I am very fortunate in that I have found this picture in the Ellis Island records of my great-grandmother Ida Haskellski arriving with my one of my great uncles, little Yankel in 1914. The name Haskellski was Americanized and shortened to Haskell. I am actually named after Ida, the name being changed to Eddi in its masculine form. They were very poor, and little Yankel had to cross the ocean dressed as a young girl since they could not afford to buy him any boy's clothes. Little Yankel had to wear hand-me downs that his 5 older sisters had outgrown.
Great Uncle Yankel was a fast learner by the way, and invented the first junk bond and leveraged buyout in 1928 after leaving Harvard Business School, graduating Summa Cum Laude at the age of 16. I, unfortunately, picked up none of the family financial acumen.
Isn't the family resemblance amazing? I was shocked to see how much I looked like them!
This post originally ran on June 25 2009