Leaving a Legacy to My Children with a Family History Book

Norma Portney Feder

I have always felt sad about my family’s history. My mother lost her parents, aunts and uncles in the Holocaust. Approximately 18,000 Jews in the town of Lutsk, Poland, were shot and killed. These included many members of my mother’s family.

Fortunately, my mother had a lot of family photographs which were sent to her here in the U.S. before 1944. After 1944, she never heard from them again, and did not know their status until a relative who survived told her that her family members had been shot. Only three members of her family survived, due to the fact that they enlisted in the Russian, Polish and Czech armies. Their stories inspired me to create a family history book for each of my children, Andrea Zeller and Darren Feder.

This undertaking was an act of love, because it was quite a project! I wanted to share the stories of how my family members lived and how they died. I had pictures and documents that were priceless. My grandson made duplicate copies of everything for me to use. I wanted to create something that my children, grandchildren, and their future families could pass down. This project took me months to complete. The result is something that will be treasured for generations to come.

This history book also included information on my parents and their family’s children, grandchildren, and other relatives. After completing it, I was inspired to include a history of my life as well as my husband’s life in stories and photos.

These albums have taken me months to create. They will be passed down to my children, grandchildren, and their families for generations to come. It is a real gift of love. I hope they will be proud of their family’s heritage.

In addition, I have created family history albums on each of my 6 grandchildren, so they will have memories of the places I took them to, as well as lots of pictures taken throughout the years as they grew up. I plan to write letters to each of the grandchildren, with some words of advice: to love family, have goals in life, be kind and honest, remember their heritage, and believe in God.

I am presently working on a similar family history album about my husband’s life and family. My husband, Herbert Feder, was a fire fighter in New York City. He was a Chief Master Sargent in the Air Force Reserve for 30 years. Herbert and I were married for 55 years. The family was very proud of him. All of this work has been an undertaking of love of my family. If you’d like to learn more about how to create a family history book for your family, please feel free to contact me.

Editor’s Note: TBE will provide Norma’s contact information upon request.


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