Meet my parents...

Elizabeth and Harry Brown

 Occasionally I’m asked why my name is Brown and not Szwejd (pronounced “Schweid”) after my father’s family.  I’m told that Szwejd means tailor in Russian and my grandfather was the chief tailor for Polish nobility; that is, for the Radzivils. Szwejd also is derived from Polish designating a person who came to Poland from areas in Germany occupied by the Swedes in the 17th century.

After my father arrived in America on a temporary visa, he decided to settle permanently as an illegal immigrant.  And because his brother Morris living in Brooklyn carried the Schweid name, my father did not want to get him into trouble because of his illegal status.  Thus he researched for a new name and came up with Brown.  Perhaps his dark complexion and being nicknamed “Brownie” influenced his decision.

 My father, who was acquainted with his wife-to-be from growing up together in Nesvizh, traveled to Chicago.  They later married and that’s how I was born.

After my father departed Nesvizh, some of his family remained.