photos of graves of Solomon and Sophie Tulbowitz




Here are photos of the grave of our great-great grandparents Solomon (Shalom-Aharon) and Sophie Tulbowitz, which I took at the Beth Abraham Jacob Cemetery in Albany last month. Solomon Tulbowitz lived from 1845-1918 and Sophie from 1846-1928. We are not yet sure where they were born. According to documents Tanya and I found last month in Rostov, which I will shortly post here as well, which record the birth and circumcision of a son, Gavriel in 1878, and the death of a three and a half year old son Isai in 1879, the couple was described as "meshanene (townspeople) from Rechitsa, a town in southeast Belarus. So given that the bulk of Rostov's Jewish population growth came in the 1860's and 1870's as the trading and manufacturing town on the southern reaches of the Don, just above the Azov and Black seas, making it "the Chicago of Russia", my guess is that the couple was lured there in search of prosperity, which is also why they would be still registered as belonging to Rechitsa. According to Ruby family lore, they ran a tavern there and their oldest daughter Rose (1874-1949)was kidnapped by Cossacks as a small child. The Tulbowitzes could not have been thrilled by an ukaz (degree) by the Czarist government in 1888 that henceforth Rostov (which was formerly part of the Pale and attached to a province centered in Ekaterinaslav (today Dnieperpetrovsk) in Ukraine, would be part of a new Don military province. When the law came down, it looked like the Jews would be forced to leave en masse but by 1891, clearly fearful of destroying Rostov's economic vitality, the regime ruled that all Jews registered as Rostov residents could stay. We know that the Tulbowitzes were still registered as being from Rechitsa as of 1879. Were they able to change that in the ensuing decade? If not, their anonamlous status would go a long way to explaining their pull-out from the city to America--first newly married Rose, her husband Abraham Bloch and mother in law Sophie Tulbowitz in 1890 and Solomon and the rest of the family three or four years later. We know they were gone by 1895-96, as no Tulbowitzes show up in the all-Russia census taken in those years. Certainly, given Rose's traumatic experience as a small child, and a small pogrom in 1883, which took place at a tavern when a drunken Russian refused to pay the Jewish owners, they couldnt have been confident that Cossack control of Rostov made the place a safe bet for the long run.

The 1900 U.S. census shows Solomon, Sophie and son Edward (born 1876 and probably the twin of Isai) living in Albany near Rose, Abe and their own growing family, with Solomon and Edward working as tailors. Did all the rest of their children die in childhood? What about Gavriel? We know from Sandy Brenner, who heard from her mother Lillian Ratner Klein, that matriarch Sophie in her later years was known as the "scoial worker" because she was concerned about everyone's welfare and got involved in trying to solve the problems of others. Thats not a lot, but its something and we;ll keep digging. Love to you, Shalom-Aharon and Sophie Tulbowitz, from across the centuries.