Monday, November 19, 2018

Colwell Coincidence

My sister grew up in Baltimore; her father grew up in Baltimore and her mother grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

My brother-in-law grew up in Monsey, New York; his father grew up in Monsey and his mother grew up in Columbus, Ohio.

There's no reason to think their families would have had any previous connection.

My sister and brother-in-law now live in Baltimore with their 4 children.  I've done some research on my brother-in-law's side of the tree for those 4 children.  And it turns out that these two families may have known one another a century ago.
"Yallen" Family; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 1910 Federal Census

In the 1910 United States Federal Census, Benjamin and Katherine Yallen were enumerated in Pittsburgh, living with the three children and a roomer at 1614 Colwell Street.  Benjamin and Katherine Yellin (how it was more consistently spelled) were my brother-in-law's great-great grandparents.  Their infant (in 1910) daughter Bella was his great grandmother.

This handwriting looked familiar.  The street name was familiar.
"Levant" and Tolchinsky Families; Pittsburgh, PA; 1910 Federal Census
In that very same 1910 census, Mary "Levant" was living with her four children and two boarders, Hillel and Isadore Tolchinsky.  This Mary was Mira Halperin Lefand Marienhoff, my great-great-great grandmother.  The boarders were her son-in-law (and my great-great grandfather) Hillel and her grandfather (my great grandfather) Isadore.  They lived at 1604 Colwell Street.

My sister's ancestors lived at 1604 Colwell Street.  My brother-in-law's ancestors lived 5 buildings away at 1614 Colwell Street.  Today, Google says that both buildings are gone, and there are vacant lots.  But Google also says that the buildings were 89 feet away from one another.

My sister's kids.  No, I couldn't find a good photo with all 4 of them!

One hundred years later, descendants of these two families who lived on the 1600 block of Colwell Street in 1910 met and married.  A Colwell Coincidence?

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  1. WOW! That is very cool! What was the reaction of your sister and brother-in-law?