Friday, March 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #15: The Roth Family, Entrepreneurs

The Roth family from Vasarosnameny, Hungary--cousins on my mother's side--had an entrepreneurial streak. Adolf Roth, one of several sons of Salomon Roth, arrived in 1897, established himself, and then helped two of his brothers come to New York. Adolf owned a necktie factory in Manhattan (he said he was a "neckwear contractor"). That factory provided work for many of the Roths and relatives as they arrived from Hungary. My grandma sewed fine silk ties for Adolf, for instance. Bela Roth, another of Salomon's sons, arrived in 1907 and he seems to have worked in his brother Adolf's factory.

Josef Roth, a brother or cousin of Bela and Adolf, had two sons, Emil and Peter Roth, who both went into the restaurant business.
From the New York Call, January 6, 1914
  • Peter Roth (1872?-1956) co-owned the Viennese-style restaurant Cafe Monopol at 145 Second Avenue in Manhattan, with his brother-in-law Peter Stern and others (see incorporation note, above, from 1915 publication Polk's New York Copartnership and Corporation Directory, p. 730). The little restaurant ad, directly above, shows my Roth cousin in business 100 years ago!
  • Emil Roth (1887-1965) worked at the Rossoff Restaurant at 152 West 44th Street in Manhattan.
Now all of the above was probably common knowledge in the family, but not passed down to later generations. It took days to piece the info together from passport applications, Census data, obituaries, and--most fun of all--working with two (probable) cousins, one in NY and one in Maryland, who were way ahead of me in tracing our Roth family tree.

Plus I've just connected with another delightful cousin from the Roth family! She tells me that her father (a son of Bela Roth) was highly entrepreneurial. During the summer, he and a brother would drive city dwellers from New York to vacation spots in the Catskills. At the end of the summer, they sold their "cab" and made good money from the sale. Eventually, that led to her father going into the used car business and, ultimately, owning a new car franchise that remains in the family today.

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