Showing posts with label Volk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volk. Show all posts

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday's Faces from the Past: Remembering Dad and Counting His Cousins

Remembering Dad--Harold D. Burk (1909-1978) on the 39th anniversary of his death. This happy photo shows him arriving in Hawaii on a special tour for travel agents (a career he began before being drafted for WWII and resumed when he returned from serving in Europe and married Mom).

Having smashed a major brick wall on Dad's side of the family, I can finally name all twenty of his far-flung first cousins.
  • Rose, Lilly, Bill, and "Punky," the four children of Abraham Berk (1877-1962)
  • Sylvia, Harold, Milton, Norma, and Larry, the five children of Meyer Berg (1883-1981)
  • Miriam, "Buddy," Harvey, Jules, and Hilda, the five children of Sarah Mahler Smith (1889-1974)
  • Mike and Sylvia, the two children of Ida Mahler Volk (1892-1971)
  • Myron, Daniel, Robert, and Ruth, the four children of Mary Mahler Markell (1896-1979)
Miss you, Dad.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Those Places Thursday: The Bronx of my Burk family

On this day 107 years ago, my father (Harold Burk) was born at home, 77 E. 109th Street in Manhattan, the second of four children of Isaac Burk and Henrietta Mahler Burk.

Until the mid-1920s, the Burk family lived in a series of tenements in upper Manhattan. Dad used to tell stories of how, on a summer's day, the family would pack a big picnic lunch and take a street car to the top edge of Manhattan. There, they would pick up a horse-drawn conveyance for crossing into the Bronx.

It was a full-day outing, between the slow transportation and then enjoying lunch and a stroll or nap in the park. A welcome change from the heat, noise, and bustle of Manhattan, he remembered fondly decades later.

By 1930, the Burk family had managed to move uptown, with three of the four children working and contributing to the household coffers. They lived at 1580 Crotona Park East in the Bronx, a leafy, "suburban" part of the city.

Today, a single family home sits on the site. But 80 years ago, 20 families lived in a tenement at that address. Looking at the 1930 Census, every family in the building was either headed by an immigrant or included an immigrant (sometimes as a boarder). Most were from Russia, Poland, Romania, or thereabouts.

The Burk family's next-door neighbor in the apartment building became a character reference for Dad in 1931. He was applying for a "fidelity bond" as the first step toward his dream of becoming a travel agent.

Two other character references shown on the bond were, in reality, family members: Louis Volk was married to his aunt, Ida Mahler; Joseph Markell was married to another aunt, Mary Mahler. Both lived on Rochambeau Avenue in the Bronx, 3 miles uptown from the Burk family.

Except for the years he served in World War II, Dad lived the rest of his life in the Bronx, where I was born and spent my early years.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Saluting Relatives Who Served Our Country

For Veterans' Day 2015, I wrote (again) about my father and uncle, Harold and Sidney Burk, who served in the US Army during WWII. Also my aunt, Dorothy Schwartz, who was a WAC in WWII, and my uncle, Fred Shaw, who was in the US Army in WWII.

Now I want to honor other relatives who served our country during the world wars.

Let me start with my great uncle Louis Volk, whose service seems particularly dangerous because he was in munitions factories during 1918. Louis married my paternal great-aunt Ida Mahler in 1920 and was a close member of the family, helping my father get a leg up on his career before WWI.


My maternal grandma Farkas's cousin, Johnny Weiss, was also in WWI. His service "CAC" stands for US Army's Coast Artillery Corps.

My two Farkas great-uncles, Julius and Morris Farkas, were in WWI, even though Julius registered as a conscientious objector. Julius served as a cook in the war, while Morris processed new recruits and discharged vets for the US Army.

Farkas in-law Milton Grossman (who married great-aunt Irene Farkas) served in the Infantry during WWI. Farkas in-law Morris Pitler (who married great-aunt Freda Farkas) was also in the Army Coast Artillery Corps during WWI, serving as a radio sgt.

Farkas cousins and cousins-in-law who served in WWII included George Farkas and his brother Bob Farkas, Abe Ezrati, and Harry Pitler.

On my maternal grandfather's side, his nephew, Morton M. Schwartz, served in WWII.

Thank you to these relatives who served during wartime.

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, March 1, 2013

Funeral Friday: Following the Wolf family

My 2d cousin Lois found me through this blog when she spotted (among other entries) a short post I'd written about her grandfather, Louis Volk, who married my great-aunt Ida Mahler.

Today I used Ancestry's Historical Newspapers, Birth, Death & Marriage Announcements to search for funeral info about Louis's sister Beckie Volk (1886?-1955), who married Simon Wolf (1886-1969) in 1908, in New York City.


Very quickly I found them both in New York Times obituaries. Above, Beckie's funeral notice from May, 1955. This showed me that one of Beckie's three daughters was no longer alive (I found her obit in a 1943 Times notice). It also gave me the married names of Beckie and Simon's two daughters and mentions that Beckie was a grandma by this time.


Simon's funeral notice from 1969, directly above, confirms those daughters' married names and that Simon was a grandfather. Both Simon and Beckie, and their daughter Cecilia (below), are buried at Riverside Cemetery in New Jersey, where some of my Mahler ancestors are buried, as well.

So now I'm searching for Pauline Wolf Kagan (whose hubby's first name is UNK at this time) and Shirley Wolf Gold (again, hubby's given name is UNK). At least one of these ladies has at least one child . . . more cousins for my 2d cousin Lois!

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 :)




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Family Ties: Mahler, Volk, Wolf in 1925

Tillie Jacobs Mahler
A close look at the New York State Census data for 1925 shows just how close my Mahler relatives were to the Volk and Wolf families they married into. Literally close!

First, here's a quick overview of who's who. Tillie Jacobs Mahler, my great-grandma (left) was the mother of Henrietta Mahler (my grandma), who married Isaac Burk.* Henrietta's sister Ida Mahler married Louis Volk. Louis Volk's sister Beckie married Simon Wolf.

In the 1925 Census, look who was living at 2347 Morris Ave, Bronx, NY:
  • Louis & Ida (Mahler) Volk and their young son Myron.
  • Tillie Jacobs Mahler, and her grown children Morris and Dora. Tillie was Ida's mother and Louis's mom-in-law.
2400 Walton Ave., Bronx, NY
Literally around the corner in 1925, living at 2400 Walton Ave, Bronx, NY (apartment building shown at right) were:
  • Simon & Beckie (Volk) Wolf and their daughters, Celia, Pauline, and Shirley. Beckie was Louis Volk's sister.
More mysteries appear in the 1915 NY Census. But more about that soon!

*Isaac and Henrietta Burk and their 4 children (including Dad!) lived at 1642 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan in 1925, so he could commute to his job as a cabinetmaker in the furniture district downtown.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: The House on Rodman Street

Finally, I've seen the house on Rodman Street NW in Washington, D.C., where my great-aunt Ida Mahler Volk and great-uncle Louis Volk lived in the 1940s. It's been a long journey of genealogical discovery getting here!

Before Y2K (remember that?) I was desperately searching for the death cert of my grandfather, Isaac Burk, not knowing where and when he died. Isaac was married to my grandmother, Henrietta Mahler.

Genealogical records weren't as widely available online then as they are now, and it wasn't easy to find out about Isaac. Eventually, I found a terse obit for Isaac in the New York Times, which indicated when he died but not where. It must have been an especially sad time for the Burks because Isaac and Henrietta's two sons (my father Harold and his brother Sidney) were serving overseas in 1943 when Isaac died, and almost certainly couldn't get home for the funeral.

Eventually, an official in NYC suggested that I check with officials in Washington, D.C. That was the hint I needed. Once I sent for and received Isaac's death cert, there were new mysteries to unravel: Louis Volk was the person who gave information to the authorities when Isaac suffered a fatal heart attack at the house on Rodman Street. Why was Isaac, who lived in the Bronx with his wife Henrietta, visiting Washington in the first place? How was Louis Volk involved with my grandfather?

It took many more years to work out who was who and how we were related. Great-aunt Ida and Grandma Henrietta were sisters. Ida and her husband Louis both served as character witnesses when Grandfather Isaac petitioned for citizenship and was naturalized in 1942. Louis served as a character reference when my father, Harold Burk, son of Henrietta and Isaac, applied to be bonded at the beginning of his career as a travel agent.

Here's where the magic of cousin bait comes in: Ida and Louis's granddaughter, Cousin Lois, found me through this blog in 2010. She has filled in much of the missing info, introduced me to Cousin Lil (daughter of another of the Mahler siblings), and welcomed my branch of the family into her life. Sis and I are delighted that she took us to visit the house on Rodman Street, 69 years after Grandfather Isaac and Grandma Henrietta were there to visit Lois's grandparents, the Volks.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Matriarchs--Daisy, Minnie, and Yetta

My mother and grandmothers are gone, sorry to say, but they live on in my heart and in my blog! Happy mother's day to these matriarchs of my family.

At left, smiling broadly, is my mother, Daisy Ruth Burk (nee Schwartz), on her wedding day in 1946 in New York City. She's wearing her fave Persian lamb coat and getting ready to go to Bermuda on her honeymoon with Dad (Harold Burk). Daisy married at 26 and had three much-loved children. She had a passion for reading, was an ace typist, enjoyed crocheting. Cooking wasn't her strong suit but she had a few signature dishes that we children relished (like junk soup and blintzes).  

At right is my maternal grandma (Daisy's mom), Hermina (Minnie) Schwartz (nee Farkas), on her wedding day in 1911 in New York City. She married Theodore (Teddy) Schwartz, who was then selling insurance (?) to immigrants, and after her son Fred and her twins Daisy and Dorothy were born, she and Teddy opened their own grocery store in the Bronx. Minnie was an expert seamstress and the back of her embroidery pieces looked just as good as the front. She was also a great cook: Her native Hungarian dishes (like strudel) were legendary in the family.
 

At left is my paternal grandma, Henrietta (Yetta) Burk (nee Mahler). Yetta, born in Latvia, married my grandpa Isaac Burk in New York City in 1906. Yetta had four children: Mildred, Harold (my Dad), Miriam, and Sidney. She crossed the border to and from Canada following Isaac for about five years as he got carpentry work in Montreal. Thanks to my cousin Lois, I know a bit more about Yetta: She was a lively woman who knew how to laugh, she had a dog named Blackie, and she was particularly close to her sister Ida Mahler Volk.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cousins--More Than Names on My Family Tree

I suspected that there were more 2nd cousins out there: In my great-grandmother's obit, I counted the number of great-grandchildren, of which I'm one.


One big reason I started this blog is so that cousins and other relatives could find me--and now Cousin Lois has done just that. We're excitedly exchanging family stories and talking over old times. I'm delighted to catch up with Lois's news and learn, through her, about more cousins scattered around the country. Wonder of wonders, Lois even has some treasured heirlooms that belonged to our great-grandpa.

So many cousins to meet, so many stories to tell, so many family connections to make. Here's to great cousin connections!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Looking for Louis Volk

Louis VOLK (father Samuel, mother Celie Leboff) was an important part of my father's family. He married my great-aunt Ida Mahler in 1920. When brother-in-law (Isaac Burk) died unexpectedly while visiting him in 1943, Louis gave info for Isaac's death certificate. Born in Sukian, Russia, around 1891 or 1892, Louis lived in the Bronx in the 1930s and somehow got to the ritzy Rodman Ave Street NW section of Washington, DC by the 1940s. His children were Myron and Sylvia. Hope to connect with Volk descendants!

PS Thank you to Lois for correcting the Rodman St. info.