The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

Making Margaret Less Mysterious

My great-grandmother Margaret was born on November 26, 1891 in Vienna, Austria, and died on July 22, 1953 in Bogota, New Jersey, long before I was born. My mother was only six years old when Margaret died, so she doesn’t remember much about her, other than that the grandkids had to be very, very quiet when they visited because, “Grandma Margaret was resting.”

Margaret suffered from Parkinson’s disease, and for many, many years, that was all I knew about her. I certainly would not want to be remembered only as a sick old lady, so I’m trying to get to know the real Margaret better. Raise a glass to the kickoff of Margaret Madness, in which I will explore and celebrate my great-grandmother Margaret Spielmann Lessiack and her kith and kin.

Thanks to the photos and papers I rescued from obscure cardboard boxes in the depths of my grandfather’s closet (combined with the magic of ancestry.com), I’m learning a bunch. For example, at some point in an attempt to assimilate, the family changed their name from Spielmann to Spellman.

Here are some photos of Margaret as a girl,  before she met my great-grandfather Leo Lessiack. She is so lovely.

A postcard from Coney Island featuring Margaret and her younger sister Hilda, dated August 13, 1910, and addressed to Mrs. F. Spellman (their mother Fanny, I presume)

A postcard from Coney Island featuring Margaret (on the right) and her younger sister Hilda, dated August 13, 1910, and addressed to Mrs. F. Spellman (their mother Fanny, I presume)

The back of the postcard from Coney Island, 1910. "Us kids"

The back of the postcard from Coney Island, 1910. “Us kids”

Year unknown. This looks like a graduation picture to me.

Year unknown. This looks like a graduation picture to me (I have a similar one of my mother-in-law)

Year unknown. The back of the photo says: "M. B. Spellman, 715 Bergen Av., Jersey City, NJ." At some point the family changed their name from Spielmann to Spellman, an effort to assimilate, I presume.

Year unknown. The back of the photo says, “M. B. Spellman, 715 Bergen Av., Jersey City, NJ.”

Margaret, year unknown

Margaret, year and photographer unknown

4 comments on “Making Margaret Less Mysterious

  1. Pingback: Herman’s Sad Homecoming | The People of Pancho

  2. Pingback: Leonor, the Littlest Spielmann | The People of Pancho

  3. Pingback: Branches Intertwining | The People of Pancho

  4. Pingback: Town and Country Leo | The People of Pancho

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This entry was posted on May 18, 2014 by in Spielmann People and tagged , .
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