time after her grandson Harry was born:
Harry was a lovely baby. After one year we moved to a larger flat, and then, after a few month I had a still born babe. My mother came to visit me from Rusia and stayed with us for three months. I was so happy to see her, and Meyer loved her he thought she was a lovely lady.
We also know that Sarah had died by October 1935, when Freida made a donation to the Jewish National Fund in her late parents’ memory.
Ari, this shows how you are related to Sarah: