24 September 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Hoda Wilson

Before I arrived at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Queens, New York in September 2008, I knew that my great grandmother Hoda Wilson's tombstone had toppled. The answer to my query to the cemetery office regarding family graves told me that. But it was not only toppled, it was a jungle! The stone was face down and nearly impossible to approach. No amount of pruning, such as I did at my great grandfather Saul's grave was going to solve the problem.

Upon return home I contacted the cemetery and paid them to reset the stone and clean up the area. I asked them to send me a photo of the finished work. They did a nice job.

They asked if I wanted them to plant ivy. (All together now:  Noooooooooo!) I have not returned to the cemetery since this photograph was taken, so I'm sure those neighboring plants have once again overtaken the stone.

Hoda Epstein Wilson was born approximately 1867 in the Russian Empire (today's Belarus). I do not know yet the name of the community in which she was born, but I do know that her children were born in Kasan, Russian Empire (now known as Kozyany, Belarus).

The cemetery sent a close up photo of the inscription and I have bee able to translate it.

Here lies
our beloved mother
a modest and important woman
Hoda Wilson
Daughter of Shabtai Yitzchak
Died 1st day of Kislev 5691
May her soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life
DIED NOV. 21, 1930
Hoda was my mother's paternal grandmother, wife of Saul Wilson. She arrived in the New York Harbor with her three children five and one-half years after her husband, Zelig (Saul) set sail for the United States.[1] During that time, United States manifests did not require a great deal of information regarding passengers beyond name, age, occupation, country of origin, location on the ship (aft) and port of departure (Hamburg).[2] The Hamburg manifest, however, indicates that the family resided in Wilna (today Vilnius, Lithuania) prior to departure.[3] 

Hoda, Nechama, Josef and Benjamin Wilensky left Hamburg on the S.S. Pisa on 19 May 1897 and arrived in Ellis Island on 1 June 1897. The family initially settled in Hudson, New York, about 40 miles south of Albany on the east bank of the Hudson River and became Hoda, Nina Wilson Herman (25 January 1888 - 11 January 1919), Joseph (11 October 1889 - 3 March 1977) and Benjamin Wilson (5 March 1891 - 22 August 1971).[4] Saul and Hoda's only American-born child was born in Hudson on 10 September 1898: Esther Wilson Marwit Warmflash (1898 - 4 December 1973).

In 1905 or 1906 the Wilson family moved to New York City and resided there for the rest of their lives.

I have found evidence of one Hoda Wilson sibling (Moses Epstein, who may have become Morris Epstein) who emigrated to the United States and joined his sister and brother-in-law in Hudson in December 1903.[5] Thus far, I have not been able to trace the Epsteins or the Wilenskys in Belarus.

Hoda's grave is located in Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Glendale (Queens), New York in the United Hebrew Community section: Block F, Section 6, Subsection 5, Line 2, Grave 32. 

I have a particular affinity for Hoda. First off, my middle name is Hoda and second, she was the topic of my first bona fide genealogy blog post: "Cream Puff Daze." 

1."New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 October 2008), manifest, Polaria, Stettin to New York, arriving 23 November 1891, passenger number 196, Selig Wilenski; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial M237, Microfilm Roll 579.
2. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 September 2009), manifest, Pisa, Hamburg to New York, arriving 1 June 1897, list 7, Hode, Nachame, Josef and Benjamin Wilensky; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial M237, Microfilm Roll 579.
3. "Hamburgen Passagierlisten, 1850-1934," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 March 2008), manifest, Pisa, Hamburg to New York, departing 19 May 1897, passenger number 1, Hode Wilensky; citing Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Deutschland, vol. 373-7 I, VIII A Band 096; Page 0, Microfilm No. K_1756.
4. In 2012 I visited Hudson, New York and posted several articles about my research there. See Hudson posts for:  8 September 20127 October 2012, 8 October 2012, 9 October 2012, 10 October 2012, 14 October 2012, and 18 October 2012.
5. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 October 2009), manifest, Albano, Hamburg to New York, arriving 22 December 1903, passenger number 357, Moses Epstein; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715, Microfilm Roll 422.

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