Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Grandpa Teddy: Born in Ungvar, Hungary

My immigrant grandpa, Theodore "Teddy" Tivador Schwartz was born on May 12, 1887 in what was then the bustling market town of Ungvar, Hungary. Today that town is known as Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

Teddy was the first in his family to leave their hometown and cross the Atlantic to New York City, in 1902. He encouraged his older brother Sam to come through Ellis Island in 1904. The two brothers saved their nickels and brought a younger sister, Mary, to New York soon afterward.

So often, documents list only a country as birthplace. A surprising number of Teddy's documents specifically name his actual hometown, including the passenger manifest for the SS Moltke, his Declaration of Intention to become a naturalized US citizen (left), his NY State affidavit for license to marry, his Social Security application, and his WWI and WWII draft registration cards. Dated from 1902 through 1951, all of these documents show Teddy's birthplace as Ungvar, Hungary.

[Note: The document shown here has the incorrect year for Teddy's travel across the Atlantic. The actual passenger manifest is dated 1902. Always look at the original if possible!]

I knew and loved this Grandpa, who lived with our family after his wife (my Grandma Hermina Farkas Schwartz) died in 1964. Teddy died just before his 78th birthday, on May 12, 1965. You're in my thoughts, dear Grandpa, and I'm doing everything I can to keep your memory alive for the future--including putting your photo and name in a family history coloring book for the youngest descendants.

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