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Thursday, May 28, 2015
In my box of "mystery photos" was this darling portrait of a beribboned teenaged girl and her younger brother in a sailor suit. The photo folder had a Hungarian inscription naming the two Waldman children with a date from 1918. Below it, in my mother's handwriting, were the names in English.
The photography studio where these children posed was located in the Bronx, not far from where my Hungarian grandparents (Tivadar Schwartz and Hermina Farkas Schwartz) and great-grandparents (Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler Farkas) lived.
This photo was in my mother's possession for decades, so I originally believed the Waldmans were family friends. Now I think they were actually cousins.
It all started when I tracked this girl's name through Census records and newspaper clippings and located her daughter. We confirmed that this photo showed her mother and uncle. I mailed her the photo -- because it belongs in her line -- and I continued the research.
On Jewish Gen, I connected with a family researcher also interested in Eperjes (now Presov), the Hungarian town where the Waldman children were born. He very kindly sent me downloads of vital records from that town.
Eperjes and Julia Farkas was born in Tiszaujlak (located at M26, the start of the two arrows on the map below). Tiszaujlak (below) was in Marmaros county, Hungary, then became part of Czechoslovakia when the map changed, and finally part of the USSR and then Ukraine, since 1991.
My Farkas family has roots in Berehi and my Schwartz family has roots in Uzhorod [aka the market town of Ungvar], shown at top left corner of the map. Very intriguing geographical connections.
The 1920 US Census shows a teenaged nephew living with electrician Joseph & Julia & their 2 children in Jersey City, NJ: His name was "Emery Swartch" (probably "Imre Schwartz") and he was an electrician's apprentice. Very intriguing surname coincidence connecting Imre with my Schwartz side. Of course the Census doesn't ask whose nephew Imre is, so I can't tell whether he's related to Joseph or Julia--whether he's from the Waldman side or the Farkas side.
So far, I haven't found Julia Farkas's marriage info or her parents' names. Was she from my Farkas side or my Schwartz side? Stay tuned!
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Lena's parents Samuel and Toby Kunstler were people of some status: They had money and land, and operated vineyards.
Lena's younger brother Joszef Kunstler (1869-1935) became a very successful businessman in Berehi, virtually owning the entire town, including the grain mill, and employing nearly every resident.
My cousin B from Boulder visited Berehi years ago and found in the tiny cemetery a number of Kunstler graves. In addition to Joszef, Lena's sisters Sarah, Hinde, and Yehudis are buried there.*
Lena married Moritz Farkas around 1884. Moritz was a "gentleman farmer" who leased land and did well enough until one autumn, the harvest failed due to hail storms. Moritz had neglected to insure his crops that year and couldn't pay his creditors, so he decided to seek his fortune in America. Moving to America was also a way of keeping his sons from being conscripted into the Russian army when they were old enough.
Moritz booked passage on a ship to New York City and arrived alone in 1899 to get set up. Lena remained behind with their eight children: Alex, Minnie (hi Grandma), Albert, Julius, Peter, Irene, Ilka, and Freda. A year later, Lena set out for New York to reunite with Moritz. In 1901, four of Lena's children arrived on the S.S. Amsterdam to live with Lena and Moritz in New York City. In 1903, the remaining four arrived on the S.S. Konigin Luise. Lena and Moritz had three more children after they settled in New York City: Rose, Fred, and Regina.
|Lena's obituary appeared on March 5, 1938.|
*Sarah died in 1893 and we are wondering whether her nickname was Zolli or Sally. If so, she might be the first wife of Bela Roth, one of the cousins I've been researching in recent months.