20 March 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Nina Wilson & Max Herman Marriage

Nina Wilson Herman (born Nechame Wilensky) was my maternal grandfather's elder sister. She married Max Herman in New York on 26 May 1910.[1] This was one of the early records that confirmed the village of birth of my grandfather and his siblings: Kasan, Russia (now known as Kozyany, Belarus). Kasan or Kazan was the Yiddish name for the community.

Groom: Max Herman
Groom's Residence: Max Herman
Age: twenty two
Color: white
Single, Widowed or Divorced: single
Occupation: Corset business
Birth Place: Riga, Russia
Father's Name: Mowsha Herman
Mother's Maiden Name: Aster Harif
Number of Groom's Marriage: First

Bride: Mina Wilson
Bride's Residence: Mina Wilson
Age: thirty two
Color: white
Single, Widowed or Divorced: single
Maiden Name, if a Widow: ----------
Birth Place: Kasan Russia
Father's name: Saul Wilson
Mother's Maiden Name: Hoda Epstein
Number of Bride's Marriage: Kosan Russia

I hereby 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 184 1/2 E. 7th Street, in the Borough of Manhattan, City of New York, this 26th of May, 1910.
          Signature of person performing the ceremony Chona P [?]
          Official Station: 184 1/2 E. 7th Street
          Residence: 184 1/2 E. 7th Street

Witnesses to the Marriage: M [?] T [?]
                                        Jake Rubin

Sometimes the records clearly indicate that there were immigrants involved in record creation for whom English was not quite grasped. There are several mistakes in this record.

First, Nina's name. It was not Mina. Nina actually pronounced her name Nynuh, with the emphasis on the first syllable.

The second line for both groom and bride should have been their addresses (from a genealogical standpoint, an opportunity missed to acquire some additional data - drat!).

Nina and Max's ages are switched. Nina was actually born, according to her death certificate, on 6 January 1888.[2] Max was said to be 52 when he died in 1935.[3]

This was first marriage for both Max and Nina. The Rabbi wrote Nina's town of birth, once again, in the "Number of bride's marriage" spot.

The Rabbi's name and the name of one of the witnesses is pretty much unintelligible. The first witness' name almost looks to me as if he is writing at least part of his name in Cyrillic script.

This marriage certificate found the couple in happier times. This happiness, unfortunately, was not destined to last long-term. Nina died in the Influenza Epidemic in 1919, leaving a seven year old daughter, Winnie, and a two month old son, Victor. Since Max could not care for the children and continue to work, his children were taken in by Nina's parents, Saul and Hoda Wilson. In 1935, Max, a pedestrian, was hit by a car and died.

My mother, Norma, was always proud that she had been named after her aunt Nina and shared the same Hebrew name. To me that is one of the aspects of Ashkenazi Judaism that is particularly nice: that lives cut short may be recalled and honored with another chance at life.

1. New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 11661 (26 May 1910), Max Herman and Nina Wilson, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
2. New York County, New York, Certificate of Death no. 1585 (11 January 1919), Nina Herman, Municipal Archives, New York, New York.
3. Bronx County, New York, Certificate of Death no. 7919 (2 September 1935), Max Herman, Municipal Archives, New York, New York.

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