Showing posts with label Vasarosnameny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vasarosnameny. Show all posts

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!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

52 Ancestors #27: Joseph Roth and Julia Goodfried Roth, Naturalized 105 Years Ago

Joseph and daughters: top, Helen and Blanche; bottom, Serena and Theresa
Joseph Roth (1860-1945) married Julia Goodfried (or Gutfried, 1862-1937) in Hungary, and the couple had four daughters before they came to New York City in March, 1903.

This week, during a visit with one of Joseph's granddaughters, I was able to scan his address book, which included specific details about his naturalization.
Joseph Roth in 1921

Joseph's petition was filed in the US Circuit Court, Southern District of New York, on July 27, 1909, when he was 48 years old and Julia was 46. Today I'm sending for those documents to learn more!

Joseph was a brother of Bela B. Roth, whose first wife Sali/Zolli Kunstler died young. Sali was my great-grandma Lena Kunstler Farkas's sister. I've written about Joseph/Josef and the Roth family before. In short, Joseph was, like Bela, a cousin to my family.

Now for more fun. Joseph Roth listed two other Joseph Roths in his own address book! Here's the rundown:
  • The Joseph Roth who owned the address book lived with his oldest daughter Blanche and son-in-law Alex Rethy on West 108th Street in Manhattan in 1940, after Julia Goodfried Roth died.
  • Joseph Roth #1 was listed in the address book at 70-03 Harrow Street in Forest Hills, NY. I will check that address in the 1940 census. This is where the OTHER Joseph Roth lived, the son of Bela Roth! One of his descendants confirmed the address.
  • Joseph Roth #2 was listed in the address book at 20 Pond Park Road in Harbor Hills, Great Neck, Long Island. I will check that address in the 1940 census.
Using Stephen Morse's handy-dandy one-step ED finder for the 1940 Census, I am looking up Census districts for Joseph Roth #1 and #2 and manually paging through the listings. Maybe some Roth family members will be listed--or their occupation/employer. Or I'll spot a friend or neighbor whose name I recognize?

Friday, March 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #15: The Roth Family, Entrepreneurs

The Roth family from Vasarosnameny, Hungary--cousins on my mother's side--had an entrepreneurial streak. Adolf Roth, one of several sons of Salomon Roth, arrived in 1897, established himself, and then helped two of his brothers come to New York. Adolf owned a necktie factory in Manhattan (he said he was a "neckwear contractor"). That factory provided work for many of the Roths and relatives as they arrived from Hungary. My grandma sewed fine silk ties for Adolf, for instance. Bela Roth, another of Salomon's sons, arrived in 1907 and he seems to have worked in his brother Adolf's factory.

Josef Roth, a brother or cousin of Bela and Adolf, had two sons, Emil and Peter Roth, who both went into the restaurant business.
From the New York Call, January 6, 1914
  • Peter Roth (1872?-1956) co-owned the Viennese-style restaurant Cafe Monopol at 145 Second Avenue in Manhattan, with his brother-in-law Peter Stern and others (see incorporation note, above, from 1915 publication Polk's New York Copartnership and Corporation Directory, p. 730). The little restaurant ad, directly above, shows my Roth cousin in business 100 years ago!
  • Emil Roth (1887-1965) worked at the Rossoff Restaurant at 152 West 44th Street in Manhattan.
Now all of the above was probably common knowledge in the family, but not passed down to later generations. It took days to piece the info together from passport applications, Census data, obituaries, and--most fun of all--working with two (probable) cousins, one in NY and one in Maryland, who were way ahead of me in tracing our Roth family tree.

Plus I've just connected with another delightful cousin from the Roth family! She tells me that her father (a son of Bela Roth) was highly entrepreneurial. During the summer, he and a brother would drive city dwellers from New York to vacation spots in the Catskills. At the end of the summer, they sold their "cab" and made good money from the sale. Eventually, that led to her father going into the used car business and, ultimately, owning a new car franchise that remains in the family today.