Wednesday, December 12, 2012

98 Years Ago ~ Wedding Wednesday

I have recently been writing about my husband's Great Aunt Regina and Great Uncle Jake Solomon. Not only have I found their marriage record, but a newspaper write up of their fiftieth anniversary celebration.

The following can be found at either or in the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records:

Jake Solomon, age 28 and a cook, and Regina Handler, age 22 and a seamstress, were married on [Sunday] the 13th day of December 1914 by Rabbi H. A. Liebovitz.

Interestingly, since this document asks for the bride's mother's maiden name, and it is given as Rozalia Handler, I think that this is where the story of Handler cousins marrying each other comes from: The parents of Regina, Joseph, and Sam were Adolf Handler and Rozalia (or Roza or Szoli or Sali or Sally) Handler.


Fifty years later, in the December 13, 1964, issue of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, comes the following notice:

From December 13, 1964, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio,
found at

A great find, as it confirms the names of the couple's children, as well as their addresses!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mystery Monday ~ Finding A Jewish Great-Grandmother

When I wrote about Great Aunt Regina (Handler) Solomon, I noted that when I found the Jake Solomon family in the 1920 Federal Census, at 2721 East 62nd Street, included in their household was Rose Goodman, age 60 (born about 1860), and with a relationship to the head of household noted as "Mother."

Detail for household of Jacob Solomon in the 1920 U.S. Census, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio.

Just a couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about the different names I had found for the mother of Regina, Sam and Joseph. Her name shows up as Rozalia, Roza, Szoli, Sali, or Sally in a variety of records.

Searching for an Ohio death for Rose Goodman, I found the following death certificate at Family Search:

Ohio Department of Health, Death Certificate, Ohio Deaths 1908-1953.
Record for Rosie Goodman, died 25 October 1932, found at

This is a death certificate for Rosie Goodman, who died in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on the evening of October 25, 1932. Additional facts from this death certificate:

1928 Cleveland City Directory: Solomon
Residence: 2166 E. 70 St.  [This happens to be where Jacob (a laborer) Solomon lived, based on the 1928 Cleveland City Directory, though I can't find this family in the 1930 Census.]

The deceased is Female, White, a Widow, with name of her husband listed as Aaron. Her date of birth is 1858, making her 74 years old.

Birthplace is Hungary. Name of father is Sam Goodman (born in Hungary) and name of mother (also born in Hungary) is Handel Handler.

1926 Cleveland City Directory: Handler
The name of the informant is [daughter-in-law,] Sadie Handler, of 6908 Hough Avenue, where I knew Sam and Sadie Handler were living at the time of the 1930 census. (They are also there in 1926.)

Rosie died of coronary thrombosis (a heart attack) due to arteriosclerosis. According to the death certificate, she was buried at Lansing Cemetery the following day, October 26, 1932. (As an aside - this was just before my father-in-law's tenth birthday. I need to follow up with him and see if he has any memory of "Rosie," his paternal grandmother.)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday's Obituary ~ Jake and Regina Solomon

Great Uncle Jake Solomon died on March 13, 1965, at age 81 (or 82, depending on the source of his birth year).

March 14, 1965, p. 14AA. Obituary/Death notice for Jake Solomon.,
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, online database (

Jake Solomon, dearly beloved husband of Regina, devoted father of Morton, Mrs. Esther Goldstein, Miss Helen Solomon and dear grandfather of four. Services at Berkowitz-Kumin, Inc., Memorial Chapel, 1985 S. Taylor Rd., Cleveland Heights, Sunday, March 14, at 11 a.m. Family will receive friends at the residence, 1263 Ranchland Rd., Mayfield Heights.


Great Aunt Regina (Handler) Solomon died on March 29, 1989, at age 97 (or 98 or 99, depending on the source of her birth year).

March 30, 1989, p. 19D. Death notice for Regina (Handler) Solomon.,
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, online database (

Regina Solomon, beloved wife of the late Jacob, devoted mother of Esther Goldstein (Mrs. William), Helen Solomon and the late Morton Solomon, loving grandmother of Gary Solomon, Steven Solomon, Lori B. Guiliani and Lori B. Solomon-Hess. great grandmother of Michael Solomon. Services Friday, March 31 [1989] at 11 a.m. at Miller-Deutsch Memorial Chapel Inc. 1985 S. Taylor Rd., Cleveland Hts. Family at the residence of Helen Solomon, 1263 Ranchland Rd., Mayfield Hts. Contributions may be made to Menorah Park. Interment Warrensville Cemetery.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Naturalization for Jake (1923) and Regina (1944) Solomon

Previously, I have shared the Naturalization records for brothers Josef Handler (oath of allegiance 1919) for Sam Handler (oath of allegiance 1920).

I have found naturalization records for my husband's great aunt Regina (Handler) Solomon and her husband, Jake (or Jacob) Solomon. Because great uncle Jake Solomon finalized his citizenship in 1923,  it doesn't look like Regina became a citizen at the same time because of changes in the naturalization laws.

The following documents can be found in "Naturalization Petition and Record Books for the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907-1946" at Fold3.

When Jake Solomon filed his Declaration of Intention on June 13, 1919, he was 36 years old and working as a cook. He reports that he is of dark complexion, 5'6" tall, weighing 170 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was born in Mamaros, Hungary, on 2 April 1883, and was living at 2721 E. 62nd Street in Cleveland. He arrived at the port of New York from Fiume, Hungary, on the ship Pannonia on or about December 25, 1908. (Yet I have not had luck finding that record; according to passenger list records at, no ships arrived at the port of New York on Christmas Day in 1908.) He indicates that he is married to Regina, who was born in Serbia.

Note that at the signature line, the Deputy Clerk, Emil A. Bartunek, signed Jake Solomon and indicated that the "X" was his mark; Jake didn't sign his own name on this document.


Three and a half years later, Jake Solomon signs his name on his Petition for Naturalization, at the time, the second step to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Matrilineal Monday ~ Great Aunt Regina Handler

I have written about brothers Sam Handler and Joseph Handler. Their younger sister, Regina Handler (pronounced Reh-GEE-nah, not Ri-JEE-nah), immigrated from Hungary with her mother and her sister-in-law in May 1911, and joined her brothers in Ohio. (See her immigration record here.)

In 1920, she and husband, Jacob Solomon, are living at 2721 East 62nd Street in Cleveland.

1920 U.S. Census, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, Roll T625_1369, E. D. 351,
page 9A, lines 15-19, household of Jacob Solomon

Detail of record of Solomon household in 1920
Jacob Solomon, age 36, immigrated in 1905 and has his papers (Pa); he is on his way to becoming a citizen. Further to the right, his occupation is listed as Cook in Restaurant. He and wife, "Ray" were both born in Hungary.

Ray (Regina) is 26 years old. Her year of immigration is unknown (though I know it as 1911) and she is listed as Al (an alien, not a U.S. citizen).

They have two young daughters: Esther, age 4, and Hellen, age 1 7/12, who were both born in Ohio.

Rose Goodman, age 60, is listed as Mother (of the Head of Household). I'm working on confirming who she is... Update: Here is more about Rose (Handler) Goodman, also known as Sally Handler - she is Regina's mother.


I have not found the Solomon family in the 1930 U.S. Census, though I did find a few Jacob Solomons in Cleveland City Directories around this time.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Jake and Regina Solomon

Another treasure of a photograph that I received after the death of my husband's Aunt Margaret. This is Uncle Jake Solomon and Aunt Regina (Handler) Solomon, taken possibly in the 1950's. Her name is pronounced with a hard 'g': Reh-GEE-nah, not Ri-JEE-nah.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mystery Monday ~ Genealogy Time Machine

Nick Gombash recently blogged about his wish for a genealogy time machine. Although I have had the wonderful opportunity to hear my mother-in-law share the family stories, I have often wished I could go back in time and ask some questions to clarify the family lore.

The top three ancestors of my husband's I would like to go back in time to meet are as follows:

Who: Max Levitt, who died May 3, 1935
When: Early 1890's, around when he immigrated
Where: New York City, before he moved to Woodbine, New Jersey
Why: When exactly did he immigrate, and from where, exactly? What are his parents' names and was it Max or his father who changed the family name from Levitas to Levitt because Levitas sounded "too fancy"? When exactly did he find out about the opportunity for jobs in Woodbine, New Jersey, and did he really make the decision to move there so quickly that when his son (Manuel, Emmanuel?) declared that he didn't want to move and ran away, he wasn't able to find him?

Who: Morris Goldstein
When: July 1914, the month he immigrated to America
Where: Iasi, Romania
Why: The family story says that his older brother, Max Goldstein, changed his name from Yancu to Goldstein. I would love to ask Morris (or his brother, Max) to tell me exactly when and where this name change was done. Morris came over under the name Goldstein, so presumably he changed his name in Romania, but did Max change his name before immigrating from Romania, or after reaching America? Also, what was it like to make this trip at the age of 17, with just his older sister accompanying him?

Who: Anna Honenváld
When: 1909-1911, when her daughter married and later left home for America
Where: Bonyhád, Tolna District, Hungary
Why: Her husband was Samuel Holländer, who would also be interesting to speak with. What did she think of her son-in-law, Josef Handler, who married her daughter, Lena Holländer? What were her feelings about their immigration to America? And what about when Lena returned to Hungary for a several-month visit in 1915? Was Lena eager to return to her husband in America?

Thanks, Nick, for this fun idea!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mystery Monday ~ Different Names-Same Person?

My husband's great grandmother on his father's side is somewhat of a mystery, especially since I have found several different names for her. I think they all refer to the same person. This post is to share the several sources I have for her name.

Her son, Sam, married on March 10, 1909, in Cleveland, Ohio. See Sam and Sadie's marriage license where the groom's father is Adolf and his mother is Sali Handler.


Her son, Josef, married on March 10, 1909, in Bonyhád, Tolna, Hungary. See Josef and Lena's marriage record where the groom's father is Aron Handler and his mother is Szoli or Száli Handler.


Several Handler family members arrived in New York City on May 25, 1911. See Handler Family passenger lists where she is listed as Roza Handler.


Her daughter, Regina, who arrived in New York City with her in May 1911, married in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 13, 1914 to Jacob Solomon. Regina's marriage license lists her father as Adolf and her mother as Rozalia Handler.


In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, the household of Regina (Handler) and Jacob Solomon includes a 60-year-old Rose Goodman, listed as mother and having immigrated in 1911. This may be Regina's mother, as Jacob's mother's name is Anna (as listed on their marriage license). Why she is listed here with the surname of Goodman is a mystery, assuming this is Regina's mother.

The biggest mystery is that I don't know when or where Rozalia (Roza, Rose, Szali, Sali) died, and I cannot find Regina and Jacob Solomon in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census to see if Rose Goodman is still living with them. My next task is to explore Cleveland, Ohio, City Directories.

Son, Sam Handler, died in 1952. His death certificate lists his mother as Sally Handler-Yugoslavia


However, she is listed as "Don't Know" on her son Joseph's death certificate in 1947 where his father is remembered as Aaron.

I have not found the Hungarian record for her marriage or her birth. (In fact, I'm not sure where in Hungary she was born, possibly Ilok, which is now in Croatia.) Until I find additional records, I am going to suppose that her name was Rozalia, and she was recorded as Roza, Szoli, Sali, or Sally, depending on the source.

December 10, 2012 update: I found a death certificate for Rosie Goodman and a burial record at JewishGen Online Burial Registry for Sally Handler who I believe is the same person.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Sam Handler's Death Certificate

During this past summer, I learned a lot about my husband's great uncle, Sam Handler. I discovered that he was a successful businessman in Cleveland, Ohio, and that along with his wife, Sadie, daughter, Esther, and son-in-law, David Simon, he moved to California, where he died in June 1954.

His obituary noted that he died at his residence, Sherman Oaks, California, on June 8, 1954. It was very easy to download a form at the website for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk and send away for his death certificate.

Closeup of the certificate is below:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun ~ Your Matrilineal Line

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge is as follows:

1) List your matrilineal line - your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!

2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.

3) Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.

4)  If you have done this before, please do your father's matrilineal line, or your grandfather's matrilineal line, or your spouse's matrilineal line.

5)  Does this list spur you to find distant cousins that might share one of your matrilineal lines?

My husband's matrilineal line is as follows:

a) his mother, still living
b) Rose Levitt (1902, NJ - 1995, NJ) married Morris Goldstein
c) Golda Segal (about 1869, Russia - 1952, PA) married Max Levitt
d) unknown (d. before the 1891 immigration of her husband and children) married Simche Siegel

My husband has not had his mitochondrial DNA tested. It might be interesting to confirm that his mother's maternal line originated in what is now known as Ukraine. Simche and his children immigrated from Shytomir, Russia (now Ukraine) in December 1891.

Note that both men and women receive mitochondrial DNA from their mothers; only women pass it along to their children. A relatively concise summary of genetic genealogy (a huge and complex topic) can be found at The Genetic Genealogist blog.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Pennsylvania Death Certificate for Goldie Levitt

An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Last winter/spring, when the state of Pennsylvania made death records from 1906-1961 available, I explored the Pennsylvania Department of Health website and learned how to obtain a death record.

I obtained many death certificates for my ancestors (see my great grandfather's at From Maine to Kentucky) and one for my husband's great grandmother, Golda Segal Levitt (see her photo) with hopes of finding her birthdate and that elusive mother's name (given name and surname).

Handwritten entries are in blue. My editorial comments are bracketed.

1. Place of Death:
    a. County: Delaware
    b. City / Borough: Marple (Broomall) Pa
    c. Length of Stay (in this place): - [I don't know how long she was at this nursing home.]
    d. Full name of hospital or institution: Rest Haven for Convalescence
 2. Usual Residence:
   a. State: NJ
   b. County: 32 [Should read Cape May. Also, 32 doesn't indicate the number of years there, as I know she was living in Woodbine since before 1900!]
   c. City: Woodbine
   d. Street Address: Woodbine, N. J. [Possibly Jackson Avenue.]
 3. Name of Deceased: Goldie Levitt
 4. Date of Death: 9-14-52
 5. Sex: Female
 6. Color or race: White
 7. Widowed
 8. Date of Birth: Unknown [darn - I was really hoping for something here!]
 9. Age (in years, last birthday): 80 [Based on other records, I think she could have been 82 or 83.]
10a. Usual Occupation: None
10b. Kind of Business or Industry: None
11. Birthplace: Russia [See 1891 passenger lists here.]
12. Citizen of What Country: U.S.A. [I don't know when she became a citizen.]
13. Father's Name: Simche Siegel [Search this blog for Simche to read what I've found for him.]
14. Mother's Maiden Name: Unknown [Disappointment here, but not surprise.]
15. Was Deceased Ever in U.S. Armed Forces: -
16. Social Security No.: None
17. Informant's own signature; Address: Morton Levitt, Pennsgrove, N. J. [one of her sons]
18. Cause of Death: Coronary Sclerosis
      Interval between onset and death: Unknown
22. Indicates that the doctor had cared for her from 5-17-1949 to 8-14-1952, had last seen her alive on 8-14-1952, and that she died at 11:55 am.
23. Doctor's Signature: George P. Crillman, MD [not sure of this signature]
23b. Address: 2193 W Chester Pike, Broomall, Pa
23c. Date Signed: 9/14/52
24a. Burial
24b. Date: 9-15-52
24c. Name of Cemetery: Woodbine Brotherhood
24d. Location (City, State): Woodbine, NJ [See her gravestone here.]

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Golda Segal Levitt

My husband's maternal great grandmother.

Goldie (Segal) Levitt
Born circa 1870 in Russia
Died September 14, 1952, in Pennsylvania

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ~ Goldstein Brothers

While on vacation this past month, I took my portable scanner and scanned a whole bunch of photographs at my in-laws' home.

Left to right: Morris Goldstein, Rose (Levitt) Goldstein, Max Goldstein, Lottie (Rosen) Goldstein

I recognized Max and Lottie because, a few days earlier, we had visited Ellis Island, where I took a snapshot of the following:

Taken at Ellis Island's American Flag of Faces™

The American Flag of Faces™ located in the museum’s main entrance hall is an animated red, white and blue flag filled with a montage of images submitted by individuals of their families, their ancestors, or even themselves. Visitors can search by name to call up a photo, which will then dynamically appear in the center of the Flag.
When I searched for "Goldstein" Max and Lottie appeared. When I clicked on either name, this photograph appeared, then shrank in size and became a part of the montage.

Going to the website link and clicking on Intro to Flag of Faces brings you to a page where you can do the same search for a surname of an immigrant ancestor, or make a donation to submit your own photograph.

It would be fun to connect with the cousin who submitted this photograph and see if he / she has any other photographs!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday's Obituary ~ Sam Handler, 1954

I've been writing about the Sam Handler family and recently wondered where Sam and Sadie died. I searched for Sam Handler on and found a Sam Handler in the death index in Los Angeles, California that possibly fit. When I asked my husband if he remembered any relatives going to California, he did! He remembered a meeting a Simon (which was David Simon, who married Sam and Sadie's daughter, Esther) at a Handler cousin wedding in Ohio in 1988. When I found Sadie Handler in the California death index in 1988 with mother's maiden name of Hershkowitz, that confirmed that I found them.

I noted this in an email to the reader in Ohio who has taken an interest in this research and once again I must thank him for directing me to another Cleveland, Ohio, research source - the Cleveland Public Library website.

The Cleveland Public Library has a Research page with information about how to search for Death Notices, Obituaries and Death Certificates. One section is the Cleveland Necrology File. From the initial search page is the following description:
The Cleveland Necrology File was produced from a microfilmed copy of an alphabetical card file containing local cemetery records and newspaper death notices gathered by the staff of the Cleveland Public Library. 
The database includes paid death notices published in the following newspapers:
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer - 1850-1975
  • The Cleveland Herald - 1833, 1847-1848, 1876, 1878-1879
  • The Cleveland Press - 1941-1975
Searching for Sam Handler, I find the following:
Id#: 0534346
Name: Handler, Sam
Date: Jun 14 1954
Source: Cleveland Press;  Cleveland Necrology File, Reel #115.
Notes: Handler, Sam, formerly of Cleveland, passed away June 8 at his residence, Sherman Oaks, Calif., beloved husband of Sadie, dearly devoted father of Arthur Handley [sic] of Cleveland and Mrs. Esther Simon of Sherman Oaks, Calif., dear brother of Mrs. Regina Solomon of Cleveland, and dear grandfather. Services and interment were held on June 9, at Los Angeles, Calif.
Note that the obituary doesn't indicate that he was predeceased by an older brother, Joseph Handler.

Update: See his death certificate.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday's Tip ~ Using JewishGen Gazetteer

My husband's great uncle Sam Handler reported his birthplace as "Erdvick, Hungary" on his 1919 Naturalization Papers.

From the Declaration of Intention (December 31, 1912)

From the Petition for Naturalization (March 20, 1919)

From WWII Draft Card
However, by the time he had to provide information for the World War II Draft Registration, he reported that he was born in Illok, Hungary, which is where his brother, Joe Handler reported he was born. (See Josef's passenger list and naturalization papers.)

I had not had luck finding a community with the name of Erdvick, and I thank the reader of my blog who was a little more creative with looking for this community and searched for Erdevick at the JewishGen Gazetteer.

The result looks like this:

Erdevick is in what is now Serbia.

Illok (or Ilok) is in what is now known as Croatia:

Ilok is about 16 km or 10 miles north of Erdevick.

So today's tip is to remember to be creative as you search for a Jewish community in the JewishGen database. The spelling may not be what you think it is.

Update / clarification: Be aware of the different search methods drop-down box at the bottom of the search screen AND if you think you know the general area of the community, in this case, possibly near Ilok, use an online map, like Google Maps to scan for the community name.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Surprise in the 1910 Census

My husband's grandfather, Josef (Joseph / Joe) Handler, arrived in America on April 14, 1910. (See his passenger list record here.) His younger brother, Sam Handler, supposedly arrived in January 1905 (according to his naturalization papers), although I have not been able to find him on a passenger list.

Some 1910 Enumerator Instructions, from
"The 1910 Census was begun on 15 April 1910. The actual date of the enumeration appears on the heading of each page of the census schedule, but all responses were to reflect the individual's status as of 15 April, even if the status had changed between 15 April and the day of enumeration. For example, children born between 15 April and the day of enumeration were not to be listed, while individuals alive on 15 April but deceased when the enumerator arrived were to be counted."
So Josef Handler WAS in America as of the official 1910 census date of April 15, 1910 (having arrived the day before), though likely in New York City or on a train to Cleveland, Ohio. When the census enumerator arrived in Sam Handler's neighborhood at 2515 Woodland Avenue, in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 25, look who is included in his household:

Although the enumerator got the last name wrong (Hande should be Handler), this is the family of Sam (age 23) and Sadie (age 19) Handler (married in 1909), with their daughter, Esther, who was born earlier that year (note the age of 4/12). And also in the household is Joe, brother to the Head of Household, Sam.

Ger.-German references the birthplace and native language for Sam and Joe (incorrect, as we know from other records and family stories that they were born in Hungary).

Further to the right, we see that Sam reported that he arrived in the U.S. in 1906 and has his papers (on his way to becoming a citizen); Sadie arrived in 1909, and Joe arrived in 1910 (in fact, just eleven days earlier!). Sam and Sadie can speak English, but Joe is listed as speaking German, again probably should be Hungarian or Magyar. Sam's occupation is as a salesman in a Grocery Store.  It looks like Joe is probably looking to apply for a factory job.

I never thought I would find Josef Handler in the 1910 Census, but in doing research on his brother, Sam, I found him!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Workday Wednesday ~ Sam Handler

These past few weeks I've been focusing on my husband's great uncle Sam Handler. Census records, although often full of errors, can provide a way to follow a family through the decades, and it's interesting to see how a person's occupation is listed through the years. Using city directories along with census records helps clarify what an ancestor was doing for a living and if his (or her) occupation changed over time.

At Fold3, I found Samuel Handler in the 1918 Cleveland City Directory. His occupation (as on his WWI Draft Registration Card) is "confectionery," meaning he made candy of some sort.

A couple of years later, in 1920, at 6314 Central Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, Sam Handler's family is listed with his wife and two children.

Sam is 32 years old, Sadie is 29, and their children, Esther and Arthur are 10 and 7 and in school. In this census record, it looks like he and his wife immigrated in 1903, and the "Pa" indicates that he has his papers for naturalization, meaning that he is in the process of becoming a citizen. (Sadie is still considered an Alien.) (They became citizens later in 1920.) It looks like they are reporting that they were born in Vienna, Austria, yet their "Mother Tongue" is listed as Hungarian Magyar. (According to Sam's naturalization papers, they were both born in Hungary.)

Sam's occupation is Proprietor of a Fruit Store (healthier than confectionery) and is self-employed (indicated by OA).

Monday, July 23, 2012

AncestryDNA ~ One Jewish Result is one of the smaller players in the genealogy DNA testing business now, but it's doing its best to get itself out there and get more people to use its DNA testing.

By no means am I an expert in genetic genealogy, but very simplistically, there are three general tests that a person can do, depending on what he or she wants to learn about (and depending on how much money that person is willing or able to spend). There is mtDNA (maternal) testing, which traces a person's (either male or female) maternal ancestors (mother's mother's mother, etc.) and lets that person know what his or her maternal origins are 20,000 to 100,000 years ago. There's also Y-DNA testing, which only men can take, which traces a man's father's father's father's line, which can be used for surname studies for men trying to confirm if they descend from the same man (assuming the surname has remained the same over the years).

And there's autosomal DNA testing, which is a test that provides a breakdown of one's ethnic percentages, to find out where all your ancestors may have come from; you just don't know which ancestors make up which pieces of the pie. It's this last type of testing that AncestryDNA has been promoting recently. With a couple million users and online family trees, this is another way to help people try to find common ancestors on their trees and discover second, third or fourth (or even more distant) cousins.

After I had my autosomal DNA tested last winter during its beta test phase (and reported about it here), made its autosomal DNA test publicly available, though it still appears to be in beta. I had my husband take it and his results came in a couple of weeks ago. If you've been following my blog, you'll see that I've traced his ancestry back to Hungary (paternal grandparents), Romania (maternal grandfather), Shytomir / Zhitomir, Ukraine (maternal great grandmother), and Poland/Austria/Russia, depending on the source (maternal great grandfather).

So we were somewhat surprised when the results came in and we saw the following:

Husband's genetic ethnicity (according to AncestryDNA results)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sympathy Saturday ~ A Death Followed by a Birth

In researching the Sam Handler family, and finding Sam Handler's Naturalization Papers, I discovered that Sam and Sadie had a third child after Esther (b. 1910) and Arthur (b. 1912). According to his Petition for Naturalization, Alfred was born on August 16, 1914.

However, I had not found him in subsequent census records, which showed Sam and Sadie with only two children, Esther and Arthur, so I checked "Ohio Deaths 1908-1953" at FamilySearch and found a death certificate for Alfred Handler who died July 30, 1919, of Acute Lymphoid Leukaemia, just a few days before his fifth birthday.

According to Sam's brother Josef Handler's naturalization papers, Josef and Lena Handler's son Alfred was born on August 10, 1919, less than two weeks after his cousin's death. With the tradition in Jewish families of naming children after deceased relatives, I wonder if this Alfred was named after his recently deceased cousin.

From the naturalization papers for Josef Handler

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sam Handler Naturalization Papers 1920

As I noted in Josef Handler's Naturalization Papers, if you have Ohio ancestors, you may have luck finding information for naturalizations from the United States District Court, Cleveland, (1907-1946) at Fold3.

Sam Handler became a naturalized citizen in Cleveland about a month before his younger brother, Joseph Handler became a naturalized citizen in Akron. The following images are from:
"Naturalization Petition and Record Books for the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907-1946", digital image, The National Archives (; Original data from The National Archives), Record for Sam Handler, naturalization file no. 1386239.

His Declaration of Intention (31 Dec 1912) tells us that he works as a Clerk and has dark complexion, black hair, blue eyes and is 5'6" tall and 182 lbs. His birthdate is December 27, 1887, and he was born in Erdvick, Hungary, (a location which I have not been able to identify, not even in the JewishGen Communities Database). His World War II Draft Card has a birthplace of Illok, Hungary, which is where his older brother Joseph was born, which was his prior foreign residence.

Update: With help from a reader, I found Erdvick in the JewishGen Communities Database.

Although this declaration indicates that he arrived in America on the Fatherland (Vaderland) on January 18, 1905, I have not had luck finding him on a passenger list.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wedding Wednesday ~ Sam and Sadie, 1909

Earlier this year, I posted a marriage record for my husband's grandparents, Josef Handler and Lena Hollander. They were married in Bonyhád, Tolna, Hungary, on March 10, 1909.

Soon afterward, I found the record for the marriage of Sam Handler and Szedy Herzkovitz at in Ohio County Marriages, 1789-1994.

Sam Handler, age 22, and Szedy Herskovitz, age 20, were married on March 10, 1909.

I wonder what the brothers thought about their common wedding anniversary dates.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Military Monday ~ Sam Handler's Draft Cards

Draft registration records at are a wealth of information for those men born during certain years in the late 19th century. (I shared Joseph Handler's Draft Cards last week.) My husband's great uncle Sam Handler (Joseph's brother) is found in a World War I Registration Card dated June 5, 1917., U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Provo, UT, USA,
The Generations Network, Inc., 2007),, Database online.
Roll: WWII_2246615; Local board: Cleveland, Ohio. Record for Sam Handler.

This record tells me that Sam Handler is 30 years old, living at 6304 Central [Avenue], Cleveland, Ohio. He was born December 27, 1887, in what looks like Hungar Austria (okay, that's a little vague, but borders were changing...). In answer to the question "Are you a natural-born citizen, a naturalized citizen, an alien, or have you declared your intention," he is "Declared." (He became a citizen in May 1920.) He considers himself a citizen of Austria.

His occupation is "confectionary" and he is employed "By himself" in Cleveland. He is supporting a wife and three children; he is married; and he considers himself caucasian. He has no military experience. He claims exemption from the draft due to wife and 3 children.

On the right hand side of the card, it is noted that he is tall and stout, with gray eyes, dark hair (and not bald - Handlers keep their head of hair!) "None" refers to the fact that he has no disability.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Military Monday ~ Joseph Handler's Draft Cards

In doing research on another Handler family member, I realized that I have not yet shared the Draft Cards for my husband's paternal grandfather.

Courtesy of's World War I Draft Registration Cards description:
The World War I draft consisted of three separate registrations.
  • First Registration. The registration on 5 June 1917, was for men aged twenty-one to thirty-one—men born between 6 June 1886 and 5 June 1896.
  • Second Registration. The registration on 5 June 1918, was for men who had turned twenty-one years of age since the previous registration—men born between 6 June 1896 and 5 June 1897. Men who had not previously registered and were not already in the military also registered. In addition, a supplemental registration on 24 August 1918, was for men who turned twenty-one years of age since 5 June 1918.
  • Third Registration. The registration on 12 Sept 1918, was for men aged eighteen to twenty-one and thirty-one to forty-five—men born between 11 Sept 1872 and 12 Sept 1900.
Registration Cards
Each of the three separate registrations used a slightly different version of the draft registration card. Because different cards were used, the information included in each varies.
I find 34-year-old Joe Handler in the World War I Draft Registration records in September 1918 (third registration)., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Provo, UT, USA, The Generations Network, Inc., 2005),, Database online. Registration Location: Summit County, Ohio;
Roll: 1819623; Draft Board:  5. Record for Joseph Handler.

Joe Handler is living at 646 Bell [Street], Akron, Ohio. He was born August 24, 1884. He is a declared alien, which indicates that he has declared his intention to become a citizen. (Joseph Handler became a citizen in June 1920. See his naturalization here.)

This also indicates his occupation, but it's challenging to read. Does that look like "Bar Tender" and the employer is "Handler + Weinberg"? It's also hard to read the address: possibly 1223 Sweitzer, Akron, Summit, Ohio.

His nearest relative is his wife, Lena Handler, at 646 Bell [Street], Akron. The next page indicates that Joseph is of medium height, medium build, with brown eyes and black hair.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Sheva Moskowitz

My husband's great grandmother, Sheva Moskowitz, who is mentioned in a recent post about Moskowitz cousins and is listed as Sarah Moskowitz on her son Morris Goldstein's death certificate. As I have mentioned, she was of Iași (Yassy), Romania, and I don't think she ever came to America.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Morris Goldstein's Death Certificate

An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I obtained this death certificate almost twenty years ago when I first started researching my husband's genealogy. I obtained this in Ventnor City Hall on the same day that I visited the Atlantic City Hall and obtained a death certificate for my husband's great grandfather, Max Levitt, as well as a death certificate for a great grandfather of mine who died in Atlantic City in 1931.

Handwritten entries are in blue. My editorial comments and additions are bracketed.

 1. Place of Death:
    a. County: Atlantic
    b. City: Ventnor
    c. Length of Stay (in this place): 4 yrs  [Prior to 1961, he lived in Woodbine.]
    d. If not in hospital or institution give street address or location: 118 N. Avolyn
 2. Usual Residence:
   a. State: NJ
   b. County: Atl. [Atlantic]
   c. City: Ventnor
   d. Street Address: 118 N. Avolyn Ave. [He and wife, Rose, lived with their daughter, son-in-law, and four grandsons.]
 3. Name of Deceased: Morris Goldstein
 4. Date of Death: Oct. 11, 1965
 5. Sex: Male
 6. Color or race: White
 7. Married
 8. Date of Birth: April 20, 1897
 9. Age: 68 years
10a. Usual Occupation: Retired
10b. Kind of Business or Industry: Tailor
11. Birthplace: Roumania
12. Citizen of What Country: - [I still haven't found his naturalization papers.]
13. Father's Name: Isaac Goldstein [He did not immigrate; he remained in Romaina.]
14. Mother's Maiden Name: Sarah Moskowitz [It's great when you get a maiden name!]
15. Was Deceased Ever in U.S. Armed Forces: - [Should be "yes" as he served in WWI.]
16. Social Security No.: -
17. Informant: -
18. Cause of Death: Acute Coronary Occlusion (5 min.) due to Coronary Heart Disease (6 yrs)

22. Indicates that the doctor had cared for him from December 1962, had last seen him alive on September 29, 1965, and that he died at 2:00 pm
23. Doctor's Signature: A. Bataglia, MD
23b. Address: 6505 Atlantic
23c. Date Signed: 10/13/65
24a. Burial
24b. Date: Oct 13, 1965
24c. Name of Cemetery: Woodbine Brotherhood
24d. Location (City, State): Woodbine, NJ [See photo of his stone here.]

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Moskowitz Cousins in Census Records

As I have written before, my mother-in-law, "A", has enjoyed sharing family memories with me and I have been able to use her memories to find out a little bit more about these families in online records.

Her father's mother was Sheva Moskowitz. I first found reference to Sarah Moskowitz on Morris Goldstein's death certificate. (Sarah is an Americanized version of the name Sheva.) I'm not sure if Sheva ever immigrated from Romania to America, though three of her children did (Max, Anna, and Morris Goldstein). Sheva's brother was known to "A" as great uncle Morris Moskowitz. I had the name in my Family Tree Maker genealogy program for quite a while, but had never done much research on him. Recently, I asked about him and heard the following stories.

"A" grew up in Woodbine, New Jersey, but had plenty of relatives who still lived in the New York City area. "A" remembers visiting Uncle Morris at his home on Long Island (likely in the late 1930's or early 1940's). She remembers that he had a dry goods store on Long Island and that he was very successful. He was a tall, thin man with a very kind wife. They had three daughters, but she couldn't remember their names. One daughter married a very nice man who practiced law. Another daughter married a man with the surname Mann, and the third daughter married after the war, but she couldn't remember his name. She does remember visiting Radio City Music Hall with this cousin and her boyfriend (or husband) when her brother Stanley returned from his war service.

In his later years, great Uncle Morris lost his eyesight, possibly due to diabetes, she thinks. In his apartment, he had a string to guide him from his bedroom to his living room to his kitchen. At this time, he spent most of his time in his apartment, as he was too ashamed to be seen in public, where he would be recognized by many former customers and he wouldn't be able to recognize them, due to his blindness. She doesn't remember exactly when he died, but believes it was in the early to mid 1950's.

"A" remembers that she drove to Long Island to visit the family after she got her driver's license (early to mid 1940's), but doesn't remember this family ever visiting her family in New Jersey.

With this information, I started searching census records on

Saturday, June 2, 2012

One Blogging Year into this Journey

I started this blog one year ago as a separate blog from my first one (From Maine to Kentucky), because researching my husband's ancestors is quite different from researching mine. During this year, in addition to being able to share family information based on research I had done over the past several years, I also was able to share documents, photographs, and stories newly discovered this year.

Through Blogger, I am able to view some basic statistics about which of my posts are most often viewed.

The top five blog posts by number of views are:
  1. Amanuensis Monday ~ Max Levitt's Death Certificate - I'm not sure why this is the most popular of the posts. Although this document provided me with a father's name, the mother's name is "unknown."
  2. Military Monday ~ WWII brothers die in action - This doesn't surprise me. Stories of brothers dying in any war are poignant and I'm glad that I am able to keep these men's memories alive.
  3. Tuesday's Tip: Passenger Lists... - This was number one for quite awhile. This is a post where I made discoveries as I wrote because I was analyzing the documents so closely. I feel that it is a good example of what you can find when you analyze passenger lists very closely.
  4. Tombstone Tuesday ~ Woodbine Brotherhood Cemetery (Part 2) - This is the second of three posts I wrote about family members buried in a small Jewish cemetery in New Jersey. I'll venture a guess that this one is more popular than the others because of the additional Hebrew on these stones for which I was able to obtain a translation.
  5. Josef Handler's Naturalization papers - This shows what a treasure naturalization papers can be. I was thrilled to find digitized naturalization papers at Fold3 for my husband's grandfather which included birth dates for his older siblings.
Although I was hoping to post once a week (on average), this is the 46th post of my first year, so I didn't quite keep up that pace. I hope to continue at a pace of about one post a week.

Thanks to geneabloggers in general and Geneabloggers, the website, for the support and encouragement to share family stories for my husband's family and others to enjoy. Thank you to the distant cousins who have reached out to me and shared what they could. And thank you to those of you who continue to read my blog; I hope you've been enjoying it and continue to read it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Off to War

This is a snapshot of my father-in-law with his sisters, Margaret and Belle, likely just before he headed to Army training for World War II in April 1943. One older brother, Alfred, enlisted in May 1941, and another older brother, Louis, enlisted in November 1942. I shared snapshots of them on Memorial Day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day ~ Remember the Handler brothers

Two of my husband's uncles died serving their country during World War II. Until recently, I had only seen their official military portraits, which I posted when I wrote about their service, and one formal family portrait.

With my recent acquisition of a shopping bag full of old Handler family photographs, I am able to see snapshots of my husband's uncles, showing them in their daily life before going off to war.

Alfred was born on August 10, 1919, in Akron, Ohio, during the time that his father, Joseph, was becoming a naturalized citizen. His name and birthdate are noted on Joseph's naturalization papers. He married Rebecca <unknown> at some time during the war. I'm still trying to find details about his marriage and his wife.

Louis was born on July 3, 1921, in Akron, Ohio. I found his birth date on his marriage record. He attended college for a couple of years before enlisting in the Army. He married Isabelle Brustein on September 2, 1943. He died less than a year later, before his son was born.

I have also shared what I found out about the Handler family in the 1940 US Census.

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who fought and gave their lives for our country.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Hollanders in Hungary

Holländer relatives in Bonyhád, Hungary

Photographer imprint
Here is another photograph from my husband's late aunt's collection. Family members believe that the woman on the left is Lena (Holländer) Handler's mother, Anna (Honenváld) Holländer. I'm guessing that the woman standing next to Anna might be a daughter, therefore one of Lena's sisters. Could the man on the right be Lena's father, Samuel Hollander (born 1863)?

August 2013: I got to discuss this photograph with an expert.

I'm not sure when this was taken and I am hoping to do more research in the Hungary Civil Registration records to find more information on the Hungarian branch of the family.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Mother and son

Arpad Handler (b. Jan 1910) and his mother Lena (Hollander) Handler

As I recently noted, I am thankful for having received a photograph collection from my husband's recently deceased aunt. This is the oldest photograph in the collection, which I would date to late 1910 or early 1911, based on Uncle Art's birth being in January 1910. (Immigration record lists his name as Arpad.) The photographer imprint is Molnár Lajos, Bonyhád, so I know the photo was taken before Lena immigrated to America. Perhaps this photo was taken to send to Josef, who had immigrated in April 1910, soon after Arpad was born. Lena and Arpad followed Josef to America in May 1911.