She told me all about the small town just outside the big city of Minsk that her family was from, told me all kinds of traditions, and left me a treasured family heirloom that nobody knew about -- one of a pair of very fine gold, diamond, and ruby earrings from Russia. There is a long story of their provenance, which may or may not be true, but is wonderful.
That sounds intrigueing ... Perhaps a story even that deserves a thread of its own?
My grandparents from either side were no great talkers, not of old times. There's no immigration history there, either, although it depends on your definition: my greatgrandparents from my mothers side came from FRysia to The Hague ;-).
I have never been to family in Frysia, and know nothing of them; one of the very first stories I heard was last weekend when we went to visit my grandmother's sister, who is a lot more talkative. She told us of her grandfather, who was called Blue Pieter - because he used to literally drink himself a delirium in his hometown's cafe. Stumbling on his way back home at night would be chased on by the "white witches" he saw in the fog. His children all would become teetotallers, a tradition quickly reversed by her own generation ;-).
As for the point on Sephardic Jews in the Netherlands, there was a big community of Portueguese Jews in Amsterdam, who had once fled there and created a flourishing congregation.