The Website Story


Many people want to know how this website got started. Well, early last year, a young man by the name of Sammy Davidson (Martha Aginsky's grandson) was doing research about his family for a school project. His mother asked Gertrude Stein (Jacob and Basha's granddaughter) for help, and Gertrude wrote down memories as she remembered them and sent them to Mary Agins (Bessie Aginsky's granddaughter) to be typed. Mary enjoyed reading it so much, she thought others in the family might like to read it, too. One thing led to another and the distribution list grew, as family members began talking to other family members. They sent Mary large amounts of information and pictures and one distribution led to another, until there were a total of five mailings. What an incredible undertaking.

This is when I came into the picture. I posted a request on a Jewish Genealogy Website asking for information about Jacob Shenkin's family and got an email from Rachelle Berliner. Rachelle said that she had a cousin in Florida named James Leaf who thought he might be my cousin. I called Jimmy and we talked for quite a long while. When it became apparent that we were related, he told me to give Mary Agins a call, which I did.

The next thing I knew, less than a month later I created a small website with the data that Mary had collected, filling in a few blanks of my own along the way. Two and a half weeks ago, I started an 11 day trip to Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland to meet all of my long-lost relatives. You can see all of the photos from that trip on this website.

Since then, the site has exploded and relatives from all over the country are stopping by and emailing corrections and photos. If you have anything to add, let Mary or me know, and it will be added to the rapidly expanding Shenkin Saga. And the rest is history!

Richard Blalock
January 25, 2001