Showing posts with label Bridgeport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bridgeport. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sentimental Sunday: Sam, Anna, and the Circus Elephants

From Bridgeport History Center, photo of the circus's winter headquarters in Connecticut
With the news that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is shutting down, I thought about my maternal great-uncle Sam Schwartz (1883-1954) and his bride, Anna Gelbman Schwartz (1886-1940), walking past the elephants in downtown Bridgeport, CT, circa 1909.

Anna's Gelbman family lived at 71 Wordin Avenue for many years, not far from the newly-wed Schwartz couple and a short walk from the field in central Bridgeport where P.T. Barnum housed his circus (see photo above). Today, the area around the former Gelbman house is a highway.

Sam and Anna married on October 24, 1909, in her local synagogue on Cherry Street in Bridgeport (no longer there). After their marriage, they lived at 95 Clinton Ave. in Bridgeport before moving to New York City. They would have seen P.T. Barnum's elephants as they crossed downtown Bridgeport, as usual.

Just a week before he married Anna, Sam had become a naturalized U.S. citizen. (Sam was born in Ungvar, Hungary, while Anna was born in New York City). In fact, Sam and Anna applied for their marriage license on the very day he became a citizen. Anna was born in January, 1886--this month would have been her 131st birthday.

Thanks to my honorary cousin Art (he's related to Anna's family) for partnering with me on this research!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Genealogy by the States: My Connecticut Connection

Connecticut is the topic of week #5 of Genealogy by the States, by Jim Sanders of Hidden Genealogy Nuggets. And here's where I get to talk about teaming up with honorary* cousin Art to track down Gelbman ancestors in Bridgeport. Before I connected with Art via Ancestry message boards, I hadn't even suspected that my family had any Connecticut connection.

Main Street in Bridgeport, circa 1909
Art is descended from a relative of Anna Gelbman (1886-1940), who married my great-uncle Samuel Schwartz (1883-1954). Thanks to Art's information about the Gelbmans living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, I got a copy of Anna and Sam's marriage license 100 years to the month after they were wed at Bridgeport's "Cherry Street Synagogue" (actually Ahavath Achim) in October, 1909, a week after Sam became a citizen. Later, I learned that Sam was named Simon when he came to America in January 1904--why he changed it upon arrival, I don't know.

With Sam and Anna's license in my hands, I visited the Bridgeport Public Library to check city directories that weren't available online. Now I was able to track Sam through the years he lived in Bridgeport:
  • In 1906, Sam Schwartz was a vegetable peddler living at 279 Lewis.
  • In 1907-8, Sam was a vegetable peddler living at 179 Lewis (typos might account for different addresses in '06 and '07?).
  • In 1908-9, Sam Schwartz was a printer rooming at 316 South Avenue.
  • In 1910, the Census showed him as naturalized, born in Hungary-Magyar, occupation of printer. The city directory showed the couple living at 95 Clinton Ave.
Anna's Gelbman family lived at 71 Wordin Avenue for many years, not far from the newly-wed Schwartz couple and a short walk from the field in central Bridgeport where P.T. Barnum wintered his circus, animals and all (see photo above). Today, the area around the former Gelbman house is a highway.

Sometime between 1910 and 1915, Sam and Anna moved to New York City. Ultimately he became the self-employed proprietor of a grocery store--the same work that Sam's younger brother Teddy (my grandpa) went into. Coincidence? I think not! Given Sam's early background as a vegetable peddler, he may have influenced his older brother's business decision, not the other way around.

One reason to blog on these state topics is to bring fresh eyes to my research. In this case, I realized I don't have Sam's movements in 1905, when he could have been in the New York State census. Nor do I have Sam's brother Theodore's 1905/1910 census records. So far, no luck on these, but I'll be searching!


*Honorary because we're not directly related but have helped each other climb our family trees over the years!