Sunday, December 13, 2020

Mary Witnessed Family History -- It's in the Newspaper!

In my view, paying for a newspaper database subscription can a worthwhile investment, especially when I rotate from year to year. One year I might pay for GenealogyBank, next year I might pay for, etc. By rotating, I have time to search out and clip what I need for a full year, then redo my searches the following year in a different database. I always--yes, always!--find new discoveries.

This week, my discovery had to do with a witness to family history. The year was 1909, when my Hungarian-born great uncle Samuel Schwartz (1883-1954) married Anna Gelbman (1886-1940) on October 24th in Bridgeport, CT. I originally thought they married in the local synagogue, since the marriage license is signed by the rabbi [another Schwartz, though not a relative], showing the synagogue's address. 

"Very pretty home wedding" for Sam and Anna

But since I started a new database subscription, I found, with a quick search, a brief item in the Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer of October 27, 1909 that set me straight about Anna and Sam's wedding day. 

They were married at the home of Anna's parents in Bridgeport, CT, and "Miss Mary Shwartz [sic], a sister of the groom, was maid of honor." New news!

Mary Schwartz (1891-1959) was one of the younger sisters of Sam and Theodore Schwartz (1887-1965 -- hi grandpa!). My grandpa and his older brother left their birthplace in Ungvar, Hungary for New York City early in the 1900s. They worked and saved money to bring Mary to New York in 1906, when she was only 14. 

Mary was still a teenager when she was a maid of honor, not an official witness but an important part of her brother Sam's marriage to Anna. Whether my grandpa Theodore was there, I'll never know. My guess is yes, that Sam would be thrilled to have two siblings there, the only family members ever to come to America. 

By the way, Anna Gelbman was born in the United States. Had she married her foreign-born husband Sam before October 19, 1909, she would have lost her U.S. citizenship. But he was naturalized on October 19th, which is the exact date the couple applied for their marriage license. Not a coincidence!

Anna and Mary remained close

I know from descendants that Mary remained quite close to her sister-in-law Anna for all their lives. They were, after all, only 5 years apart in age. Unfortunately, Anna died of cancer when she was just 54, not long before what would have been her 31st wedding anniversary. 

This is my #52Ancestors post for week 50. Only two more weeks to go in Amy Johnson Crow's 2020 #Genealogy challenge! 

1 comment:

  1. I never thought to rotate my newspaper subscriptions!!! So smart! Thanks for the idea.