06 March 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Max and Mary Garber Marriage Certificate

One thing I've noticed about marriage certificates for Jewish immigrants in early twentieth century New York, is that the Rabbis, undoubtedly learned men, often could barely write English. This can be frustrating when trying to make out what was actually written. Luckily, with a little on-site research at the New York City Municipal Archives, one may locate the Affidavit for License to Marry and get another chance to decipher the information on the marriage certificate.

Max Garber was the first of the Garber siblings to emigrate from Labun, Russian Empire.[1] I have been unable to locate him in the 1910 U.S. Census or any other likely record prior to his 1914 marriage to Mary Morgenstein.[2]
The items entered in red, below are either incorrect or unreadable on the certificate.

 [1st page]
Groom: Max Garber
Residence: 201 E. 2 St.
Age: 23
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Occupation: Egg Dealer
Birthplace: Russia
Father's Name: Abie
Mother's Maiden Name: Anna Nazarowitz
Number of Groom's Marriage: [blank]

Bride: Mary Morgenstein
Residence: 325A Housten St.
Age: 22
Color: White
Single, Widowed or Divorced: Single
Maiden Name, if a Widow: ---
Birthplace: Austria
Father's Name: Max
Mother's Maiden Name: Rose Rosenblatt
Number of Bride's Marriage: [blank]
I hearby 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 28-30 Ave. A, in the borough of Man., City of New York, this 11 of June, 1914.

Signature of person performing the ceremony:  
                              /s/ S. Ohbrauch
Official Station: 49 Clinton St.
Residence: 49 Clinton St.

Witness to the Marriage: [first line unintelligible]
                                              Harry [?]ilkin

[2nd page]
WE hereby certify that we are the Groom and Bride named in this Certificate, and that the information given therein is correct, to the best of our knowledge and belief.
                              /s/Max Garber Groom
                              /s/Mary Morgenstein Bride  

Signed in the presence of  /s/S. Ohbrauch
and 49 Clinton St.

Max and Mary applied for their marriage license on 3 June 1914. Max's mother maiden name, Mazawitsky, easily mangled, has been on the certificate (but not on the license [3]).

I have yet to determine what kind of venue was at 28-30 Avenue A, New York, New York. From reading the certificate, I was a little unsure of the officiant's name: it looks like S. Ohbrauch. That reading is confirmed by what is on the license. And on the license on learns that his first name is Sam. The closest name I have seen in available directories for that time period living at 49 Clinton Street is Samuel Elrauch, a grocer. Perhaps he was also a rabbi by training.

The witnesses' signatures are obscured on the document. And since Sam Ohbrauch mistakenly signed as a witness on the second page, I do not have another chance to determine their names from the certificate. License to the rescue: William Zeffert and Harry Tilken. Unfortunately, these men do not appear to be relatives (at least on the Garber side of the family). And I have only been able to find one reference to either of them, thus far:  1922 city directory for William which indicates he lived somewhere in Brookyn.

The other bits of information on the license and not on the certificate are occupation of the bride ("at machine," presumably clothing factory work) and provinces for place of birth: "Wolin Russia" for Max and "Galicia Austria" for Mary.

I will provide more on accessing NYC Marriage license records in a future post.

1. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 February 2009), manifest, Pretoria, Hamburg to New York, arriving 30 December 1907, p. 10, line 5, Motel Garber; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715, Roll 1067.
2. New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage, Number 15344 (11 June 1914), Max Garber and Mary Morgenstein, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
3. New York County,  New York, Affidavit for License to Marry, no. 14925, for Max Garber and Mary Morgenstein, recorded 3 June 1914; Manhattan Borough Marriage License Records, 1908-1929, New York City Municipal Archives, New York, microfilm roll M1914 222 MN35221.


  1. Hello: My mother's grandmother was shaya ohlrauch (also spelled elrauch). He went by the english name Samuel and lived on the lower east side. He was a mashgiach. which directory did you have available to show a grocer with that name? Thank you Jay Grossman jaymarc517@gmail.com

    1. my mistake. I meant my mother's grandFATHER

    2. Jay,
      This certainly looks promising. I will relocate the directory listing and get back to you. Thanks!

    3. By the way, I checked my grandparents (Dora and Jack Garber's) marriage license application and it was definitely signed by Samuel Ohlrauch.

    4. Saml Elrauch is listed as a grocer in the 1915 and 1916 NYC directories in Ancestry's city directory database. I will send you the 1915 page via email.


Comments on posts are always welcome but will be approved before posting. I actually prefer to just let people comment without going through this rigmarole, but I've recently had to delete some posts that I had not vetted before publication. So, please don't be offended. I love to hear from you!