Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sympathy Sunday: Ella Markell, "Aunt of Husband of Grand Aunt"

Ella Lebowitz Markell (1886-1965) was the "aunt of the husband of my grand aunt." The family connection is through Joseph Markell, who married my grand aunt Mary Mahler. Mary was one of the matchmaker aunts who arranged for my parents to meet, so anyone connected with her family is special to me.

Two Markell men married two Lebowitz sisters, and I have been hoping to learn whether the Markell men were brothers or cousins or what. Ella and her husband Julius Markell (1882-1966) had a daughter, Ruth Markell. After Ella and Julius divorced, he married Tillie UNK and they had one son, William Markell.


Ella's death cert finally arrived today and I was saddened to see that she died of a stroke in Pittsburgh's Jewish Home for the Aged, just a month after her 81st birthday. She is buried in the Sons of Israel cemetery, Forest Hills, PA.

Ella had diabetes, which also contributed to her mother Fanny Schwartz Lebowitz's death in 1933.

Thinking of Ella on this Sympathy Sunday.

52 Ancestors #26: Private Hugh Rinehart of Company I, 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Great-grand uncle Hugh Rinehart (1839-1917) was a younger brother of hubby's great-grandma Elizabeth Jane Rinehart. He was born in Ashland County, Ohio.

In the 1860 census, Hugh was listed as a 20-yr-old "farm laborer" living in Crawford county, Ohio, with his parents (farmer Joseph C. Rinehart and Margaret Shank) and four younger siblings (Mary, 18, occupation "sewing;" Joseph, 16, "farm laborer;" Sarah, 13; Nancy, 9).

When the Civil War broke out, Hugh enlisted as a private in Company I, 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, for a 90-day period in 1861. His particular company included a lot of men from Wyandot County. After being formed, the 15th Infantry guarded the B&O railroad in West Virginia, among other duties.

When Hugh's initial enlistment was up and the regiment was being reformed for three more years of active duty, Hugh took his leave and returned home. Within a week, he had a marriage license to marry Mary Elizabeth McBride (1842-1918). Hugh and Mary had two children: Clara and Charles. He became a carpenter in the Wyandot/Crawford county area.

Hugh and his wife Mary are buried in Marion cty, Ohio, and his tombstone in Grand Prairie Cemetery reflects his Civil War service.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

52 Ancestors #25: Isaiah Wood and Harriet Taber of the "Little Compton" Wood Family

Isaiah Wood Sr. (abt 1784-1834) and Harriet Taber (abt 1790-1838) married in New Bedford, Massachusetts on May 18, 1806. They're hubby's great-great-grandparents. The 1810 Census finds them in New Bedford with one child.

Given the timing, this one child must be Thomas Haskell Wood, born in 1809. (As an adult, Thomas wooed New York teenager Mary Amanda Demarest and then married her in Plaquemine, Louisiana--a geographic mystery we have yet to solve.)


Harriet Taber: Our cousin (and family researcher extraordinaire) Larry linked Harriet Taber's line back to Philip Taber, born in England and transplanted to Plymouth, Mass in 1630. Philip moved around the area, settling in Watertown, Yarmouth, and Martha's Vineyard, among other areas. He died and was buried in Tiverton (part of Dartmouth, MA). 

Isaiah Wood, Sr.: Thanks again to cousin Larry, we know Isaiah Wood was of the "Little Compton Woods," who can trace their line back to John Wood "The Mariner," born about 1590 in or near Southwark, England. The men of the Wood family were seafaring, building and often captaining ships. Patriarch John "The Mariner" was just such a man, a Master's Mate or possibly a captain.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wordless (Almost) Wednesday: July 16, 1947

For years I wondered about this photo, dated July 16, 1947, taken in Montreal. Why were my newlywed parents (Harold Burk and Daisy Schwartz) in Montreal? Who was the young man on the right?

Now, 67 years later, I have some answers. It turns out that the young man is Dad's first cousin William, who lived in Montreal.

William was a son of Abraham Burke, while Harold was a son of Abraham's brother, Isaac Burk. (Sometimes their last name was spelled Berk.)

William was at my parents' 1946 wedding in New York City and months later, when Mom and Dad visited Montreal to see the Burke/Berk family, William took them to this fun restaurant. In fact, his daughter has this exact photo!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mom in the South Bronx on Friday the 13th

My cousin just sent me this photo of my mother and her twin sister, with their aunt Rose, who often babysat for them.

It was taken on Friday the 13th, in July of 1923. (I know because the date is written on the back.)

Grandpa Teddy Schwartz and his wife, Grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz, ran a small dairy store in the neighborhood, so relatives like Rose helped look after the twins and their older brother during the long hours when the store was open.

Fox Street and the South Bronx in general at that time were usually safe, although my Grandpa's store did get robbed once, during the Depression, on Thursday, December 16, 1937. Here's the story as published in the New York Times:
Band Robs 3 Stores
Three Armed Men Get $300 in Series of Bronx Raids

Three armed men within an hour and a half held up three store-keepers in the Bronx last night and escaped with $300. About 9:30 o'clock they entered the grocery store of Theodore Schwartz at 679 Fox Street, hit him on the head with a pistol butt when he resisted and took $50. Half an hour later they went into the grocery store of Louis Lepperman at 422 Jackson Avenue and hit him with a pistol, but left quickly without taking anything when his wife screamed from a back room. In another half an hour, they forced Leonard Gaglio and his brother, Milton, liquor dealers at 1012 Morris Park Avenue, into a back room and took $250. 
Probably Grandpa Teddy's worst ordeal came when he had to come home and explain the loss of the hard-earned $50 to Grandma Minnie!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday's Faces from the Past: Why Isaac Berk Landed in New Brunswick

Sometimes ancestors zig-zag to their destinations.

That's the case with my Grandpa Isaac Berk (later Burk), a skilled cabinetmaker who sailed from Liverpool to Canada on November 24, 1903, via the S.S. Lake Erie. 

Isaac got off the ship on December 5th in Saint John, New Brunswick.

 As the map shows, that's a LONG way from Montreal or New York, where he later lived--major metro centers where he could easily find work as a cabinetmaker.

Henrietta Mahler Burk & Isaac Burk, 1937
And, in fact, Isaac's trail next shows up in 1904, when he crossed the border into Vermont, on a train enroute from Montreal to New York City, where his sister Nellie (or Nella) lived.

So why did Grandpa land at Saint John instead of continuing further into Canada?

Thanks to a phone call from my Canadian 2d cousin, the granddaughter of my great-uncle Abraham Burke, I now know the answer.

The family story is that Isaac got badly seasick and when the ship came into New Brunswick, he got off as quickly as he could!

Isaac never again sailed anywhere, as far as I know--he always took the train.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sorting Saturday: Magnifying Glass + Brooch = Mahler Identification

This photo of a mystery lady was in a batch of old photos lent by my Cousin E for me to scan and (hopefully) identify.

I got out my magnifying glass and studied her brooch after scanning the photo.

Look at the two adults at the right of the photo below--Tillie Jacobs Mahler and her husband, Meyer Elias Mahler. (Thanks again to Cuz Lois for identifying this photo.)

The mystery lady's pin clearly shows Tillie and Meyer, taken in the same studio at the same time as the big group photo.

The family portrait was taken around 1900, judging by the ages of the children. Knowing that Meyer died in 1910 helped Lois and me guesstimate the timing.



Other, later photos in Cousin E's batch show the mystery lady wearing the same brooch.

In the photo below, taken at the site of Meyer Mahler's grave, the now much older mystery lady has the brooch pinned on.

No magnifying glass needed this time since I blew up part of the photo and put it below.

Wait! There's more . . .


One final photo confirmed the identification and solved the mystery.

At bottom, a cropped version of a photo my cousin Ira lent me several years ago--a photo we know to be of my great-grandma Tillie Jacobs Mahler.

But we never noticed the brooch, which was not sharply defined in this photo from the 1940s.

Now we know Tillie kept this brooch as a memento of a happy family time.

She wore it for four decades after her husband's death, until she died in June, 1952 and was buried next to her beloved husband.