09 January 2018

Tombstone Tuesday: Israel and Sarah Cohen, Montefiore Cemetery, New York

Tracking a couple named Cohen is not for the faint of heart. I avoided tackling the genealogy of Israel and Sarah for several years, but, recently, I made some progress in locating them in New York City records. So, here's what we know.

Here lies
My husband and our dear father
Yisrael BenTzion son of Shloma Yitzchak
24 Elul 5699
May his soul be bound in the bonds of life
DIED SEPT. 7, 1939

Here lies
Our beloved mother
Zissel daughter of David
16 Elul 5705
May her soul be bond in the bonds of life
DIED AUG. 24, 1945


Both Israel and Sarah (usually called Zissel) were likely born in Starokostyantyniv, a larger community 32 kilometers SSW of Labun (the hometown of those who were members of the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association landsmanshaft in New York City). I have not been able, thus far, to identify Israel and  Zissel's tie to the landsmanshaft and, therefore, why their graves are within the landsmanshaft's plot. I have noted, however, that Starokostyantiniv was a common choice for those who wished to leave Labun and settle in a larger, nearby community.

Israel was born in the late 1870s to Shloma Yitzchak Kucuszyn and Sylvia Katz (her name was clearly not Sylvia but, that is the name shown on Israel's death certificate and I have not yet found any additional sources).[1] Zissel was born about 1882 to David Sachnovetsky and Bessie (likely Basya or Basha) Gold.[2]

Israel, Sarah and their children Hencia (later, Adele), Chana (Anna) and Mejer (Meyer) left Antwerp aboard the S.S. Lapland on 14 September 1922 and landed in New York on 23 September. Srul (Israel) was identified as a laborer. The family was headed to Israel's sister, Jetta Besfuchna, who then lived at 162 Houston Street in lower Manhattan. I have not located Jetta, thus far, in any other records.[3]
[*update (15 Jan 2018): I believe this may have been Yetta Bespechney who died on 24 Sep 1952)]

The 1925 New York State census enumeration found the family at 451 Grand Street, New York, NY.[4] They continued to live at that address through at least 1928.[5] Israel sold furniture; Adele Cohen was a milliner; Anna was a machine operator making suits; and Meyer was in school. Israel eventually opened his own furniture store.

Adele married Mischa Pugatche on 31 October 1927.[6] The officiant at their marriage was Labun Rabbi Yoer Lerner, whose immigration in 1924 had been paid for and sponsored by the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association.[7] Mischa (later known also by the first name Morris), was a pharmacist from Starokostyantiniv. Perhaps Mischa and Adele were acquainted with each other in the old country.

When Israel died in 1939, he and Zissel had been living at 862 Jennings Street in the Bronx. Zissel died in 1945 after a four-month stay at the Manhattan State Hospital, Wards Island. This was a psychiatric hospital. Her home address was reported on her death certificate as 1504 Longfellow Avenue, Bronx, NY. He son Meyer, the informant on her death certificate, lived at 976 Tiffany Street, Bronx, NY.

Israel and Zissel's children were:
  • Adele Cohen Pugatche b. 12 March 1906, d. April 1988;
  • Anna Cohen, b. ca. 1908; and
  • Meyer Cohen, b. 22 July 1911, d. April 1966.
Israel's and Zissel's graves are located in block 5, gate 567W. Israel's is in line 1R, grave 5. Zissel (Sarah) is in line 1L, grave 5. Their son Meyer is also interred in the Montefiore Cemetery plot with his wife, Basha.
1. For the original surname, see the family's passenger manifest: Manifest, S.S. Lapland, 23 September 1922, list 6, lines 25-29, Srul (age 46), Zisla (41), Chane (13), Hencia (17), and Mejer (9) Kucuszyn; images, "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 January 2018). For Israel's parents' names, see the his gravestone, above, and death certificate: Bronx County, New York, death certificate no. 8265 (1939), Israel Cohen, 7 September 1939; Municipal Archives, New York City.
2. Bronx County, New York, death certificate no. 18388 (1945), Sarah Cohen, 24 August 1945; Municipal Archives, New York City.
3, Nothing found for anything resembling this name or anyone named Yetta in 1920 census New York enumeration district 627. Also nothing in the 1925 NY State census in A.D.8, E.D. 4.
4. 1925 New York State Census, New York County, New York, enumeration of inhabitants, Manhattan, assembly district 1, election district 1, p. 41, Israel and Sarah Cohen family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 January 2018); citing New York State Archives, Albany.
5. Adele Cohen Pugatche, naturalization file no. 138461 (1928), U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; NARA record group 22.
6. New York County, New York, marriage certificate no. 30492 (1927), Mischa Pugatche and Adele Cohen, 31 October 1927; Municipal Archives, New York City. 
7. For Rabbi Lerner's arrival, see: Manifest, S.S. Cedric, 11 March 1924, list 7 [stamped], lines 2-3, Fre (age 61) and Rebeka (62) Lerner; images, "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 January 2012). For information about the sponsorship of his immigration, see this post

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