Saturday, December 12, 2015

Was Cousin Alex Roth's Wife Blanche a Cousin of Tony Curtis?

Tony Curtis (Bernard Schwartz) was born in Mateszalka; my Roth cousins were born in Vasarosnameny.
Maybe one glamorous star of stage and screen isn't enough for the Roth branch of my family tree. We know that the 1940s Broadway and Hollywood star Gloria Warren  (original name: Gloria M. Weiman, daughter of Herman Weiman and Julia Weiss Weiman) was a cousin. She was related through the Farkas-Kunstler cousin Bela Roth (1865-1941), who frequently visited the Farkas Family Tree meetings--my mother's side of the family.

Cousin Alex "Sandor" Roth (1892-1949) was the oldest son of Bela Roth, born in Vasarosnameny, Hungary. The Roths came to New York in the early 1900s. While living in the Boston area and working in a car dealership (a family occupation in the Roth line), Alex married Blanche "Blanka" Schwartz (1897-1986). I've sent for Alex's Social Security application, and hope to have it before the calendar clicks over to 2016.

Meanwhile, I'd heard a whisper that Blanche Schwartz was some kind of cousin of Tony Curtis, whose original name was Bernard Hershel Schwartz. So I've been trying to find out more.

Parents of Blanche Schwartz
An experienced researcher interested in the Schwartz connection to Tony Curtis shared with me the following information:
  • Blanche Schwartz was very likely the daughter of Frank (Ferencz) Schwartz and Frieda Frimet Klein. We will know for sure once I get a copy of Blanche's Social Security application in January.
  • Blanche was born in Mateszalka, Hungary, which is close to Vasarosnameny, the home town of the Roth family (see map at top).
  • Blanche had 3 sisters who lived to adulthood: Elaine (married name was Stern), Violet (married name was Winton and then Fidel, and she was an actress), and Elizabeth
Because this researcher suspected that Blanche's parents were buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in New Jersey, I took a field trip and photographed their stone, shown above. Translating, Frank is the son of Shalom, Frieda is the daughter of Dov Ber.

The researcher also discovered that Frank Schwartz's mother's maiden name is Weiss. Remember Weiss? That's the maiden name of Gloria Warren's mother. Coincidence? Very possible, given how many Weiss families lived in that area of Hungary. But then again, there were a number of intermarriages with the Weiss family on my mother's side.

To discover the connection between Blanche Schwartz and Bernard Hershel Schwartz will require investigating older ancestors in the Mateszalka records. This is going to be quite a challenge!

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