Meet Ed Schechter

“The Jewish Museum helped me find the family I never knew.”

I was always curious about my family history. Because my father’s family was from Russian and most were killed in the Holocaust. My mother’s side was very small, and I didn’t know much about them.

I only had one photo to go off of – that of a man with a yarmulka sitting next to a woman. I had no idea who they were. When I opened up the frame, I saw there was my family name, Bachrach, and Bloomington, Illinois written on the back. I knew I had some relatives in Illinois and I tracked them down.

I decided to dig deeper and ended up at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. They were so helpful teaching me how to use the materials and what to look for when I’d run into brick walls. I went through census reports and marriage records. I discovered that my great-great-great-grandparents lived on Caroline at Lombard Streets, three blocks from the museum and that my great-great-grandparents married in the Eden Street Synagogue.

My research eventually led me to Kesstrich, Germany, where my mother’s family lived. I saw an article about trying to bring back Jewish culture to the town and I emailed the author of the article. He invited me to come and I spent five days there exploring my history, seeing where my family used to live and the synagogue in the town.

When I finished my genealogy, I put the information together in a book. I then decided I wanted to help others who were interested in tracing their roots so I volunteered at the museum.

When they started putting together their “Voices of Lombard Street” exhibit, I volunteered to create a map of where the Jews lived in Baltimore from 1880-1930. I really enjoyed looking for clues through the census materials. Most important, I’m excited for families, including bubbies and zaydes, who can show their children and grandchildren their history. 

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