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.

14 October 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Batya Lifshe bat Naftaly Hertz, 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.


Here lies
A pure and proper woman
Batya Lifshe
daughter of Naftaly Hertz
died Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5670
May her soul be bound in eternal life

This stone was very difficult to read in the color image I collected on-site. I changed it to black and white and did some enhancements in iPhoto to make it a bit more readable.

Translation of the Hebrew benefited from the collective intellect of several knowledgeable researchers on Tracing the Tribe FaceBook page: Stephen Cohen, Smadar Gilboa-Nonacs, Zev Siberiano, Lara Diamond, Robin Meltzer and Sorin Goldenberg [Thank you!]. The second line, in particular, was challenging because the middle of it is difficult to read. It either reads "isha t'hara v'kashera" - a pure and proper woman; or, "isha t'hara yishara" - a pure and honest/upstanding woman [the word t'hara is abbreviated with only the letter tav]. In comparing occurrences of the letter yud in the epitaph, I believe that the last word in the line starts with a caf, not a yud. So, the word would be kashera (proper).

Batya Lifshe died on Rosh Chodesh of the month of Shevat. Rosh Chodesh is the new moon, i.e. the 1st day of the lunar month: 1 January 1910.[1]  Batya Lifshe's date of death was 11 January 1910 (Gregorian calendar) or 29 December 1909 (Julian calendar).

The names Naftaly and Hertz (Batya Lifshe's father's name) are often given together in Biblical reference to Jacob's blessing of his son Naftaly. Naftaly was compared to a swift deer. The deer at the top of the stone were likely an additional reference.

Notes:  
1. Date converted from the Hebrew to the Gregorian calendar via the calendar conversion tool on the Steve Morse One-Step website.

09 October 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Harry Liebross and Gertrude Bohrer Marriage License & Certificate

The star of this post is not the marriage certificate pictured below. It was the New York City "Affidavit for License to Marry" that saved the day. New York City marriage licenses are a challenge to locate, but once found, they may provide information that is rewarding.

From 1908 through 1937 New York City issued two sets of marriage records: the certificate from the Department of Health and the license from the City Clerk's Office. [1] After 1937 marriages no longer were recorded by the Health Department and all records were filed at County Clerk's Offices. While the license often does not provide much additional genealogical information, it can help when dealing with difficult handwriting and it may provide some previously unknown tidbits.  

This is the marriage certificate for Harry Liebross and Gertrude Bohrer. I will provide a transcription of their marriage license, later in this article.
 
Kings County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no, 10964 [handwritten], no. 8883 [stamped] (25 June 1927), Harry Liebross and Gertrude Bohrer, Municipal Archives, New York City.




Items shown in red text are items I will be discuss further, below.

[1st page]
Groom: Harry Liebross
Residence: 291 Stuyvesant Ave
Age: 31
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Occupation: hatter
Birthplace: Rodowic, Austria
Father's Name: Louis
Mother's Maiden Name: Bertha Weingarten
Number of Groom's Marriage: first

Bride: Gertrude Bohrer
Residence:
719 Crown St
Age: 21
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Maiden Name, if a Widow: [blank]
Birthplace: New York City.
Father's Name: Harry
Mother's Maiden Name: Minnie Sokoloff
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 Temple Petach Tikvah Rochester Ave & Lincoln Place, in the borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, this 25 of June, 1927.
 

Signature of person performing the ceremony:
                                              /s/ B. Reuben Welerstein
 
                                             Official Station: Rabbi Temple 
                                                                         Petach Tikvah
Witnesses to } A. Jassen      Residence: 1669 President St
the Marriage } H. Muss   
 

[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/ Harry Liebross  Groom
                              /s/ Gertrude Bohrer Bride  

Signed in the presence of  /s/ A. Jassen and  
/s/ H. Muss
----------------------------
For most of us doing New York City research, the certificate of marriage is the standard for marriage information. The certificates through 1937 have been indexed (now on the New York City Italian and German genealogy websites and on Ancestry) and may be ordered either directly from the Municipal Archives or via microfilm from FamilySearch. Easy pickin'.

The licenses, however, are not indexed online and microfilm copies only reside with the Municipal Archives or County Clerk's Offices. The Municipal Archives has indexes for the years 1908-1951, but only license records from 1908-1929.[2]  

Knowing the borough in which a couple married, date of the marriage, and at least one of the surnames involved is critical to locating the license record in the index. The index is divided by boroughs and then 3-month segments of each year. Surnames may be located within each segment by searching on the first two letters of the name. The date used for placement in the index is the date of the license, not the date of the wedding.

So, I arrived at the Municipal Archives armed with names and dates of marriage for all couples I am researching who married in New York City between 1908 and 1929. Typically, couples would apply for their license within a few days to a week or two of their wedding. I have found some that married more than a month later and some that never did marry (!). One must laboriously scroll through the microfilm to locate the indexed records.

I do not have the actual image of Harry and Gertie's license that I viewed on microfilm at the New York City Municipal Archives. [3] During my visit I planned to find as many licenses as possible for quite a few of my New York City relatives who had married there. The Municipal Archives charges a fee for paper copies of each record. So, I created a form and transcribed the records as I found them. 

Kings County, New York, Affidavit for License to Marry no. 10964 (17 June 1927; marriage date 25 June 1927), Harry Liebross and Gertrude Bohrer; "Brooklyn Marriage Licenses 1927, 10700-11599," Municipal Archives, New York City, microfilm roll K1927-416 MN 36416; transcription made from microfilmed image.

If not for the more clearly written license I would not have been able to decipher the Rabbi's name (B. Reuben Welerstein), the synagogue name (Petach Tikvah), or the surname of one of the witnesses (Jassen) as written on the certificate. 

Even after seeing Temple Petach Tikvah on the license, I still could not make out the script written sideways on the far right of the certificate (see above). However, I used my new knowledge to find Temple Petach Tikvah's address in a Brooklyn City Directory and determined that Rabbi Welerstein had written, "Rochester Ave and Lincoln." [4] 

Licenses provide information never included on the New York City marriage certificates of the era: bride's occupation. In this case, we find that Gertie had been working as a stenographer before marriage. This could mean that she had attended business classes to learn that skill - something for further research.

Sometimes one sees witness addresses on certificates. In this case, however, while witnesses' addresses are not on the certificate, they were provided on the license. I neither know who these people were nor their relationships with the couple. But, should I endeavor to research further, I now have their addresses as of June 1927.
Notes:
1. For further in-depth discussion of these records, see Leslie Corn, "City Clerk's License, New York City, 1908-1937: One of 20th Century Genealogy's Best Primary Sources," The NYG&B Newsletter, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1999: 23-27.
2. Estell M. Guzik, Genealogical Resources in New York (New York City: Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc., 2003), 113.
3. One may view an image of an actual 1947 affidavit in a prior post.
4. R.L. Polk & Co.'s 1933 Brooklyn City Directory (New York City, NY: R.L. Polk & Co., Inc, 1933), 2019, entry for "Temple Petach Tikvah"; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 October 2014).

07 October 2014

Treasure Chest Tuesday: Rabbi Yitzchak ben Rabbi Yisrael, 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.
 

Here lies
a simple [modest] man
honored teacher and rabbi
Yitzchak son of Rabbi
Yisrael. Died
8th day 
of the month ...[1]

I'm afraid that my photography skills were lacking in this photo and I inadvertently cut off the last line of the epitaph. So, the month of death is unclear and we have no year.

The only Rabbi I'd previously known for Labun was Rabbi Yoer Lerner. Lerner immigrated to the United States in 1924.[2] He and his first wife Rivka are buried in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot in Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York. 
Notes:
1. Translation of this stone was a group effort by several generous genealogists who responded to my post on Tracing the Tribe FaceBook page: Binyamon Lewis, Smadar Belkin Gerson, Lara Diamond, Israel Pickholtz and Robin Meltzer. Thank you (and to Schelly for conceiving of and maintaining TTT).
2. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 25 January 2012), digital image, manifest, SS. Cedric, Liverpool to New York, arriving 11 March 1924, p. 7 (stamped), Fre Lerner; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715, roll 3461.

02 October 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Murray Morris and Pauline Levy Marriage

Murray Morris, son of Isidore and Sarah Myers Morris, probably did not remember much about his first few years in Europe. He emigrated from Labun, Russian Empire (Yurovshchina, Ukraine) with his mother and siblings in 1910 when he was six years old.[1]

Bronx County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 323 (31 December 1927), Murray Morris and Pauline Levy, Municipal Archives, New York City

Items shown in red text are items I will be discuss further, below.

[1st page]
Groom: Murray Morris
Residence: 1311 Hoe Ave.
Age: 24
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Occupation: Glazier
Birthplace: Russia
Father's Name: Isidore
Mother's Maiden Name: Sarah Myers
Number of Groom's Marriage: first

Bride: Pauline Levy
Residence:
1321 Hoe Ave.
Age: 22
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Maiden Name, if a Widow: [blank]
Birthplace: N.Y.C.
Father's Name: Lewis
Mother's Maiden Name: Frida Browdy
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 Congregation Tefereth Israel, 1438 Prospect Ave, in the borough of Bronx, City of New York, this 31 of December, 1927.
 

Signature of person performing the ceremony:
                                                          /s/ Meyer J. Goldman
Witnesses to } Morris Leibman    Official Station: Rabbi  

the Marriage } Peretz Kaminsky   Residence: 1201 Gilbert Pl.
 

[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/Murray Morris  Groom
                              /s/Pauline Levy  Bride  

Signed in the presence of  /s/ Morris Leibman and  
/s/ Peretz Kaminsky


Pauline and Murray lived a few houses from each other on the same block of Hoe Avenue. I have checked the 1925 New York State Census and while the Morris family resided at 1311 Hoe Avenue, I did not find a Levy family in the building at 1321 Hoe Avenue. 

Murray and Pauline did wed, however, at the same synagogue in which Murray's sister, Jean, married on the 18th of May 1927.
 

Notes:
1."New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 11 January 2012), manifest, Vaderland, Antwerp to New York, arriving 7 June 1910, p. 1, Sure Morris family; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
2. 1925 New York State Census, New York County, New York, Enumeration of inhabitants, Block 1, ED 40, AD 5, Page 19, Lines 27-32, Isidor and Sarah Morris family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 12 August 2012); New York State Archives, Albany, New York.