24 March 2013

Avrum's Women, Part 9: Fannie's brother Morris


The last Feiga Grinfeld (aka Fannie Greenfield) post related her saga: birth in Baranovka, marriage, children, pogroms, murder of her husband, emigration and, finally, a life of relative tranquility in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is still not determined how or if she was related to my great grandfather Avrum Garber with whom she'd traveled to the United States in November 1922. In that manifest, she was identified as Avrum's wife. It is likely that was not true. An earlier manifest from March 1922 for Avrum's youngest children, listed Feiga Grunfeld as a cousin in Warsaw.

The Feiga Grinfeld on the manifest was the same person as the widow Fannie Greenfield who lived in Cincinnati with two of her three children.

Her late husband, Schachna Grinfeld, was murdered during a pogrom in their hometown of Baranovka, likely sometime around 1920. Her maiden name was Liderman. He father's name was Levi Yitzchak and her mother's name was Frieda.

Fannie Greenfield passed away in 1942. Her obituary identified one sibling, a brother Morris Liderman of Detroit. The contact for Fannie's family had no information on Morris Lederman. So, I was on my own. Since Fannie and Morris likely had at least one parent in common, it was time to see if Morris' parentage might reveal any relationship with Avrum Garber.

You say "Morris," I say "Maurice"

If Morris was living in Detroit in 1942, perhaps he was there in 1940, the U.S. Census year closest to Fannie's death? There was no one with the name Morris Liderman in the 1940 U.S. Census for Detroit. There seemed, however, to be two men named Morris Lederman. One was born about 1893 [1] and the other in about 1913.[2] I say "seemed" because they both had a penchant for appearing and then disappearing in Detroit city directories and for sometimes being identified as "Morris" and other times as "Maurice." 

Since Fannie was born about 1878, the elder Morris Lederman, who was about 15 years younger than she, was a more likely candidate for her brother. In addition, the born-in-1913 Morris was, in the 1930 U.S. Census and some Detroit city directories, living as the son of Abraham and Lillian Lederman. [3] Abraham and Lillian were born about 1884 and were younger than Fannie Greenfield.

Love them unusual names 

Morris Lederman (the 1893 variety) did genealogy a great favor by surrounding himself with women with unusual first names: wife, Rene; his eldest daughter, Marvel; and his second daughter, Zena. As a result, they were easily tracked to the 1930 U.S. Census as the Leiderman family - still in Detroit. [4] 

But the first real indication that 1893 Morris might be Fannie's brother was from the cemetery. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit sponsors the Irwin I. Cohn Michigan Jewish Cemetery Index. A query on "Lederman" resulted in indices for Morris and Rene in the Workmen's Circle, Turover Aid Section, Lots 7 and 11 (respectively) and graves 0015 and 0001. No dates of death were indicated for these burials. 

A few calls later revealed that the cemetery in which, it appeared, Morris and Rene might be interred was now managed by Hebrew Memorial Park. The kind woman on the telephone was frustrated that there were few, if any, records for this portion of the cemetery. She agreed, however, to take a photograph for me of the two headstones (I sent them a donation).

Hebrew Memorial Park, Detroit, Michigan, Workmen's Circle, Turover Aid Society, Lot 7, Grave 15
JAN. 12, 1954 - AGE 61
Moshe Shalom Mordechai son of Yitzchak 

The age was right for birth in about 1893. And Yitzchak - also Fannie's father's name! But too soon to celebrate. Yitzchak is a common name. Further work would be required before confirmation that this Morris might be Fannie's brother.

What was his mother's name? What was her maiden name? Was Morris from Baranovka? When did he come to the United States?

1. 1940 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit, Enumeration District 84-820, sheet 2A, household 31, Morris Lederman; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 July 2012).
2. 1940 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit, Enumeration District 84-382, sheet 5A, household 135, Maurice Lederman; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 March 2013).
3. 1930 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit, Enumeration District 82-86, sheet 14A, family 60, Morris Lederman; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 March 2013).
4. 1930 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit, Enumeration District 82-386, sheet 18A, family 11, Morris Leiderman; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 November 2011).
Previous posts in this series:
Avrum's Women, Part 2: Feiga Grinfeld
Avrum's Women, Part 3: Following Feiga (and Raya)
Avrum's Women, Part 4: The Trouble with Harry
Avrum's Women, Part 5: Finding Feiga 
Avrum's Women, Part 6: Added Confirmation
Avrum's Women, Part 7: Feiga's Family
Avrum's Women, Part 8: Fannie's Story
Avrum's Women, Part 10: Morris Lederman - Who's your Mama? 
Avrum's Women, Part 11: Garber Y-DNA = Lederman Y-DNA 
Avrum's Women, Part 12: Finding Family with Family Finder  
Avrum's Women, Part 13: Bond of Brothers  


  1. Thank you! Although I've only recently been following you, I think this series will be of interest to me. I've been trying for years to trace my husband's jewish (I think) lines to no avail. I have finally cracked my brick wall by finding and getting in touch with one of his cousins but it's only made my research more difficult with conflicting information! It seems with each new record I find there's more inconsisencies. I'm interested in reading your posts about Fiega because this is a time period and location that may be helpful in my research. Thanks so much for making this public so others can benefit from the information.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Tanya. So glad you're enjoying the series.

    Of course, ultimately resolution of conflicts in information will create a strong case for your tree. Try to keep that in mind through the frustration :-)

    If you'd asked me several years ago "Will you be doing research in Cincinnati and Kentucky?" I would have responded with an unequivocal, "No." I love the challenge of keeping all options open in my research.


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