|This shows Lithuania in 1939-1940,|
as Germans and Russians claimed sections.
Orange sliver in west is where my Burk/Birk
ancestors came from.
I was able to research Jennie, in particular, thanks to the FAN club--friends, associates, neighbors.
Younger sister: Jennie Birk
My first clue that Jennie Birk (1890-1972) was Grandpa's sister came in the 1910 US Census, where I found her as a boarder living in the Manhattan household of newly-widowed Tillie Jacobs Mahler (my paternal great-grandma). Only in the past couple of years did I discover how Jennie was related to me, by comparing my mother's old address book and two letters written by my aunt to her Aunt Jennie. Subsequently, I found Jennie in a passenger manifest of 1909, arriving at Ellis Island on her own.
Jennie married Paul Salkowitz (1889-1957) in 1919. They remained in Manhattan for a time, but by 1940, they were living in the same Bronx apartment building as her older brother Isaac Burk (yes, my Grandpa). There they were, right on the same Census page, as neighbors! Jennie proudly said she was born in Lithuania. (I know because there was an X with a circle next to her name in the Census, indicating she herself gave the info to the enumerator.)
Paul and Jennie were among the Burk family members in attendance at my parents' wedding in New York City in 1946. By 1950, they were in Lakeland, Florida, where her brother Meyer was living. Paul's occupation was shown in the city directory as "citrus grower," the same as Meyer's occupation. Jennie was a devoted aunt, I know from a cousin's memory and letters written by her niece. If only I could have met her!
Older sister: Nellie Neshe Block
|Grave of Nellie Block, sister of|
my grandpa Isaac Burk
Nellie (1879-1950) seems to have been the first in the Burk family to arrive in America, something that surprised me. The first documentation I have shows her in 1904 in the Jewish Harlem household of Tillie Mahler and husband Meyer Mahler (my great-grandparents). Isaac Burk (my grandpa) said he was going to her when he arrived at Ellis Island that year. The NY Census of 1905 and the US Census of 1910 show Nellie living on Henry Street, in the Lower East Side of New York.
In the 1910 Census, Nellie said she was born in Russia--but, interestingly, the enumerator wrote (Lith) next to that. According to this Census, Nellie arrived in the US in 1899. According to the 1905 Census, she had been in the US for 12 years. Um, a discrepancy...
So far, no sign of her in a passenger manifest, but that could be because of the many variations in the surname. Block, Burk, Birk, Berk, Burke were some of the ways my ancestors spelled their name.
see this page I used) at the address 1654 E. 13 Street. I spent $15 to request a copy of her death cert to see additional info, and hope I don't have to wait too long.
Nellie's gravestone shows her Hebrew name as "Neshi, daughter of Sholom." The relatives who put up the stone thought she was 85 years old at her death, but that's not consistent with what she told the Census, which equates to a birth year of 1878 or 1879--meaning she died at the age of 71 or 72. Again, I wish I had known great aunt Nellie.