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Monday, August 1, 2016
Mystery Monday: More Pieces of the Markell Puzzle
My Markell quest began more than 3 years ago, when I was researching the family of great-uncle Joseph Markell (1894-1975). He married Mary Mahler (1896-1979), my father's aunt and one of the two matchmaker aunts responsible for introducing my father to my mother. No wonder I'm so interested in the Markell family!
Two Markell men married two Lebowitz sisters. One of those Markell men was Joseph Markell's father, Barna Barnhart "Barney" Markell. But was the other, Julius Markell, a sibling or a cousin? My research strongly suggests that Julius and Barna were the sons of Alchanan Abraham Hyman Markell, of Vilna, Lithuania (usually called "Russia" on documents of the period).
Julius came to America before 1907, when I found him in the city directory of San Francisco, working as a plasterer. In 1908, he married Ella Lebowitz (1884-1965) in Washington state, and they had a daughter, Ruth, before the couple moved back east. Some time around 1920, they separated and divorced (I'm still searching for that record).
Julius then married Tillie and they had one child, William Markell (1923-2009). Until now, I couldn't locate a marriage record for Tillie and Julius, or proof that William was their son.
due to the 120 year rule), I received the document (at left) showing his parents' names as Julius Markell and Tillie Sachs [sic]!
With that maiden name in mind, I returned to the hunt for Julius and Tillie's marriage record--and found it in an index of Massachusetts marriages, as shown above. To double-check, I searched the index for "Tillie Sachs" and found Tillie Sacks in the same volume and the same page. Now I've proven that Julius and Tillie are William's parents, and another piece of the Markell puzzle is in place.
Julius and his brother Barney aren't direct ancestors of mine. Barney is actually the father-in-law of my great-aunt Mary Mahler. But I love solving genealogy mysteries, I have Markell cousins, and the Markell family has an interesting background (early owners of a theater in Massachusetts, for example--see directory excerpt from Adams, MA, at right).
Knowing about the theater, I can imagine that's one reason why Julius and Tillie were married in Pittsfield (in the same county as the theater). How this couple got to Brooklyn, where their son William was born and raised, I don't know--yet.
UPDATE: I called Pittsfield's City Clerk and learned that Julius and Tillie were married on May 31, 1921. I'm arranging to get their marriage license info and will write up what I learn!