Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ancestor Deep Dive: Mollie Supkoff Tolchin

My great grandmother Mollie Supkoff Tolchin was born Malka Zubkis in Shpikov, Ukraine (then Russian Empire) on April 7, 1893 (or 1892) to Yeshaya and Zlata Tzipra Zubkis (later Supkoff).

She came to America in 1906 with her sister Elka, arriving in the Port of Baltimore--stating that she was going to join her brother Leib (Louis Supkoff) in Pittsburgh.
Ship Manifest; Malka and Elke "Zupkin"; 1906; Rows 8-9
By the 1910 census, the girls' parents and younger siblings had come to join them (they immigrated in 1908).  18-year-old Mollie is employed as a roller in a cigar shop.
1910 United States Census; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Mollie Supkoff (line 69)
On November 18, 1915, Mollie married Isadore Tolchin in Pittsburgh.
Isadore and Mollie Tolchin Ketubah (Marriage Contract), 1915
Their daughter Ruth was born in 1917, and their son Louis (my grandfather) was born in 1919.  I still haven't found the family in the 1920 census--I'd welcome a link if someone else can find them!

By 1930, the family owned their house on Webster Avenue:
1930 United States Census, Tolchin Family (Mollie is on line 71)
The family was very involved in Pittsburgh's Keser Torah Congregation.  Mollie was a member of its Ladies Cheder Aid.
Keser Torah Congregation's Ladies Cheder Aid, February 1936, Pittsburgh.  Mollie is in the 2nd row on the far left
After Isadore died in 1937, Lou had to leave school after his junior year to help support the family.  In 1940, Mollie and Louis (Ruth had married Leonard Ehrenreich in December 1939) were still living in their Webster Avenue house, and Isadore's brother Israel "Buck" Tolchin and sister-in-law Pearl were renting space in the house as well.  Mollie and Buck are listed as owners/proprietors of a wholesale cooperage business, and Lou is a salesman at the cooperage.  Lou's salary was a whopping $864 in 1939.
1940 United States Census, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania; Mollie Tolchin (line 9)
I've asked Mollie's grandchildren to write up their memories of her to both fill in the post-1940 gap in documents as well as to capture her personality beyond what dry documents can do.  Stay tuned for that.

Lou joined the Army during WWII, and when the Colonel he worked for refused to let him out of the service, Mollie contacted their Congressman, as Lou was needed to support the family.  Lou was married to Minnie Joshowitz in 1948, and Mollie danced at the wedding:
Mollie Tolchin at Lou & Minnie Joshowitz Tolchin's Wedding, 1948
Most of Mollie's siblings stayed in the Pittsburgh area, with the exception of Fannie and Saul, who both moved to the Los Angeles area.
Supkoff Siblings: Back Row (Left to Right): Saul, Mollie, Louis;  Sitting (Left to Right): Elka, Rose
Mollie later moved in with her daughter Ruth in nearby Glassport.  She attended my parents' wedding in 1973.
Mollie Tolchin with granddaughter Linda Tolchin Diamond, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, 1973
A few years later I was born; she was my only great grandparent alive at the time.
Lou Tolchin, Mollie Tolchin & baby Lara
Mollie died on November 11, 1977, when I was 18 months old and she was 84 or 85.  She was buried next to Isadore in Beth Abraham Cemetery in Pittsburgh.
Mollie & Isadore Tolchin Grave, Beth Abraham Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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