Thursday, July 23, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: Who's the General on This War Bonds Wallet?

The Gen Do-Over is a great time to look at every artifact related to the family tree.

My late father-in-law Edgar J. Wood kept a number of items from the World War II era. In addition to items like war-time fuel limit posters (donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society earlier this year), he held onto this handsome leather war bonds wallet.

It was given away by the Carnegie Body company of Cleveland, Ohio, whose name is stamped on the back. Since Ed was an insurance adjustor, he certainly had a lot of contact with such companies in the course of his work.

On the front is an image of what looks like a four-star U.S. general.

Who is he? - SEE BELOW!

I imagine his face was familiar to the men and women of America some 70 years ago.

Any ideas?* Two answers came right away, including one from the WRHS: This is almost certainly General MacArthur. Makes sense, doesn't it? He's so young in this image. By the end of the war, he looked a lot older...

UPDATE: This wallet has been donated to the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA, where it will become part of the artifact collection related to General MacArthur. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Talented Tuesday: Edgar James Wood and the Hermit Club

My late dad-in-law Edgar James Wood (1903-1986) was a talented musician. He began taking piano lessons in his early teens, and by the time he was in college at Tufts during the Roaring Twenties, he was financing his tuition by playing in jazz bands.

More than once, Ed played his way across the Atlantic and toured Europe with "American jazz bands" during summers between college semesters (see photos at right and below).
After he married Marian McClure and had a family, he was an insurance adjustor by day. By night, Ed was a professional piano player and, sometimes, a composer.

One of his favorite haunts at home in Cleveland was the Hermit Club, where he was a long-time member. The club is devoted to the performing arts and I know from Ed's diaries that he considered it a special honor to be admitted to membership.

Ed and his family enjoyed meals and special events at the Hermit Club for many a year. At top, the ashtray Ed kept as a remembrance of all the happy times at the Hermit Club--now a family heirloom with warm memories of Ed's piano talent.

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.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Untouched Box Holds Special Obit

Hubby opened a box within a box--unopened for at least three decades--and suddenly we had a long, detailed, memorable obituary for his uncle Ted, who had been active in community theater for years and was also a volunteer in local prisons.

Theodore William Wood was born in Cleveland on May 10, 1910, the son of James Edgar Wood and Mary Slatter Wood. Uncle Ted died of a heart condition in Jackson, MI, on October 17, 1968 at age 58, two days before he was slated to run the box office for a community theater production of A Man for All Seasons.


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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cleveland Heights Bicycle License Plate, Circa 1940s

One genealogy artifact from hubby's family is this bicycle license plate from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, circa 1940s. Cleveland Heights still requires bicycles to be registered--but it may waive the $2 fee if an owner brings his or her helmet and pledges to wear it while riding. Back in the day when this license plate was screwed to the back of a Schwinn, and the rider enjoyed the slapping of baseball cards against the wheel spokes, helmets hadn't yet been invented, of course.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Gen Do-Over, Week 11: How FB Helped Me Research Capitola Steiner and Alfred P. Welburn

With a first name like Capitola, how hard can it be to research one of hubby's 1st cousins, once removed? Turns out it's not so easy.

Capitola Steiner (1883-1942) was the niece of hubby's grandma, Floyda Steiner. I knew she married Alfred P. Welburn (1878-1953), because the names were in Grandma Floyda's will, along with a Massachusetts address from the 1940s. Using Ancestry and Family Search, I was able to locate their marriage cert (above) and learn the names of their children. Using one of the news databases, I learned that Alfred was Treasurer of the Cadillac Co. of Boston in 1920, when he and some other Cadillac execs were treated to a ride in an "aero-marine flying boat" from Boston harbor to Long Island, NY.

But nowhere (not even on Findagrave) could I find their final resting places or dates. Enter Facebook genealogy!

I'm a member of the Massachusetts Genealogy Network on FB. I posted a note asking for ideas and help locating Capitola and Alfred's place of burial and obits. Within hours, several kind members had told me exactly where the two were buried (Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge) and sent me obits and other details.

Thanks to their research, I was able to enter the names, dates, and plot locations in Findagrave. I also have death notices, plus a 1929 article from the Boston Herald with a photo of Alfred.

Now I know that Alfred, whose occupation was "machinist" in 1903 when he married Capitola, was an automotive pioneer who helped to engineer the first Buick car. He was service manager of the Packard Auto Co. in Boston and then became Treasurer and VP/assistant general manager at Cadillac of Boston. In his 60s, Alfred was foreman of a shift at GE's plant in Everett, MA, during WWII.


Capitola and Alfred were married in Crawford county, Ohio, on 17 June 1903. Happy 112th anniversary! 

And many thanks again to the genealogy enthusiasts on social media who are incredibly generous with their ideas and assistance.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sibling Saturday: "Lady" Ada Slatter Arrives with $2.50

One of the ongoing mysteries in the Wood family tree is when/where Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925), hubby's paternal grandma, arrived in America. In the spirit of the Gen Do-Over, I'm reviewing unsolved mysteries and looking at gaps in my research with fresh eyes.

Since the Slatters were from London (albeit a very poor part of the city), I conducted an Ancestry search of passengers from London to Canada in the 1890s. After all, the three musical Slatter brothers were interested in Canada, and Capt. John Daniel Slatter already lived in Toronto by 1884. Previously, I'd tried to trace the Mary Slatter from London to New York or another US port.

Lo and behold, up popped Ada Slatter (formally Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter, sister of hubby's grandma) aboard the S.S. Labrador, from Liverpool to Quebec/Montreal in the spring of 1895.

Her "calling or occupation" was Lady (which I guess sounds better than "spinster" as I've seen on so many other manifests). [SEE BELOW!] She was going to her father in Cleveland. She paid her own passage, had a ticket to her final destination, and held $2.50 in her purse. A $1 in 1895 was worth approximately $28 in today's money, so she carried the equivalent of $70 when she arrived.

Aunt Ada, as she was known to hubby and his siblings, was born on May 20, 1868. She was the 5th of 6 children of Mary Shehen Slatter and John Slatter. Hubby's grandma Mary Slatter Wood was the baby of the family, born a year after Ada in 1869.

Within a year after Ada joined her father in Cleveland, she met and married John Sills Baker, a fellow Englishman. Their two children (hubby's first cousins, once removed) were Dorothy Louise Baker and Edith Eleanor Baker.

Now will I find Mary Slatter's trans-Atlantic passage during the Gen Do-Over?

PS  On the Canadian passenger manifest (above), Ada Slatter said her profession was "sevt" which must mean . . . "servant." Within a few days, as she crossed the border into Vermont en route to Cleveland, she transformed into a "lady."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Happy 109th Anniversary to Isaac and Yetta

On this day 109 years ago in New York City, Lithuanian immigrant Isaac Burk (1882-1943) married Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954). The document mistakenly says she was born in NYC, when actually she was born in Latvia.

Isaac was a cabinetmaker, and she was the beautiful, dark-haired daughter of a tailor.

Notice how smudgy the names of Isaac's parents are? Isaac was changing his name from Berk (shown on some documents as Birk) to Burk.

The New York City officials certainly had no clue about how to spell Isaac's mom's name. Here, it's shown as "Necke" but elsewhere it's shown as "Nekhe." Her maiden name is probably Mitav, and I believe she's the daughter of Girsh Zvi Hirsch Mitav of Telsiai, Lithuania. 

If Girsh Mitav is Nekhe's father, then her sister is Hinda (Ann) Mitav (1865-1940), who married Isaac Chazan (1863-1921) in Telsiai. They moved to Manchester, England in the late 1880s. When Nekhe's sons Isaac and Abraham left Telsiai, they stayed with Hinda and Isaac in Manchester for a couple of years before moving to North America. 

Happy 109th anniversary, Grandpa Isaac and Grandma Yetta! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

In Loving Memory of Aunt Lindy, 1922-2015

In loving memory of Rosalind Ashby Wood (1922-2015) who married hubby's uncle Ted Wood in 1949. Lindy was the daughter of Dr. Hugh T. Ashby and his wife Margaret Ross Ashby of Manchester, England. She graduated from Liverpool University and the School of Social Work, London. After WWII, she came through Boston on her way to be with a friend in Hollywood. From there, she made her way to Jackson, MI, which became home.

Lindy was the long-time executive director of the Florence Crittendon Home in Jackson, where she helped hundreds of young women over the years. A dog-lover, she also raised and trained therapy dogs to visit nursing homes and hospitals.

She was a sparkling conversationalist, interested in what other people were doing and thinking and saying. Hubby's parents enjoyed cruising the Atlantic and touring England with her on a number of occasions. Lindy was always ready with a kind word and a bit of wisdom. Her upbeat spirit will be missed!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Remarkable GGM Mary Wood's "65 Years, 8 Months, 4 Days"

Mary Amanda Demarest Wood, 1831-1897
Hubby's great-grandma, Mary Amanda Demarest Wood, had quite an interesting life. Born in Manhattan 184 years ago yesterday (on June 1, 1831), Mary somehow managed to get to Plaquemine, Louisiana where -- at age 14 -- she married a New England carpenter Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890) who was 22 years her senior. 

Remarkable Mary gave birth to 17 children, including a set of fraternal twins who sadly died of diphtheria at age 5. Before the Civil War, Mary, Thomas, and their growing family left Louisiana for a part of Virginia that became part of West Virginia after the war.

By 1870, the Woods had settled in Toledo, where the second half of their family was born. A full list of Mary's children (including hubby's grandpa, James Edgar Wood) is here. She later became a nurse, as well.

Thomas Haskell Wood, 1809-1890
Mary outlived her husband by 7 years and 2 days. Her obit, above, shows that she died "aged 65 years, 8 months and 4 days." (His obit is at right.) The funeral was at Calvary Church in Toledo, which no longer exists, and she's buried in the vault of Forest Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.

Thank you to the Toledo Public Library, which will kindly e-mail obituaries for free on request from this search site.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday's Obituary: Bessie Hostetler Kelsey, Who Married 109 Yrs Ago Today

When Bessie Hostetler was married in Millersburg, IN at high noon on May 31, 1906 to Homer John Kelsey, the Hostetler and Shank families had reason to rejoice.

Bessie was one of four daughters of J. Cephas Hostetler and "Emma" Emily Mary Shank. Emma Shank, Bessie's Mom, was the granddaughter of Lucinda Helen Bentley, who married Jonas Shank.

Beautiful Bessie -- hubby's 2nd cousin, 2x removed -- gave birth to a son at the beginning of April, 1907. Sadly, she died one week later, during an operation in a Fort Wayne hospital, leaving behind a bereaved husband and a newborn baby boy.

I wasn't aware of this tragedy until I read the1914 obit of Emma Shank Hostetler, Bessie's mother (see right). It mentioned how Emma and her husband, J. Cephas Hostetler, took care of their grandson after Bessie's unexpected death.

The Shank family intertwined with hubby's family in other ways. Cornelia Jane Shank, a daughter of Lucinda Helen Bentley, married David Oscar Short in Indiana in 1872. The Short family is related to hubby's Larimer family in cousin fashion.

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!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Three Generations of Fighting Slatters

For Memorial Day, I'm honoring the military service of hubby's Slatter family.

Above, a news photo with caption that sums up my tribute: "Three Generations of Fighting Slatters."

At far left is Lt. Frederick William Slatter (1890-?). Lt. F. W. Slatter was wounded during WWI while serving with the Canadian armed forces at the famous Battle of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917.

Second from left is Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954), father of Frederick. "Capt. Jack" gained fame as the long-time Bandmaster of Toronto's 48th Highlanders. In 1944, he was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire as a tribute to his service in training military bands for so many decades.

Third from left is John Hutson Slatter (1920-2012), grandson of Capt. Jack. John enlisted in the Canadian military in the spring of 1940 for service in WWII. At far right is Lt. Albert Matthew Slatter (1887-1970), son of Capt. Jack, brother of Frederick, and father of John Hutson Slatter. Lt. A.M. Slatter served in Canada's No. 4 Company of 15th Battalion and then in the 48th Highlanders during WWI.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day: A Purple Heart for Cousin Alexander Everett Herrold



For Memorial Day, I want to honor the WWI military service of hubby's 3d cousin, 2x removed: Alexander Everett Herrold (1881-1959), the grandson of Harriet Larimer (1819-1887) and "Squire" Alexander McKibbin (1817-1888).

Captain Herrold of Company L, 129th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, was wounded in France on October 9, 1918. His mother (Phoebe McKibbin Herrold) learned of the injury from a letter he wrote, which she then turned over to the local newspaper for publication on the front page. His letter closes with these sentences:
"I walked two and one-half miles on the wounded leg to get to an ambulance. Don't worry about me for I am not seriously hurt."
Herrold had enlisted in the Indiana National Guard in 1905, then was mustered out in 1916 to enlist in the U.S. Army for WWI. The Elkhart Review newspaper refers to him as Captain Herrold. Above, the application for headstone for a military veteran refers to him as a First Lieutenant and notes his Purple Heart. Now, nearly 97 years after he was wounded, I'm recognizing the service of this distant cousin on Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: What Happened to Cousin Phoebe


What a surprise to see the 1919 death of hubby's 2d cousin, 3x removed, announced in Indiana with this headline.

The obit continues below: "When her body was discovered yesterday, the crocheting thread was around her fingers and it was evident that she was just about to take another stitch when fatally stricken."

RIP, Phoebe Antoinette McKibbin Herrold, daughter of Harriet Larimer, hubby's 1st cousin 4x removed, part of the Larimer line we've been tracing.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Keep Black-and-White Negatives Separate from Color--Or Else

For decades, my family believed in a "one envelope" policy for dozens of large-format 1950s/1960s negatives from both black-and-white and color photos. Bad idea. Now I know, too late, that it's better to separate b/w from color negatives.

How did I find out, the hard way? I recently brought all the negatives to a professional photo firm to have contact sheets made. The idea was to see who and what are in the photos.

When I picked up the contact sheets today, the experts told me the chemical reaction between the color and b/w negatives had caused the color negatives to go nearly blank. Their advice: Store the color negatives separately from the b/w negatives to avoid further deterioration. Done.

Meanwhile, the experts printed all the b/w negatives on contact sheets. I scanned the photos from the contact sheets, and now I can print any photos I please.

The two photos above were taken just a week or two after my sister and I were born. Who's who? Who knows. But the bench supporting the twin at left is part of my parents' mahogany bedroom suite, which remains a treasured family heirloom to this day. 

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 30, 2015

Remembering Li'l Sis

Remembering my younger sister Harriet today, with love.

She was pretty and witty, not to mention being passionate about social justice. She fought like a tiger for what she believed was right!

Miss you, li'l sis.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: The Three Death Dates of Joe Jacobs

My great-grand uncle Joseph Jacobs (son of great-great-grandma Rachel Shuham and great-great-grandpa Jonah Jacobs, married to Eva Mikalovsky) was a brick wall for years. Great-aunt Ida (sister to my grandma Henrietta Mahler Burk) kept a notebook of birth/death dates and she wrote that Joe, her uncle, died on November 22, 1919.

Well, not exactly, but now I understand why that date stuck in her mind.

Only last month, I located Joe in Mount Zion Cemetery, Queens, NY, with a death date of November 3, 1918 (Findagrave #81028376). That death date was confirmed by his New York City death cert. 

Today the cemetery sent me a photo of Joe's headstone, which says he died on November 22, 1918.

Why three death dates for Joe Jacobs?

The answer has to do with the Hebrew calendar. Elsewhere in Great-aunt Ida's notebook, she records death dates according to day and month in the Hebrew calendar. So I checked two of the death dates of Joe Jacobs (Nov. 3, 1918 and Nov. 22, 1919) and it turns out that both are the 29th of Cheshvan. That's what the stone says, too (on the line just above Joe's name in English).

Because of the tradition of erecting the gravestone one year after someone passes away, Great-aunt Ida apparently used that later date as Joe's date of death. And the stonecarver who created Joe's stone was obviously given the Hebrew calendar date in 1918, not the secular date, which is why the stone says November 22nd.

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!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: George Larimer's elopement "like a thunder clap from a blue sky"

On July 4, 1899, George Ainsworth Larimer boarded an interurban train in Goshen, Indiana, bound for Chicago. Seemingly by accident, Cora May Lutz was on the same interurban train--in the same car--bound for an aunt's house in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Here's how the Goshen Midweek News describes what happened next (in the Nov. 15, 1899 issue):

"The fall of great cities has been planned in very short time, so it is presumed Mr. Larimer and Miss Lutz accidentally became aware of each other's presence on the car and by the time they reached Dunlaps, negotiations had been closed for an elopement..."

By the end of the day, they had secured a marriage license in St. Joseph, Michigan, been married, and were on their way home. The newspaper continues:

"They were away from home only a short time, and on returning, the members of the groom's family suspected what had occurred, telling him it was generally known and in the papers. He assumed an indignant air and denied the allegation and was greatly relieved on finding the family had employed that matter of investigating his suspected matrimonial affairs...Accordingly the marriage was this morning announced and it came like a thunder clap from a blue sky." 

George A. Larimer (1873-1922) was hubby's 1st cousin, 2x removed, the son of William Tyler Bentley Larimer and Elizabeth J. Stauffer. Cora May Lutz Larimer outlived him (1875-1945).

This clipping is part of my newspaper research into the relationships among the members of the Larimer, Work, Short, and Bentley families. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Surname Saturday: The long story of the Short family (and Larimer too)

Oh, those newspaper archives are filled with genealogical treasures. Last year I wrote about Dr. Bartlett Larimer, a pioneering doctor who inspired four nephews from the Short family: two nephews became doctors and two nephews became dentists.

The Short family was constantly in the news in Lagrange county and Elkhart, Indiana. Apparently the Short and Larimer families were acquainted and related before they came to the States in the 1700s.

Dr. Bartlett Larimer (1833-1892) was the fourth son of hubby's 3d great-grandparents, John Larimer and Rachel Smith Larimer.

One of Dr. Larimer's physician nephews was Dr. William H. Short (1844-1920), born in Eden township, Lagrange county, Indiana, one of 11 children of farmer Thomas Short and his wife, Margaret Larimer.

For a long time, Dr. William Short was in practice with his brother, Dr. John Short, and his son-in-law, Dr. Carlos C. Rozelle (married to Vera Short). Another doctor brother was Dr. Isaac W. Short.

William passed his love of medicine to his son, Dr. John Theron Short, who was the resident surgeon at German Hospital in Philadelphia, circa 1917 (see WWI registration card). He was Lt. Short when he served as an assistant surgeon in the 9th Naval District during the war.

My Philly Cuz tells me that German hospital changed its name to Lankenau Hospital after America became involved in WWI. Now it's Lankenau Medical Center and still highly regarded.

The Indiana newspapers reported often on the Short doctors and dentists. One testified in a case of attempted murder (a physician shot a young lady!), but other times the reports were of setting bones, checking teeth or attending to feverish patients.

I'm still checking for the obit of Thomas Short, the farmer whose sons grew up to practice medicine and dentistry, inspired by their uncle.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: From the In-Laws' Attic in Cleveland

My late father- and mother-in-law (Edgar James Wood and Marian McClure Wood) held onto this WWII poster for decades, and it remains in excellent shape. Hubby remembers it being stored in the attic of their Cleveland Heights home during the 1950s. They took the poster with them when they moved in the 1970s and moved again in the 1980s. We just asked the Western Reserve Historical Society if it would like this as a donation.*

*UPDATE: The historical society said yes, and it is getting the air raid poster above and the fuel ration notice at right. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Cousin Atta Elizabeth Larimer Marries Miles Powell Bradford, 1902


I've been having success using newspaper archives to learn about ancestors' lives--but I was also reminded today that searching for full names can turn up valuable articles from free news sources.

Atta Elizabeth Larimer was 26 when she married 29-year-old Miles Powell Bradford on Thursday, May 8, 1902 in Chicago. Atta was my hubby's 1st cousin 2x removed, the older daughter of William Tyler Bentley Larimer and Elizabeth J. Stauffer.

Both bride and groom lived in Goshen, Indiana, so why marry in Chicago? That question had bothered me since I found out about the marriage via an Ancestry hint, before I accessed paid newspaper archives for Goshen.

From the above excerpt (Goshen Daily Democrat, May 8, 1902), it appears one reason to travel to Chicago was to be married by the Reverend B.B. Royer who had previously been a clergyman in Goshen. Because the announcement appeared the same day as the marriage, it was evidently not an elopement--in fact, another newspaper article within a day or two reports on Atta and Miles returning home from their wedding trip to Chicago.

By 1930, Atta and Miles were the parents of three (Lucy Elizabeth, William Abraham, and Joseph Miles Bradford). Miles told the census he was the proprietor of a retail grocery store. After his wife Atta died in 1936, Miles was kept company at the grocery store and at home by his younger son, Joseph Miles Bradford--a conclusion reached after reading the 1940 census and seeing them living together and working together.

Joseph Miles Bradford was in the Army for WWII from April 9, 1942, to February 1, 1946. Did he get a chance to come home for his father's funeral in 1944?

I don't know about the funeral, but I do know that a search for his full name, in quotes, turned up the newspaper obit (for free) of his widow, Lois Evelyn Scott, and a lot of info about his life after the war. Joseph and Lois ran Bradford's Grocery in Goshen for decades, picking up with Joseph's father Miles left off.

Most important, I learned that Joseph and Lois met and married in Hattisburg, Mississippi, while he was in the Army Corps of Engineers during the war. They had three children, whose names I now know, courtesy of that free obit.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday's Obituary: James Freeland, Deputy Sheriff (and Life-Long Democrat)

James Freeland (1838-1920) married hubby's great-grand aunt Emma O. Larimer (1848-1923) in Millersburg, Indiana, in December, 1869. They moved next door to Emma's aunt Lucinda Helen Bentley Shank (1825-1903) who was married to a carpenter, Jonas C. Shank (1815-1907). (Jonas Shank was newsworthy as the aged man who took a long walk in my previous blog post.)

Great-grand uncle James had a varied career, serving as deputy sheriff in Goshen, Indiana and then as manager of a furniture company. He was also street commissioner for a time. He began to suffer from "nervous disorders and general decline" and he and his family moved to New York City in 1903, and I found them in 1905 in the NY census. Why exactly did they move? Not known.

James died in 1920, and his obit in the Indiana hometown newspaper says: "All his life Mr. Freeland had been a democrat." Maybe it's not a coincidence that the obit was published in the Goshen Daily Democrat (on September 15, 1920)?

Although I'd love to see Great-grand aunt Emma Larimer Freeland's obit from February 23, 1923, as published in Indiana's Middlebury Independent, Newspaper Archive.com says I can't see it right now because of "a delay with our data backup provider, Amazon Web Services Glacier team." Grrrr.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: "Aged Man's Long Walk"

I just love finding newspaper snippets that paint a picture of an ancestor's personality or daily life.

Case in point: Jonas C. Shank (1815-1907) who married hubby's second great grand aunt Lucinda Helen Bentley (1825-1903) in 1845. Tomorrow is the 108th anniversary of Jonas's passing and I was looking for his obit when I ran across this paragraph in the Goshen Democrat of February 7, 1903.

"Aged Man's Long Walk" is the headline. Seems great-grand uncle Jonas lived in Lagrange county and was visiting his daughter Jane (Jennie) Shank Short (who married Oscar David Short). He walked home--covering nine miles in 90 minutes. "Mr. Shank is hale and hearty and has comparatively few gray hairs for a man of his age." Winter in Indiana can be chilly, to say the least, so this feat is all the more impressive. In fact, it was so impressive that this snippet was picked up and summarized in the Fort Wayne Sentinel!

Let me say again how much I appreciate being able to access Newspaper Archive via my membership in the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. Many of hubby's ancestors lived in Indiana and environs, areas represented in the archive's newspaper collection.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sympathy Saturday: Sad Times for My Jacobs Family, 1915-1923

A few weeks ago, I was able to locate the final resting place of my 70-year-old great-great-grandma Rachel Shuham Jacobs plus her 65-year-old son Joseph Jacobs, his 70-year-old wife Eva Michalovsky Jacobs, and Eva & Joseph's 30-year-old daughter Flora Jacobs. All were buried at Mt. Zion cemetery in Queens, NY.

Rather than go to NYC or send to the Municipal Archives for their death certificates, I ordered the microfilms from the Family History Library--half the price and much faster than going the official route.

Now I know that my Jacobs family had a stretch of sad times from 1915 to 1923. First, in 1915, the matriarch (Rachel Shuham Jacobs) died of liver problems. (Her death cert, above, also tells me her parents' names were Moses ___ and Sarah Levin, new info.)

In November, 1918, Rachel's son Joseph, a tailor by trade but later a janitor, died of paralysis agitans (Parkinson's disease) at Montefiore Home & Hospital in the Bronx.

Meanwhile, Rachel's grandson (Joseph's son) Frank Maurice/Moritz Jacobs had been serving in WWI since he enlisted on April 18, 1917. He participated in a number of fierce battle engagements in France, including Toulon, the Aisne Defensive and Aisne-Marne Offensive, and the Battle of Chateau-Thierry (under the overall command of "Black Jack" Pershing, see map at right). Corporal Jacobs was wounded in France on July 19, 1918 and brought to New York for treatment on August 20, 1918. Probably Frank was able to attend his father's funeral that November because he wasn't sent to Virginia for additional recuperation and treatment until 1919. 

According to the 1920 Census, Frank Jacobs was at home with his widowed mother Eva and his two sisters, Hilda and Flora. Frank's "occupation" was "wounded soldier" (see excerpt above). His sisters, both in their 20s, were breadwinners for the family, Flora working as an operator on knitted goods and Hilda as a stenographer in insurance.

Sadly, in 1923, Flora (aka Florence) died of rheumatic endocarditis (infection of the heart after rheumatic fever). She was buried in the same plot as her father Joseph and her grandmother Rachel. Eva Michalovsky Jacobs lived on until 1941, and is also buried in the same plot.


So 1915-1923 was quite a difficult period for the Jacobs family.

With all this new info, I decided to create a new ancestor landing page for Rachel and Jonah Jacobs.