Monday, December 22, 2008

Daniel Gluck in the Bronx

My cousin remembers that my great-aunt Mary Schwartz boarded with her 2d cousin Daniel Gluck and family in a Bronx apartment after arriving in NYC from Ungvar, about 1911-1912. Daniel had two daughters: Beatrice (a buyer for a lingerie firm?) and Ruth. The family started a furniture store in or near Paramus NJ in one of America's first shopping centers, perhaps during the mid-1930s. So far no luck tracing them but it's some kind of lead.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ungvar and Lojos Schwartz

Since September I've been hoping to find out that Violet was related to my Schwartz relatives from Ungvar. Violet's family wrote me yesterday to say that they don't know my Schwartz family. Their Schwartz family in Ungvar was Lojos Schwartz, whose sisters were Flora and Margaret. Although I'm disappointed, it's good to at least know for sure.

One of my 2009 resolutions is to organize my genealogy research more carefully and plan specific lines of inquiry. Meanwhile, if anybody is trying to find descendants of Tivador (Theodore) Schwartz from Ungvar, please let me know.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rookie Genealogy Mistakes

This article by Sharon Tate-Moody lists many mistakes that rookie genealogists make--and I've made them all. I'm still trying to catch up on recording all the info I've collected about my family and my husband's family. And I haven't asked all the right questions (or asked them in the right way) of family members who might remember.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is a long-term journey into the family trees. My journey started after "Roots" aired in the mid-1970s and picked up steam about 10 years ago, when a Family History Center opened in my community. Ancestry.com has been a huge help in filling out the branches and connecting with cousins. Wonder where the journey will take me next?
clipped from www2.tbo.com

Be Sure To Record Your Roots Research

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Calendar Fun for the Holidays

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This is the third year I'm creating a photo-filled calendar for my extended family. For the 2009 calendar, nearly all the photos were taken in 2008. A few are from Dec 2007 because I had to order the 2008 calendars before our holiday parties got underway.

This year I'm including a few photos of "ancestors" as well. In all, each year's calendar has at least 90 photos; this year's total will reach 100. What a wonderful way to remember special family celebrations all year long and laugh again at funny photos of kids in Halloween costumes, etc. Best of all, the calendar lists everybody's birthday and other special occasions, helping me remember when to send a card or call.

Although I like Snapfish's calendars, there are other sites that do a good job with customized calendars. This Ancestry.com blog entry has lots of valuable "how to" nuts and bolts info for that site's calendars.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ellis Island Photos

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The NY Public Library has digital collections of photos of old New York and much more for people like me, who are climbing their family tree.

About 10 years ago my sister and I went with several cousins to Ellis Island and looked for the names of our ancestors who had come to America through its gates. What a moving visit! And what a great opportunity to tell family stories. Afterward, Cousin Ron guided us to his favorite Chinatown restaurant. It was a day to remember, even as the research continues.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Taking care of the Wood family Bible

One of the Wood second cousins visited last week, with his wife, during a genealogical/vacation swing through New England. I was moved when he brought out the giant and beautiful family Bible, which he protects with a special archival envelope and a custom-made wooden case. Now I wish I had taken a photo but when he had it on the table, I was too spellbound to think of grabbing the camera. He told us the book's history and how he came to have it--and that another beautiful Bible (complete with births/marriages/deaths) once existed in another part of the family but can't be found these days. Auggghhhhh!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Farewell to House That Ruth Built

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Watching last night's emotional farewell to Yankee Stadium brought back many childhood memories of going there with my father and sisters. We never saw a World Series game in person, but we did see many Yankee greats play--Maris and Mantle and other legends of this once mighty baseball team.

Mounting the stairs to the subway station as the final inning drew to a close, we'd peer over and see the last out(s) from the platform and then slip into a subway car and be gone before the crowds surged out of the stadium. Babe Ruth would (should) be angry that the house he built is being torn down.

Farewell to an era. I doubt the new stadium will inspire the strong feelings that this grand old stadium has inspired over its 85 years.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Great-grandpa Came from Kaunas (formerly Kovno)

clipped from www.smso.net
Location of Kaunas
Remains of Kaunas Castle
Kaunas' view in 19th century
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Kovno was part of Russia when Great-grandpa was born (around 1861 or so). Today it's Kaunas, part of Lithuania. Lots of history to learn about there. Would Great-grandpa be pleased that I want to trace his roots, see where he was born and where he was married?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finding Kovno ancestors

My ggrandfather's death cert shows his birthplace as Kovno and his father's birthplace as Riga. It also gave his mother's maiden name as Luria, a name with a long heritage in Lithuania and surrounding areas. Tracing ancestors in these areas during the mid-1800s is no picnic. My cousin Amy is doing some of the historical research (thanks, Amy!) and has found a Davidic connection through the Lurias.

Another source of ideas for researching in this area is Schelly Talalay Dardashti's Tracing the Tribe blog. Thank you, Shelly!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Never Underestimate the Power of Google for Genealogy

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Last fall, a speaker at the local genealogy club suggested searching for ancestors and relatives via Google Web AND Google News. He advised searching on "Marian Wood" and "Wood, Marian."

Following his advice, I found a relative (Violet) who I think is the daughter of a great-aunt I never knew (but whose image I have on a postcard sent to my maternal grandfather).

I couldn't find Violet's current address or phone and put the search aside.

Today I Googled her again and found she had written brief memoirs that were published in a book now searchable through Google.

I checked 411.com for the phone number of that book's editor, called her, and she's going to try to help me find and connect with Violet! Maybe Google should have a "Google Genealogy" search box especially for finding people?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finding Distant Woods

clipped from www.old-picture.com
Fernando Wood
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My husband's cousin Larry has done a remarkable job researching the Wood family. One of the distant relatives he researched is Fernando Wood (above), a former mayor of NYC who was apparently corrupt and whose brother Benjamin owned the NY Daily News for a time. Fernando and Benjamin were outspoken opponents of the Civil War (Fernando suggested NYC secede).

Benjamin Wood's widow Ida had quite the story of her own--The Recluse of Herald Square, a woman of modest origins who reinvented herself to join high society and finally died with millions stuffed under the mattress. You never know who you'll find as you climb your family tree. To be continued.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Insider's Look at Genealogy


The Ancestry Insider

The unofficial, unauthorized view of the two big genealogy websites: Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org .
The Insider reports on, defends, and constructively criticizes these two and associated topics. The
author attempts to fairly and evenly support both. (more...)


Database review: Historic Land Ownership Atlases


NFS rollout update for 26-Aug-2008


Maps online from the New York Public Library


Notice: The Ancestry Insider is independent of Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. The opinions expressed herein are his own. Trademarks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The Ancestry Insider is solely responsible for any silly, comical, or satirical trademark parodies presented as such herein. The name Ancestry Insider designates the author's status as an insider among those searching their ancestry and does not refer to Ancestry.com. All content is copyrighted unless designated otherwise.

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Independent but expert, this featured blog takes us inside the latest developments at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org (and other genealogy sites). Valuable tips and loads of links--as you can see from these recent post titles. It's now on my (lengthy) bookmark list of must-visit genealogy sites and blogs.

Because my Eastern European relatives lived in towns that belonged to different nations at different times, links on this blog to historical maps are helpful in figuring out where to continue searching. My maternal grandfather came from a town that was once in Hungary, later considered part of Czechoslovakia, and today is in Ukraine. Can't wait to find out about the towns in Latvia etc. where my paternal ancestors originally lived.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Connecting through CousinConnect


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I connected with my husband's second cousin by answering a genealogical query on a site like this. I also connected with a cousin of the daughter-in-law of a great aunt, which led me to uncover more roots and three second cousins I hadn't known about.

These experiences have made me such a believer in queries that I've posted some on every forum connected to a surname in my family tree and my husband's family tree.

My first query wasn't specific enough, as a kindly (and anonymous) correspondent pointed out. She suggested I mention dates and places and names of several family members, which I now do. Thank you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

When did great-grandpa die?

One of the biggest mysteries of my family's genealogy has been finding out exactly when and where (and why) my father's grandfather died. Come to think of it, I wasn't sure exactly when and where he was born. When nearly every other Mahler ancestor died, he or she had a brief obit in the New York Times. Not Great-Grandpa Mahler.

But yesterday I reexamined the 1910 Census very carefully and sure enough, Great-Grandma Mahler was a widow in April, 1910. I checked NYC death records and found an entry for Great-Grandpa in January, 1910. Quick as you can say "ten bucks" I sent to NYC for the record.

Thanks to Ancestry, I already knew that Great-Grandpa had become naturalized in 1900. Out came my checkbook again and I sent for that record, as well. It will take weeks, but I'll know a lot more about my Mahler roots (in Latvia) when these two documents show up in the mailbox.