Wednesday, February 28, 2018

RootsTech Day 1: England, Deeds, Maps, DNA, and More

Day 1 of RootsTech! Photos now, story later (after Expo opening). Above, "Making the Most of English & Welsh Parish Records" featuring the dapper expert Myko Clelland. Myko explained the different types of parish records and the potential info awaiting researchers who can locate and read the records. "Read" is a key word here--the handwriting can be difficult for ordinary mortals like me. But I'm now encouraged to delve deeper into hubby's Slatter and Shehen lines in England!

Next session on my list was Amie Bowser Tennant's practical and entertaining "Deed You Hear About These Underutilized Records?" One of the top takeaways is to be sure to look up "grantor" records as well as "grantee" records, to see who bought and who sold. In many (but not all) cases, the buyer's previous town will be listed. That's just the clue I need for hubby's Steiner and Rinehart ancestors who bought land in OH!

After a fun lunch break with blogging friends, I refreshed my skills with the hands-on lab "Custom Google Maps" taught by Kyle Clements. Created a sample map showing the travel route taken by my Burk/Birk/Berk/Berg ancestors, leaving Lithuania and going first to Manchester, England. From there, one brother went to Montreal and the other went to Canada just long enough to stop feeling seasick and get on a train to NYC. Yes, that means you, Grandpa Isaac Burk.

Next was DNA superstar Diahan Southard's engaging and motivating "Direct Line DNA Testing for Genealogical Research." I asked Diahan whether mtDNA and YDNA would be helpful in endogamous populations like my ancestral Eastern European Jewish roots. She said yes! So you know what kind of tests I'm bringing home from the Expo.

So many top-notch speakers, so little time . . . but now the Expo Hall is opening and bargains await! Hint: If you're a mystery fan, go see Nathan Dylan Goodwin. I bought 4 of his books at the Expo.

RootsTech and the Value of a Research Log

RootsTech opens tomorrow, on Wednesday...300 sessions, many dozens of exhibitors, and lots of opportunities to learn from experts and fellow attendees. In fact, waiting on line for badge and bag (a LONG wait), I enjoyed genea-conversations with those in front and behind me. Tonight, I reviewed the RootsTech Conference Guide (session locations in print, for paper-loving people like me) and used the app to prep for Day One's meetings and appointments.

Today (which Randy Seaver calls "Day Zero" for RootsTech) was the day hubby and I pored over hard-to-find books and microfilms at the Family History Library. You can see my handsome guy at top, blinking into the sun as we left the FHL building after about 5 hours of intense concentration.
And now I have to confess: As much as I dislike research logs, they were absolutely essential to putting our limited time at the FHL to good use. Above, one of the 3 pages of catalog listings for my husband's Steiner and Rinehart ancestor hunt in Crawford county, OH and Berks county, PA. I spent several working days assembling this list of likely sources, reading the descriptions on FamilySearch and determining whether any of these could be accessed from home or only from the library. Why waste time at the library if we can research a source at home?

My goal was to give hubby call numbers and notes to focus his limited research time on the 2d and 3d floors of the library. As he worked through each entry, he checked off that resource or put an X if it turned out not to be applicable (or, in one case, unavailable). He was able to move down the list, item by item, and actually found a few good leads and clues (no breakthroughs yet). He also downloaded one set of files to his USB drive for us to examine more closely at home, rather than spend precious library time on this resource.

I had high hopes for two resources in particular: The book on Crawford County, Ohio, early history/pioneers and the microfilmed Crawford County Pioneers applications. The key to the history book was that there was a printed index, separate from the book, listing all names mentioned. We could quickly identify page numbers to look at, and then skim certain places and time periods for background. No breakthrough from that book, but worth the time.

The Crawford County Pioneers applications would be a treasure trove for anyone with ancestors who were in that spot in 1850 or earlier. To be named the descendant of a pioneer, applicants had to submit various types of proof, all included on this microfilm (such as pedigree charts, marriage certs, birth certs, etc). We checked the digitized index of names in the Pioneers applications and found 5 possible applications to review on microfilm (see above for the title page of one roll). Alas, not one panned out. Still, it was a productive day at the library and an excellent way to transition to RootsTech tomorrow.

Terrific lunch and dinner dates with blogging buddies Linda ("Empty Branches on the Family Tree" blog), Deborah ("Who we are and how we got that way" blog), Yvonne ("Yvonne's genealogy blog"), and friends/family. Bumped into blogger Caitlin Gow, who ran the contest in which I won my free RootsTech registration. And met many more folks who will now be familiar faces at sessions in the coming days. Can't wait.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ready for RootsTech?!

RootsTech 2018 begins in a few days! And I'm almost ready.

I've just deleted most of the live-streamed sessions from my in-person schedule. If I can watch at home in my jammies after the conference is over, that makes more time at the conference for events available only on-site.

Tuesday priorities: Hubby and I will be at the Family History Library, learning our way around and looking up as many in-person sources as possible to chip away at brick walls. We'll be meeting blogging buddies for lunch and enjoy getting acquainted in person. Woo hoo!
  • His tree goals: Focus on Steiner and Rinehart (both families, on his mother's side, came through PA on their way to OH--but where were these families from before they came to America?)
  • My tree goals: Focus on my father's side: Birk/Burk/Berk/Birck/Berg (I snagged an appointment with an expert in the Coaches' Corner to get some help), with attention to the UK transit and the Shuham connection. Just in case I have more time, I'm carrying my Farkas and Mahler data with me.
Wednesday priorities: British genealogy sessions, deed session, host at Geneabloggers TRIBE food court lunch, attend Custom Google Maps lab for skills brushup, DNA, Fam Search official opening. Expo Hall.

Thursday priorities: Descendancy research, Geneabloggers TRIBE food court lunch, Coaches' Corner, NARA, immigrant clues in photos, Irish or parish research. Expo Hall, again. In between, Fam Fanatics' Meet & Greet with Gen Rock Stars.

Friday priorities: SCOTT HAMILTON! Oh, and also jurisdictions, DNA, Future of Fam Search, bloggers' photo. Expo Hall and Fam Fanatics' Meet & Greet with Gen Rock Stars. Send swag and goodies home via package center.

This is my third major genealogy conference in less than a year (and obviously the largest of all). NERGC was last April and the IAJGS was last July. So many great conferences, so many super speakers, so many opportunities to network with geneafriends.

Friday, February 23, 2018

52 Ancestors #8: Did They Ever Think These Would Be Heirlooms?

Over time, so many of the items left to me or given to me by relatives and ancestors have become treasured heirlooms, valued not for financial value but for emotional and sentimental reasons. This week's #52Ancestors challenge by Amy Johnson Crow is a great opportunity to think about accidental heirlooms, not just those intended to be special.

Above, the silver napkin ring awarded by my mother's Farkas Family Tree association to each newborn child, male or female. For years--seriously, years!--one of my aunts tried to get the tree to give a different gift to baby boys (like her son, my 1st cousin R). She was voted down every time. This napkin ring was an honored gift tradition for decades.
Above, another item that was an heirloom even in its own time. My grandma Hermina Farkas Schwartz kept this cut glass bowl close to her heart because, if I got the story straight, it came with the family from Hungary to America in the early 1900s. My mother inherited it and now I'm the lucky custodian, keeping it safe for the next generation.

But other heirlooms were surely not intended or appreciated as such. At right, a velvet banner used by my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood to promote his piano trio during 1950s/60s gigs in Cleveland. Did Ed ever imagine this would be an heirloom in the 21st century? I bet the answer is no.

We can never predict exactly what future generations will consider to be heirlooms. So we need to take good care of all these family items, just in case. And--most important--we need to tell the stories of why these are (or should be) heirlooms, so that information is passed down along with the items themselves.

For more about sharing family history with future generations, please check out my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, available in paperback and Kindle.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Twin Birthday Wishes

Happy birthday to my sweet twin sis and many more!

Who's who in this photo? Sis, what do you think?

When we were young, our birthday was a national holiday . . .

No class party at school, but a family celebration with cake and candles. Sometimes we had friends over, put on party hats, and played Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Remember that game?!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Chronicling the Ups AND the Downs in Family History

Hani Simonowitz Schwartz, mother of my grandpa, Tivador "Teddy" Schwartz
After reading this article from Time, about why adults shouldn't shield children from sadness, I decided to write about why family historians owe it to future generations to document both the ups and downs of the past.

Of course we love to trumpet the many success stories (like hubby's great uncles, the famous bandmaster Slatter brothers in Canada). And it's fun to tell younger relatives about the family traditions that we ourselves remember so fondly (like singing the Farkas Family Tree anthem at family meetings when I was a tot).

But every family also has sorrow, struggles, and losses in its history. We may have witnessed grief following a loved one's death or we may have learned about sad or despicable family events from relatives or newspaper articles or other sources.

As genealogists, we owe it to our descendants and relatives to honestly chronicle the lives of our ancestors, both good and bad. It's vital to show younger relatives what formed our family, let them begin to learn about the range of life experiences, and reassure them of the shared strength of our family.

Research shows that children actually benefit from understanding the difficulties faced by ancestors and relatives--and come to believe they can overcome obstacles themselves. Stories are a safe way to begin the learning process, portray ancestors as real people with real lives, and put the past into context for younger folks.

I've written about my husband's great-grandma Mary Shehen Slatter (1837-1889), and her truly heartbreaking tale of being confined in two notorious insane asylums due to a diagnosis of being "melancholy and demented." The cause of her insanity, according to the asylum records, was "misfortune and destitution." She was, it seems, driven insane by poverty and despair. And her children were placed in a workhouse while she was institutionalized.

BUT when I tell their story to my grandchildren, I remind them (with genuine admiration) that Mary's children all went on to live very productive lives. Mary was the mother of the three bandmaster brothers who built brilliant careers and were pillars of their communities, as well as being good family men. If only Mary could have known! Once I found out about Mary's sad life and death (from tuberculosis), I made it my mission to be sure her descendants are aware of the bad and the good in that branch of the family tree.

Another example: In researching my mother's family, no one ever mentioned the many relatives who stayed behind in Hungary when my grandpa Teddy Schwartz (1887-1965) left for America, bringing his brother Sam and sister Mary to New York within a few years after he arrived. All his life, Teddy kept one photo of his mother, Hani Simonowitz Schwartz (see image at top). It must have been painful for him to look back and think about his parents and other relatives he would never see again.

Only through Yad Vashem did I find out that grandpa Teddy actually had many more terrible losses to mourn. I was shocked and dismayed to discover that his other siblings (and their families) were all killed in the Holocaust, his niece being the only survivor. No mention of this tragedy in the family tree minutes, no family stories passed down.

In my mind, I believe the heartache of these losses was why my grandpa Teddy was so insistent that the family observe a moment of silence annually for all the relatives who had passed away in the previous year. That yearly moment of silence--initiated by Teddy and led by him year after year--were recorded regularly in the family tree minutes. Clearly, Teddy believed it was important for the family to at least acknowledge the downs as well as the ups in life.

I agree with my grandpa. Let's make the family aware of the downs, not just the ups. Do we have to publicly disclose everything negative in the tree? No. In fact, there are a couple of stories that I've written for my files only, and mentioned orally but not documented for distribution to the entire family, out of respect for living descendants. (These stories have nothing to do with secrets like "non-parental events," by the way.)

Notice that I'm putting the full stories in my files, to be passed to my heirs after I join my ancestors. The stories won't be lost, and at some point, the historian of the next generation may judge that the time is right to say more to more people.

What do you do with the negative stories you uncover in your tree?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

So Many Ancestors, So Little Time in the FHL


So many ancestors, so little time in the wonderful, world-famous Family History Library . . . With RootsTech less than three weeks away, I'm doing some serious planning for my limited time at the library in Salt Lake City.

How to decide which brick wall ancestors to spend my time on? I'm triaging my family tree and my husband's tree with these specifications in mind.
  • Do I have enough info to do more research? I won't consider researching any brick wall ancestor in Salt Lake City unless I have (1) a name I'm reasonably sure of, (2) approximate dates, (3) a birth, marriage, or death place. Otherwise, it's needle-in-haystack time. RESULT: I crossed hubby's 2d great-grandpa Jacob S. Steiner off my initial list because I have insufficient info to distinguish between him and the dozens of other men named Jacob Steiner born in Pennsylvania around 1800 who died in Ohio sometime after 1850. Instead, I'm going to look at his life in Tod township, Crawford cty, OH, in case there are additional records available AND ask a "coach" at the conference or the library for creative ideas about researching Jacob into Pennsylvania.
  • Can I research from home or use other resources? I'm taking the time now to see what's actually available at Family Search (and I'm doing another Ancestry search). RESULT: I got lucky with one set of Farkas ancestors on my tree--FHL microfilms are now digitized and I can check the index and browse images at home! But if I locate microfilms for a brick wall ancestor, I'll add the details to my to-do list for Salt Lake City.
  • Can I identify appropriate resources available in the Salt Lake City FHL?  As I narrow my focus on certain ancestors, I'll formulate a specific question to answer for each (such as "Who were Jacob S. Steiner's parents?" OR "What was Elizabeth Steiner's maiden name?"). Next, I need to review the FHL's resources to determine whether it has info available to help me address each question. RESULT: At top, a sample of my investigation into Crawford cty, Ohio resources at the FHL to answer my question about Jacob S. Steiner's parents and Elizabeth Steiner's maiden name. Since they lived in Crawford cty for at least a decade, I may find clues in documents, maps, Bibles, etc. One by one, I'll check each resource in the FHL catalog for Crawford cty to see where it is (online or FHL only) and what it is. Then I'll list which ones I need to consult at the FHL. That becomes my to-do list.
Blogging about my preparations helps me think through the situation and develop the first draft of my action plan. 

Suggestions are, of course, most welcome! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

52 Ancestors #7: Valentine's Day Marriage of Adaline and John

For this week's Valentine's theme in the #52Ancestors Challenge (thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for this theme), I consulted my RootsMagic calendar to see what happened in my husband's family on February 14. I found one member of his mother's Steiner family had a special event on that day.

Adaline Elizabeth Steiner (1837?-1912) married John Dome (1824-1902) on Thursday, Feb. 14, 1861. Adaline was a daughter of Jacob S. Steiner (1802?-1860?) and his wife, Elizabeth (1802?-1864), the brick-wall great-great-grandparents of my husband.

Adaline's Valentine's Day wedding was her second marriage. In July of 1857, when she was just 20, she married her first husband, Albert Sigler (1833-1858). Their Ohio marriage record is shown here.

Sadly, Albert died only 6 months later. The next time I found widowed Adaline Elizabeth, she was living with her widowed mother, Elizabeth, in the 1860 Census, as shown at top (occ: Sewing). There are other siblings in the household. And the last person in the household is "Albert J." aged 2.

On Valentine's Day of 1861, Adaline married her second husband, John Dome. By this time, Valentine's Day was a thing. I want to hope they chose the day for romantic reasons!

By the time of the 1870 Census, Adaline and her 2d husband, John Dome, were living in Jasper, MO. At right, an excerpt from that Census. The two children listed at the end, Ora and Laverne, were born to John and Adaline.

Since John and Adaline were married only 9 years earlier, the first three Dome girls listed in this census (Mary, Ida, Eva) can't be Adaline's daughters.

But below these three girls, "Sigler, James A" aged 12 is shown in this same household. That is almost certainly James Albert Sigler, who I believe was born to Adaline two months after her first husband Albert died.

Remember Albert J, the 2-year-old listed in the Steiner household during the 1860 Census? Bet it was Adaline's son from her first marriage. Since she was widowed, where else would she go but back home?

True, I don't have absolute proof that James is their son--his death cert shows "Unknown" for mother's and father's names (excerpt shown here), because a non-family member was the informant.


James Albert was very likely Albert James. Multiple family trees from other researchers show James as the son of Adaline and Albert, but until I see the actual documentation, I can't put the QED on this. Still, the evidence strongly favors that interpretation.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Young Man with the Mustache

Young Man from Gargzdai, Lithuania - probably a Birck relative
Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Challenge on Genea-Musings this week is: Men with Facial Hair.

As soon as I read the challenge, I knew exactly who to feature: The Young Man with the Mustache.
Studio info on back of Young Man's photo

At top, the Young Man in question--probably a younger brother of my paternal grandfather Isaac Burk (1882-1943), born in Gargzdai, Lithuania.

When grandpa Isaac and five other siblings came to North America, they left behind their parents--Solomon Elias Birck and Necke Gelle Shuham Birck--and the Young Man, if we're interpreting the photos, stories, and records correctly.

Alas, I don't know the handsome Young Man's name, but I have his face in two photos. He was a boy in one photo, and a young man here. At right, the studio info on back of the Young Man's portrait.

The Young Man appears as a boy in a photo shared by my 2d cousin, the granddaughter of Isaac's brother, Meyer Berg (1883-1981), who also came to America.

We don't know the fate of the Young Man, I'm sorry to say, but we can see the strong family resemblance to my father and his first cousins. More research is in my future. Perhaps I'll find some clues when I attend #RootsTech as a #FirstTimer and go to the Family History Library?!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Learning from Valentines Sent in the Last Century

In my husband's Wood family, staying in touch was a high priority. Cousins and aunts and uncles sent penny greeting cards to the children for every conceivable occasion. Above, one of the pretty postcards sent to Wallis W. Wood, hubby's uncle, for Valentine's Day in 1912. The sender was Wallis's aunt Nellie (Rachel Ellen) Wood Kirby, who lived in Chicago with her husband, Arthur Kirby. Nellie never spelled her nephew's name correctly on these cards, for some reason.
Thanks to the greeting cards, I can trace the movement of the Wood family from one Cleveland neighborhood to another in between Census years. The head of the family, James Edgar Wood, was a home builder who would construct a house on spec, move his family in, and finish the interior while simultaneously framing another home on spec.

Hubby's father, Edgar James Wood, was a child at the time. He recalled that period in an interview 70 years later, remembering that in one spec house, "the first two floors weren't finished at all, we were living in the attic!" A vivid and not particularly happy memory for him, apparently.

In my family, Mom (Daisy Schwartz) preserved the first Valentine sent to her by Dad (Harold Burk), in February, 1946. It was a traditional, romantic card with ribbon embellishment.

Daisy and Harold had had a whirlwind courtship after he came home from WWII in October, 1945. They were set up on a date by two "matchmaker" aunts, fell in love, and became engaged on the last day of 1945.

Although Daisy and Harold wanted a short engagement, the post-war housing shortage prevented them from finding a convenient, affordable New York City apartment. They had to settle for a wedding date in November, 1946. With so many months to plan, there was enough time for both families to gather in force.

The wedding photos are, 70 years later, a treasure trove of clues to family history. When I asked three of my mother's first cousins to help me identify people in my parents' photos who were unfamiliar to me, they assumed these "unknowns" were "family friends."
They vaguely remembered the names and faces of the "unknowns" but knew nothing else, even though they had been at the wedding in 1946.

When I dug deeper into the names and marriages of the "unknowns," in every case, these wedding guests turned out to be cousins. Cousins of the parents of the bride or groom! These connections led me to finding a lovely group of 2d cousins 1x removed. Now, any time I see a group wedding photo from my family's albums, I don't assume that unfamiliar faces are "family friends." Maybe they're cousins in disguse!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New to Me: New Ancestor Discoveries Feature

It's been a couple of weeks since I last logged into Ancestry DNA and checked on matches for a few kits. Glad I checked, because I like the new new feature in beta: "New Ancestor Discoveries."

As shown above, the feature highlights a few "potential new ancestors or relatives who are not already" in the tree attached to my relative's DNA kit. (Names/trees are blocked here for privacy.)







Click on one potential ancestor, such as Mary Polly Shepherd, and the above screen appears. At left is a narrative bio of this possible ancestor. At right is the explanation of the DNA Circle containing 6 matches to my relative. 


By clicking "Learn about Mary Polly," I can investigate the possible ancestor's facts, including family members and sources like Census. 

By clicking on the DNA Circle, I can see other individuals or family groups whose DNA matches that ancestor. Importantly, Ancestry also tells me there's a "good chance" (in this case, "as much as 70%") that my relative is actually a descendant of (or related to) Mary Polly. I like the number better than a phrase like "high confidence," for instance.

This a promising, convenient way to suggest how DNA connections might lead me to new ancestor discoveries. The cousins in this situation would be really distant, but the ancestor discoveries might help me fill out sparse branches of the tree or even put a crack in a brick wall. 

Take a look to see whether you have this beta feature embedded in your Ancestry DNA pages.

NOTE: One of my genealogy blogging buddies points out that this feature might not appear on my other kits because those trees are very well developed and may already have names of ancestors mentioned in DNA Circles for DNA matches. Good point!

Monday, February 5, 2018

52 Ancestors #6: Train Was the Name--But Why?


This week's #52Ancestors challenge (thank you, Amy Johnson Crow), is "favorite name." My pick is Train. Actually, I'm interested in TWO men named Train. The original Train who caught my eye is Train C. McClure (1843-1934), the third son of Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning (hubby's 2d great-grandparents). Born in Wabash county, Indiana, Train was my husband's 2d great uncle. Why, I wondered for a long time, was his name "Train," and what did the middle initial stand for?

Train C. McClure served nearly three years in the Civil War. As a teen, he enlisted in Company A, Indiana 89th Infantry Regiment on August 3, 1862 and was mustered out at age 21 on July 19, 1865 at Mobile, Alabama, far from his Indiana home. Two years after his military service, he married Gulia Swain and started a family. They had four children together. After Gulia died, Train remarried to Rebecca Abbott. He outlived all of his siblings and died at the age of 90.

After puzzling over Train's first name and middle initial for a while, I went over the McClure family tree with a finer-tooth comb. Then I discovered that Train's father Benjamin had a younger sister named Jane McClure, who married Train Caldwell on April 5, 1831.

Doesn't it seem reasonable to think that Benjamin named his son Train Caldwell McClure after his brother-in-law, Train Caldwell? In fact, as the 1850 Census at top indicates, the McClure and Caldwell families had a close enough relationship that a Mary A. McClure was living in Posey township, Indiana, with Train, Jane (nee McClure), and their children. Presumably this is one of Jane's relatives. To avoid getting derailed from the Train kinfolk, I haven't yet focused on little Mary McClure, but I will.
In tracking Jane's Train Caldwell, I learned more about his background, as you can see from the excerpt here, part of volume 3 of a book titled History of Northwest Missouri, edited by Walter Williams (1915).

Unfortunately, I don't agree with the book's assertion that Jane McClure, Train's wife, was the daughter of Samuel McClure, who lived in Indiana but was originally from Adams County. I've run into Samuel and the McClure confusion often during my Indiana research, because the Benjamin McClure in hubby's family tree was also from Adams County and later pioneered in Indiana. No connection with Samuel that I can find (yet), and I've actually discussed the possibility with Wabash history experts in the past.

The two Train men have provided endless hours of research and interest. Interestingly, Train was not an uncommon name in Indiana at that time. More research is clearly in my future as I stay on track with my McClure and Caldwell investigations.

Friday, February 2, 2018

My Schwartz Ancestors Married for Love

Mary Schwartz and Teddy Schwartz (circa 1909)
My great aunt, Mary Schwartz (1891-1959) and her older brother, my grandpa Tivador "Teddy" Schwartz (1887-1965), both married for love after they came to New York. There were some bumps in the road to matrimony, but both stories (pieced together from family legends and official documents) ended with love winning the day, despite the family's initial feelings.

Teddy Schwartz met his future bride, Hermina (Minnie) Farkas (1886-1964), in a Hungarian deli on the Lower East Side. Both Teddy and Minnie had been born in Hungary and came to New York as young teens.(1) Although Minnie's family objected to the match (they thought he was a "peasant"), she insisted on seeing Teddy, then a clerk for steamship lines and insurance firms. Minnie used a signal (putting something on the clothesline) to let Teddy know that the "coast was clear" to meet.

Meanwhile, Minnie's parents tried to arrange a "more suitable" marriage. Minnie refused and threw the suitor's engagement ring out the window. After she wore her parents down, the couple was married at the Clinton Street Synagogue on Sunday, October 22, 1911. Teddy and Minnie couldn't afford a honeymoon until the late 1940s, when they retired. My grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1961.

Teddy's sister Mary Schwartz also married for love. It seems Teddy's Farkas in-laws were arranging a marriage for Mary with one of their cousins. Late in 1913, before any formal engagement, Mary met a handsome furrier, Hungarian-born Edward Wirtschafter (1889-1958). Since he was living on the Lower East Side and she was living in Jewish Harlem but working as a shirtwaist maker, I imagine they met in Manhattan's garment district (or possibly in that Hungarian deli where Teddy and Minnie met?).

Mary and Edward fell in love and within weeks, they decided to elope. On Christmas Eve of 1913, just two days before Mary's 22nd birthday, they went to City Hall and signed all the paperwork. That night, even though they were married, they went back to their own apartments and told no one. At least that's what their daughter told me.

What she didn't tell me (maybe she didn't know) was what happened four days later. On December 28, 1913, Mary and Edward had a second wedding ceremony.(2) This time, they were married by a rabbi. And this time, Mary's older brother Sam Schwartz was one of the witnesses. Possibly my grandfather Teddy was present, as well. But I don't know whether my grandma Minnie was there. She might have been miffed that Mary married a man of her own choosing rather than the Farkas cousin favored by the family. Mary, like Minnie, was determined to marry for love!

This post celebrates the Genealogy Blog Party's February theme of LOVE.

(1) According to City of Dreams by Tyler Anbinder, the Lower East Side neighborhood where Teddy and Minnie lived was a particular enclave of Hungarian Jews in the early 1900s. Teddy was from Ungvar, Hungary, and Minnie from Berehovo, Hungary. No wonder they met in a Hungarian deli.

(2) I only know about the 2d wedding ceremony because I sent for the complete set of marriage documents after learning about their availability through Reclaim the Records. Read all about it here. Well worth the $15 fee to know the full story!