Showing posts with label Mitav. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mitav. Show all posts

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Genealogy Resolutions and Results, 2016-2017

Looking back on 2016, I accomplished a lot. At right is a snapshot from my Find A Grave contributor tools page, in which I more than doubled my statistics from this time last year. Every trip I take to a cemetery, I take a hundred or more photos of surrounding graves and add them to the memorials, helping others find their ancestors' final resting places.

Of course, these numbers don't reflect the dozens and dozens of edits I've made or requested to link and correct ancestors' memorials from my tree and my husband's tree. This was my #1 resolution from last year and I feel good about my progress (even if it much of the work was crammed into the past week).

My favorite accomplishment of this year (and every year) has been meeting cousins in person after finding them through genealogical research. In fact, it was quite a year for cousin connections. In January, after I met a Farkas cousin of mine in NYC, Sis and I took a fun field trip to meet more Farkas cousins and reunite with our Burk/Mahler first cousins. Later in the year, I met several more Farkas cousins (including one across the pond). And I spent five days with a handful of Chazan cousins in Manchester, England. More cousin connections are in the works for 2017.

In 2016, I wanted to submit testimony to Yad Vashem about my great aunt, Etel Schwartz (a sister to my maternal grandfather, Tivador Schwartz). She's one of the two ladies in the big-brimmed hats in the photos above, along the banner of my blog. My cousins and I are having trouble determining who's who in the few photos we have of the Schwartz siblings, and we don't know Etel's married name. But I will submit what I know in 2017, even without a photo, to keep Etel's memory alive for future generations.

An ongoing resolution is to "tell the stories" and I'm continuing to do that, formally and informally, during meetings with cousins and at other opportunities. At top is a photo of me all dressed up in a bow tie and shirt with the stern face of Benjamin McClure, my husband's 2d great-granddaddy (he's also my FB genealogy persona).

I wore this shirt on Halloween when making genealogy presentations, and my family got a kick out of it. It's a different way to spread the word about an ancestor's life and times. Also I told some stories and featured ancestor photos in my genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past. More stories and T-shirts are in the works for 2017, maybe even a new book.

Carried over from 2016, I'm still trying to pierce brick walls about my father's Birk and Mitav ancestors in Lithuania and continue looking for the origins of my husband's Larimer-Short-Work families, originally from somewhere in Ireland (north, most likely). So 2017 will be another busy and productive and exciting year!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Blogiversary #8: Still Finding Cousins and Connections


Happy blogiversary to me! My very first blog entry, on August 25, 2008, was about the family of my father, Harold Burk (1909-1978). As a result of that day's research, I learned that Dad was less than a year old when his maternal grandfather, Meyer Elias Mahler (1856?-1910), died of stomach cancer.

Fast-forward 8 years and I'm still researching his family--and enjoying new connections with my cousins across North America and across the Atlantic!

Visiting with cousins this summer in Manchester, England, we discussed one of the genealogical mysteries in Dad's family. How, exactly, was my paternal grandfather, Isaac Burk (1882-1943), related to the cousins' maternal grandparents, Isaac Chazan and Hinda Mitav? We have lots of evidence that there is a definite family link...but we don't know the exact person connecting our branches of the family tree. Yet.

By the time blogiversary #9 rolls around, we may have a better idea.

Thank you, dear cousins, for sharing what you know to work on our family trees together! This means you, cousins from my side of the family (Weiss, Schwartz, Roth, Markell, Mahler, Kunstler, Farkas, Chazan, and Burk) and cousins from hubby's side (Wood, Steiner, Shank, McKibbin, McClure, Larimer, and Bentley). 

And thank you, dear readers, for being part of this genealogical journey.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Surname Saturday: Another Shuham Connection?

Today I received my paternal grandpa Isaac Burk's Soc Sec application, shown above. Since he was a carpenter, and usually self-employed, I was surprised to see him say he was working for the Better Model Form Company. Then again, since the company was owned by a relative, it's not really that surprising.

The real surprise was seeing that Isaac's mother's full name was Neche Gelle Shuham.

Why is this surprising? Because Shuham is the surname of Isaac's grandma-in-law.

Isaac married Henrietta Mahler, granddaughter of Rachel Shuham, in 1906. Rachel was born in Lithuania and came to New York City with her son and daughter and grandchildren in 1886. Above, the Mahler family around the turn of the century, with matriarch Rachel sitting in the center, holding a granddaughter.

According to the NYC census of 1905, Isaac and his brother Meyer Burk were "boarders" in the NYC apartment of the Mahler family, which is how Isaac met his future bride, Henrietta. Or so I suspected. Now I wonder whether it was actually a cousin connection that brought them together.

In the 1901 UK census, Isaac and his brother Abraham were living with Isaac Chazan and Isaac's wife, Hinda Ann Mitav Chazan, in Manchester. The census-taker wrote that Isaac and Abraham were nephews of the head of the household. Whose nephews? No sign of them in the Chazan family. I thought possibly they were Hinda's nephews, but maybe not, if Isaac's mother's maiden name was Shuham.

More research is in my future. And more Social Security applications for ancestors!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Try, Try Again--New Records Are Always Coming Online!

Remember Cyndi's List? I returned to it yesterday to look for any new links to Jewish genealogical resources for my Birk-Chazan-Mitav research.

Isaac Birk was my paternal grandpa from Lithuania and his aunt was, I believe, Anna Hinda Mitav who married Isaac Chazan and settled in Manchester, England in the late 1880s.

Under the Jewish resources on Cyndi's List, one of the categories is "Societies and Groups." I scrolled and clicked until I came to the Jewish Genealogy Society of Great Britain. There I found a link to the search page for United Synagogue Marriage Authorisations--a recently-updated index to rabbinical marriage records from 1880 through 1901.

Interestingly, both my grandpa Isaac and my grand-uncle Isaac had brothers named Abraham. But I never knew the maiden name of Abraham Chazan's wife Betty, and I hadn't checked records again for more than a year.

Then yesterday, I plugged in Abraham's full name, his wife Betty's name, and the year of their marriage (1895, which I knew from BMD records in UK). See the word NEW? Now I have Betty's maiden name, Matz.

So Tuesday's Tip is try, try again, because new records appear online every day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Celebrating Blogiversary #7 - Some Mysteries Solved, New Opportunities Ahead



Since blogiversary #6, I've been thrilled to hear from cousins from the Mahler, Larimer, Steiner, Kunstler, and Wood families. And I've located a couple of Farkas cousins. Along the way, I returned family photos to people outside my direct line, solved some mysteries, donated historic artifacts to museums for posterity, and--of course--uncovered more opportunities to increase my knowledge of the family's history.

My top lesson from the past year: Don't assume that old photos captioned with unfamiliar names are of family friends. Just because cousins don't recognize or remember the people, doesn't mean they're not relatives. The Waldman family turned out to be part of my extended Farkas tree. There's a reason our ancestors saved these photos for so many years!

Interpreting "identified" photos can be a real challenge. Thanks to a Mahler 2d cousin in California, I learned that photos of "Madcap Dora, grandma's friend" were not my great-aunt Dora Mahler (so who was she?). This cousin was kind enough to help me identify the real Dora Mahler (shown above, seated 2d from left in a 1946 photo).

My other key lesson from the past year: Facebook is an incredible tool for genealogy. Simply reading the posts on genealogy pages has proved to be a real education, day after day. Plus, kind folks on many FB gen pages (like Tracing the Tribe, Adams County/Ohio genealogy, and Rhode Island genealogy) have offered advice and dug up records or recommended resources to further my research.

For instance, in my quest to link Grandpa Isaac Burk and his brother Abraham to either the Chazan or Mitav families, a friendly gen enthusiast in England suggested I contact the Manchester Beth Din and request the synagogue's 1903 marriage records for Abraham's marriage to Annie Hurwitch, which could show his father's name and his birth place. I never even knew such records might exist!

With luck, I'll have more brick walls smashed by the time blogiversary #8 rolls around. Meanwhile, dear relatives and readers, thank you for reading and commenting!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Yanpolski Family's Voyage on August 3, 1916

The Yaplonski family: Manchester --> Bangor --> Liverpool --> NYC


This week in the Genealogy Do-Over (actually, I'm in the "go-over" phase), I reexamined the research into my paternal grandfather's Chazan family connections. This is part of the strategy of "researching sideways" -- looking at what siblings and in-laws were doing, as a way to figure out the what and the why of family movements over the years.

1911 UK Census
My Lithuanian-born grandpa Isaac Burk (1882?-1943) lived for a short time with his aunt and uncle Isaac Chazan and Ann Hinda Mitav Chazan in Manchester, England.

Isaac Chazan (also born in Lithuania) had a sister, Miriam Chazan (1880-1959), who married Lazar/Lawrence Yanpolski (1872-1938) in Manchester, England, in 1901. Manchester is at the top right corner of the map.

Lazar Yanpolski had three brothers and four sisters--and it was their life decisions that seem to have influenced Lazar and his wife to make major changes in their lives.

For instance, Lazar and Miriam moved from Manchester to Bangor, Wales (at left of map), in time to be counted there by the 1911 UK Census. I don't know exactly when they moved, but I do know that one of Lazar's younger brothers lived in Wales in 1907, and his sister Rebecca lived there a few years earlier. Another sister, Eva, married in Wales in 1898. It seems reasonable to believe that Yanpolski family connections encouraged the move from Manchester.

In Wales, Lazar's family consisted of his wife Miriam, their 3 daughters (Frances May, Eva, and Nancy Leah), and Lawrence's father, Simon/Shevak Yanpolski. Father and son Yanpolski were shopkeepers, according to the census. They lived at 305 High Street, Bangor, Wales. Mapping the area shows that to be a street filled with shops and residences above the stores. Probably they "lived above the store" as so many shopkeepers did.

S.S. Philadelphia manifest, Liverpool to NYC, 3 August 1916
Then 99 years ago, on August 3rd, 1916, Lazar and Miriam and their children (including one-year-old son Major) set sail from the port of Liverpool on the S.S. Philadelphia, bound for New York (see excerpt from manifest, at right).


The timing of the Yanpolski's voyage is squarely in the middle of England and Wales's involvement in WWI. Was this a dangerous trip across the Atlantic because of the war? Were economic factors a consideration? Lazar's siblings had arrived in Chicago a few years earlier. I don't know for certain, but once again, it seems reasonable to assume that family ties encouraged this move to a new country and a new life.

One last note: The Yanpolski brothers changed their names in America. Lazar took the last name "Lawrence." Another brother took the surname "Young." Yet another took the surname "Pole."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Happy 109th Anniversary to Isaac and Yetta

On this day 109 years ago in New York City, Lithuanian immigrant Isaac Burk (1882-1943) married Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954). The document mistakenly says she was born in NYC, when actually she was born in Latvia.

Isaac was a cabinetmaker, and she was the beautiful, dark-haired daughter of a tailor.

Notice how smudgy the names of Isaac's parents are? Isaac was changing his name from Berk (shown on some documents as Birk) to Burk.

The New York City officials certainly had no clue about how to spell Isaac's mom's name. Here, it's shown as "Necke" but elsewhere it's shown as "Nekhe." Her maiden name is probably Mitav, and I believe she's the daughter of Girsh Zvi Hirsch Mitav of Telsiai, Lithuania. 

If Girsh Mitav is Nekhe's father, then her sister is Hinda (Ann) Mitav (1865-1940), who married Isaac Chazan (1863-1921) in Telsiai. They moved to Manchester, England in the late 1880s. When Nekhe's sons Isaac and Abraham left Telsiai, they stayed with Hinda and Isaac in Manchester for a couple of years before moving to North America. 

Happy 109th anniversary, Grandpa Isaac and Grandma Yetta! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

52 Ancestors #49: Smashing the Brick Wall of Hinda Chazan's Maiden Name

Isaac Chazan and Hinda Chazan, before 1921
This post has been months in the works as I tried to learn more about Hinda Chazan (1865-1940), the aunt who hosted my paternal grandpa Isaac Birk in Manchester, England in 1901. Isaac Birk had left his native Lithuania with his brother, Abraham, and lived with the Chazan family in Manchester for a year or two before continuing on to North America. According to the 1901 UK Census, Isaac and Abraham were living with their "uncle" and "aunt."

My UK Chazan cousins were quite sure that Isaac Chazan wasn't a blood relative of Isaac Birk. That meant Hinda had to be the actual relative, and our link to the Birk family. But we didn't know Hinda's maiden name--it wasn't on her death cert, unfortunately. We only knew Hinda was from Telsiai, the same area where my grandpa was from, and she was married and had her first child there before arriving in Manchester around 1888.
Luckily, there were a few more documents we could consult. One cousin had a UK birth cert from Hinda's second child, showing the parents as Isaac Chazan and Hindy Chazan, "formerly Metow" (see excerpt above). Next, we sent for the UK birth cert of the youngest daughter, and it showed the parents as Isaac Chazan and Hinda Chazan, "formerly Mittaw."
This morning, I posted these two excerpts on Tracing the Tribe's Facebook page and asked for ideas about what the real maiden name might be back in Hinda's native Telsiai. Tracing the Tribe has many smart and helpful Jewish genealogy mavens, and they broke through my brick wall in less than an hour.

The key was knowing that "Metow" and "Mittaw" might be pronounced "Mitav" instead. One of the mavens had noticed "Mitav" in the Lithuanian database listings of JewishGen.org. In fact, once the mavens saw Hinda's headstone (above) and translated her father's name as "Tzvi Hirsh," they suggested I look for the equivalent "Girsh Mitav" in Telsiai.
Amazingly, this search turned up an entire family unit featuring Girsh and siblings in the 1834 Census (living with Girsh's uncle Shpits and his family, by the way). Girsh's Telsiai death record even showed up: He died at 85, on September 10, 1904, and was the son of Shimel Mitav. The dates don't match exactly, but this still sounds quite promising!

Learning about Girsh was a wonderful clue for another reason: My father's Hebrew name was "Tzvi" also, sometimes called "Hirsh" as well. He was born in September, 1909, and it seems not too much of a leap to assume that Isaac Birk--nephew of Hinda Mitav Chazan--named his first son after Girsh (Tzvi Hirsh) Mitav.

This amazing breakthrough has enabled me to leap back two generations from Hinda, to her father Girsh and her probable grandfather Shimel in Telsiai, for which I'm thankful on Thanksgiving week.