Posted in Adoption, Ancestry, Genealogy, Haimowitz, Memorial, New York

Celebrating 3 Haimowitz Woman & 1 amazing Man

Three important woman in my life, my birthmother Marlene, her sisters Rochelle and Brenda, all celebrated their birthdays within days of each other. Jan 18th ~ the 23rd  is a week of remembering and honoring each of these woman.


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Marlene Haimowitz ~ 23 January  1934 ~ 6 October 2005


Rochelle 18 January 1945

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Brenda Haimowitz ~ 22 January 1950 ~ 8 June 2017

I had never noticed the resemblance of Marlene and Brenda until isolating and pairing  these two photo’s together. They were 16 years apart in age.


Also remembered and celebrated in this week is my adopting father Howard Joseph Brown.


Howard J Brown ~ 19 February 1923 ~ 23 January 2004

Howard passed away on my birthmothers birthday. They were connected in more than one way. Not just through my adoption but the cycle of their lives.


I’ll be celebrating 1 and remembering 3 amazing humans in my life!


Posted in Adoption, Ancestry, DNA, Genealogy, Haimowitz, Hyamovitch

Remembering Marlene Haimowitz

Today marks the 14th year of the passing of Marlene Haimowitz ~ the woman who gave me life ~ a woman I had the privilege of meeting. For ‘Wordless Wednesday’ this past week I posted this photo of Marlene.

Marlene ~ 23 Jan 1934 Bronx, N.Y. – 6 Oct 2005 Kissimmee, Fl. 

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This lovely photo had been shared with me recently by her sister Rochelle, her only surviving sibling.

Taken on her wedding day shortly after my birth and placement for adoption through the then popular Jewish adoption agency – Louise Wise, Marlene went on to have six more children all of which I have been able to have contact with on some level.

It is very difficult to look back on a life, a person, a primal connected person you really never knew with any true understanding and clarity on their life.

I had the privilege of meeting Marlene, exchanging letters and gifts over a two year period before she past away. It is with those memories  I can connect with her.

But what of connecting, of digging and pushing and finding answer to the questions that drive the adopted person to discover their past ? The who am I and why? What of the connections that don’t connect?

In this explosion of the adoption issues, the opening of records, DNA, the hunts, the finds, the question really becomes what do you do with the finds, the good and the bad? How do you sort them out, put them into perspective, incorporate them into the now of your life?

And so this year as I reflect and remember Marlene, all the discoveries into my past, my heritage on both the maternal and paternal sides, family both close and distant I have met, the stories and photo’s shared, even the rejections ~  I say thank you with total acceptance for what was, what is and what will be.

Thank you to Marlene who faced the difficult task of having me when choices were limited, when shame replaced joy.

Thank you for giving me life.


May her memory be a blessing to all who knew and loved her


Posted in Adoption, Bronx, Genealogy, Haimowitz, Lipschitz, New York

~In Memory of Marlene Haimowitz ~ Jan 23, 1934 – Oct 6, 2005

Today marks thirteen years since the passing of my birth mother Marlene Haimowitz. I will light a candle, remember and reflect on this precious gift I was allowed to experience.

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Born in 1934, above is the earliest picture I have of her.. She was the first child born to Irving Isidore Haimowitz (1904-1951) and Minnie Myra Lipschitz (1914-1998). Four more children would follow, Donald (1937-1938) Sheldon (1939 -2003) my wonderful Aunt Rochelle, and Brenda (1950 -2017).

Recently Rochelle shared a few pictures she found with me. I can’t thank her enough for these recent discoveries; I look forward with anticipation for more photo finds.

With Isidore still alive and Brenda not in the picture, Rochelle appears to be about 3 years old, I am guessing the year was about 1949 – which would make Marlene about 15.

Sheldon, Myra & Isidore, Marlene and Rochelle holding the beach ball

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This next photo gave me moments to pause and really consider. Is it possible that Marlene was pregnant in this photo? On the left with her hands – arms wrapped across her middle, is that a baby bump? Her mother Myra next to her, her sister-in-law Molly and daughter Roberta with Brenda holding Roberta and her mothers hand. Brenda would have just turned 3 in Jan prior to my birth in Feb. Could Marlene be pregnant with me or could this be her with her next child Joseph (1955) Marlene had married Joseph Ferraiolo in 1953 shortly after relinquishing me for adoption.


Marlene:Molly:Roberta:Rochelle:Brenda copy

From her early beginnings in the Bronx, Marlene married and moved to Danbury, Conn. She would go on to have five more children. I have personally met four of them and have only been able to connect via phone with the fifth. Marlene would eventually divorce from her first husband and remarry years later Michael Glinko. I do not have a clear understanding of when they made the move from Conn to Florida but they did, with the help Marlene’s mother and siblings, they relocated and began the second chapter of their lives there.

Today I remember and honor the woman who gave me life. I also remember my five 1/2 siblings who share this woman with me. Together we remember…..

Marlene Haimowitz 


Posted in Adoption, Bronx, Galati, Genealogy, Haimowitz, Iasi, Petchers, Romania

Molly Petchers nee Haimowitz

In my last post I shared the recently received documents for my great uncle’s Herman (Hyman) and Paul (Pincus) Haimowitz. In attempt to locate the originating home town (shtetl) of my ancestors, at the beginning of the summer, I began reviewing and requesting records I had not sent for.  A few of those records have arrived that I would like to share.

From Herman and Paul’s records I clearly have 2 town names that had played a role in their early lives. They were Iasi and Galati Romania. I out lined my theory of the families movements in my last post. (from Odessa, Ukraine up to Iasi and then down into Galati before immigrating to the United States)

Molly Haimowitz was the youngest of 5 siblings. From oldest to youngest, Herman, Paul, Fay, Isidore (my grandfather) and Molly. I had hoped by requesting her marriage and death certificate there might have been a clue to her parents home town’s but I wasn’t so lucky. Still, her records are wonderful and help to round out her story.

Molly Haimowitz was born on August 22, 1911, New York City, New York and passed away February 4, 1994, North Miami Beach, Florida.

Molly Haimowitz 

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In 1930 Molly (17) was still living with her parents at 974 Aldus St, Bronx  and in 1933 she listed a different address, 845 St John’s Ave but I was unable to locate this address in the Bronx. I did find a location for it in Yonkers. Under street listings for the Bronx the only street name to come close was St. Joseph’s Way and looking again at the address on the certificate it could very well be St Joseph. I could not locate any information on the Franklin Casino that she has listed as the venue. But what did jump out at me on this record was the spelling of her mothers last name as Srulowitz – and not Strulowitz with the t. This again shows the inconsistencies with the spelling of their last name and in locating family records. This family Strulowiz/Srulowitz  is certainly one of my brick walls.

This paragraph is an add on, an amendment to my original posting. Fellow blogger and friend of the spotted something on the marriage certificate that I overlooked. The place of birth for Molly was recorded as Romania. I had not noticed this. My mind registered that as referring to her parents. Clearly this was an error as Molly was born in N.Y., although I have no record for her birth. Census records for the years 1905, 1910 & 1915 suggests the family remained in N.Y. I have nothing to suggest that the family returned to Romania after arriving.

I know next to nothing about the life and family of Molly and Louis Petchers. From the  1940 census they were living at 398 Oliver Place, Bronx and Louis (38) was working as a mechanic in a service station. Molly (24) had no occupation listed.


Molly and Louis adopted a girl born in 1943 but I am unsure when the adoption took place. She was the informant on the death certificate for Molly (see below) Louis had passed away 11 years earlier in 1983 also in the Miami area.

 Molly’s Death Certificate.


Here on this record the last name for her mother is spelled as Srulowitz. The only leads I have on this Srulowitz family is the death certificate of Molly’s mother Rebecca; her father’s name was written (Sam) Strulowitz and her mother as Minnie Cohen, both simply Romania. Information shared by a cousin’s states Rebecca had family in Chicago, a sister named Minnie who had 1 daughter named Molly ~ known as red headed Molly as not to be confused with her Aunt Molly. Herman’s death certificate lists the spelling of the last name as Strulowitz. On my grandfather’s record only the first name of Rebecca was listed as is the same with son Paul. I do not have a death record for daughter Fay. My pursuit of Strulowitz/Srulowitz family connections will continue. Molly is buried at the Lakeside Memorial Park in Miami, Florida.



Posted in Adoption, Familes, Genealogy, Haimowitz

Busy Birthday Week

This is an extremely busy birthday week. Not in the conventional sense of a Sunday – Saturday week but beginning on Thursday the 18th we celebrated my Aunt Rochelle’s birthday, the 22nd was her sister, my Aunt Brenda’s birthday and the 23rd marks my birth mother Marlene’s birthday.

With these days upon upon us, I have been thinking about my birth family and thought I would like to post a little about my search and finding them.

My birth mother was Marlene Haimowitz, born January 23, 1934 to Irving Isidore Haimowitz (1904 – 1951) and Myra Lipschitz (1914 – 1998)  I do not have many pictures of Marlene but this is one of my favorites. We met once in 2003 and again one more time before she passed away in 2005.


Below, her two beautiful sisters Rochelle and Brenda on Rochelle’s wedding day (1966) to Gil Steinman

Both wedding pictures courtesy of Lisa Gassman

This picture below is of Brenda with their brother Sheldon at Rochelle’s wedding. I only met Sheldon once before he passed away in Feb. 2003. My beautiful Aunt Brenda passed away last June, 2017.


It was  because of Brenda that I connected with my birth family. After a lengthy letter writing campaign that lasted many years she received my letter, called her sister Rochelle and said something like “I just got this letter from some lady who know’s a lot about our family…..” Brenda was only 3 when I was born and new very little about me, especially since I was not coffee table conversation. Rochelle however was 8 years old  and remembered quite well Marlene getting pregnant with me and the events that followed. In fact Rochelle has shared that she remembers going to visit Marlene at the unwed mothers home. Rochelle knew instantly I had found my family. She wasted no time in calling me that November of 2002.

This is LakeView Unwed Mother’s Home on Staten Island where Marlene lived and I was born. LakeviewUnwedMothersHome

I started my search in earnest back in the 1980’s. I actually had been operating on the assumption that my last name was Horowitz. My adopting parents believed either my birth mother or myself had been named Donna. One of the first things I did was to write to the Surrogate court where I was born and requested all the records I was entitled to. I wrote that I wanted to replace all records that had been stolen in a theft of my parents home. (actually that was the truth but I would have used that excuse if I had needed to) I can remember finding the documents as a teenager and actually seeing the last name. In that brief look at the documents in my parents safe, I remembered the name as being Horowitz and my parents confirmed that. To my delight and surprise the court sent my full adoption decree. There, bold as my life itself, my birth name was not Horowitz but Haimowitz. It read “in the adoption of  said child Donna Haimowitz”. Horowitz had been wrong. From this point I went to our local family history research center and ordered the NY birth index for 1953. In N.Y. state when they amend the original birth certificate they use the same certificate number as the original, it is not replaced. There I was in the index, I was truly Donna Haimowitz. My next step was to write to the adoption agency and ask for all my non identifying information. I had been placed with the Louise Wise Agency, a very popular Jewish Adoption service at the time.


From this 1st letter in 1987 I actually got a lot of information to identify the family and it was with this information that Brenda said I knew all about their family. I learned Marlene  was the 1 of 4 children. 1 was 3 in 1953 when I was born (Brenda) 1 was 13 when I was born (Sheldon) 1 was in between and she was Rochelle, 8. Marlene’s father died 2 years prior to my birth so I knew my grandfather had passed in 1951 and that Marlene didn’t finish high school but left when she was 16 to work and help support the family. My next step I decided was to compile a list of all the Haimowitz families in the U.S.. It was with this list that I began a letter writing campaign that would last for years. I sent out letters in batches of 12, then waited for the replies.




The binder above holds all my research starting in 1986 – 2002. I had pages of lists like the above, pages with ages then pages with addresses. * I should add here that DNA testing was not an option yet. The steno pad was sectioned off with the 4 main states I was searching. Looking at my notes and binders now I can see how rudimentary and scattered my research was. I also enclosed a self addressed and stamped post card with my letters asking that it be returned if they knew anything or if they were not the right family. I added my phone number as well and often I would receive a call form someone wanting so much to help. More people than not responded. I had a list for those who did not respond. That list became my possibilities and I would eventually contact them by mail a second and even a third time as a follow up.


I tried again in 1997 to get more information from Louise Wise. The letter below was in response to mine asking for more information. I specifically asked if my birth father was Puerto Rican. I knew  he wasn’t since I had been told he was Italian and I believed that, but, my thought was to ask with mis information which would require them to look again at the records and perhaps some other identifying information would be shared by mistake. Sadly, not.


All the years prior to finding my birth family I had been very guarded in talking with my adopting parents about my search. They were well aware I was searching. As the years went by and their memories were beginning to fail, my hope of locating my birth family was fading too. I felt I had to press a little more. I was feeling desperate and in a last attempt I pumped them for anything that might help me in my search. That is when they suddenly remembered something they had never shared. They told me they remembered being told that there might have been deafness in the family. First of all I was shocked and blown away by this revelation. I couldn’t believe they had never mentioned this. Didn’t they think this might be important to my health or to the health of my children? Was this something genetic? So again I wrote a letter to Louise Wise asking about this.


In fact there was deafness in the family. Both of Myra’s parents had been deaf. But not from birth, but from childhood illness.

During this time in the beginning  of the 2000’s I was using the internet predominently for my search. It was during this time that I was beginning to believe I could not do this on my own. Adoption reunion stories were popular on Oprah and she had a number of shows using the International Locator Service. Yes, I hired them and no they did not find my birth family.


Then there was the World Wide Tracers and I have no idea what I paid them and no they did not find my birth family either.


Next was the Jenkins Detective Agency which was a total internet scam. I even tried to file a federal claim against them but was told there was not enough evidence.


The search continued with the help of wonderful people on the internet involved in adoption search groups and search angels with suggestions and additional help in research and locating addresses and phone numbers. With their help I had narrowed the search down to these 10 woman. Notice that Marlene was #1 on the list.


In June of 2002, as I was fast approaching my self imposed deadline of my 50th birthday, I was truly doubting that finding my birth family would happen. That June I contacted  Mr. Raphael Jr. Attorney, who was the attorney at the time of my adoption. He was so surprised to get my letter he actually called me to talk and tell me that he no longer had any of his records nor did he remember anything. Through this whole process that engulfed and occupied many years of my life I met and spoke with many wonderful people. At one point a woman by the name of Barbara from MA, actually thought her sister might have been my birth mother. With her mom in Florida too, we arranged to meet and compare notes. Her sister was not my mother but we created quite a stir within the family as well as cementing a friendship through this.

Florida was in fact the key to all of this. My adopting parents lived in Del Rey Beach, and just minutes from their home, in Boca Raton, lived my 2 aunts, Rochelle and Brenda. Florida is a wonderful state for records. It was in Florida, in those last few months, with a list of only about 12/15 people left to contacted, I found Brenda’s marriage information listed on line. I was able to locate her mailing address and off went that letter.

On December 25, 2002, instead of a movie and Chinese food, my daughter Marissa and I flew   from California to Florida to meet with my two Aunts and their families along with my Uncle Sheldon, a Christmas Day reunion.



Seated is my adopting mother, Grace Judith Brown, myself behind her, Rochelle, daughter Marissa (7 months pregnant) and Brenda.

Marlene did not join us that day. In fact I would not meet her for another year. She too was in Florida but up in the Orlando area. Due to her health, the long trip down as well as the shock of simply being found was to much for her. Over the course of that first year before we met, we exchanged many letters. I have a binder full of her most secret thoughts and feelings which I never would have had if we had met right away. In fact over the course of that letter writing exchange she revealed who my birth father was, someone no one knew the name of and she had at first refused to tell me as well. I had opened up a very painful past and I had a great responsibility to help heal that for her.



The day finally arrived

Today I write and celebrate the birthdays of three beautiful woman plus one more. The women who gave me life, Marlene, my two incredible aunts, Rochelle and Brenda. They opened their hearts, homes and families to mine. A big thank you and lots of love to you Aunt Rochelle for embracing and including my mother Grace (1926 – 2005) for making her feel loved and welcomed along with myself and Marissa. (Grace celebrated a Feb. 1st birthday)

But before I close I must make one last mention on this post and that is to remember my adopting father, Howard Joseph Brown. He shares this day of January 23rd with my birth mother Marlene. Howard passed away on Jan. 23, 2004