Isaac & Henrietta Birk's story

Isaac Burk, daughter Miriam, son-in-law David,
and wife Henrietta Mahler Burk, in December, 1937
The ancestor who started me on my genealogy journey is Isaac Birk (abt 1882-1943), name later changed to Burk, a cabinetmaker from Gargzdai, Lithuania. Isaac is shown at left in photo above from his daughter's 1937 wedding.

Grandpa Isaac stopped off in England, along with his brother Abraham, when enroute from Lithuania to North America. He lived with aunt and uncle Isaac and Ann Hinda Chazan in Manchester, England (see 1901 UK census, above). Most likely, Hinda (nee Mitav) was his relative--the sister of his mom, Necke Gelle.
Isaac and Hinda Chazan

Isaac then sailed for North America and made landfall in New Brunswick, on December 5, 1903 (seasick). He made his way to Montreal. His brother Abraham stayed on in Manchester and married Anne Horovitz. Their first child, Rose, was on the way before Abraham sailed to Canada in 1904 and settled in Montreal, as well. For more, see the Abraham and Annie Berk page.

In May, 1904, Isaac took the train from Canada to New York City, saying he was going to "sister Nellie Block at 1956 Third Ave., corner of 107th St." in Manhattan. Nellie was one of 2 sisters who came to America (Jennie Birk was the other).
 

But that address is very familiar. In the 1905 NY Census, Isaac is living in the same apartment with his future bride's family, the Mahler family, plus Isaac's brother Meyer Berk.


Isaac married Henrietta Mahler on June 10, 1906 (setting the stage for becoming my grandparents!). They spent the next 8 years or so moving back and forth between New York and Montreal as he found work and their four children were born (the youngest in Montreal). Then they settled in New York City permanently.

Children of Isaac Burk & Henrietta Mahler Burk:
Mildred Burk, Harold Burk (my Dad), Miriam Burk, Sidney Burk

What became of Isaac's parents? How did he, Isaac, get from his homeland of Lithuania to Manchester, England?
Daisy, Harold, and cousin William
A number of Abraham's grown children attended my parents' wedding in NYC, I now know. Also Isaac's brothers Max and Meyer were there, along with sister Nellie, but not Jennie.

The man at right in the photo was in their wedding photos and then, a year later, my parents (left and center in the photo here) were with him in Montreal, where this photo was taken. His name was William Burke, the son of Abraham Berk, and he was my father's first cousin. My 2d cousin identified him for me!

Here are my posts about Isaac and his family, from 2008 on (see below for Henrietta Mahler Burk's links). Also I've created a "virtual cemetery" of Burk and Mahler burial memorials on Find a Grave (see this link).
Henrietta Mahler Burk, 1946
I found Henrietta Mahler Burk in the 1950 US Census, head of household, 68 yrs old, widowed, born in Russia (the area reverted to Latvia independence in 1991), homemaker living with her younger son Sidney, who was a travel agent. Source: sheet #11 of 1950 US Census, Bronx county, NY, ED 3-1634, lines 26-27. 

More about Henrietta Mahler here (as well as in most of Isaac's posts):
More Mahler blog entries are here:
  • The Markells (who married into Mahler family) meet and marry the Lebowitz sisters.
  • More on the Markell brothers and Lebowitz sisters. Also, who's missing from Fannie Lebowitz's obit (her daughter, Rose Markell)
  • Mary Mahler Markell (Henrietta's sister) was a matchmaker: Through her friend and neighbor Rose Farkas Freedman, my Dad met my Mom.
  • Ida Mahler (Henrietta's sister) married Louis Volk. Louis's sister Becky married Simon Wolf.
  • Henrietta & Meyer Mahler's twin granddaughters check out a new TV console.
  • Unexpected discovery: I think this tintype shows my paternal grandparents, Henrietta Mahler and Isaac Burk.
  • Creating a virtual cemetery for Mahler and Burk descendants on Find a Grave, as a one-page summary of where ancestors are buried.
  • A recent ancestor coloring book features a 1936 photo of Isaac Burk & Henrietta Mahler Burk.

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