30 October 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Esther Morris & Robert Blatt Marriage Certificate

Esther Morris, my great aunt and youngest sister of my paternal grandmother Dora, married Robert Blatt in 1929.
New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 24784 (29 September 1929), Robert Blatt and Esther Morris, Municipal Archives, New York.





Items in red will be discussed further, below. 

[1st page]
Groom: Robert Blatt
Residence: 61 E. 108th Street
Age: 32
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: single
Occupation: Sheet Metal
Birthplace: Russia
Father's Name: Joseph
Mother's Maiden Name: Leah Levine
Number of Groom's Marriage: First

Bride: Esther Morris
Residence:
239 E. 105th St.
Age: 23
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: single
Maiden Name, if a Widow: [blank]
Birthplace: Russia
Father's Name: Isidore
Mother's Maiden Name: Sarah Meyers
Number of Bride's Marriage: First
 

I hearby certify that the above-named groom and bride were joined in Marriage by me, in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, at 50 Delancey Street, in the borough of Man, City of New York, this 29th of Sept, 1929.
 

Signature of person performing the ceremony:
                                                        /s/ Rev. I. Kirschner

Official Station: 1835 University Ave
Residence: 1905 Loring Rd, Bx.

Witnesses to }  David Kirschner
the Marriage }  F[?] H[?] Richter
 

[2nd page]  
WE hereby certify that we are the Groom and Bride named in this Certificate, and that the information given therein is correct, to the best of our knowledge and belief.
                              /s/ Robert Blatt  Groom
                              /s/ Esther Morris Bride  

Signed in the presence of  /s/ David Kirschner
                                                /s/         Richter
----------------------- 
Esther and Robert Blatt were married at 50 Delancey Street, which today, is a restaurant supply company (photo from Google Maps, below). I have searched several online New York City directories, but have not determined what was on this corner in 1929.

Isaac Kirschner was a Cantor (and Rabbi) who served at the Hebrew Institute of University Heights, at that time located at 1835 University Avenue. The synagogue building today is occupied by the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, shown below.

I am do not know anything about the witnesses who signed the certificate. According to the 1930 U.S. Census, Isaac Kirschner had a son named David, but he would have only been about 9 years old at the time of the wedding, so I doubt that the signature belonged to him. Interestingly, I have a copy of Esther and Robert's ketubah (Jewish marriage record) and the witness on that was Max Garber (my great uncle - and Esther's first cousin).

28 October 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Unknown who died 5 October 1900, Labun Jewish cemetery

In June of 2013 I had the pleasure of visiting Ukraine and Labun (now Yurovshchina; once called Lubin in Yiddish), my paternal grandparents' community. We were able to visit the old Jewish cemetery, which I discussed in an earlier post. Over the next several Tuesdays I will post photos and translations (as I am able to decipher) of tombstones from that cemetery. Most do not feature surnames.
 

In this photo one may get an idea of the clay slope on which much of this cemetery lies. It is no wonder that many of the stones have fallen.

On this tombstone the name of the deceased is completely worn away. The date however is visible starting at the end of the first readable line (I cannot make out the first two words of the line).
..... 12
Tishri 5661
May his/her soul be bound in eternal life 

The twelfth day of the month of Tishri, year 5661 translates to 5 October 1900 in our Gregorian calendar and 22 September 1900 in the Julian calendar.

This is the earliest stone I've found in the Labun Jewish cemetery thus far. Jewish people have been noted in Labun since 1705. And by 1847 the Jewish population was reportedly 1,192.[1] I wonder if early markers were wood and, therefore, long gone.

It's certainly unfortunate that the name is no longer available.

Notes:
1. Shmuel Spector and Geoffrey Wigoder, editors, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 2 (New York University Press and Yad Vashem: New York and Jerusalem, 2001), p. 698. 

23 October 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Isidore Morris' Alien Registration


After years of family history research the thrills come less frequently, but are no less enthralling. A couple of days ago the mail brought a gift from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Genealogy Program: my great grandfather Isidore Morris' Alien Registration Form. For some time, but to no avail, I'd been trying to locate any of his naturalization records. With this new record I was able to finally locate his declaration of intention to become a citizen.

Information from census records indicated that Isidor had filed some naturalization papers but it was likely that the process had never been completed. 

The census records I have for Isidore indicate the following:
alien - 1915 New York State Census
alien - 1920 U.S. Census
alien (1st papers) - 1925 New York State Census
Pa - 1930 U.S. Census
Pa - 1940 U.S. Census[1]
Isidore's 1918 World War I draft registration shows that he had not declared his intention to naturalize.[2]

So the question remained: had Isidore ever completed the naturalization process before he passed away on 22 December 1947? It appears he did not.



ALIEN REGISTRATION FORM
1. (a) My name is Isidor Morris
    (b) I entered the United States under the name of same 
2. (a) I live at Perrineville Monmouth New Jersey
    (b) My post-office address s R.D. #1 Hightstown New Jersey
3. (a) I was born on May 18 1874
    (b) I was born in (or near) Lubin Volin Russia
4. I am a citizen or subject of None, Last Citizen Czarist Russia 
5. (a) I am male
    (b) My marital status is married
6. I am 5 feet, 6 inches in height, weigh 165 pounds, have Black hair and Brown eyes 
7. (a) I last arrived in the United States at New York, N.Y. on Jan. 3, 1906
    (b) I came in by S.S. Carpathia
    (c) I came as a passenger
    (d) I entered the United States as a Permanent resident
    (e) I arrived in the United States on January 3, 1906
8. (a) I have lived in the United States a total of Thirty Four years
    (b) I expect to remain in the United States Permanently
9. (a) My usual occupation is Glazier
    (b) My present occupation is None
    (c) My employer is Retired
10. I am, or have been within the past 8 years, or intend to be engaged in the following activities:
   In addition to other information, list memberships or activities in clubs, organizations, or societies
Member of the First Lublin Progessive Benevolent Assn.
First Hebrew Farmers Assn Perrineville N.J.
11. My military or naval service has been None
12. I Have applied for first citizenship papers in the United States. Date of application 3/3/21
  First citizenship papers received Mar. 3, 1921, number 244425, New York, N.Y. 
  Filed petition for naturalization [blank] 
13. I have the following specified relatives living in the United States:
  Parent(s) None   Husband or wife Yes  Children Six 
14. I Have Not been arrested or indicted for, or convicted of any offense (or offenses).
15. Within the past 5 years I Have Not been affiliated with or active in (a member of, official of, a worker for)  organizations devoted in whole or in part to influencing or furthering the political activities, public relations, or public policy of a foreign government.

AFFIDAVIT FOR PERSONS 14 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER
I have read or have read to me the above statements, and do hereby swear (or affirm) that these statements are true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.
                              /s/ Isidor Morris  
                                                       [stamped] Oct 28 1940 
--------------------
Actually, Isidor did not enter the United States as Isidor Morris (as shown in item 1b). He traveled as "Iczik Maczevizcki." If his surname had been Morris, his manifest would not have been so difficult to locate. Mazewitsky was his surname in the old county.

Under item 10, the correct name of the first group in which Isidore was a member is First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association. The town assocated with this landsmanshaft (countrymen's group) was Lubin (aka Labun, Volhynia Gubernia, Russian Empire).

I did not know that my great grandfather was a member of the First Hebrew Farmers Association of Perrineville, N.J. I will put this on my list of groups to check on in future research.

Item 12 provided the information I needed to finally locate Isidor's declaration of intent. Armed with the date of the declaration and the number I browsed through the New York County naturalization records (specifically, the declarations) now online at FamilySearch.org.


New York County, New York, Supreme Court, Declaration of Intention no. 244425, Isador Morris, 3 March 1921; "New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 22 Oct 2014), New York > Declarations of intention 1921 vol 496, no 244236-244735 > image 97 of 253.
Isidor stated on this record that he'd emigrated from Trieste. His manifest says the ship left from Fiume, which today is known as Rijeka, Croatia.



Fiume is about 75 kilometers from Trieste, but definitely not the same place.

It's interesting that in 1921 when Isidor filed his Declaration of Intention, he did not sign his name (the document shows he left his mark as an X). On his 1918 World War I draft registration card he did sign his name.


The surname looks very similar to the signature on the Alien Registration card, above. I imagine that Isidor, like most Jewish men in Eastern Europe, could write in Yiddish, but was not comfortable signing his new name in Latin letters. It is difficult to tell from his manifest, but it appears that he was recorded there as illiterate. 


Notes:
1. 1920 U.S. Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, Manhattan, Enumeration District 1262, sheet 6B, dwelling 14, family 134, Isadore Morris; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 February 2008); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1219.
1925 New York State census, Bronx County, New York, enumeration of inhabitants, Bronx, Assembly District 5, Election District 40, page 19, entries 27-32, Isidore and Sarah Morris family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 August 2012), New York State Archives, Albany. 
1930 U.S. Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, Manhattan, Enumeration District 31-816, sheet 4B, dwelling 234, family 92, Isadore Morris; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2008); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1571.
The Minnesota Population Center IPUMS website, which carries instructions issued to census enumerators for each census, indicates that if an alien had filed their first papers (i.e., their declarations of intention) then the enumerator was to indicate this by entering "Pa" in the space provided for citizenship information. The 1930 census instructions are here. The 1940 instructions, here.
2. "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 March 2008), card for Ididore Morris [Isidore Morris], no. 31-38, New York City Draft Board 160, New York; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 and FHL microfilm 1,786,852.

21 October 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Hillel ben Tuvya, Labun Jewish cemetery

In June of 2013 I had the pleasure of visiting Ukraine and Labun (now Yurovshchina; once called Lubin in Yiddish), my paternal grandparents' community. We were able to visit the old Jewish cemetery, which I discussed in an earlier post. Over the next several Tuesdays I will post photos and translations (as I am able to decipher) of tombstones from that cemetery. Most do not feature surnames.
This is a natural stone into which an epitaph was carved. It is difficult to read, but I believe (starting with line 2) it says:

Hillel son of Tuvya
Died 24 Iyar

I do not see any remnants of a year listed. The month of Iyar may start as early as about 11 April and end as late as 11 May. 

16 October 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Ben Wilson and Lena Cummings marriage certificate

Ben Wilson, my grandfather Joe's younger brother, married Lena or Leah Cummings in 1914. I recall Ben as a large man, at least larger than my grandfather, and somewhat larger than life. His granddaughter told me that her family considered him to be somewhat of a swashbuckling entrepreneur (although those were not the words she used). This fits with my mother's information that my grandmother insisted that my grandfather not enter into any additional business relationships with his brother after the two declared bankruptcy in 1928

What's interesting about this record is that I can find nothing about Lena/Leah before this record. She identified her parents' names and, in subsequent census records, identified when she arrived in the United States (about 1899), yet using this information I have not been able to locate her family or her in census or directory records prior to her marriage. Mount Judah Cemetery, where she is interred next to Ben, lists her as Leah Wilson who died in May 1964. I have not found her in the Social Security Death Index. I'm stumped.
New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 17171 (2 July 1914), Benjamin Wilson and Lena Cummings, Municipal Archives, New York.

Items in red will be discussed further, below. 

[1st page]
Groom: Benjamin Wilson
Residence: 10 West 116 St.
Age: (24) Twenty four
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Occupation: Salesman
Birthplace: Russia
Father's Name: Saul
Mother's Maiden Name: Hoda Epstein
Number of Groom's Marriage: First

Bride: Lena Cummings
Residence:
706 Fairmont Place
Age: (22) Twenty two
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Maiden Name, if a Widow: [blank]
Birthplace: Russia
Father's Name: Henry
Mother's Maiden Name: May Shonen
Number of Bride's Marriage: first
 

I hearby certify that the above-named groom and bride were joined in marriage by me, in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, at 66 East 109 Street, in the borough of Manhattan, City of New York, this 2nd of July, 1914.
 

Signature of person performing the ceremony:
                                                        /s/ M. Kaufman
 
Official Station: Rev. M. Kaufman
Residence: 66 E. 109, New York

Witnesses to }  Sigmund Kaufman
the Marriage }  Abraham Kaufman 
 

[2nd page]  
WE hereby certify that we are the Groom and Bride named in this Certificate, and that the information given therein is correct, to the best of our knowledge and belief.
                              /s/ Benjamin Wilson  Groom
                              /s/ Lena Cummings Bride  

Signed in the presence of  /s/ [blank]
----------------------- 
Fairmont Place, should actually be spelled Fairmount Place. It is in the Bronx. I could find no evidence of the Cummings family from Russia in the 1910 U.S. Census, the 1915 New York State Census or in directories from the period.

Ben and Lena's marriage license application indicates that the clergyman's full name was Morris Kaufman.[1] The two witnesses also gave 66 E. 109th Street as their address, so it's likely that they were relations of Rabbi Kaufman. 

Notes
1. Bronx County, New York, "Affidavit for License to Marry" no. 2624 (26 June 1914; marriage date 2 July 1914, certificate no.17171), Benjamin Wilson and Lena Cummings; "Bronx Marriage Licenses 1914, 1801-2700," Municipal Archives, New York City, microfilm roll 1914-3 MN 38003; transcription made from microfilmed image.