My Swiss great-grandfather was called Juli in Russian, but he preferred the French "Jules," having been born near Geneva (of German-Swiss descent). Three months after Jules' death, his newborn grandson was named after him: Juli - who came to prefer a different spelling: Yul.
By 1884, Jules had married a Russian woman, and celebrated the arrival of the first of six children. Born in Switzerland, he added Russian citizenship to his Swiss nationality.
This earliest photo of Vladivostok was taken the year Jules first arrived and moved his shipping business to this fledgling outpost.
Plans for the Trans-Siberian Railroad were now under way with Vladivostok as its eastern terminus; Jules was able to coax more European bankers and merchants to settle in the tax-free port.
Twenty-five years after becoming a city, Vladivostok was the capital of the region. Like that other remote cultural outpost, San Francisco, the city already had a small gilt Concert Hall and chose a European architect to design the city.
Boris, the middle son of Jules and Natalia, earned a Masters degree in mine engineering in St. Petersburg, before operating the Bryner mines north of Vladivostok. He married Mara Blagovidova and had two children, Vera and Yul Brynner (both later added a second 'n' to Bryner, to suggest the correct pronunciation. "It rhymes with 'sinner,'" Yul liked to say).
Jules, seated on the left, was 60; standing in the center is Natalya. Seated on the right is his son, Boris, my grandfather, with his two brothers behind him; the other young women are their sisters (with one husband). Boris, 20, was then a cadet in the Tsar's army.