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

By 1910, Morris Moskowitz was married and living on Second Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Morris, age 30, lived with wife, Liza, age 26. They had been married five years and she had given birth to two children who were still living, Rachel and Clara, who are listed here: ages 4 and 2. The census tells me that he immigrated in 1899 and was a naturalized citizen. She arrived in 1902.

Living in the household is his mother, Hanna Moskowitz, age 58, who immigrated in 1902. A widow, she has given birth to two children, both of whom are still living. As far as I can tell, these two children are Morris and Sheva / Sarah, who was mother to Morris Goldstein. 

Also living in the household is Max Goldstein, age 20. Although he is listed as a boarder, I believe he is Morris Moskowitz's nephew (and Hanna Moskowitz's grandson and Morris Goldstein's brother). The age and birth place of Romania agree with what I know, and he is listed with an occupation of "Taylor" (i.e. tailor). I'm just not so sure on the arrival date of 1905, since I have a variety of arrival dates for him from different sources.

In the additional columns to the right, Morris is listed with an occupation of Salesman in a Dry Goods Store. He and his wife can speak English, as can Max Goldstein (occupation: Taylor, own shop), but mother, Hanna, only speaks Yiddish.
~~~~~ has recently made New York State census records for 1915 and 1925 available. I easily found the family in the 1915 New York State Census, at 311 East 91st Street in New York City.

Here we see Morris Moskowitz (age 35, Dry Goods Salesman), wife Lizzie (age 32) with their three daughters, Rosie, Clara, and Lillie, ages 10, 7, and 1.

Note that the boarder in their home in 1915 is Annie Goldstein, age 20, a "skirt finisher." I believe this is Morris Goldstein's sister (see their passenger list record here) who died a year or two later in a streetcar accident.
In 1920, the family is at 355 East 82nd Street in Manhattan.

Morris, age 39, wife, Lizzie, age 36, and daughters, Rose, Clara, Lillie, ages 14, 12, and 6. His occupation is "Manager, Dept. Store."
In the 1925 NY State Census, the Moskowitz family was living in the Bronx, at 643 Southern Blvd.

Morris, age 45, and Lizzie, age 42, have been in the country for 25 years and are citizens. This census indicates that he became a citizen in 1908 and she became a citizen "by marriage" meaning that when he gained his citizenship, she did too, as his wife. His employment is at a Dry Goods Store. Their daughter, Rose, 19, is employed as a bookkeeper. Daughters Clara, 17, and Lillian, 11, are in school.
In 1930, the family has moved to an apartment building at 4526 44th Street in Queens.

Morris, age 51, wife Elizabeth, age 48, and daughters, Racheal, 24, Claire, 22, and Lillian, 16. He rents his apartment at $92 a month and it must be one of the nicest (or largest) apartments in the building, as the rent is the highest amount on this page.

Morris' occupation is Manager in Dry Goods. Daughter Racheal is employed as a Bookeeper in Hosiery and daughter Claire is employed as a Teacher. Youngest daughter, Lillian is still in school.
And of course, we get to see part of the family in the recently released 1940 census at 4542 43rd Street in Queens.

Morris and Lizzie are both listed as 60 years old and only the youngest daughter, Lillian is still living with them. Here's the American Dream: Morris, with an education of four years of high school (H4), and Lizzie with education through eighth grade (8), have a daughter who has education of four years of college (C4).

Morris worked 52 weeks in the previous year as a Clerk in the Dry Goods Business, earning $2,500. Lillian worked 52 weeks as an Office Clerk at a Crockery Company, earning $600. Using the calculator at, the $3,100 income for his family can be interpreted as having a pretty comfortable living.

By no means have I exhausted all research avenues for this Moskowitz family, but based on what my mother-in-law has told me, all of these census records do refer to the same family. I always find it fun to track a family through census records.

The following display shows the relationships. Hanna is my husband's second great grandmother and Morris Moskowitz is his second great uncle.

Hanna Moskowitz
/                     \
Sheva Moskowitz              Morris Moskowitz
(m. Isaac Goldstein)              (m. Lizzie ____)
|                                         /           |           \
Morris Goldstein                 Rose/Rachel    Clara/Claire     Lillie/Lillian
|                                                                 |
My mother-in-law, "A"             unknown second cousins of my mother-in-law
|                                                                 |
My husband                  unknown third cousins of my husband

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