Saturday, February 13, 2016

Surname Saturday: Another Shuham Connection?

Today I received my paternal grandpa Isaac Burk's Soc Sec application, shown above. Since he was a carpenter, and usually self-employed, I was surprised to see him say he was working for the Better Model Form Company. Then again, since the company was owned by a relative, it's not really that surprising.

The real surprise was seeing that Isaac's mother's full name was Neche Gelle Shuham.

Why is this surprising? Because Shuham is the surname of Isaac's grandma-in-law.

Isaac married Henrietta Mahler, granddaughter of Rachel Shuham, in 1906. Rachel was born in Lithuania and came to New York City with her son and daughter and grandchildren in 1886. Above, the Mahler family around the turn of the century, with matriarch Rachel sitting in the center, holding a granddaughter.

According to the NYC census of 1905, Isaac and his brother Meyer Burk were "boarders" in the NYC apartment of the Mahler family, which is how Isaac met his future bride, Henrietta. Or so I suspected. Now I wonder whether it was actually a cousin connection that brought them together.

In the 1901 UK census, Isaac and his brother Abraham were living with Isaac Chazan and Isaac's wife, Hinda Ann Mitav Chazan, in Manchester. The census-taker wrote that Isaac and Abraham were nephews of the head of the household. Whose nephews? No sign of them in the Chazan family. I thought possibly they were Hinda's nephews, but maybe not, if Isaac's mother's maiden name was Shuham.

More research is in my future. And more Social Security applications for ancestors!


  1. Don't interesting records create interesting questions for us genealogists/family historians?

    1. Definitely! I guess the mystery is part of the fun...and with every document, more info is revealed but not necessarily the info we expect. Enjoy the journey!

  2. In census records relationships are supposed to be recorded by how a person was related to the head of household. Every time I see "niece" or "nephew," I always wonder how careful the informant was. Was the person REALLY related to the HH or only by marriage? That is, was the person really a nephew of the Head or nephew of the wife? The answer has a bearing on how we conduct research from there. I'm working on such a case right now.

    1. Wendy, even if they weren't actually nephews, they were definitely related to the household in some family way! So I will have to dig deeper to try to find more documents. Thanks for reading and commenting!