Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Rebecca Katz

A wonderful Find A Grave volunteer set up several memorials in the Beth Kehillah Cemetery in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, where I found Rebecca (Blume) and Benjamin Katz.

Courtesy FindAGrave volunteer, Carol Chakurda

Although the tombstone only has the year of death, the Hebrew tells me the date of death. I used the Deciphering Hebrew Tombstone Dates at the Steve Morse website to figure out what the Hebrew said (and then received confirmation from members of the Tracing the Tribe Facebook Group):

Benjamin:
Binyamin son of Mr. Meir, who went to his eternal rest on 23 Nisan 5712 (April 17-18, 1952).

Rebecca:
Bluma daughter of Mr. Eliezer, who went to her eternal rest on 2 Sivan 5714 (June 2-3, 1954).

I still need to find additional confirmation of the secular date of death. Hebrew dates start at sundown.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Blume (or Rebecca) Katz Siegel Katz

The first wife of my husband's second great grandfather, Simche Siegel (believed to be named Rose), died before Simche immigrated to America. His second wife appears named as Rebecca, Bertha or Blume, depending on the record. Also depending on the record, she was born anywhere between 1865 (passenger list) and 1879 (the 1930 U.S. Census). Considering her first child was born about 1891, it's not possible for her to have been born in 1879!

The extended Siegel family arrived in New York City on December 15, 1891, on the Circassia. I shared the passenger list at Thankful Thursday ~ International Passenger Lists. Simche's wife is listed as Blume Siegel. Where does Katz come from? Keep reading for the explanation for the title of this post.

By 1895, the family was living in Dennis, Cape May County, New Jersey. I shared this New Jersey State Census record at Census Searching ~ Listen to All Family Stories. It is in this census that I first find Rebecca's name.

Simche became a naturalized citizen in 1899 which made his wife a citizen too, though she is not named in this document. In 1900, the family (56-year-old "Samuel" and 26-year-old "Bertha" have two children: Lena and Louis) is again in Dennis Township.

Blume/Rebecca had three children with Simche:
Lena (born about 1891), who arrived as an infant with them from Russia.
Lewis (born 1899 in New Jersey), who went by Seigle.
Edward (born 1903 as Israel in New Jersey), who also went by Seigle.

By 1910, the family was living in Holly Beach, which became part of Wildwood in 1912.

1910 U.S. Federal Census, Holly Beach, Cape May County, New Jersey; Roll: T624_870;
Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 90; Record for Samuel Segal.
Despite misspellings, this federal census tells me a lot: 66-year-old Samuel Segal, head of household and his (second) wife, 38-year-old Rebecca, have been married 20 years and were born in "Rushia." Daughter Lena, is married with a child (but no husband or child listed here), Louis (age 10, born in New Jersey), and "Isereal" (age 7, born in New Jersey). Also listed is a Benjiman Levin, a brother-in-law: is he a brother of Rebecca or possibly of Simche's first wife, Rose?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Moskowitz of Romania

I am using the Surname Saturday prompt to review the ancestral lines for my husband's family.

Abraham D. Moskowitz appears as the father of Morris Moskowitz on the 1904 New York City marriage license of Morris Moskowitz and Liza Blumenfeld.

Also on this marriage license is Morris' mother's maiden name: Chana Sharf.

New York, New York, Manhattan Marriages, FHL Microfilm 1556816, Certificate No. 13533.
Morris Moskowitz and Liza Blumenfeld, June 29, 1904.; Family History Library microfilm.

According to my mother-in-law, Morris Moskowitz was a brother of Sheva Moskowitz, so I am assuming that Sheva's parents were Abraham and Chana.

All I know about Abraham is that he lived in Romania, probably in Iași. He likely died before 1910, when Chana appears as Hanna Moskowitz in the 1910 U.S. Census as mother of Morris Moskowitz. I haven't found any more information on Chana/Hanna.

Generation 2: Sheva/Sarah Moskowitz lived in Iași, Romania, and was married to Isaac Goldstein. Family lore said that she came to America but was turned back because of health reasons, but I have never found proof of that story.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Handler Birth Record Transcriptions at JewishGen

I subscribe to the H-SIG (Hungarian Special Interest Group) email list because of my father-in-law's Hungarian roots. (Click here to see the various JewishGen mailing lists you can subscribe to.) I was excited early last week to see that there was a new upload to the JewishGen Hungary Database: an individual has transcribed all the births, marriages and deaths from registers from a couple of small communities that are now in present day Serbia: Erdevik and Sid, and has provided these transcriptions to JewishGen.


Erdevik is a familiar place name because Sam Handler reported it to be his birth place on his 1919 naturalization papers, so I was very excited to take a look.

At the JewishGen search page for the Hungary Databases, I searched for Surname: Handler, Town: Erdevik, and GivenName: Sali. (Note that, although JewishGen is free, I make an annual donation to JewishGen, which provides me with this searching flexibility.)



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Segal (or Siegel) of Ukraine and New Jersey

I am using the Surname Saturday prompt to review the ancestral lines for my husband's family.

The surname Segal is another name that is spelled in many different ways in different records. I have found Segal, Segel, Siegel, Seigel, and Seigle (which some descendants still use today). To make it easier, I will use just Segal in this post.

The earliest ancestor I know the name of is Israel Segal, which is the name listed on his son's death certificate. The Hebrew on his son's tombstone (image below) at Tifereth Israel Cemetery in Woodbine, New Jersey, lists his name as Yehuda.

All I know of Yehuda / Israel is that he had a son, Simche, and a daughter, Henda. (See Connecting With a Segal Cousin for that information!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wedding Wednesday ~ 1898 Ketubah

A ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract between husband and wife. It is traditionally all in Hebrew, though more recently, a ketubah will have English on the left side and Hebrew on the right.

My brother-in-law recently found a ketubah among family papers and thought it was for his grandparents, Rose and Morris, who were married in 1922. He had it framed and when I said I would try to get a translation of the handwritten entries, he took a photograph and emailed it to me.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wedding Wednesday ~ Honevald-Weisz, 1854

I shared a piece of this marriage record at Surname Saturday ~ Honevald. Here is the full page. Record number 10, at the bottom of this image is the 14 November 1854 marriage record for Jacob Honevald and Mari Weisz.

Hőgyész, Tolna, Hungary, "Registers of Jewish births, marriages and deaths for Hőgyész (1842-1895)," 1854: Marriage no. 10. Jacob Honevald and Mari Weisz. November 14, 1854.; Family History Library microfilm.

I shared the left-hand side in my last post:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Honenvald of Hungary

I am using the Surname Saturday prompt to review the ancestral lines for my husband's family.

The surname Honenvald is also found as Honevald, Huniwald, Honenwald and Honiwald. (Remember, in the 19th century and earlier, especially in Eastern Europe, spelling was not standardized and those writing these records were writing down names based on how they heard them.)

Thanks to the Family History Library, which has been microfilming (and now digitizing) records from around the world, I have been able to trace my husband's Hungarian ancestors for several generations through the vital records found on FHL microfilms.

Some post-1895 Hungarian Vital Records are indexed and can be found at FamilySearch in the Hungary Civil Registration, 1895-1980 database. However, Tolna district is not yet included in the indexed records, so you have to browse these records at the browse page for Hungary Civil Registration 1895-1980.

Hungary records before 1895 are only found on microfilm (at this time) and I have explored them for Hőgyész and Bonyhád. I have previously shared a few records that I found.

The earliest in this line that I have found is Moses Honevald, born in the very early 1800s. He is listed on his son's marriage record with his wife, Hany Bruk. Their residence is also listed on this record, but I'm having trouble deciphering it. (See image below.)

I don't know how many children Moses Honevald and Hany Bruk had or when and where they died.

Generation 2: Their son, Jacob, is found in several records, including his 14 November 1854 marriage record, the only record I have that shows his father's name:

Hőgyész, Tolna, Hungary, "Registers of Jewish births, marriages and deaths for Hőgyész (1842-1895)," 1854: Marriage no. 10. Jacob Honevald and Mari Weisz. November 14, 1854.; Family History Library microfilm. (Left side of page)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Levitas of Galicia and Levitt of New Jersey

I am using the Surname Saturday prompt to review the ancestral lines for my husband's family.

The earliest ancestor I've found appears to be Moses Leiser Lewites because of the help I received from a fellow genealogist. Just last year, I discovered the community where Max Levitt came from: Husiatyn, Galicia, Austrian Empire.

See Levitas = Lewites from Austria for the little bit of information I know about Moses Leiser Lewites. His wife was Gittel Jorisha, and they had several children between 1854 and 1871 in Husyatyn, according to the records I found at JRI-Poland.

I know of three of their children who immigrated to America:
Max, who changed his name from Levitas to Levitt and settled in Woodbine, New Jersey (see below).
Emanual, who became a successful garter manufacturer in New York, along with his wife, Sarah.
Sosie or Sophie, who married Samuel Litwin and settled in Newark, New Jersey.

Generation 2: Model Lewites was born on May 6, 1857, in Husiatyn, Galicia, as I found in the JRI-Poland databases. I previously shared this at Levitas = Lewites from Austria.



He married in the early 1880s and had at least three or four children. By the time he immigrated to America, in late 1894, he was a widower. Unfortunately, I have not had luck finding his passenger list, though I did find his naturalization papers. Max Levitt became a citizen in Cape May County, New Jersey, on September 30, 1903.

Although it is not officially stated in these papers that he wished to change his name to Max Levitt, all United States records that I have found for him have him as Max Levitt. The only reason I knew to look for siblings Emanual and Sophie was because of my mother-in-law's wonderful memory.

From 1900-1930, he is living in Woodbine, New Jersey. See the family's census records at Mystery Monday ~ Levitts in Woodbine.

At some point in the late 1890s (I haven't found a marriage record), Max married Golda Segal, most likely in Woodbine. They had four known children: George, Rose, Morton, and Edward. There was possibly one earlier child: as I noted in the Mystery Monday post, there was a one-year-old Daniel Levitt listed with the family in the 1900 U.S. Census, but I have found no other information for this him. Perhaps he died young and was never mentioned again?

Max died on May 3, 1935. I shared his death certificate here. His son Morton was the informant and knew his grandfather's name as Moses L., but he did not know his grandmother's name.

Morris and Rose, 1941
Generation 3: Rose Levitt, the second child of Max and Golda, was born on October 12, 1902, in Woodbine, New Jersey. She married Morris Goldstein on August 26, 1922, in Woodbine, New Jersey. The lived in the lower East Side of Manhattan for a few years, where their two children were born, but returned to Woodbine, where they lived for over 30 years.

I knew Rose, who died on December 26, 1995. She had several stories about her life and about her family, and she was thrilled when I came along and was interested enough in her stories that I brought along a pad of paper and a pen to write them down when we visited. Of course, since I have done a great deal more research on the family, there are many more questions I wish I had asked her.

Generation 4: My mother-in-law.

Generation 5: My husband.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Hollander of Hungary

I am using the Surname Saturday prompt to review the ancestral lines for my husband's family.

As far as I know, the only Hollander who came to America was my husband's paternal grandmother, Lena, after she married her husband, Joseph Handler.

Thanks to the Family History Library, which has been microfilming (and now digitizing) records from around the world, I have been able to trace Bubbie Lena's ancestors for several generations through the vital records found on FHL microfilms. Hungary records before 1895 are still only on microfilm.

Hungary Civil Registration, 1895-1980 is available online at FamilySearch.org, though for Tolna District, the records are not yet indexed; you have to browse through them (which is kind of like scrolling through microfilm).

When I searched the microfilm in late 2011 and early 2012, the earliest Hollander I could find was Samuel Hollander, whose name is mentioned in the marriage record and death record for his son Leopold.

Generation 2: Leopold Hollander was born in the 1830s in Bezdán, Bacs-Bodrog, Hungary, according to his marriage record. He married Babette Kohn on June 9, 1862, in Bonyhád, Tolna, Hungary.

The following part of his son's 1886 marriage record has the groom's name on the left: Samu (Samuel) Hollander with his occupation: Pipafaragó (pipe carver) and his birth place: Bonyhád. The next column lists the groom's parents' names: Lipod [Leopold] Hollander with his occupation, also Pipafaragó, and Betti Kohn, and their residence: Bonyhád.

Detail from 1886 marriage record of Samu[el] Hollander and Anna Honnenvald

Leopold's death record lists his occupation as házaló (peddler).

Birth records for Bonyhád, Tolna, Hungary, provide me with the names of the children of Leopold and Babette, born between 1863 and 1883: Samuel, Rosalie, Herman, Hanni, Moritz, Abram, and Ignatz. Another son, Adolf, has Leopold and Babette listed on his marriage record.

I previously shared the death record for Leopold Hollander, who died on February 8, 1907, in Bonyhád of végelgyengülés (old age).

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Ancestry Database (Social Security Applications and Claims Index)

I've been checking out the new U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 at Ancestry.com. Not every possible name is going to be found in this relatively new database (not by a long shot), but for those which are there, it is possible to find some new information or confirm theories.

In this database, I found Adele (Reisner) Levitt, a granddaughter of Max Levitt, my husband's great-grandfather who changed his name from Levitas to Levitt because he thought Levitas sounded too fancy. I have found no record of him or his descendants using the surname Levitas in America. (However, Max's brother Emanual still used the surname Levitas.)

Well, according to this database, in Adele's Social Security application, she listed her parents as Jacob Reisner and Rebecca Levitas. I have never seen Rebecca's last name referred to as Levitas - only Levitt. Although Max (Rebecca's father and Adele's grandfather) had been using Levitt since at least 1903, when he became a naturalized citizen, it appears that the family still recognized that the name used before immigration was Levitas (or Lewites).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Goldstein of Romania and New Jersey

I am using the Surname Saturday prompt to review the ancestral lines for my husband's family.

The earliest Goldstein whose name I know may not have even been a Goldstein!

Isaac lived in Iasi, Romania. Family lore said that his surname was Yancu and that the name was changed to Goldstein at Ellis Island. However, (1) names were never changed at Ellis Island, and (2) I found Moische Goldstein on a passenger list with the surname Goldstein AND referencing his father in Iasi, Romania, as Itzik Goldstein. Moische Goldstein arrived in New York on August 3, 1914. This is the second page of his passenger list record.


The name and complete address of nearest relative or friend
in country whence alien came:
father: Itzik Goldstein
Strada Ruksanska Yassy
Isaac Yancu was married to Sheva Moskowitz (listed as Scheiba on her daughter's death certificate). I have one photograph of her. They had six sons and one daughter. I'm not sure of the birth order and don't have much primary source information for the following:
  • Max (1892-1956) - lived in New York City and was the first to emigrate to America. I have written about him and his family.
  • Anna (1895-1918) - emigrated with Morris in 1914 and died in New York. I shared her death certificate here.
  • Moische / Morris (1897-1965) - see below.
  • Mendel - maybe emigrated to Israel; maybe remained in Romania (dying young?)
  • Shmuel-Leib Yancu - emigrated to Israel. See a photograph of him here and here.
  • Pineu Goldstein - remained in Romania. See his photograph here, though my mother-in-law always thought that this photograph was of the youngest brother.
  • Usher - is remembered as the youngest and he emigrated to Israel.
Son Morris' gravestone has the inscription: Moshe Hersh bar Yitzchak Halevi, which indicates his father, a Levite, was named Yitzchak. I'm still waiting on FindAGrave photo requests for sister, Anna, and brother, Max, of Morris (buried at Mount Judah Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens) in order to see what the Hebrew on their gravestones is.

Based on my mother-in-law's memories, I believe Sheva died in the mid-1930s and Isaac died in the late 1930s, both in Romania. Although there is a story that Sheva came to America and was sent back to Romania for health reasons, I have not found any evidence of this.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Handler of Yugoslavia and Ohio

Surname Saturday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. I have decided to use this prompt to review the ancestral lines for my husband's family.

The earliest Handler whose name I know are brothers Aaron Handler and Tzvi Hersh (or Harry) Handler. After Aaron's first wife died (they had four children together), he married the daughter of his brother, whose name I believe is Rozalia (She also went by Rosie, Szali, and Sally - see Different Names-Same Person.) According to U.S. records that I have found, they lived in or near Ilok, in a part of eastern Europe that is currently in Croatia, but has previously been considered part of Hungary and Yugoslavia. It is believed that Aaron was a large landowning farmer.

Here is a website (Macrohistory: Worldhistory) with a changing map of Europe from WWI to 2000. I have taken screen shots and done my best to show where Ilok is situated: at the point of the arrow in each map.

1914: Ilok was in Hungary

1919-1938: Ilok was in Yugoslavia

1956: Ilok was still in Yugoslavia

2000: Ilok is now in Croatia.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dr. Matthew Levitas ~ Is He the Unknown Graduate?

Last week, I shared a photo of an unknown graduate. This photograph has been kept by my mother-in-law's family for many decades - an academic graduation was a significant milestone for an immigrant Jewish family and the parents of this graduate likely shared this photograph with their extended family.

I am theorizing that this is a photograph of Matthew S. Levitas, a first cousin of my husband's grandmother. (I have written about him before.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wordless Wednesday ~ Unknown Graduate


I have had this photograph in my collection for several years. It comes from my mother-in-law's side of the family and is a graduation photo. (See the scroll in the young man's left hand and the books under his right.)

Unfortunately, no one knows who this young man is, though it's believed to be a relative of my grandmother-in-law (Rose Levitt Goldstein).

Kaufman Studio, 287 E. Houston St., New York is the photographer. New York City Directories at Fold3.com has Sol Kaufman working at that address from 1908 to 1918, and likely longer, but I only checked a few years.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Celebrating Blogiversary #4

This is blog post number 164 over the past four years. Although I have not blogged as much recently, I still enjoy writing about my husband's Jewish ancestry (in Eastern Europe and America), and often try to fit in a post that can be helpful to other researchers using these not as common or more challenging resources.

There were two big finds during this past year:

First, I believe I found the family of my mother-in-law's grandfather, Max Levitt, in Husiatyń, Galicia. See:

My Best Recent Genea-Prize
Levitas / Lewites from Austria
Mappy Monday - Husiatyń

Second, having a second cousin find my blog and contact me was great. When I learned that he made a video recording interview of his aunts (and my father-in-law's first cousins) and posted it on YouTube as Mishpacha Tapes Helen and Esther 1988, that was icing on the cake! See:

Connecting with a Handler Cousin: Blog as Cousin Bait for the first post about this connection. I have tagged all my blog posts mentioning this 1988 video with Mishpacha Tape. I plan to share more about this tape.

I also connected with a fourth cousin on the Segal line through DNA testing. See Connecting With a Segal Cousin to read about our meeting.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ~ Morris Goldstein's Scar

In my recent blog post where I shared the Certificate of Naturalization for my husband's grandfather, Morris Goldstein, the physical description of him includes the fact that he has a "scar on middle of forehead."

Originally shared August 2012

When I zoom in, I can see the scar on his forehead:

Morris Goldstein about 1950

The story is that, when he was a boy, in Romania, he was playing ball with a friend, and a bottle was thrown at him, which hit him in the head and cut him, leaving this scar.

Now that I know the story, and see the scar, I do see it in many of the photographs I have of him.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Certificate of Citizenship for Morris Goldstein

In April, when we visited my parents-in-law for Passover, my mother-in-law remembered that she had found something that she wanted me to have: her father's certificate of citizenship!

It turns out that this is a replacement for one that must have been "lost, mutilated, or destroyed."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Great-Grandparents Aaron and Sarah Handler

I have shared a few tidbits from the Mishpacha Tape Helen and Esther 1988 at YouTube since a cousin reached out to me last November:

Connecting With A Handler Cousin - Blog as Cousin Bait
Great-Grandmother Sarah or Sally Handler
Rose Handler - An Older Sister
Cousin and Athlete Art Handler
More Information on Bubbie Lena Handler

This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Since I have been writing about my husband's great-grandmother, Sally Handler (see Handler Family-Another Generation Back), I thought I'd mention a bit more about what Aunt Helen and Aunt Esther had to say about her and her husband, Aaron Handler.

Esther and Helen
At just before 19 minutes into the Mishpacha Tape, Helen starts talking about her grandparents, Aaron Handler and Sarah Handler.

I already shared what they (mostly Helen) remembered about Aaron here.

After Helen describes what she remembers about the older half brothers of their mother, she is asked about Aaron's second wife, their grandmother. After some confusion about which grandma they're referring to (the cousin's or Helen's and Esther's), Helen responds to the question by stating: "He [Aaron] had a niece whose name was Sarah." [23:32] Sarah was the child of Aaron's brother, whose name Helen and Esther do not know. They also don't know anything about Sarah's mother.

The only siblings they know of in that generation are Aaron and Sarah's (unnamed) father. Sarah's father, an extremely devout Jew, felt that it was a mitzvah to provide a wife for his brother, who had lost his first wife, to ensure that his brother would have more children. Sarah had been "going with" a butcher's son at the time, but he wasn't religious enough in the eyes of her family, so she wasn't permitted to marry him.

So Sarah, 20 or 21 at the time according to Helen, married a much older man, her uncle Aaron. Click here to see the point in the film where Helen describes her mother, Regina (Handler) Solomon, remembering her father as an "old, old man, with a long white beard." Regina was four years old when her father, Aaron, died. I have two different sources for Regina's birth showing that she was born on February 20, in 1891 or 1892, placing Aaron's death in the mid-1890s.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Handler Family ~ Another Generation Back

I recently shared my "aha" moment about my father-in-law's Hebrew name being Tzvi Hersch (צבי הרש) which often becomes Harry in America.

My father-in-law's paternal grandmother was Sally Handler. (Also known as Roza, Rozalia, and Szali, as I shared at Different Names-Same Person.) I shared some information about her at Mystery Monday - Finding a Jewish Great-Grandmother, where I noted that JewishGen's Online Burial Registry (JOWBR) has an entry for Sally Handler:


She is Chaya Sara bat [daughter of] Zvi.

In Great-Grandmother Handler Married Twice, I shared a 1911 marriage record for Rosalie Hendler [sic] and Samuel Goodman where her parents are listed as Harry Hendler [sic] and Anna Stern.

I therefore theorize that this Handler line is:

Harry Handler = Anna Stern
|
Sally Handler
|
Josef Handler
|
Harry Handler
|
My husband

And the awkward thing about this line is that Sally Handler married her father's brother, Aaron Handler who was about 20 years her senior and a widower with children.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Harry is Tzvi Hersch

My husband's parents got married in 1952. I scanned their ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) last summer. The digital image has been sitting in a folder waiting to be filed.

I took a look at it today and realized that their Hebrew names are on it. The following image is a small part of the entire ketubah:


However, I can't read Hebrew script, so I uploaded this section of the image to the Tracing the Tribe Facebook group (everyone is SO helpful there) and almost immediately received the following response to my translation request:

Tzvi Hersch son of Yosef the Levite. Bride is Ita daughter of Moshe.

(I already knew that Chana Ita is my mother-in-law's full Hebrew name.)

JewishGen has a Given Names Database, which I have previously explored. I returned to this search page today to see what it might tell me about the name Tzvi Hersch.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Great Uncle David Levitt of Philadelphia

My husband's great-grandfather, Max Levitt (1857-1935), married twice. I believe the name of his first wife was Adele Willer. (Hadel Willer on her daughter Rebecca's NYC marriage record.) There are two granddaughters who were named Adele, daughters of their son David Levitt and their daughter Rebecca (Levitt) Reisner. It is thought that Adele died either on the boat coming over to America, or before the family left Galicia for America. Max's second wife was Golda (also known as Gussie) Segal, from whom my husband is descended.

This can get confusing so I just set up a very simple tree for Max and his first wife, Adele, and their two children I know who had children: David and Rebecca.


David had three daughters with his first wife, and one daughter with his second wife.

Rebecca married Jacob Reisner and had seven children with him. I have blogged about this family before. See Jacob's and Rebecca's marriage license. See Jacob Reisner's obituary. See their tombstone.

I recently had contact from someone whose mother is second cousin to my husband, descended from David Levitt and his second wife, whom I found as Yetta Cornfield (Philadelphia Marriage Index), though he knows her as Henrietta. His grandmother is recently-deceased Shirley Mae Levitt in the tree above.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Finding New Jersey County Naturalization Records

My mother-in-law's family arrived in Woodbine, New Jersey, soon after its founding in 1891. I have written about the naturalization of her father, Max Levitt, and her great-grandfather, Simche Siegel, both in Cape May County, New Jersey.

An ongoing project is to clean up my source citations in Family Tree Maker. I had found another naturalization record, for Simche's son-in-law, Wolff (or William) Siegel, at FamilySearch.org in the New Jersey, Cape May County, New Jersey, County Naturalization Records, 1749-1986 and wanted to make sure my source citations were consistent for these three. I then realized that I had received Simche Siegel's records from a Seigle/Segal cousin, and had used a different (not very complete) citation. In order to make these citations consistent, I explored FamilySearch's Cape May County Naturalizations again, looking for Simche.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday's Tip ~ Losing American Citizenship by Marriage

I have been doing some research for a sister-in-law and came across an interesting item that doesn't occur in my husband's ancestry (or mine).

The following image is from the 1920 U.S. Census. The household is for my sister-in-law's great-grandmother, Sadie (Brubaker) (Glazer) Anderson and her second husband. They were living in Camden, New Jersey.

Sadie (also known as Sarah) first married in 1898, to George F. Glazer, who also was born in Pennsylvania. They had several (maybe eight) children together before they divorced. As this census record shows, by 1920, Sarah/Sadie (Brubaker) Glazer had married Agustus Anderson. The household also includes two of her children from her first marriage, Cora Glazer (age 20) and Alice Glazer (age 7), as well as Elinor Anderson, a daughter of Agustus, but I'm not sure who her mother is (Sadie or a first wife of Agustus).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1022;Page: 9A;
Enumeration District: 8; Image: 127. Record for Agustus and Sadie Anderson.
The census tells me the following:
Anderson, Agustus, Head of Household, Owns his home, with mortgage, is 38 years old, born in Denmark, about 1882. He immigrated in 1910, and "Pa" means he has his papers; he is NOT a U.S. citizen, but has filed his intention to become a citizen.

Anderson, Sadie, Wife, is 36 years old, born in Pennsylvania, about 1884. Note the columns that indicate immigration year and citizenship. Agustus has "1910" and "Pa" and below that, Sadie has "x" and "Al."

Obviously since Sadie was born in Pennsylvania, she doesn't have a year of immigration, but by marrying an alien (non-citizen), Sadie lost her citizenship and wouldn't regain it until (or if) her husband, Augustus, became a citizen. This was the law at the time, and the logic behind the law was that if women couldn't vote, then their citizenship status wasn't that important. 

However, in August 1920, when women won the right to vote, it was deemed patently unfair that a woman could lose her citizenship and that right to vote by marrying a non-citizen. It took a couple of years, but in September 1922, immigration law changed, giving a woman the right to retain her citizenship (and that important right to vote) even if she married a non-citizen.

For those women who married an immigrant who did not become a citizen (or died before becoming a citizen), they had to complete paperwork to prove they were born in the U.S. and wanted to regain their citizenship rights. Alternatively, as in the case of Sadie, her second husband did become a naturalized citizen (according to the 1930 U.S. census), so she became a citizen again.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

More information on Bubbie Lena Handler


At about 44 minutes into the "Mishpacha Tape Helen and Esther" at YouTube, these cousins of my father-in-law tell the story about their Uncle Joe Handler and his wife Lena (Hollander) Handler (my father-in-law's parents). The statements from the cousins are in italics below, and my comments follow.

Joe was four years younger than his brother Sam. That's relatively accurate. I show Joe's birth date as 24 August 1884, and Sam's birth date as 27 December 1887, based on their draft cards, naturalization records, and in Joe's case, his marriage record from Hungary.
Arthur and Lena

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cousin and Athlete Art Handler

More from "The Mishpacha Tape Helen and Esther 1988," which can be found on YouTube.

Esther and Helen
At about 38 minutes into this video, Helen talks about Art Handler, son of Sam Handler and Sadie (Herskovitz) Handler. This Art Handler is a first cousin to my father-in-law, as well as first cousin to Helen and Esther.

In the video, Helen states that "Art aspired to be a basketball player and was very, very good. He played...semi-professionally...and they wanted to send him to school on a scholarship and he would have gotten a scholarship to college for basketball...but Aunt Sadie and Uncle Sam didn't want him to do that. For some reason or other he let them talk him out of that...They didn't want him to do basketball...They wanted him to take over Uncle Sam's business."

I have another Handler cousin who found my blog a couple of years ago and after my last post mentioning this video, he sent me an email noting that there are quite a few details that are not correct (which I already knew). Specifically, he provided clarification on the above story about Art Handler, who was his Uncle Art:
The story about Art Handler is not accurate. He was a baseball player and was a bat boy for the Cleveland Indians. When Sam and Sadie found out, they stopped him. That is the semi-professional playing they talk about, (The Arthur that is Sam and Sadie Handler’s son) while he was still in high school. The story I heard, is that after school, they locked him in the basement so he wouldn’t go to that job. And, he could not get any scholarship because he disappeared from that world. When I later asked Art about that, he didn’t want to talk about it. In any case, he never got to play professionally, which he wanted to do. He was a good athlete and he played pick-up basketball (that is why they thought he was involved with basketball). He played on a senior team until he was an old man and couldn’t play anymore. He ended up doing what he did at the pop factory, delivering to grocery stores - but when the pop factory closed, he got a job delivering potato chips and related snacks and did that for his career. [Thank you to Alan Simon for this story.]

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rose Handler ~ An Older Sister

Another interesting piece of information that I learned from the video interview of Helen Solomon and Esther Goldstein was that their mother, Regina (Handler) Solomon, had an older sister in addition to her older brothers, Sam and Joseph.

Cousin Helen reports that her mother, Regina, remembers her father as an old man with a long white beard (her description begins here) and that he died when Regina was four years old. Just after that statement, Helen answers a question about who was the oldest of Regina's siblings here, reporting that the oldest Handler sibling was sister, Rose, who was twelve years older than Regina.

It looks like the family of Aaron Handler and his second wife, Sarah (Sally) looked like:

Rose Handler, born about 1879 or 1880
Joseph Handler, born 1884 (see his draft cards here)
Sam Handler, born 1887 (see his draft cards here)
Regina Handler, born in February 1891 or 1892

If Regina was four years old when her father died, it suggests that Aaron Handler died in 1895 or 1896.

Rose Handler married and remained in Europe (don't know where). Helen remembers that her children were Aaron or Arthur (likely named after her deceased father), Margaret, and other sons. None of this family came to America and as far as we know, they died in the Holocaust.

Regina (Handler) Solomon and Jake Solomon