Our father was Wesley Bodkin, born 26 May 1916 in Jewish Hospital, Cincinatti, Ohio. He was born between 2 and 3 months premature, which is probably why he was born at the hospital in Cincinatti rather than at home in Newport, Kentucky, which is right across the Ohio River.
Our father and mother, Helen L. Marsh, married 11 Sept 1938 in Lawerenceburg, Dearborn Co, Indiana, which is not far from Cincinatti and Newport. Our uncle Bernard Bodkin was the best man. Their first home together was in the Bella Apts. on 18th St. in Newport in the downstairs unit to the right of the entrance, facing the building. The Bella Apts. were owned by our grandparents and managed by Uncle Bernard. They were named for Aunt Bella and were built by our grandfather, as were most of the houses on 18th St.
Our father had four siblings: Raphael "Phil" born in Russia, Liebe "Lillian" who we were told was also born in Russia, but her birthplace was given as Belgium and Germany in the 1910 and 1920 censuses, Bernard born in Brooklyn, New York and Isabelle born in Newport, Kentucky.
Our grandfather was Morris Bodkin. At the time of immigration to the US, his name was listed as Moische Slobodkin and, according to his naturalization papers, he was born 18 July 1878 in Minsk, Russia. He married our grandmother, Rose Bernstein around 1901 or 1902 in Russia, and they came to New York, by way of Antwerp, Belgium in 1904 and 1905, making the sea journey separately.
One of his brothers paid for his ticket and met his ship. On the ship passenger list of the S.S. Vaderland of the Red Star Lines, which arrived in New York 16 July 1904, his brother's name is listed as Nachman Josef Slobodkin, living at 1384 Park Avenue. Nachman went by the name of Nathan Slobodkin in the U.S.
Another brother, whose first name is difficult to make out on the passenger list record, but which may be Yudol Slobodkin, accompanied our grandmother, Rosa Slobodsky and her two infant children, Raphael and Liebe, the following year on the S.S. Finland or the Red Star Lines, which sailed from Antwerp on 16 Sept 1905 and arrived in New York 25 Sept 1905. This brother's age was listed as 20 at the time of sailing, and we have been told that he was brother Julius.
Morris changed his name from Slobodkin to Bodkin in 1916, at the time of his naturalization, which was twelve years after coming to this country.
Our great grandparents were Alexander Slobodkin and Rebecca (Rifka) Kushner. Alexander was a religious scholar and Hebrew teacher who trained children for Bar Mitzvah and Rebecca was a baker who had a bakery in Russia. They lived in Coney Island, New York after coming to the U.S. We don't have further information about Alexander's family, but have been told that he may have had a brother who came to the U.S. and perhaps other siblings. We have been told that Rebecca had four siblings, Basha, Deborah and two whose names are not known. Basha Kushner married Isaac Jacob Marchiz and two of their daughters, Becky and Ida married Joe and Sam Slobodkin.
According to our aunt, Morris took our father Wesley to Coney Island to see his grandparents when he was a small boy. We have been told that Alexander died around 1925 and that Rebecca died about 1930, so it was probably between 1920 and 1925.
Alexander and Rebecca had five sons and three daughters. Morris, Nathan, Sam, Joe, Julius, Gertrude and Sylvia all came to the U.S. Libby was married and stayed in Russia. There may have been another son who died young. According to my father, all of the brothers had a skilled trade. After coming to the U.S, as noted above, Morris changed the surname to Bodkin, as did Sam. Nathan and Joe kept the surname Slobodkin and Julius used Slobof.
More pages will be added in the future...in the meantime you may enjoy seeing Morris Bodkin's Ancestors and Terry's Family Tree.
We sincerely thank our cousins Susan, Evelyn, Alex, Lottie, Yoram and Isabelle, who have provided this new information and thereby extended our knowledge of the family. We hope this will be a legacy to all the family for many generations to come.