Our earliest recorded family origins are in and around the western Latvian city of Goldingen (now Kuldiga), an ancient city which was a Hanseatic League trading post on the Venta River. It is likely, and there exists some circumstantial evidence, that our ancestors had moved into Latvia from what is now Lithuania, and likely before that from the lands to the east of the modern Baltic States. Our family is recorded to have lived in Goldingen from at least 1750 until those who were there in 1941 were killed in the Holocaust. They were glaziers, bootmakers, coachmen, merchants and musicians, all lower-middle class but stable. Certain individuals served as synagogue officials or members of the town council (representing the Jewish community). Over time, a number of our ancestors moved from Goldingen to the neighboring town of Hasenpoth (now Aizpute) and to the port of Libau (now Liepaja), and to Riga. In the late 19th century, following a traditional emigration pattern for Baltic Jews, many of our family emigrated to the Cape Colony of South Africa, primarily to Port Elizabeth, Graaff Reinet, and Cape Town. Some of those, like my direct ancestors, continued on in the first decade of the 20th century to the United States. All of our family members who had not left Latvia by 1940 were killed during the Holocaust, a loss that includes at least 10 of our relatives and likely more.
I hope you find this site interesting and useful! You can begin to navigate through the various pages either by clicking on the surnames (below), or by using the drop down menu under the "Find" and "Media" tabs on the upper right corner of this home page. (Photos can be found under the "Media" tab.)
If you have any questions or information, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in this genealogical website. Best of luck -- Eric Benjaminson
Bernhard was my great-grandfather, who was born in Kuldiga in 1870, emigrated to Port Elizabeth (South Africa) where he was the leader of the Port Elizabeth Police Band, then emigrated again to New York City where he played in Yiddish theater musical groups and directed a vaudeville orchestra in New York and Hoboken, New Jersey until his early death from appendicitis in 1923.