ifteen years ago, my father, Jack Bliden died (family name Bliden can also be spelled Bleeden, Bloiden, Blidin). I felt a need to try to get more information about his birthplace and any family history that could possibly be available. His remaining siblings were all born in Baltimore and had very little information on Lithiania. Working through the archives in Washington DC and with my dad's exit visa and his naturalization papers, I did manage to put together some information.
He was born in Linkuva in 1910 and I even have a picture of the house in which he was born, and a picture of the ship on which his family used to come to America in 1914, plus a copy of the ship's passenger list. His grandparents were Jankel and Base Yenta Bliden. They came from Lithuania to South Africa with their seven children in the mid 1800s. He became an ostrich farmer and had leased some land in Port Elizabeth South Africa. He became quite ill, knew he was dying and petitioned the authorities to be able to return to Lithuania with his family. Permission was granted, but before his death he told his children that when they could, they should return there and would have a good life. Eventually five of the children married and moved to South Africa with their families. My grandfather Samuel Bliden met Golda Meier from Linkuva, daughter of Joshua Meier, and since she had a brother who had already move to Baltimore Maryland in the US, they came to America in 1914 on the ship the Koenigin Louise which left Bremerhaven and came to Baltimore June 14, 1914. The remaining sister, Chava , stayed in Russia, married a soldier there. After the second world war, her children and grandchildren were sent to Israel by the family from South Africa.
My grandparents had seven children: Sara, Leba, Jankel (my father who was Jack), and Louis who were born in Linkuva and then three more; Abe, Bernard and Doris who were born in Maryland. Just the youngest three are still alive. My father told me just a few stories about the old country, just about eating reindeer, which were netted and then brought to the Shechet. and about a lot of potatoes. I do remember an address book from Lithuania that he had, but of course it didn't have any significance to me at the time and is lost.
By Sheila Bush 2001