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.

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