Showing posts with label Simonowitz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simonowitz. Show all posts

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday's Faces from the Past: Remembering Mom, Counting Her Cousins

Remembering my dear mother, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981), on the 36th anniversary of her death. This 1946 photo shows her looking radiant on her wedding day, just before the ceremony at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City.

Since I'm still researching siblings of her maternal grandparents Moritz Farkas/Leni Kunstler and paternal grandparents Herman Schwartz/Hani Simonowitz Schwartz, I can't yet name all of Mom's first cousins. Here are the 28 whose names I know:
  • George and Robert, sons of her uncle Albert Farkas and Sari Klein Farkas.
  • Edythe and Jacqui, daughters of her aunt Irene Farkas Grossman and uncle Milton Grossman.
  • Ron and Betty, children of her aunt Ella Farkas Lenney and uncle Joseph Lenney.
  • Harry and Richard, sons of her aunt Freda Farkas Pitler and uncle Morris Pitler.
  • Barbara, Robert, and Peter, children of her aunt Rose Farkas Freedman and uncle George Freedman.
  • Richard and Susan, children of her uncle Fred Farkas and aunt Charlotte Chapman Farkas.
  • Michael and Leonard, sons of her aunt Jeannie Farkas Marks and uncle Harold Marks.
  • Hajnal, Clara, Sandor, Ilona, and Elza, children of her uncle Joszef Kunstler and aunt Helena Schonfeld Kunstler.
  • Margaret, Alexander, and Joseph, children of her aunt Zali Kunstler Roth and uncle Bela Bernard Roth.
  • Burton and Harriet, children of her aunt Mary Schwartz Wirtschafter and uncle Edward Wirtschafter.
  • Morton and Eugene, sons of her uncle Sam Schwartz and aunt Anna Gelbman Schwartz.
  • Viola, daughter of her aunt Paula Schwartz Weiss and uncle [first name unknown] Weiss.
Remembering Mom today, with love.

PS: I can name every one of Dad's first cousins--he had only 20. But until a few months ago, I didn't know about all of them, and then I broke through a brick wall!

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!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Surname Saturday: Sharing the Stories Too

In 2014, I didn't just smash brick walls--I also shared family history stories with the next generation.

At left, the contents page from a 16-page "memory booklet" I created to trace my grandparents' family histories (Teddy Schwartz and Minnie Farkas).

My goal was to tell the family stories I had gathered in the historical, geographical, political, economic, and social context of their lives. In addition, I wanted to present old photos that younger relatives had never seen or had long ago forgotten.

By reading the narrative, looking at the maps, and looking at the photos, future generations will understand what our ancestors were leaving behind and why, where they went and why, and how their courageous journeys turned out. After all, they both came from parts of Eastern Europe that changed hands almost as often as the weather changes in New England. And their travels to the New World were driven by hopes and dreams, not to mention political and economic necessity.

The sections on Grandma and Grandpa's family backgrounds were my chance to present the family tree as far back as I know it on both sides (with connections to the Simonowitz, Gross, and Kunstler families). Also I included maps of where they were born and where they lived on the Lower East Side.

I told the story of teenaged Minnie coming to America with one older brother and two preteen siblings, to be reunited with their parents after two years of separation. And I told the story of teenaged Teddy arriving at Ellis Island on his own, finding work as a runner for the steamship lines, and helping one brother and one sister come to New York from Hungary. I saved the story of how they met and married for a separate section, to build a little drama and keep readers turning the page.

The section titled "What was the world like.....?" was an opportunity to portray just how much the world has changed since these ancestors were born in 1886-7. The United States had only 38 states at that point! President Cleveland dedicated Lady Liberty in 1886. Queen Victoria was celebrating her 50th year on the throne of England; light bulbs were novelties, not yet mainstream; horse-drawn conveyances filled city streets. These facts are eye-openers for relatives who were born digital.

Every page included 2-3 photos or documents (like their marriage cert). I put the captions into a separate "who's who" section to save space. The "where and when" appendix is a timeline of each grandparent's life, in table form. I printed the booklets (I made four) in color so the maps and photos would be eye-catching and invite readers to browse once or twice before filing on a bookshelf.

In 2015, I plan to do similar booklets for hubby's maternal and paternal lines. Crossing my fingers that I can find the time and the skill to make a DVD of at least one family tree's photos!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #52: My Schwartz Family from Ungvar


I'm honoring Great-grandpa Herman Yehuda Schwartz and Great-grandma Hana (or Hani) Simonowitz Schwartz in this final post of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" series, a wonderful weekly challenge by Amy Johnson Crow that has attracted hundreds of participating blogs.

My Schwartz family was based in the market town of Ungvar, Hungary, which is now known as Uzhorod, Ukraine. It's a busy town at the base of the Carpathian mountains that passed from one empire or nation to another as the map of Eastern Europe was redrawn again and again in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Three of Hani and Herman's grown children left Ungvar before 1906 to make their homes in New York: Sam (originally called Simon), his younger brother Tivadar (hi, Grandpa Teddy!), and their younger sister Mary. I know, from photos and postcards that have been passed down to me, that the Schwartz siblings in America stayed in touch with their family in Ungvar year after year.
The patriarch of the Schwartz family, Herman, died sometime before 1926, when his granddaughter Viola was born. Matriarch Hani died in the 1930s, after teaching her granddaughter Viola the basics of sewing and cooking and baking.

Tragically, the Ungvar-based Schwartz siblings and their spouses and children were all victims of the Holocaust. The only survivor was Viola (my Grandpa Teddy's niece), who returned to her hometown after the war and built a new life in Ukraine and, later, in Israel. This final post in the "52 Ancestors" series is dedicated with love to Viola and her family.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Matrilineal Monday: Where Grandma Minnie and Cousin Margaret Got Married

In 1911, my maternal grandma, Hermina Farkas married my grandpa, Theodore Schwartz, at the 8-10 Clinton Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


Here's their marriage cert. Note the name of the top witness: Marcus Aronoff.

This same gentleman witnessed the marriage of Grandma Minnie's first cousin Margaret to husband Herman in 1913, at the same synagogue, with the same rabbi officiating.

How does Marcus Aronoff relate to the family? Or was he a head of the congregation or some other official in the synagogue?

UPDATE: Cousin L noticed a very important detail: My Grandma Minnie lived at 745 E. 6th Street when she married, the same building where his mom (cousin Margaret) lived when she was married by the same rabbi in the same synagogue, just 18 months later. Here's a street view of that building, a 6-story apartment building built in 1900 that still stands today. Yet another indication that the families were close!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Who Grandpa Left Behind in Ungvar

Schwartz siblings, 1915
When my maternal grandpa, Tivadar Schwartz, traveled from Ungvar, Hungary to New York City in 1902, he left behind his parents, Herman Schwartz and Hani Simonowitz, and all his siblings.

Grandpa never returned to his hometown--in fact, he never left America after he arrived on the S.S. Maltke from Hamburg on March 20, 1902. He never again saw the siblings in the photo at left.

Except for a brief Florida "honeymoon" decades after he and grandma (Hermina Farkas) were married, Tivadar stayed in New York City. 

Two of Tivadar's siblings left Ungvar: His brother Sam (original name: Simon) came to New York City in 1904, and they brought their younger sister Mary in 1906.

The above photo shows Tivadar's sisters and, we think, the husband of one sister. By the time Grandpa received this photo in the summer of 1915, he had been married for 4 years and was the father of a son.

At right, the inscription on the back of the 1915 photo. "Tivadarnak" was an endearment. Grandpa was gone, but not forgotten :)

Between WWI and WWII, Ungvar became part of Czechoslovakia. Even after Ungvar was renamed Uzhgorod when it became part of the USSR's Ukraine after WWII, Grandpa had one answer when asked about his home country: "Czechoslovokia."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mystery Monday: He's My Great-Grandpa!

Thanks to my newfound Israeli cuz, I learned that this handsome bearded gentleman is my great-grandfather, Herman Schwartz from Ungvar, Hungary (now Uzhorod, Ukraine).

Until now, he was one of the many mystery people in my box of "unknowns."













Israeli cuz also solved another mystery: She identified the lovely young lady with a bouquet (at right) as belonging to the family of my great-grandma, Herman's wife, Hani Simonowitz. Blanka sent this to my grandpa, Tivadar Schwartz, in 1924, 22 years after he left Ungvar for America.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Discuss Conflicting Info with Relatives

Paula Schwartz
This photo sent shivers up my spine and I had to share why.

Five years ago, I found my maternal grandfather's sister Paula Schwartz listed in the Yad Vashem central database of Holocaust victims, names submitted by relatives or neighbors so that victims would be remembered.

The "testimony" page, below, shows that Paula was the daughter of Herman and Hana (Simonowitz) Schwartz. The person who submitted the testimony in 1996 is Viola Schwartz W____r--Paula's daughter. (I write about these Schwartz ancestors frequently--most recently here.)

My newfound cousin from Philly questioned me about Viola W___. Why? Because on cards and photos sent to my grandpa, Paula Schwartz's daughter is named Ibolyka, which is often translated as Violet. I thought we were looking for a survivor named Violet W___, even though the testimony is signed by Viola ___.

My Philly Cuz urged me to rethink the Violet/Viola discrepancy. I went back to the testimony page to see whether any more info had been added since I last looked in 2008. The answer is yes.

Now there's a photo uploaded next to the testimony--the photo I show in this post. You can compare with the two ladies in hats at the center top of my blog's masthead. It's undoubtedly OUR family's Paula Schwartz!

This photo wasn't available online in 2008. My takeaway: Most likely we're looking for Viola--and best of all, we know quite conclusively that this is OUR ancestor. Thanks, Philly Cuz, for working on this with me!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Philly Cousin Found Me!

Welcome, cousin! A 2d cousin from my Schwartz side connected with me this week, thanks to my Ancestry tree and this blog.

Grand-aunt Mary and Grand-uncle Edward
She's the granddaughter of Mary Schwartz, the youngest of the Schwartz siblings who left their home town of Ungvar, Hungary to journey to New York City.

Thank you to my Philly cuz for the photo (left) of Mary and her husband Edward, a lovely photo I'd never seen!

Mary was my grandpa Teddy's baby sister. Teddy (original name: Tivador) came to New York in 1902, followed by his older brother Sam (original name: Simon) in 1904. The two brothers pooled their money to bring Mary to America in 1906.

Etel and Paula Schwartz
Alas, the two remaining Schwartz siblings (shown right, Etel and Paula) never joined the rest of the family in New York, nor did Hana Simonowitz Schwartz, the matriarch. None survived WWII, sorry to say.

On the bright side, my Philly cuz and I are having fun getting caught up on decades of family news and doing a little more research together on our ancestors. Philly, here we come!