Roots, Merovitz Style

A cousin of mine just sent me these precious photos of my maternal great-grandmother and great-grandfather, as well as other family forbears, and I’d love to share them with you.



My mother’s grandparents, Esther and Matisyahu, managed to make it to Canada – from Bessarabia, I believe – and proceeded to establish a large, loving family, as you can see below.

Merovitz Family 1919
Merovitz/Merovitch Family, 1919, Montreal

Matisyahu (1845-1923) and Esther (1855-1939), middle row centre, pose with their six sons and one daughter, and their families. Their surname “Merovitz” somehow morphed into “Merovitch” in a few of the families. (I’ve also seen Mayerovitch, Meyerovitch, Marovitch, LOL; I think all the varieties are related!)

My grandfather David is in the top row, far right; my grandmother Libba sits at the end of the middle row, with baby Gertie on her lap. I’m always amazed when I contemplate the eight children they had so close together. The oldest was born in 1905; then 1907, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1917, 1918 and 1922.

I think Libba must’ve spent an awful lot of time in the kitchen, cooking! But my mom told me they all pitched in and helped in any way they could, the older kids dressing the younger ones, assisting with homework, and enjoying happy times with singalongs around the piano, later on playing canasta and bridge, and so forth. My mother had six sisters and one brother, Mel, the little lad sitting on the floor at the far right in the photo. Who knew he would grow up to father five children himself one day?!

By the way, in that same photo, my own mother, Ida Merovitz, is sitting cross-legged on the floor, third from the right. She would have been around 6 or 7 then. Note the big bow in her hair? You’ll see the same one in the family pic, below – which shows her with her immediate family: my grandparents, aunties and one uncle!

David Merovitz family
Top L-R: Libba, daughters Ethel and Bertha, David holding his only son Mel; Sitting L-R: daughters Anne, Lilian holding Gertie, and MY MOM IDA! Last baby Edie hadn’t been born yet.

There’s that huge bow in Ida’s hair again. How it stayed on I’ll never know! Maybe that’s why she looks unhappy… maybe she’s worried it’ll fall off? 😀 It’s ok, Mom! You were cute then and stayed cute for all of your 92 years!

Do you notice how serious everyone looks, for the most part? I’m guessing that in 1919 perhaps photography wasn’t very commonplace. That would certainly change!

Thanks for joining me on this little stroll down Memory Lane!


13 thoughts on “Roots, Merovitz Style

  1. I love the family photos! The one with everyone is amazing as I don’t think it was easy to get everyone together in one place. My mother’s father was from Bessarabia. I don’t know anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed ‘em! My guess re the big one is that it was to celebrate a big milestone – wedding anniversary of Esther and Matisyahu, perhaps… Still a feat to collect everyone!!
      Did your grandfather make it to North America?


  2. Early photography required the person to be very still. In fact, they were often braced from behind with ties to keep them immobile. So they were told not to smile because it was harder to hold it than an expressionless face.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, amazing, I hadn’t realized it either. Libba and David (as my mom told me) were not born here, but were sent on ahead by ship here, after a very young marriage (around 15-17 years old)! My mom said it was because their parents Esther & Matisyahu were afraid of violence from the Cossacks over there. I guess they followed here later on. BTW David & Libba got off the ship in Quebec City. They didn’t get to Montreal until my mom was about 7 (in 1919 or so.)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s