Saturday, September 24, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ Josef Handler's Naturalization papers

While searching for naturalization records for my husband's immigrant ancestors, I found the entire file for his grandfather Josef/Joseph Handler at Fold3 (formerly Footnote) as one long PDF. The source file is titled: Naturalization Petition and Record Books for the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907-1946. For this post, I have separated it into the different documents that illustrate the steps that Josef had to take between 1910 and 1920 to become a U.S. citizen.

The Certificate of Arrival confirms that Josef Handler arrived at New York, New York on April 14, 1910 on the ship Oceanic. See my post about the Handler immigration for details.

Next came the May 27, 1914, Declaration of Intention, which has information that doesn't quite agree with the information found on the passenger list.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Segal Family

Segal Family photograph, early 1890's.
Written on the back (about 100 years later) is Golda, Eddie, Leah, Rachel
However, I believe the sisters' names are Golda, Hannah and Rachel.

See Thankful Thursday for details about the family's immigration to America in 1891.

Wordless Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday ~ International Passenger Lists

And connecting with distant cousins...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently received an email from a second cousin of my mother-in-law who has done quite a bit of research on their common Segal (Siegel) immigrant ancestor. He was able to tell me the exact dates and ships that Simche Siegel and his family traveled on to get to America in 1891.

The Siegel family first traveled from Hamburg, Germany, to Glasgow, Scotland, on the ship Coblenz leaving Hamburg on November 27, 1891. This is where I am thankful to for providing free access to their international passenger lists from August 29 to September 5, because with my U.S. Membership, I do not have access to passenger lists between Hamburg and Glasgow. I took advantage and found the following. (Click to enlarge.)

Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934
(Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2008),, Database online. Record for Simche Siegel.

With a little help from Google Translate, I find that this is a list of people who are going to America via Glasgow on the steamship Coblenz. The paragraph above Zuname (Surname) and Vornamen (First name) says that people belonging to a family must be listed together and denoted as a family by a bracket. In looking at the list of people bracketed with Simche Siegel above, it looks like there were more family members who came with him than I originally thought:
Simche, age 56
Blume, age 26
Golde, age 22
Hinde, age 19
Itzig, age 17
Lea, age 10/12
Wolf, age 27
Rachel, age 25
Reisel, age 3/12
Mayer, age 26
Freide, age 25
Aron, age 4
Basse, age 6/12

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Census Searching: Listen to All Family Stories

When I first started searching for family in the U.S. Federal Census, I started with what I knew. That meant talking to family members about what they remembered about their parents, grandparents, and those ancestors' siblings. When there are several people with the same name in a census year, or when people go by different names, as happened with Jewish immigrants who had a Hebrew given name and an Americanized name, sometimes the best way to find a family is not by searching for the name of the head of household, but by searching for a family member.

From family stories, I have some information about my husband's grandmother's grandfather, the father of Golda Segal Levitt (also known as Goldie or Gussie). I was told that he had four children with his first wife (name unknown): Golda, Eddie, Hannah, and Rachel; they all immigrated to America from Russia around 1890. He married again and had three children, two boys and a girl. Based on what I found on her tombstone and what my mother-in-law could tell me, I started looking for Simcha Segal in Cape May County, New Jersey. I found him in the 1895 New Jersey state census in Dennis Township, Cape May County. database online. New Jersey State Census, 1895,
page 43, Family 336, Record for Simka Segal
Members of this household include:
Simka Segal, "male all other nationalities," age between 20 and 60
Rebecca Segal, "female all other nationalities," age between 20 and 60
Isaac Segal, "male all other nationalities," age between 20 and 60
Golda Segal, "female all other nationalities," age between 20 and 60
Lillie Segal, "female all other nationalities," age 5 years and younger
Barnet Napadensky, "male all other nationalities," age between 20 and 60
Hannah Napadensky, "female all other nationalities," age between 20 and 60
Ollie Napadensky, "native born female," age 5 years and younger

Now, I question some of this information, but it gives me a start. Hannah Segal was sister to Golda Segal and she married Barnet Napadensky (later Nappen), so that confirms for me that this is the right family unit. After finding this state census record, I couldn't find any more record of a Simka/Simcha Segal/Siegel in southern New Jersey in the U.S. Federal Census records, so I set this family aside for the time being.

Yesterday, I received an email from a second cousin once removed of my husband. He is descended from the second wife of Simcha Segal. He was able to give me the names of the three children that Simcha fathered with his second wife: Lena, Lewis/Louis, and Israel/Edward. This gave me more names to search in the U.S. Federal Censuses.

I searched for Lewis Segal with an approximate age of 5 (i.e. born in 1905 +/- 5 years) in the 1910 census and found the family with the head of household as Samuel Segal.

1910 U.S. Federal Census, Holly Beach, Cape May County, New Jersey; Roll: T624_870;
Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 90; Record for Samuel Segal.
The federal census tells me so much more - Rebecca is the name of his wife (family, both sides, remembered her name as Blume), and there are the children: Lena (age 19, born in Russia), Louis (age 10, born in New Jersey), and Israel (age 7, born in New Jersey). Also listed is a Benjiman Levin, a brother-in-law. Perhaps Rebecca's maiden name is Levin? There is a lot more digging to do.

There are several places online to find U.S. Federal Census images, some indexed and some not. I've found that names can be indexed differently at different sites, so it's always worth it to try searching for that elusive ancestor at multiple websites, if possible. has just announced that it is providing census images at