16 April 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: Joseph Myers advertisement, FLPBA 25th anniversary publication

I shared a short biography and photograph of Joseph Myers (1889-1945) in an earlier post about the 25th anniversary publication for the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association. He was a glazier who had joined his brothers (Myer and Louis) in the United States, arriving in 1906.[1]

He married Rose Adler on 25 March 1913.[2] By 1936, when the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association celebrated its 25th anniversary, Joe and Rose had lost their second born, Marvin. They had a daughter Lillian (born 15 February 1914) and a son Eugene (born 10 August 1918).

Their home in 1936 was just around the corner from Joe's glass and picture framing shop at 590 3rd Avenue. Unfortunately, the buildings now at 155 E. 39th Street and 590 3rd Avenue are of more recent construction.

1."New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 19 June 2009), manifest, Batavia, Hamburg to New York, arriving 16 November 1906, p. 18, line 10, Jossel Malzmann; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715, Roll 798.
2. New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage number 5284 (25 March 1913), Joseph Myers and Rose Adler, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.

15 April 2015

Yom HaShoah: Remembering

I really did not anticipate this when I started my genealogical research, but the greatest benefit, by far, has been discovering and honoring the memory of those whose lives were cut short by hateful people. 

I recall asking tentative questions of my parents. They seemed fuzzy, themselves, on who had been left behind in Europe and who had succumbed during Hitler's rampage.

For some who died, all I have is names. For others, there are bits and snatches of recollections from other family members or information I have gleaned from records. For just a few, we have recollections of those who knew and loved them.* 

My relatives did not die in concentration camps. Some were removed from their homes and sent to ghettos in nearby towns. How long each lived before being shot and dumped into a ditch is unknown.

Today is Yom HaShoah. We honor their memory on this day. I have yet to find all of my family members with connections to the Holocaust. I hope my research continues to uncover their stories.

Killed in/near Labun, Ukraine (ca. July-September, 1941):
  • Perl Garber Zabarsky (born about 1888, age 53 at death), daughter of Avraham Garber and Chana Mazewitsky. Sister of my grandfather Jack Garber.
  • Chana Zabarsky (b. 1 August 1926, age 15) , daughter of Perl Garber and Isseck Zabarsky.
  •  Shmulik Mazewitsky (b. ca. 1915, age ca. 26), son of Monia Mazewitsky and Tzipa. Monia was (likely) the brother of my great grandfather Isidore Morris. 
  • Sonia Weisman Mazewitsky (b. ca. 1916, age 25), wife of Shmulik and daughter of Liba.
  • Aron Mazewitsky (b. ca. 1935, ca. age 6), son of Shmulik and Sonia. 
Died during service in the Russian military:
  • Leib Bebik (Ber) Zabarsky (b. 8 December 1916, d. 17 January 1941) 
  • Motel (or Mark) Zabarsky (b. 19 December 1918, d. 7 June 1943)
Both men were the sons of Perl and Isseck Zabarsky.

Died near Tluste, Ukraine (July 1943):
  • Jutte Ett Barath (b. 21 January 1894), daughter of Hersch Leib Ett and Perl Wenkert. Perl Wenkert was my great grandmother's sister. 
  • Moshe Efraim Barath, husband of Jutte Ett.
May their souls be bound in everlasting life.
* Records include:

14 April 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Meyer Loveshak (Loscher or Loschak), Montefiore Cemetery

It took me a while to figure out that this person, identified on his tombstone as "Myer Loscher" was the same person identified in the Montefiore Cemetery internment index as "Meyer Lovashak," and Meyer Loveshak, who I knew to be the son of Sarah and Baruch. 

Here lies
Meier son of Baruch
FEB.19, 1964
AGE 64

Meyer arrived at Ellis Island with his elder sister Leia (later called Lena) in 1911 from Labun.[1] Their surname on the manifest was Loschak.

I have found no evidence that Meyer Loveshak ever married. He lived his life with his mother and sisters (and later just his sisters), who also never married, in Brooklyn.

Meyer's sisters were Lena (2 March 1894 - March 1972) and Doris (12 December 1904 - January 1983).[2] There may have been an additional sister (Anna - born about 1907), but I have been unsuccessful in finding her after her one appearance (in the 1930 census).[3]

When I saw the name Loschak on Lena and Meyer's manifest, I searched on that name in the JewishGen Family Finder. Although that surname was not listed for the community of Labun/Lubin, it was listed for a researcher whose interest was Gritsev - a community 8 miles southwest of Labun.

I contacted that researcher and found that she had been looking for the descendants of Baruch Loschak - a sibling of her ancestor. My research on the Sarah Loveshak/Loschak family fit nicely with hers and we made a match. Sarah Alpern was from Labun and married Baruch Loschak from Gritsev. According to Lena and Meyer's manifest, the family (in 1911) lived in Labun. Baruch died after his eldest children (Meyer and Leie) left for the United States and sometime before Sarah and Doris (and, perhaps, Anna) emigrated about 1920.

Meyer is buried in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot in Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, NY: block 5, gate 567W, Line 3R, grave 7. I have not been able to find graves for Lena or Doris, nor probate records in the Bronx, Kings or Suffolk Counties for Sarah or her children.

1. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 July 2013), manifest, S.S. Lituania, Libau to New York, arriving 16 July 1911, list 8, lines 26 & 27, Leie and Meyer Loschak; citing NARA microfilm series T715; roll 1709.
2. "U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1936-2014," index, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 May 2013); entries for Lena Loveshak and Doris Loveshak.
3. Kings County, New York, 1930 U.S. Census, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district 24-880, sheet 12B, dwelling 45, family 337, Lena Loveshak family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 May 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1538.

10 April 2015

Indices: Explore all Options

It's one o'clock in the morning. Do you know who else has indexed your data set?

Record collections are coming online with astonishing frequency. Many times we sigh with resignation as company B follows company A, which published the same collection a year or so previously. Later, company C provides the same  online collection. Aside from competition for customers, what's the point? The point is, researchers can benefit from independently indexed collections.

from Wikimediacommons
There are several reasons for searching the same or similar collections on more than one website. Different companies may have:
  • their own proprietary image enhancement technology that may significantly improve viewing of otherwise identical images (compare, for example, enhanced 1940 U.S. census images on a variety of websites);
  • advanced search options and tools allowing one to focus one's search energies;
  • a variety of methods for moving within datasets to browse for images of interest (for example, I much prefer to browse manifests on sites that allow me to jump around among the images, not force me to advance only one image at a time; I also like to be able to rotate census images so I can read through the street names quickly when I am searching through an enumeration district); 
But none of this is important if you cannot find the image or have no idea where to look within the collection. 

Indexers often get a bad rap. Yes, indexing is a prime area where errors may be introduced. Ancestry has been criticized for using foreign indexers. FamilySearch has been criticized for not allowing input for corrections to their indices. A common complaint from researchers whose ancestors came from Eastern Europe is that Ellis Island manifests have been indexed by researchers who have no familiarity with those surnames and places. Because of that, some of the indexing errors seem bizarre to those of us who have some familiarity.

The truth is, despite these issues, indexing is the heart and soul of genealogy research. Yes the computer has revolutionized research. But, if not for indexing, much of that would not have been possible.

We all have our favorite websites and search tools, but when all else fails in your search, bail and go to another site that has the same collection, indexed via a different set of indexers.[1]

I will admit, that I have been an ardent follower of the freely accessible Italian Genealogy Group and German Genealogy Group indices of New York City vital records. These entities partnered in a volunteer effort to index records available through the New York City Municipal Archives. I would sometimes use the Steve Morse One-Step search forms to access them. But, even after Ancestry put indices of these same records online, I still saw most benefit in staying with the ItalianGen/GermanGen indices.

Unfortunately, one thing we do not see often enough with complex record sets is independently derived indices that include different/additional information. I have lamented previously that I did not see much value added when FamilySearch decided to initiate their own indexing project for New York manifests. I wanted to see additional information indexed, such place of birth, closest relative in the old country and address and/or name of the person the immigrant planned to meet at their destination.

New York City vital records? Enter FamilySearch. 

On 20 March 2015 they added [2]:
As I usually do, I immediately tested the new indices with one of my unusual family surnames: Liebross. I figured after all these years I'd pretty much exhausted the Liebross vital records collections in New York City. But, FamilySearch added an element to their indexing of death records that had not been included by previous indexers: parents' names (parents' names are also included in birth and marriage record searches).

ItalianGen/GermanGen and Ancestry indices have coded first name, age at death, date, certificate number and county. Results in the marriage index also provide easy access to spouse names.

Using the Steve Morse search form one can also get results that include the FHL microfilm number. One would not see parents' names until one had acquired the original record. Where there were several people indexed with the same or similar names, this created a bit of a crap shoot. Many of us have ordered records we thought might be correct only to discover that the parents names were not. 

The new FamilySearch index not only adds a bit more certainty to the process of record acquisition, but also to the hope of finding new records.

Results of my recent Liebross search surprised me. Early in my family history research I'd found that my great aunt Rose who, I thought, had never married, had indeed married (in 1926) and later divorced (in 1931) a dentist named Nathan J. Bernstein. I'd located the marriage certificate indexed on ItalianGen.[3]

In FamilySearch's new NYC Municipal Deaths index database, I waded through the expected indexed records and then, towards the end, noted records where Liebross was the deceased's mother's surname.

Oh, my! Rose Liebross Bernstein had a baby who had died: Ira Howard Bernstein.
He was born and died between census enumerations. It is unlikely I ever would have found him. While I have since found him in the same cemetery (Mt. Lebanon) as the rest of the family, he and his parents were not buried in the same plots.  

[It is interesting to note that when I searched on Liebross in the FamilySearch marriage index I received no hits. Several Liebross family members are identified in the ItalianGen marriage index search results. This is another example of why one should use more than one index in one's searches.]

Of course indexers always make choices. While FamilySearch has included much more information that previous indexers, cause of death is not indexed; nor identification of the informant, the doctor, funeral home, etc. I have no particular criticism of that.  

The results provide more information than may be searched from FamilySearch's search box. It would be nice if the search box allowed for searching on particular dates (or even months) of death and birth. Right now one may only search on a range of years. Why not allow searches on particular addresses (the smallest geographical unit one may now search on is city)?

Regardless, this new index is huge. I have already found my great aunt's previously unknown child. By searching on family surnames, one may be able to find death records for women whose married names were previously unknown. 

If FamilySearch allowed more specific time or area searches, one one might be able to conduct research into community deaths in one small area of the city. Think of the context one might develop for understanding one's family and their lives at particular times and places.

I now await delivery of a copy of the original death record for Ira Howard Bernstein from the New York City Municipal Archives.

Let's hope new indices keep coming from a variety of sources. As researchers we must try new indices to expand our opportunities for success. 

1. It would be nice if companies were up-front about how their collections were indexed? In addition to collection descriptions on websites, they should include how indices were derived. That way one might be able to tell if indices on different websites were independently developed or copied from another (also accessible) source.
2. The data sets do not actually contain death records from 1949 or marriage records from 1938. The records end the year before those designations. It would be good if FamilySearch corrected that so researchers do not think they might find death records from 1949 and marriage certificates from 1938.
3. Queens County, New York, marriage certificate no. 3319 (1926), Nathan Judas Bernstein and Rose Liebross, 14 November 1926; Municipal Archives, New York.

09 April 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: Meyer Schultz advertisement, FLPBA Anniversary publication

Meyer Schultz' photograph was included in a prior post about the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association's 25th anniversary publication. A few pages later, he and his family sponsored an advertisement.

Rose (27 March 1895 - 27 April 1962) and Meyer Schultz (20 March 1894 - 27 January 1965) had three daughters: Ethel Schultz Berger (16 November 1917 - May 1995), Lillian Schultz Horodner (27 March 1919 - 7 January 2001) and Mae Schultz Sussman (29 May 1925 - 26 July 2001).

Rose and Meyer likely married about 1917. In the 1920 census enumeration they lived at 320 Cherry Street, NY, NY.[1] By 1925 they lived in Brooklyn at 2130 E. 13th Street.[2] They were still in Brooklyn in 1930, living at 501 E. 93rd Street.[3] In 1940, their two eldest daughters were married and living elsewhere. Meyer, Rose and Mae lived in the Bronx at 1210 Elden Avenue.[4]

While I suspect that the address in the advertisement (1531 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY) was a place of business, I have no records for documentation.

1. New York County, New York, 1920 U.S. Census, population schedule, Manhattan, enumeration district 114, sheet 9A, dwelling 143, family 143, Meyer and Rose Schultz family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1183.
2. Kings County, New York, 1925 New York State. Census, population schedule, Brooklyn, assembly district 2, election district 61, sheet 16,  Meyer and Rose Schultz family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 July 2014); New York State Archives, Albany.
3. Kings County, New York, 1920 U.S. Census, population schedule,Brooklyn , enumeration district 24-1234, sheet 15A, dwelling 111, family 430, Meyer and Rose Schultz family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1493.
4. Bronx County, New York, 1920 U.S. Census, population schedule, Bronx, enumeration district 3-955, sheet 10A, household 151, Meyer and Rose Schultz family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 July 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2485.