I recently watched a series involving time travel—November 22, 1963. The purpose of the journey was to go back in time and change a historical event. The obvious question is what happens to the lives of others when a single event is altered.

Viewing that movie caused me to examine events in my own life and consider how one change could have a rippling effect. How many of us have thought about how our own existence is dependent on our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on meeting each other?

If my grandfather had not moved to the Soviet Union during the Great Depression, would my father have married a classmate or neighbor from his school in New Jersey instead of my mother? If my father had not been issued his passport that April Day in 1941 in Moscow, would he have returned to the U.S. at a later date, or would some tragedy have befallen him resulting in his death—hence my own nonexistence.

As I said in “Two Grandfathers, Two Paths,” at the time of the stock market crash, both families were living within six miles of each other, so they were reading the same newspapers, and Dad was even christened in the same town as my mother. Yet their families never met while they were both living in New Jersey and their early years were spent on opposite sides of the globe.

By the time fate, coincidence, or some master plan brought them together twenty years later, my father had literally traveled around the world and fought in a war on two continents. The furthest my mother traveled from home was when she went to an uncle’s funeral in Michigan.

Yet despite the profoundly different paths they both took, both routes somehow merged in a small church in Boonton, New Jersey on an April day in 1951. Amazing!

Mt. Carmel Church - Copy


About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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