Opal ring

In Attire

This ring belonged to my great-grandmother, originally named Anna Scher and later renamed Ann Balsky when she arrived in the United States. The renaming was an attempt at assimilation. It was never complete, though—her tombstone has the name “Anusha Scher Balsky”, suggesting partial assimilation. She was born in Eastern Europe and immigrated as a toddler in 1910. Her family was driven here from Eastern Europe for both religious and economic reasons, though primarily religious—they were Jewish, and at that time, anti-Semitism in Europe was particularly intense. Jobs were also nowhere near as available in Eastern Europe as they were in the United States.  This ring symbolizes the promises America holds, both economically and socially. In Eastern Europe, pogroms were common, and losing their possessions was always a possibility for Jews. In America, this ring has survived for the better part of a century (obviously, she didn’t buy it until a couple of decades after immigrating) without being stolen. The fact that she could afford it at all also speaks to the economic potential of immigration.

Place(s): Eastern Europe
Year: 1910

– Gideon Soule

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more