Showing posts with label Schwartz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Schwartz. Show all posts

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Those Places Thursday: Ungvar's Changing National Borders

My family gifted me with a wonderful reference book for anyone with European ancestry: The Family Tree Historical Maps Book, Europe.

Magnifying glass in hand, I used it to trace the changing national borders surrounding UNGVAR, the hometown of my Grandpa Teddy Schwartz (1887-1965).

Ungvar wasn't always spelled that way on the maps, and today it is known by an entirely different name bestowed upon it by the Russians after WWII.

It's an easy place to find on the book's maps. I simply look for the Carpathian Mountains, and scan cities just south of it along the river Ung. Ungvar was a market town and therefore was always visible on the maps.

Here's what I learned from the book about Ungvar's changing national borders:

1836: Unghvar is part of the Austrian Empire, in the northeast of Hungary, not too far from Galicia (which is over the Carpathian Mountains).

1856: Unghoar is in the northeast of Hungary, part of Austria.

1873: Unghvar is within the borders of Hungary, part of Austria.

1891: Unghvar is within the borders of Hungary, part of Austria-Hungary.

1901: Unghvar is within the borders of Hungary. 

1925: Ungvar is within the borders of Czechoslovakia.

1948: Uzhgorod is renamed (from previous name of Ungvar) by Russians and moved to USSR map. 

TODAY: Uzhhorod (Uzhgorod/Uzhorod) is in Ukraine.






Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sibling Saturday: The Kunstler Family from NagyBereg

Great-grandma Leni KUNSTLER Farkas (1865-1938), born in NagyBereg, Hungary (now Velyki Berehy, Ukraine) had at least four siblings.
  • Sally/Sarah/Zalli KUNSTLER married Bela Bernard Roth and had three children with him: Alexander (Sandor), whose Social Security application is shown above--Alex married Blanche Schwartz, a cousin of Tony Curtis; Margaret, who married Herman Mandel; and Joseph/Joszef, who married Evelyn Goldman. When my sweet cuz B visited Ukraine, she located Zalli's gravestone and also that of the Kunstler patriarch, Samuel Zanvil Kunstler (died in 1869), plus other Kunstlers.
  • Hinde KUNSTLER died in 1881, according to her gravestone. I wish I knew more about this sister of Leni and Zalli.
  • Yehudit KUNSTLER died in 1879, according to her gravestone, and I know nothing more about her.
  • Joszef Moshe KUNSTLER (1869-1935) married Helena Schonfeld and was a successful businessman in his time, employing many in his town.
Because Great-grandma Leni's mother's name was Toby Roth, and her sister Zalli married a Roth, I've been interested in learning more about the connections between the Kunstler and Roth families. Some of the descendants have names that echo the names of the Kunstler siblings, following Jewish tradition, and that gives me clues to the past.

Now that Ancestry is posting many SSA index files and transcriptions, I'm finding more clues and sending for original applications (like the above) to confirm parentage and relationships. On Alex Roth's SSA, as you can see, his birth place is Hungary, N.B. (meaning NagyBereg).

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!). 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Was Cousin Alex Roth's Wife Blanche a Cousin of Tony Curtis?

Tony Curtis (Bernard Schwartz) was born in Mateszalka; my Roth cousins were born in Vasarosnameny.
Maybe one glamorous star of stage and screen isn't enough for the Roth branch of my family tree. We know that the 1940s Broadway and Hollywood star Gloria Warren  (original name: Gloria M. Weiman, daughter of Herman Weiman and Julia Weiss Weiman) was a cousin. She was related through the Farkas-Kunstler cousin Bela Roth (1865-1941), who frequently visited the Farkas Family Tree meetings--my mother's side of the family.

Cousin Alex "Sandor" Roth (1892-1949) was the oldest son of Bela Roth, born in Vasarosnameny, Hungary. The Roths came to New York in the early 1900s. While living in the Boston area and working in a car dealership (a family occupation in the Roth line), Alex married Blanche "Blanka" Schwartz (1897-1986). I've sent for Alex's Social Security application, and hope to have it before the calendar clicks over to 2016.

Meanwhile, I'd heard a whisper that Blanche Schwartz was some kind of cousin of Tony Curtis, whose original name was Bernard Hershel Schwartz. So I've been trying to find out more.

Parents of Blanche Schwartz
An experienced researcher interested in the Schwartz connection to Tony Curtis shared with me the following information:
  • Blanche Schwartz was very likely the daughter of Frank (Ferencz) Schwartz and Frieda Frimet Klein. We will know for sure once I get a copy of Blanche's Social Security application in January.
  • Blanche was born in Mateszalka, Hungary, which is close to Vasarosnameny, the home town of the Roth family (see map at top).
  • Blanche had 3 sisters who lived to adulthood: Elaine (married name was Stern), Violet (married name was Winton and then Fidel, and she was an actress), and Elizabeth
Because this researcher suspected that Blanche's parents were buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in New Jersey, I took a field trip and photographed their stone, shown above. Translating, Frank is the son of Shalom, Frieda is the daughter of Dov Ber.

The researcher also discovered that Frank Schwartz's mother's maiden name is Weiss. Remember Weiss? That's the maiden name of Gloria Warren's mother. Coincidence? Very possible, given how many Weiss families lived in that area of Hungary. But then again, there were a number of intermarriages with the Weiss family on my mother's side.

To discover the connection between Blanche Schwartz and Bernard Hershel Schwartz will require investigating older ancestors in the Mateszalka records. This is going to be quite a challenge!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday's Faces from the Past: The Schwartz Twins in Summer

Today would have been the birthday of the Schwartz twins, Daisy (Mom) and Dorothy (Auntie).

I think Daisy is at left in the front row and Dorothy is at right in the front row, on their knees for the photo. Their mother, Hermina Farkas Schwartz, is standing, 3d from left.

They were in a summer colony in upstate New York for a week or two of vacation, as was the custom for my family's New York City dwellers who wanted to temporarily escape the heat, noise, and dirt.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Saluting My Family's WWII Veterans

During World War II, a number of family members served in the military. I'm proud and grateful for their service!

Above left, my father Harold Burk (1909-1978) was a personnel clerk and Technician 5th grade in the 3163d Army Signal Service Corps, supporting combat troops in Central Europe and Germany.

Above right, Harold's brother, my uncle Sidney Burk (1914-1995), was (I believe) serving on staff for the Judge Advocate General in Hawaii during WWII.

My aunt Dorothy Schwartz (1919-2001), shown in the news clipping at right, was a sergeant in the Women's Army Corps and received the Bronze Star for supporting bombardment forces in Belgium, France, England, and elsewhere in Europe. The story of her harrowing wartime voyage across the Atlantic with hundreds of WACs and British military is here.

Her brother, my uncle Frederick Shaw (1912-1991), was an Army staff sergeant who trained troops in a number of Southern installations from 1943 to 1945.

In addition, cousins on both sides of the family were in the military. Thank you!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ancestor Landing Pages Update

So my ancestor landing pages--those tabs at the top of my blog, each for a different surname branch of my family tree--have been part of my blog since January 2013.

The purpose is to have a special page devoted to each surname group, so when a distant relative or researcher does an online search for a name like "McClure" or "Slatter," they will "land" on my ancestor's page and see what I've discovered about those ancestors.

Over the months, these ancestor landing pages have been attracting views and, on occasion, comments from cousins and regular readers!

As of October 9, here are the statistics for the TOP 10. (The dates indicate the most recent time that I updated or added to each of the pages.)

Most popular is my page about the Herman & Hana Schwartz family from Ungvar, Hungary (now Uzhorod, Ukraine). This was my grandpa Tivador Schwartz's family.

Next most popular is my page about hubby's McClure family, originally from the Isle of Skye, then Donegal. This family sailed en masse to Philadelphia and then walked to Virginia to buy land.

Unquestionably, ancestor landing pages are an effective way to showcase genealogical breakthroughs, family information, photos, stories, and connections. For me, the best part is when I get a comment or an e-mail from a cousin who found the page, recognized some of the names, and got in touch!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Those Places Thursday: Off Tremont Avenue in the Bronx




Because I had a professional photography studio make proof sheets of faint black-and-white negatives that were part of my parents' snapshot collection, I was able to isolate and scan individual images to add contrast and view them more clearly.

That's how I saw enough detail to identify the Bronx, NY apartment building where my grandparents (Teddy Schwartz and Minnie Farkas Schwartz) lived from the 1940s until the mid-1960s. The address is 600 East 178th Street in the Bronx, just steps from the busy shopping street of Tremont Avenue.

Above left, the photo of my mother (Daisy Schwartz) in front of that apartment building during the summer of 1946. She has her suitcase, ready to go with my father (Harold Burk) to visit his favorite aunt and uncle (Ida and Louis Volk).

Notice the distinctive architectural details around the doorway behind my mother? Now compare them with the Google photo at right of the same building, taken 70 years later.

In the old days, the front door had decorative wrought-iron trim over glass, and the lobby had upholstered furniture that gradually became shabbier and finally disappeared. Today, the entrance is a solid door, although the masonry details remain from the way the building looked decades earlier.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Day Ancestors

Moritz Farkas (1857-1936)
Happy 4th of July! Two ancestors on my mother's side have a connection to early July:

Moritz Farkas was born in Botpalad, Hungary on 3 July 1857 and died in 1936. Happy 158th birthday, Great-Grandpa.  

Sam Schwartz (original name: Simon Schwartz) was born in Ungvar, Hungary on 4 July 1883 (and died in 1954). Happy 132d birthday, Great-uncle Sam, older brother to my Grandpa Tivador Schwartz.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Those Places Thursday: Tiszaujlak, Julia Farkas's Hometown


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.

One excerpt, shown above, included the little boy's birth and a bit about the parents. Jozsef Waldman was an electrician born in 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!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: In Memory of Moms on Mom's Day

 On Mother's Day, I'm posting to honor the memory of my Mom (Daisy Schwartz), and my husband's Mom (Marian McClure), with much love.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ancestor Landing Pages Draw Visitors

Ancestor landing pages: How many visits as of today?
Ancestor landing pages were new to my genealogy blog as of January, 2013. Over the past two years, I've posted additional family landing pages, a Mayflower ancestor page, a mystery photo page, and pages to summarize my posts in the Genealogy Do-Over and 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

The goal is to attract visitors who are researching certain family names or members and make it easy for them to know what I know about the family trees I'm researching, with links to individual posts about particular people.

As of today, the most visited ancestor landing page here is "Schwartz family from Ungvar (608 visits)." The least visited page is the newest, "Rachel & Jonah Jacobs" (60 visits in just a couple of weeks).

Looking forward to more visits, more posts, and more cousin connections in 2015!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: The Christmas Eve Wedding of Great-uncle Alex Farkas and Jennie Katz

On Sunday, December 24, 1916, Jennie Katz (daughter of Elias Katz and Sarah Lindenbaum Katz) married my great-uncle Alex (Sandor) Farkas (oldest son of Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler Farkas). Below is the transcribed record from their marriage license, clipped from Family Search. That's how I know Jennie's parents' names and her birthplace of Malomfalva, which is now in Romania but when Jennie was born, it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Alex and Jennie met through the Kossuth Society in New York, where Alex was one of the founders. Alex was in the garment trade and Jennie was a dressmaker who could copy any fashion after seeing it once. Their wedding was quite an event, judging by the above photo. The bride and groom, both about 30 at the time, are at center.

Alex's sister Minnie (hi Grandma!) was the first of his siblings to marry, in 1911. Minnie married Ted Schwartz (hi Grandpa!), who's next to her in this photo, and their 4-year-old son Fred (hi Uncle!) is also in this photo.

Although the people are numbered on the photo for identification purposes, the list of names has been lost over time. All but one of Alex's 10 siblings are here, identified by my cousins. Younger brother Albert Farkas (born May 5, 1888) was in Vancouver at the time and doesn't appear in the photo.

Great-aunt Jennie Katz Farkas died on May 1, 1974, outliving her husband Alex by 26 years. He died on January 18, 1948.

Remembering these Farkas ancestors on Sentimental Sunday.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sorting Saturday: Mom's Workbasket

On Sorting Saturday, I'm sorting memorabilia that reminds me of the needlework talents of my mother (Daisy Burk) and grandmother (Minnie Farkas Schwartz). Both were ace crocheters. Mom taught me and my two sisters to crochet when we each turned five, and from then on, we were--well, hooked [pun intended].

Mom embroidered and did needlepoint. Grandma used her treadle sewing machine to stitch up clothes; she also embroidered and crocheted with the tiniest hooks. Their needlework creations are being passed down in the family as treasured heirlooms, along with stories.

For about 10 years, my mother subscribed to The Workbasket, a needlecraft magazine filled with patterns. She saved a number of issues, including this one, and one even has a yarn bookmark in the place where she was following a pattern to crochet a baby sweater.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Remembering the Schwartz and Simonowitz families from Ungvar

On Yom HaShoah, a day to remember victims of the Holocaust, I want to pay tribute to my grandpa Tivadar (Teddy) Schwartz's family, all born in Ungvar (then Hungary, now Uzhorod, Ukraine). Tragically, all but one of the Schwartz family living in Ungvar perished in the Holocaust. Teddy's aunts, uncles, and cousins in the Simonowitz family (kin to his mother Hanna Simonowitz) also perished.

Above, probably one of Teddy's sisters and her husband, in a studio photo they sent to Teddy some time after he left and came to New York City. The inscription, shown at right, reads: "Affectionately, Lenke and Ignacz, Uzhorod, March 29, 1924."

Teddy's older brother Simon (who changed his name to Samuel) and his younger sister Mary came to New York, but the rest of the siblings remained in Hungary.

The only Schwartz survivor was Teddy's beloved niece, Viola, who now lives in Israel with her family. We're blessed to be in touch with them!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Honeymooning in Atlantic City (in November)

My parents honeymooned in Atlantic City, NJ during the week after Thanksgiving in 1946. As part of the Genealogy Do-Over, I've been scanning photos from Mom's album.

Here is a photo taken on the boardwalk. Some cousins were enjoying the late November breezes along with my parents, the couple at far right, Harold Burk and Daisy Schwartz Burk!

Cousins, recognize anyone? At far left...my father's first cousin Sylvia with a boyfriend. In the middle, Sylvia's BFF and her future husband. The couple in front is still a mystery.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Week 9: My Aha Moment While Digitizing Daisy's Album


Sometimes the first time I see a document or photo, I don't understand what I'm seeing. But later, with more info or more context, the fog clears and it becomes clear why that photo or letter is important.

This photo is a case in point. I'm organizing, inventorying, and digitizing old family photos as part of week 9 of the do-over process. And I had an aha! moment just today.

This photo is in an album started by my Mom, Daisy Schwartz, after she became engaged to marry my Dad, Harry Burk. In July, 1947, the newly-married couple took a trip to Montreal, returning with more than a dozen black-and-white photos of people and places.

Years ago, when I originally saw this photo in Mom's album, I didn't know the significance of the caption: "Cuthbert St. - Montreal."

But since I learned last year that Dad had an Uncle Abraham, Aunt Anna, and four first cousins in Montreal, photos from this trip took on new meaning.

In researching Aunt Anna, I recently located her 1948 obituary, which mentions that her oldest son lived on Cuthbert Street in Montreal. Aha! That little detail puts the significance of this photo and its caption in a new light.

Thanks to the do-over, I'm finding more connections between people, places, and events that I didn't originally know were connected!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Adapting Mom & Dad's Album for Future Generations

When Mom & Dad were married at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City, they had a photographer capture the occasion, in state-of-the-art black and white.

But of course they left only one wedding album, and there are multiple descendants who want to enjoy the photos.

As part of the Genealogy Do-Over, I rescanned all the photos in high resolution.

Now I've uploaded and positioned the photos in a wedding-themed Shutterfly book, along with detailed captions. I want future generations to know who's who in the group shots!

Sis had a great idea: she suggested I continue the romance theme with written descriptions like "Once upon a time..." Thanks, Sis! We'll print one book first, check it over, make any tweaks, and order more.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Week 7: Digitizing Maps and More

Old maps have dates and memories that add richness and detail to my genealogy research.
In week 7 of the Do-Over, I'm digitizing the maps that have been passed down in my family because they're clues to my ancestors' daily lives and some of the places they lived and visited--places that were meaningful to them and to me.

My grandparents on both sides (Schwartz, Farkas, Mahler, Burk) settled in New York City. They never owned a car but they and their children and grandchildren knew the subway and bus routes very, very well.

My in-laws (Wood, McClure) liked to drive to New York City from their home in Cleveland to visit family, see Broadway shows, etc. My father-in-law also saved state maps that were given away by gas stations, including old maps for Indiana, Ohio, and beyond.

Above, part of the family's collection of New York City transit and street maps. The Hagstrom's maps are the oldest, and the World's Fair maps are the youngest (just 50 years old!). All being photographed and inventoried as part of Week 7 in the Do-Over.
PS: The Do-Over participants explained how to add my blog's name to photographs I post. Thank you!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Surname Saturday: Happy Valentine's Day from Harold to Daisy

My father, Harold Burk (1909-1978) sent this pretty beribboned valentine to my mother, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981).

The date was February 14, 1946, just six weeks after they became engaged. (He wrote the year under his signature.)

They were married later that year, on Thanksgiving weekend, at New York's Hotel McAlpin, with both sides of their families in attendance.

Harold was the older son of Isaac Burk (1882?-1943) of Lithuania and Henrietta Mahler Burk (1881-1954) of Latvia--who met and married in New York City.