27 February 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Morris Family 1915 New York State Census

New York State enumerated the Isidore and Sarah Morris family almost exactly five years after Sarah and the children arrived in the United States. [1] [2] The family lived at 243 East 105th Street in Manhattan, about mid-way between the East River and Central Park (I've checked Google Street View and I believe the building has been replaced.)

243 E. 105th Street, Ny, NY (Google Maps)
When Sarah and the children arrived in June 1910, they went to Isidore who was already living at 243 E. 105th Street. Isidore likely had his glass shop on the ground floor of the building. 

In my experience, it is very unusual for a family during this time period to live at the same location for so many years. In fact, I estimate, based on addresses reported in directories and children's marriage records that the Morrises either lived or maintained their glass store at this location (or next door at 239-41 East 105th Street) at least into 1930.

In this 1915 record, the eldest two daughters, 19 year old Dora (my grandmother) and sixteen year old Jennie (also called Jean or Jeannette) had jobs in the garment industry. A year later, Dora married her first cousin, Jack Garber. [3] The younger siblings, Max, Murray (recorded as "Morrins") and Esther, attended school.

One more child was born to Sarah before the next Census enumeration in 1920: Saul Morris on 7 June 1917.

1. 1915 New York State Census, New York County, New York, Enumeration of inhabitants, Block 3, ED 2, AD 28, Page 125, Line 38, Isidor Morris,; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 7 June 2012); New York State Archives, Albany, New York.
2. "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; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
3. New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 19923 (12 August 1916), Jacob Garber and Dora Morris, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.

25 February 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Ira Wilson

My uncle Ira, my mother's brother, was born in New York City and lived his entire life in Brooklyn. Ira was the first of two children born to Joseph Wilson and Tillie Liebross Wilson.

Photo by E. Garber, 2 September 2008

Here lies
Died 28 Tevet 5764
MAY 19, 1918 - JAN. 22, 2004

Ira and his parents were enumerated during the 1920 U.S. Census living in an apartment at 1654 Union Street, Brooklyn. [1] By the 1925 New York State Census, they are living in a two family home at 723 Crown Street. [2] On the 15 July 1929, when Ira was 11, Joe and Tillie purchased their home at 31 Colin Place, Brooklyn. 

By today's standards, 31 Colin Place was small for a family of four. There were two bedrooms in the back of the house. One was a master bedroom for Joe and Tillie. The other bedroom was ultimately used only by my mother.  A sun room at the front of the house was converted to a bedroom for Ira.

Ira graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and attended New York University both for his undergraduate degree and for Law School. He passed the State Bar Examination on 14 May 1942. [4] He clerked for a time, but later gave up lawyering to go into the women's sweater business with his father.

Ira was an accomplished horseman. My mother used to proudly tell us that her brother would do dressage (highest level of competitive horse training). It was while working at a resort teaching horseback riding, that Ira met Lee Urbass whom he later married.

Lee and Ira had one child, Steven, and lived for many years on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.

Ira is buried in the Wilson-Garber Family plot in Knollwood Cemetery (now a part of Mount Carmel Cemetery), Queens, New York. Section 5, Block H, Lot 35, Grave 1.
1. 1920 U.S. Census, Kings County, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Enumeration District (ED) 1098, sheet 1A, dwelling 1, family 10, Ira Wilson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 August 2008), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1172.
2. 1925 New York State Census, Kings County, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Enumeration District (ED) 42, Assembly District 18, page 70, 723 Crown Street, Ira Wilson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 September 2012), New York State Archives, Albany.
3. Kings County, New York, 1961 probate file, Tillie Wilson; Surrogate Court, Kings County, Brooklyn.
4. "Those Who Passed Bar Examinations," 15 May 1942, New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com : accessed 22 June 2009).

20 February 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Wilson and Garber Photo

Left to right: Joe Wilson, Bernard Garber, Lee Urbass Wilson, Ira Wilson, Norma Wilson Garber, Tillie Liebross Wilson
I supposed if several of us in our family put our heads together we might be able to hazard a guess where the family was when this photograph was taken. There were just a handful of favorite fancy restaurants in my family. Regardless, I love this picture.

Everyone looks so comfortable, relaxed and happy. My grandmother, with her auburn hair, is as I remember her (she died when I was only 7). Joe (we always called my grandfather just "Joe") is the same, as well. He was a doting and generous grandfather and my only grandparent with whom I really had the opportunity to grow up. He died when I was 22. And my parents and my aunt and uncle look stunningly young. So much more life to be lived!

The photo was likely taken in the late 1940s. My grandmother Tillie is wearing a large corsage; so somehow she was being honored. Joe and Tillie were married on 31 May 1917, so this would be too early to be a 50th anniversary celebration. Perhaps it was a birthday bash? Although I have no idea when her birthday actually was or when/if it was celebrated.

18 February 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Norma Wilson Garber

My mother, Norma Circe Wilson Garber, was born in Brooklyn, the second child of Joseph Wilson and Tillie Liebross Wilson. Her grave, like her husband's, is marked with a flat marker and does not include the standard Hebrew text identifying the deceased's Hebrew name and date of death on the Hebrew calendar. 

Knollwood Cemetery (now part of Mt. Carmel Cemetery),
Queens, NY. Section 5, Block H, Lot 36, grave 4.
Photo by author, 2 September 2008.
The marker should say (in Hebrew): 
Here lies
Nechama bat Yosef
 19 Ve-Adar 5763 [1]

Her grave is in the Wilson-Garber plot at Knollwood Cemetery (now managed by Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Queens, NY. She is buried near her husband, mother, father, brother (Ira Wilson) and sister-in-law (Lee Urbass Wilson) in the family Wilson-Garber plot. The grave marker states:

APRIL 6, 1921
MARCH 23, 2003  

My mother was very proud of her unusual middle name: Circe. She said it was her uncle Jerry Liebross who suggested that name. Circe the goddess who turned men into pigs.

Norma's early experience at Public School 215 (now known as Morris H. Weiss School) was difficult. The New York City schools at that time were run on a semester rather than a year basis. Norma became ill (perhaps with scarlet fever) and was out of school for two months. The school decided to leave her back one semester. She was mortified and related that the situation cast a pall over her and the household. 

She made that up, however, by later skipping several grades. She graduated in 1937 from Abraham Lincoln High School at the age of 16. Her brother Ira, 3 years her senior, openly worried that his sister might graduate high school before he did. 

After that she went on to New York University where she majored in English and with a concentration in Theater Arts. One summer, she auditioned for a summer stock theater company and was offered a job. Her parents, however, would not let her go away with the troupe. She intended to teach high school English, but upon graduation from NYU in 1941, did not find a teaching job.

During World War II and before she married Bernard Garber on 9 February 1947, she worked as a bookkeeper. 

My mother had, I believe, three miscarriages before she was able to produce my brother. At that time the family lived in Stuyvesant Town, a new post-war development in Manhattan. In 1952 my mother and father followed the post World War II building boom into suburbia and purchased a house. She and my father lived in that house almost 50 years.

Norma was a homemaker. She loved to bake and became well-known for her rich chocolate cake and awesome apple struedel. The chocolate cake was a favorite welcome home treat when we returned from college. Our friends enjoyed it, as well.

Later in life, my mother was the mover and shaker in planning my parent's world travel. My father probably would have been satisfied just staying home, but my mother would set her sights on a hitherto unvisited venue and off they'd go! My father, always enjoyed himself and was a willing participant in the next adventure. 

My father passed away on 9 July 2002. My mother went into steady decline; passing away on 23 March 2003, one day after my daughter's bat mitzvah. 

1.  This is the first grave I've recorded from the Hebrew calendar month of Ve-Adar. So, I needed to look it up. The Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle which is 11 days different than the solar calendar. The lunar calendar is occasionally adjusted in a leap year that adds a second month of Adar. The leap month is called either Adar Sheni (second Adar) or Ve-Adar (and Adar).

12 February 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Saul Wilson - Odd Fellow

Well, I don't know enough about my great grandfather Saul Wilson to know if he was strange or not. But, I believe he was an Odd Fellow, that is, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Hudson, New York Chapter.

I have located the following newspaper article from the Hudson Evening Register, dated January 1901.[1]

Odd Fellow's Election
   At the semi-annual elections of Hudson City Lodge No. 142. I.O.O.F., held at Odd Fellows Temple Tuesday evening, Jan. 1, 1901, the following offcers were elected:
   N.G. - Saul Wilson.
   V.G. - Platt V. Washburn.
   S. - Edward J. Hodge. 
   T. - Lewis W. Bachman.
   Trusteees - Eugene D. Smith, John W. Holsapple, Fayette J. Hall.

I have checked all the Hudson City directories several years before and after 1901 and the U.S. Census population schedule for 1900 and there is only one Saul Wilson in Hudson, my great grandfather. So, the "N.G. - Saul Wilson" in the newspaper article is likely my Saul Wilson.

The Odd Fellows are a fraternal service organization where the members believe in friendship, love and truth. They aid those in society who are in need.

According to my reading of Wikipedia, the following are elected posts in a lodge (and represented by the abbreviations in the article):
Noble Grand (N.G.)
Vice Grand (V.P.)
Secretary (S.)
Treasurer (T.)
The Noble Grand chairs and plans meetings, is the official representative of the lodge to outside persons and organizations. 

I have tried unsuccessfully to contact the New York State Chapter of IOOF to see whether there might be any records of Saul Wilson's tenure with the organization. Think I'll give it third try.

1. "Odd Fellow's Election," Evening Register (Hudson, New York), January 1901 (date unknown), page unknown, col. 3; digital image, Old Fulton New York Postcards (http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html : accessed 20 February 2012).

11 February 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Bernard Garber

Knollwood Cemetery (now part of Mt. Carmel Cemetery),
Queens, NY. Section 5, Block H, Lot 36, grave 3.
Photo by author, 2 September 2008.
Bernard "Sonny" Garber, my father, was the son of Jack and Dora Morris Garber and was born in Brooklyn, New York. As a Jewish genealogist, I'm a little embarrassed that my father's tombstone has little information. I guess I can blame that on not being into family history at that time. I will remedy this by providing here the information that ought to be on the stone in Hebrew (in translation) : Here lies Dov Ber son of Yakov. Died 29 Tamuz 5762. 

This is what the stone actually says:
JANUARY 18, 1919
JULY 9, 2002

I have posted about my father before here and also in a series of posts that start with this one. 

Bernie attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn and then, after graduation, went to work. World War II interrupted his formative years as a young adult. He enlisted in 1942 and served in the European theater in the Army Air Corps. At the age of 28, he married Norma Wilson on 9 February 1947. 

After the war, Bernie went into business with an older (non-Jewish) friend named Art and created "Every Ready Partition." The company renovated offices in New York City buildings by constructing or taking down walls. They worked together successfully for several years until Art decided to retire. Unfortunately, several companies made it clear to Art that they would not continue to do business with the "Jew." 

I do not know what the thought process was, but my father joined the women's sweater business that his father-in-law (my grandfather Joe Wilson) owned: Oakdale Mills in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. Joe, my father, and my uncle Ira Wilson worked together for many years. My grandfather retired well into his 80s. Ira and my father eventually sold the business and retired.

My father was a gentle soul, but fiercely loyal to those he loved. He was an avid bowler and bowled with a B'nai Brith sponsored league on Long Island for many years. He also had a great sense of humor and would regale his grandchildren with made-up stories (that sometimes included humor way above their heads).

My brother and I each wrote and presented eulogies as his funeral. My brother put them online along with some photos in tribute. 

06 February 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Ruth Garber Levine New York University 1935 Yearbook

Shortly after I posted about Ruth Garber Levine's tombstone, I received some reminiscences about Ruth from her niece Ruth Goldman Silver. I also had this wonderful photo of Ruth Garber Levine (1915-1996) from her New York University Yearbook and I wanted to share it because, well - she looks so sweet.

School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance, New York University, The Violet (New York University: New York 1935), 65; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 September 2012).

Ruth was the first in her family to graduate from college. She attended NYU School of Business, graduating in 1935. She worked in the garment industry until she retired at the age of 62 (ca. 1977).

George and Ruth married in about 1952. They never had children of their own and doted on Ruth's sisters' children.

04 February 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Annette Garber

Photo by author, 29 September 2012
Here lies
Chana bat Mordechai
May her soul be bound in everlasting life
May 26, 1921
Oct. 19, 1996

I did not know Annette Garber well, but she holds a fond spot in my heart: it was she who introduced my parents. She set up a blind date; they went bowling; my mother bested my father in the game; my father, apparently, found that fetching; the rest is history.[1]

Annette was the third child and third daughter of Max and Mary Garber (my great uncle and aunt) and my father's first cousin. She was born in New York, New York.

She graduated from James Madison High School (likely) in Brooklyn and then completed a bachelors degree in accounting from Brooklyn College. She lived and worked her entire adult life in Manhattan.[2]

I am not sure how Annette knew my mother, Norma Wilson. While they were the same age, they, I believe, attended different high schools (my mother went to Abraham Lincoln High School) and colleges (my mother went to NYU). This is a mystery I hope to solve someday.

Annette Garber never married. She was devoted to her mother Mary and visited her often in Brooklyn to stay for Shabbos. She often took her nieces (younger sister Joan's children) to Manhattan for special outings, plays, movies, and shopping. 

Annette's grave is located in the First Lubiner Progressive benevolent Association plot in Montefiore Cemetery: Block 89, Gate 156N, Line 10L, Grave 2.

1. For information on their courtship, see the series of letters starting with "When Bernie met Norma: Courtship Letters."
2. I am indebted to Ruth Goldman Silver for recollections about her Aunt Annette.