Seven generations of separation
This is a photo of my maternal grandmother's own grandparents. Grandma brought the picture with her when she and her husband and children immigrated to the U.S. from the Czarist Russian empire at the turn of the last century.
The photo was in the form of a picture postcard. On its back is the word "Jerusalem" in English, Arabic and French. The photographer's name, an Armenian, is also shown.
I estimate that the photo was taken in Palestine about the time of the American Civil War, or nearly 150 years ago. In pencil my mother wrote the name "Horowitz," identifying the couple as her mother's maternal grandparents. I believe that Horowitz is actually the English and Yiddish version of the Russian name "Gorovich."
My grandmother's family were natives of the province of Minsk in what is now the independent country of Belarus. The photo was apparently taken when Grandma's grandparents, who were Orthodox Jews, were on a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I do not know whether they remained in Palestine, which was then a province in the Ottoman Turkish empire, or ever returned to Russia.
If my arithmetic is correct, seven generations separate Grandma's grandparents from my own grandchildren. In short, the elderly couple in the photo are my grandchildren's great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.
Obviously, an enormous cultural gap exists between their generation and my grandchildren's. The technological and economic advances and the upheaval in cultural traditions have been far greater over the past 150 years than during any other 150-year period in recorded history.
Seven generations after their Horowitz ancestors, my grandchildren live a life that Grandma's grandparents could hardly have imagined.