Saturday, May 16, 2020

Looking for Grandpa Teddy in the NY Census

My maternal grandfather, Theodore Tivador "Teddy" Schwartz (1887-1965) left Ungvar, Hungary (now Uzhhorod, Ukraine) in early 1902. He arrived in New York City when he was only 14 years old.

Teddy's older brother Samuel (Simon) Schwartz (1883-1954) followed, arriving in New York in January of 1904. The manifest indicates that Sam was discharged to his brother Teodor Schwartz, who lived at 941 Second Avenue in Manhattan, near the corner of East 50th Street, according to Google Maps.

This intrigued me because most new immigrants from my family started out living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, an area packed with tenements.

On the Lower East Side: Brother Sam, No Teddy

Previously, I had easily found Teddy's brother Sam Schwartz, a printer, as a boarder with the Grossman family at 82 Avenue D, on the Lower East Side, in the 1905 NY Census.

Again looking at that 1905 NY Census page and the others before and after, no sign of Grandpa Teddy near his brother. Yet in 1911, Grandpa was living at 82 Avenue D, because it's listed on his marriage license.

Also, I looked but have not found Teddy in any Manhattan city directories for that period. Grandpa, you are being elusive!

During today's search, I thought I might find him as a boarder, lodger, or roomer in the household of some other family at 941 Second Avenue. It was the only lead I have to follow up as of right now. The process would be good to figure out for this and future searches of this time.*

First Step: Creative Search of 1905 NY Census

Navigating to the Family Search collection of 1905 New York State Census records, I tried searching for Theodore Schwartz, white, male, boarder, born 1886-1888 in Hungary. No relevant results. Sure, there were Schwartz people in Brooklyn and upstate New York, but nobody vaguely like my Grandpa Teddy in New York County.

So I tried Tivador, Teddy, Ted Schwartz. No relevant results. Tried Russia instead of Hungary. No relevant results. Then I edited the search to eliminate everything except his surname and range of birth years, but still got no relevant results from the transcribed Census. All my creative searches didn't turn up Grandpa Teddy.

Next Step: Steve Morse's AD/ED Finder 

Next, I decided to browse individual records to see who was living at 941 Second Avenue when the 1905 NY State Census was taken. To do that, I had to use Steve Morse's AD/ED Finder from As shown at top, this address would be in one of two AD/ED combinations: AD 22/ED 19 or AD 22/ED 20.

Now I was ready to do what we used to when there were no indexed/transcribed Census results online. I did the equivalent of cranking the ole microfilm reader by hand. Actually, I went to the 1905 NY Census collection at Ancestry, where I can see all images. I clicked through each and every page of both AD/ED combinations, looking for 941 Second Avenue.

Clicking for Teddy, One Census Page After Another

The clicking went quickly because all I had to do was look at the left margin of every page to see the street or avenue covered on that page. I was looking for Second Avenue. There were only 23 double-pages in each AD/ED combination.

Naturally, 941 Second Avenue was not on 22/19. So I kept clicking into 22/20. Would I find Grandpa Teddy?

On p. 13 of 23 in the second AD/ED combo, I finally located 941 Second Avenue. It was a small walk-up apartment building. Every head of household was an immigrant.

Alas, no Grandpa Teddy, not as a boarder/lodger/roomer and not as any kind of relative or in-law. Not on the two pages before or after, either.

Grandpa Teddy, Born and Died in May

Today was not my lucky day to find Grandpa Teddy, but I'm thinking of him because May was an important month in his life: he was born on May 21, 1887 and died on May 12, 1965, just 9 days before his 78th birthday.

Rest in peace, Grandpa, you are remembered and I'm going to keep looking for where you were living in New York City in 1905.

*I followed the same process to try to find Grandpa Teddy in the 1910 US Census, starting with Steve Morse's US Census ED finder, then clicking through each page in the ED that includes the address "82 Avenue D near East 6th Street" on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in NYC. No luck finding Teddy in 1910, either.

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