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Browne Family History

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BROWNE family history Lag w Havana Panama City Chicago

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The Family History is perhaps the greatest asset in a family s treasure chest It is the present generation s gift of love to ancestors and posterity not just the passive reception but the active gathering of inheritance and legacy The creation of the book is an occasion for family gathering as is its rereading across generations The family history is a master copy of scattered stories documents and photographs gathered from diverse sources into a single book

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BROWNE family history Lag w Havana Panama City Chicago DEIDENTIFIED EXCERPTS bioGraphbook com

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Browne Family Story Standing John Rachel Nowak Seated Isaac Nowak Hannah Nowak Smith Sophie 4 Nowak Rogers

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John Rachel Nowak J ohn Nowak never finishes the fifth grade but he is smart courageous and willing to take risks At the age of 23 John leaves Lag w Poland in 1929 to avoid military service However due to immigration quotas he is unable to enter the United States Still anxious about being drafted into the Polish army where he fears he would not survive John takes what money he has and travels to Gdansk where he presents his money and asks where s the farthest I can go without a visa Cuba he is told and he departs leaving behind his wife Rachel Browne a two year old daughter Sophie and a newborn son Isaac After a year in Cuba working as a boot maker John relocates to Panama s Canal Zone where the job market is more promising John is a leather expert He watches the American soldiers walking into town and he notices that their shoes are falling apart John makes an appointment with the U S army base commander I ve noticed that your men here really need help with their shoes he tells the commander Well what can you do about it the commander asks John pulls out the pairs of shoes he has brought to show the commander his handiwork The shoes are unbelievable John leaves the meeting with a contract to make shoes for the entire commandant He opens a workshop at Fort Clayton and then a bigger workshop at Fort Amador By 1931 John has earned enough money making boots for American soldiers that he is able to pay for his family s journey from Poland to Panama After three weeks at sea the family reunites But Rachel is dissatisfied with life in Panama She misses her mother her brothers and her sisters all of whom she has left behind in Poland Desperately homesick Rachel wishes that she can return to Lag w Rachel gives birth to their second daughter Hannah in 1934 That same year one of the two lottery tickets John buys every week from a wrinkly leprous old woman pays off and John wins a large sum of money As Europe s political situation worsens John uses his lottery winnings and his connections in the Panamanian government to buy visas for his and Rachel s siblings 5

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Browne Family Story Legacy Hannah This year I m going to Panama with my three daughters because I got a call from Aliza Zalcer Liberman who lives in Panama and wanted to know if I was John Nowak s daughter I want to know why your father brought so many people from Poland she said Why did he do all that I put her in touch with someone named Jose Suerto who wrote a history about the Ashkenazi Jews that came from Poland to Panama It was 72 pages and there s a chapter on our family in there but it s all in Spanish I had my granddaughter translate it for me Their legacy was caring about all their siblings They were always worried about their siblings Sophie Not only did my parents bring family from Poland to Panama but my father helped the families start businesses to support themselves Education Hannah In Panama my parents learned how to speak Spanish so they spoke Yiddish and Spanish and then when they came to the United States they had to learn English All my father had was a fifth grade level education I m not sure my mother had much more than that but it didn t matter They were able to make all of those changes from one country to another 6

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John Rachel Nowak 7 Robert Browne Sophie Nowak Rogers

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Browne Family Story Michael Leon Jackie s brother 8

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John Rachel Nowak Regrets David My mother s greatest regret in life until her dying day was that she could not decide which of her younger siblings to help leave Poland when her brother in law John would always ask who should we help leave next That was terrible for her She was the oldest daughter of ten children Eight of them perished Only she and her older brother Michael survived I think I was named after him which created a problem when he was discovered alive Mother created a white lie that I was named after another family member to cover up her feelings that Uncle Michael had not survived the war Uncle Michael was conscripted to the Polish army as many young people were When the Nazis invaded Poland the Polish army was no match for the Germans so he was caught between the Russian army which was an American ally and the Germans He ended up surviving in Russia The last pogrom in Europe took place in 1946 He and a friend lived in the building where the pogrom took place and missed the massacre by one day He got lucky again while on a troop train heading to the front when he was bullied to surrender his seat to a Polish guy When the Luftwaffe flew over the train and bullets started flying one of the stray bullets killed the guy who was sitting in Michael s seat Those are two incidents where Uncle Michael s luck prevailed He was just meant to survive My three aunts my father s surviving sisters would often fight over trivial matters and would spend some time not speaking to each other They can fight with one another and can always make up my mother would say as if she were jealous of them She did not have the luxury to kiss and make up with her siblings 9

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Browne Family Story Robert s Barbershop in Panama 10

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Robert Victoria Browne Robert in Panama 11

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Browne Family Story Robert s Birth Certificate Robert s Polish ID Card 12

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Robert Victoria Browne Robert s Visa Application to Chicago Robert s Border Crossing ID Robert s Naturalization Certificate 13

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Mangurten Family Story Robert Daniel Browne 14

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Robert Victoria Browne Traditions Jack We carry on our Jewish traditions We attend Shabbat services weekly at a Messianic congregation and we celebrate the holidays and the feasts and we keep those traditions alive Now our kids are doing the same thing carrying the traditions on with their families Legacy Jack They taught us to have a strong work ethic to save to invest and to not be afraid to take risks They taught us how to work hard love our families and put our children and our families first like they did The legacy they passed on was put your family first which we have carried on I see my kids doing the same thing Their families are younger but they are definitely keeping our Jewish traditions alive and keeping family at the forefront We spend time with our kids and our grandkids as much as we can We see them as often as possible We walk alongside them and support them with whatever they re doing 15

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Richard Patricia Dennison R ichard Dennison and Patricia Browne meet and marry in Lag w Richard lived in the neighboring town of Szyd w and is fixed up with Patricia through her sister Rachel s husband John Nowak who is a cousin of Richard In 1936 not long after he marries Patricia Richard leaves Poland and travels straight to Panama where he establishes a tailor business Patricia joins him in 1937 Richard loses both of his parents and all of his siblings in the Holocaust Patricia s sister and brother are still in Poland when the border closes They perish In May 1946 after a decade in Panama Richard his two sons and his pregnant wife emigrate to Chicago Richard works for a garment manufacturer downtown and alters clothing at night and on weekends for his in laws tailor and cleaning shops He sets up a mini tailor shop in the basement of the family s Rogers Park home where they would move from Albany Park in the late 1950s There he spends nights at his sewing machine altering suits Many other Browne men are also tailors but Richard is the only one without his own business Richard is hard working and although he is independent he spends his entire life working in factories Even after retiring Richard returns to work and continues well into his seventies Consequently he is a strong supporter of unions and even becomes the shop steward for his company When he is not working Richard has a variety of interests He especially likes current events and he makes sure to keep up with the news on television and radio Patricia is a housewife She is sweet and shy She helps Richard with some of the tailoring work he brings home but her life revolves around her family and children She never learns to drive and has no desire to learn Most of her friends are family members or other Polish immigrants from Lag w or nearby shtetls Patricia loves reading and watching her daytime soap operas on television Both Richard and Patricia are strong willed people who do not venture far beyond their family or the local Jewish community After two migrations once from Poland and once from Panama they welcome the stability and security of a home and close family with whom they can rebuild 16

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Richard Patricia Dennison Left to right Jack Edelman Bailey Browne Edelman Rachel Browne Nowak John Nowak Patricia Browne Dennison Richard Dennison John s brother Harry Nowak Robert Browne Sandra Peters Browne 17

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Our Philosophy W e believe that life writing is essential to living that writing life is a privilege right and responsibility that written words captivate the atmosphere of lived experience that there are as many styles of life writing as there are lives We are zealous preservers of memories and legacies Preservation is not just the recollection of ancestors and origins but also pre serving a proactive form of service for family community and posterity Our mission is to create narratives that enlighten entertain and inspire while preserving stories that are vital to life bioGraphbook com

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My parents loved to spoil their grandchildren They moved heaven and earth if you asked for something They didn t go on vacations or spend money on themselves They worked and supported their family My parents wanted us to have the opportunities that had never been available to them Heather Browne bioGraphbook com