Showing posts with label Gelbman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gelbman. 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!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Family Weddings on Christmas Eve

Here are two stories of Christmas Eve weddings among members of my grandparents' families.


My grandfather's sister, great-aunt Mary Schwartz (1891-1959), eloped with handsome furrier Edward Wirtschafter (1889-1958) mid-day on December 24, 1913.

They were married at City Hall and kept their marriage secret from the family for a number of weeks.

Mary quickly became close to her sister-in-law Anna Gelbman Schwartz (1886-1940), wife of Sam Schwartz (1883-1954), a brother of Teddy and Mary.

The photo at right, courtesy of my 2d cousin, shows Mary and Edward in middle age, still a devoted couple.


My grandmother's brother, great-uncle Alex "Sandor" Farkas (1885-1948), married beautiful, talented Jennie Katz (1886-1974) on December 24, 1916.

Both Alex and Jennie worked in the garment industry. It was said that Jennie could sew a copy of any fashion after seeing it once, without a pattern. In fact, she sewed dresses for the bridal parties of many Farkas relatives.

Alex was one of the prime movers of the Kossuth Society in New York, which helped take care of sick members. This is where he met his future bride.

The photo at left shows Jennie with her husband Alex (at right) and her brother-in-law Teddy Schwartz (at left, hi Grandpa!). Teddy was married to Alex's older sister, Minnie Farkas (hi Grandma!). 

Friday, July 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #24: Sam "Born on 4th of July" Schwartz & Anna Gelbman

Photo taken at Beldegreen Studios on Avenue C in NY's Lower East Side, 1909
My great-uncle Sam Schwartz (Grandpa Theodore Schwartz's brother) was born in Ungvar, Hungary on the 4th of July in 1883. His original name was Simon but for unknown reasons, he became Samuel when he arrived in New York City in January, 1904, a 20-year-old man trained as a printer.

Sam wasted no time declaring his intention to petition for citizenship in May, 1904. In 1905, he lived as a boarder in the Lower East Side apartment of the Grossman family, at 82 Avenue D. That's the same apartment building where Sam's younger brother Teddy (hi Grandpa!) lived not long afterward.

By 1906, Sam had moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he sold vegetables until he found work as a printer. In October, 1909, Sam became a full-fledged U.S. citizen--and a week later, he married Anna Gelbman (1886-1940), the American-born daughter of a shoemaker from Miskolc, Hungary. Anna's family lived only a short walk from the field in central Bridgeport where P.T. Barnum wintered his circus, elephants and all.

Sam and Anna moved back to New York City by 1915 and in the 1920s, he went into business running Norwood Dairy, a Queens grocery store, with his brother-in-law, Louis Frish (married to Anna's sister Belle). Sadly, his beloved Anna died from cancer in 1940. Sam remarried to a lady named Margaret. Unfortunately, he had a fatal heart attack while mowing his lawn on a hot day in 1954.

On Independence Day I salute my Great Uncle Sam, born on this day 131 years ago, and his gentle wife Anna.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Have You Heard of the Connecticut Military Census (WWI)?

Did you know that Connecticut conducted a "military census" during WWI? One of the people in my extended family tree filled out such a form. I've never seen it before, although Jim Sanders found two for his family just a few months ago. All men over the age of 16 had to answer this single-page questionnaire. I discovered that this ancestor could handle a team and drive an auto and a motorcycle, but he couldn't swim.

So here's what Connecticut asked: Can you do any of the following...
  • Ride a horse?
  • Handle a team?
  • Drive an automobile?
  • Ride a motorcycle?
  • Understand telegraphy?
  • Operate a wireless?
  • Any experience with a steam engine?
  • Any experience with electrical machinery?
  • Handle a boat, power or sail?
  • Any experience in simple coastwise navigation?
  • Any experience with high speed marine gasoline engines?
  • Are you a good swimmer?

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!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blogoversary #4 - Thank you, readers and cousins

Today is the 4th anniversary of starting Climbing My Family Tree. I'd been tracing my roots since 1998 or so, but it took 10 years for me to decide to blog about genealogy. Now, 327 posts later, I've learned a lot from the many bloggers who've been kind enough to comment on my blog entries, and even more by reading blogs written by fellow Geneabloggers. What a journey--and it's only just begun.

My very first post was about a family mystery: "When did great-grandpa die?" I found his death date by using the excellent NYC vital records indexes on the Italian Genealogy Group's site, sent for his death cert, and immediately had more leads to follow.

I've had many wonderful breakthroughs since then, but what I treasure the most is connecting with cousins, on both sides of my family tree and my husband's trees, sometimes with the help of you, my dear readers. Among the genealogical high points chronicled in this blog are:
Cousin Larry and his wife, Maureen, with my hubby
  • Cousin Larry Wood's visit in 2008, when we saw the family bible for the first time. Cousin Larry and I connected through Ancestry surname message board queries about Thomas Haskell Wood, hubby's g-grandfather.
  • Using tips in Dan Lynch's Google Your Family Tree book to locate my 1st cousin Ira, who I hadn't seen for many years before our reunion in 2009. Together we've reminisced about our Mahler ancestors and tried to identify old photos. Hi Ira, see you tomorrow (really!).
  • Researching "sideways" to get new insights led me, in 2009, to two 2d cousins I never knew I had. Plus I gained an "honorary" cousin and together we're researching the Gelbman and Schwartz families.
  • Staying in touch with 1st cousins, once removed, from my mother's side of the family, with genealogical discussions every few months. Cuz Betty has traced the Farkas Family Tree, and Cuz Harriet has helped me with recollections of the Schwartz side (quite intensively in 2010).
  • Great-aunt Ida, Dad, and Mom

  • Having a 2d cousin from the Mahler side find ME through this blog in 2010 was very exciting! Cuz Lois and her family are delightful and we see each other a couple of times a year now. Above, a photo of her mom, Ida, with my parents just before they were married.
  • Thanks to my blog readers, I found out in 2011 that the tall man in the military uniform was hubby's great-uncle, Captain John D. Slatter, of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto (who we now call "Capt. Jack"). See photo below right!
  • In 2012, I was able to determine, conclusively, that my husband's Larimer and McClure family connections lead back to Ireland, a discovery I wrote about in my blog post "I married him for his ancestors, St. Patty's Day edition."
Great-uncle Capt. Jack Slatter

Looking head, what adventures and revelations will 2012-3 bring? First, I'm busy scanning as many family photos as I can get my hands on, so there WILL be more photobooks and CDs of family photos to share with my sis, nieces, cousins.

Also, I'm following those little green leaves on Ancestry to find out whether there are family tree surprises out there.

Finally, I'm gonna keep on bloggin'. It's fun and has brought me many smiles.

Happy blogoversary to me and my family trees!

Friday, August 3, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Cousins, Cousins, Cousins!

Climbing my family tree has brought me cousin connections I truly treasure. In chronological order of these cousin discoveries:

I identified and located my mother's 1st cousin Harriet in 2007, having seen only a baby photo of her and knowing that she was somehow related to my maternal grandfather. Luckily, her maiden name was uncommon enough that it popped up in my Census searches! Harriet is the last of the cousins of that generation and we've had several wonderful visits, including the one shown here (2008).




Next, I found my husband's 2d cousin Larry via his posts on surname message boards. Larry had been searching for info about my husband's grandfather for years, and once I stumbled on his messages, I answered. Alas, he'd changed his e-mail and moved since posting!

After a few weeks of trying snail mail and such, I posted my own message in the forum where he'd been most active. He responded the same day, and we began a partnership in research that illuminated several limbs of the shared family tree. He'd done 30 years of research into the Wood line, which he shared! Larry and his lovely wife visited in 2009.


That same year, I attended a talk by Dan Lynch, author of Google Your Family Tree, and tried one of his techniques (try "last name, first" and "first + last" in the "News" search). Instantly, a casual comment on a blog showed up in the results, a comment written by my 1st cousin Ira. I e-mailed him, and within hours, he wrote back. Here I am with my sis, reunited with Ira decades after we'd last been in contact--even though he lived only 70 miles away. If we'd only known!


One day in 2010, I blogged about trying to find descendants of my great-uncle Louis, at whose home my paternal grandfather died.

Six weeks later, I received an e-mail titled, "Another cousin has surfaced." Louis's lovely granddaughter Lois had found me while doing online searches to help her daughter with a genealogy project for school! This photo shows Lois and hubby Mark with my sis and me at a family wedding in 2011.


Lois is very close to Lil, another cousin on my father's side (see photo at left). I never knew a thing about her branch of the family tree and it's been a delight getting to know her.







After attending a talk by Toni McKeen, I followed her expert advice about tracing the spouses of my ancestors' siblings with the goal of uncovering promising leads to pursue. I searched for Anna, who married my great-uncle Sam, and through surname message boards, I found Art, who was looking for a family with Anna's last name. I posted a note for Art and he wrote back. He's related to Anna's family and we consider ourselves "honorary cousins" and partners in genealogy research. Together, we've tracked down more info about Anna's family and had a jolly good time doing it.

But wait, that's not the end of my cousin connections. I was lucky enough to find two 2d cousins on my mother's side because of my research into Anna's past. And I've located a number of 2d cousins from my father's side, who I've enjoyed getting to know via e-mail and Facebook. Are there more cousins in my future? I'm sure there will be! Especially since I've tagged this post with some of the surnames I'm researching :)




Thursday, May 19, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Siblings in Ungvar, 1915

I've been trying to learn more about the siblings of my maternal grandfather, Tivadar/Tivador (Theodore) Schwartz, born in Ungvar, Hungary (Uzhorod in Ukraine today, see map).


To my knowledge, Teddy was second of five children:
  • Sam Schwartz (came to NYC and married Anna Gelbman)
  • Teddy Schwartz (came to NYC and married Hermina Farkas)
  • Paula Schwartz (stayed in Ungvar, married, and had one daughter, Ibolyka, pictured in yesterday's entry)
  • Paula Schwartz (stayed in Ungvar, family status unknown)
  • Mary Schwartz (came to NYC and married Edward Wirtschafter, had two children)

The postcard photo here is a treasure, just unearthed in a box of newly-discovered family photos and documents. It shows Etel and Paula (back left and seated, right) and others, unknown, from the Schwartz family.

It's dated August 15, 1915 and inscribed to Tivadar, my grandfather.

Clearly the young man is in uniform, but I don't know what country he's serving.* The young lady in front, at left, is a mystery as well. More mysteries than solutions, but a treasure in any case!

*Thanks to Greta Koehl, whose husband identified the uniform as Austro-Hungarian. Yes! This link shows such uniforms and hats. Another confirming detail. Thank you!