Showing posts with label Family History Month. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family History Month. Show all posts

Friday, October 19, 2018

My Farkas Family on December 7, 1941

Last year, I wrote a three-page memory booklet in which I used genealogy research techniques to confirm my husband's memory of being a tyke sitting around the family radio, hearing the news of Pearl Harbor being attacked on December 7, 1941.

Thanks to the kindness of a second cousin, I now have monthly minutes from my mother's Farkas Family Tree meetings during the early 1940s. The tree consisted of adult descendants of Moritz Farkas and Leni Kunstler Farkas (my maternal great-grandparents) who lived in and around New York City. To have the largest possible attendance, meetings were held on Sunday evenings.

As I was scanning minutes and indexing the names of those present each month, I wondered what happened in the family tree at the time of Pearl Harbor. Sure enough, I found a page of minutes from December 7, 1941 (excerpt above), when the meeting convened in the Bronx.

By dinner time on that Sunday evening, almost certainly tree members would have heard the news of Pearl Harbor. Washington announced the attack in the afternoon, East Coast time, well before the family-tree meeting started at 6:05 pm. News accounts say many New Yorkers were suddenly nervous, feeling the city was a possible future target, due to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and other operations in the five boroughs.

The minutes never mention the December 7th attack as such.  The minutes do say, almost in passing, that a 16-year-old male first cousin of my mother was in the Pershing Rifles Auxiliary, and a 14-year-old female first cousin had joined the American Women's Voluntary Services. Minutes from earlier in 1941 say family members were learning Air Raid procedures and making things to donate to the Red Cross for overseas.

Even without the words "Pearl Harbor" or "war" being mentioned, I believe the tree was well aware of what was happening that day. My aunt Dorothy Schwartz was secretary for the evening, because her twin sister, Daisy Schwartz (hi Mom!) was ill. Auntie Dorothy writes later in the minutes that for the January, 1942 meeting, "family members who have uniforms should wear them."

Genealogy research indicates that family members (male and female) quickly began to enlist. My aunt, in fact, enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps on September 11, 1942. Some of her female first cousins held "Rosie the Riveter" jobs while a number of male first cousins joined the Army Air Corps or Army (no Navy or Marine men) in the months after Pearl Harbor.

During Family History Month, I am thankful for the sentence (shown in excerpt above) that says: "It was especially recommended that all surnames be mentioned in future minutes." The minutes are filled with multiple relatives and in-laws having the same given name. My mother was Daisy, and so was her sister-in-law. The tree included multiple Roberts and multiple Georges, among other names. Happily, it is usually clear from context who's who in the minutes. And so the scanning and indexing will go on and on.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Family History Month: Start Writing About Ancestors Now!

Family History Month is a good time to start writing about our ancestors. Genealogy research is never complete, in my humble opinion, but we can make headway on writing about family history if we focus.

This is not about the big picture--it's about sharing one specific aspect of our family's past with relatives and descendants. Not a formal genealogy, but something that conveys both the facts and the human face of our ancestors.

Here are some quick tips to prepare:
  • Choose one of the above to focus on. Maybe you want to write about your maternal grandparents or about a set of siblings in your father's family. Or you have an heirloom, like the ceramic zebras above, created by my late mother-in-law, with a backstory of interest to children and grandchildren.
  • Gather your info (documents, photos, etc.) and your memories.
  • Write bullet points of what you currently know. 
  • Rearrange the bullets into a logical organization (chronological order, for instance).
  • Make notes about each bullet and also jot notes about what you want to double-check or ask other relatives.
  • Create a quick timeline if it will help guide you through the story and help readers understand what happened when. Or use a timeline as the basis for writing about a couple or an event.
Now . . . start anywhere in the story and write. Really, it doesn't matter where you begin to write because you can move sentences and paragraphs around after you get words on paper.

If you like, pick a detail that seems particularly dramatic or interesting, write a few sentences, and then fill in the story around it. Every family had high points, low points, times of happiness and times of sorrow. Try to tell the story to show who these ancestors were, beyond mere facts of birth-marriage-death dates. The important thing is to share what you know now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Family History Month: Top Priority Is Captioning Old Photos

If you, like me, inherited a batch of family photos without names or dates, you'll understand why my top priority this month is captioning old photos. We may be the only people who still know the names of these people and can tell a few of the stories. This is the time to put names to faces so the info is not lost, and future generations will know something about the family's past!

Above, an example of an old photo I scanned, showing my Grandma Henrietta Mahler Burk and three of her four children. My Dad is "Harold," the toddler with curly hair at bottom right. I kept a version of this digital image with no names and a version where I added names and a date. No last names (because no room) but this is in the Burk/Mahler archival box with a more detailed explanation of who's who.

There are many ways to caption, including (but not limited to) these ideas. You can write a caption on plain paper, lay it on a scanner above or below the original photo, and scan or copy both together for a neat, easy-to-read version that can be stored with the original. Or simply photocopy the original and write, in colored ink, each person's name on the copy, then store the copy with the original.

Another way to caption is to put each photo in its own archival sleeve. Then handwrite the caption on an adhesive label and stick it to the outside of the sleeve, as shown at right.

Ideally, explain the relationship between the person in the photo and yourself. Don't just write "Mama" (as on the back of one photo I inherited). Turned out that wasn't a Mama in my direct line, but it was the mother of a cousin in England!

Even after 20 years of research and asking cousins for help, I have some mystery photos. I've stored them in an archival box labeled by side of the family. The box called "Unknown photos, Marian's family" is separate from a similar box for unknown photos of my husband's ancestors.

Happy captioning!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Family History Month: The "M" That Wasn't


My brain was out to lunch the day I found "Maggie" Steiner's marriage to Mr. Sutherland. They were married on November 2, 1884, in Wyandot county, Ohio, where other Steiner relatives lived. Maggie was hubby's great-great aunt, not very close, so I wasn't planning to spend a lot of time researching her and her family.

The transcription/index of their marriage said the groom was "Morris M. Sutherland." A really quick look at the righthand side of the original document* (above) seemed to confirm that, so I typed in Morris and moved along.

That was then, this is now: I've been linking more and more of my husband's Steiner ancestors in Find A Grave, part of my Genealogy Go-Over. But I was stumped about this couple's death dates and burial places. No Morris to be found. Huh?

Retracing my research, I brought up the image of their marriage record. This time, I looked carefully at each instance of his name, which appears three times on the document.

Two of the three times, he's named "Norris M. Sutherland." Only on the right side is he called "Morris." Ooops.

As soon as I changed my search to "Norris M. Sutherland," he and Maggie popped up all over the place. I've submitted edits to Find A Grave, linking her to her parents and to her spouse's real name, Norris.

Lesson learned: Read the original thoroughly the first time, carefully, to save time later. And resolve any conflicts the first time, by double-checking with other records and sources.

*You always look at the original when the image is available, right? Don't trust the transcription or index alone. Here, I looked at the original but only for a moment--so don't make my mistake. Examine the original with care!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Family History Month: The Farkas Family During the Depression

25th anniversary of Farkas Family Tree association
Starting in 1933, the Farkas Family Tree held 10 meetings a year. Charter members were the 10 children of my maternal great-grandparents, Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) and Leni Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938).

Moritz and Lena were proclaimed honorary members at the first FFT meeting in March, 1933. Since nearly all of the charter members lived in the New York City area, the meetings were a way of keeping family ties as tight as possible.

Luckily, the FFT kept written minutes at every meeting. Although some of the 1940s minutes haven't survived, I've scanned and indexed the hundreds of existing minutes for in-depth research and to safeguard for the next generation.

Outside the family, there was a Depression. Inside, the focus was on births and birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, get-well wishes for ill members, remembering relatives who died, planning family outings, and--food, food, food!

So what were my Farkas ancestors doing at their October meetings in the 1930s?
  • At meeting #5, in October of 1933, "there was much joy and commotion at getting together again" after the summer break. The Entertainment Committee planned a card party of bridge, hearts, and poker for the November meeting, saying there would be "one prize each for a man and woman who are the biggest losers."
  • At meeting #15, in October of 1934, the discussion centered on securing a restaurant or hotel banquet room for a family Thanksgiving dinner the following month. This was the first of many annual family Thanksgivings celebrated together.
  • Because of scheduling conflicts, there was no October meeting in 1935. The first meeting of the fall was held on Sept. 29th, followed by a poker party. "All were winners," according to the minutes.
  • In October of 1936, my maternal grandparents (Hermina Farkas Schwartz and Tivador Schwartz) were congratulated on their 25th wedding anniversary. The tree created a committee to choose a gift for this occasion. Attendees chowed down on coffee, strudel, cheese, and sardines. Really, this is what the minutes said.
  • In October of 1937, the treasurer reported cash on hand of $241.91 (the equivalent of nearly $4,200 in today's dollars). The tree was planning ahead, buying grave plots in New Montefiore Cemetery on Long Island. And in another forward-thinking move, the tree voted to buy movie film to capture highlights of the family's year.
  • At meeting #51 in October of 1938, members voted to spend 50 cents for cemetery maintenance and $3 for movie film. A special committee was formed to plan the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner, at a per-person price of $1.75.
  • During meeting #61 in October of 1939, $3 was allotted for movie film, leaving a treasury balance of $79.94. Members planned the Thanksgiving dinner, to be held that year in the Hamilton Hotel. But there was one snag: "For our Thanksgiving Dinner, we would not be able to get the magician as planned. Music will be supplied by the victrola which the Freedmans have kindly offered to bring."

Friday, October 27, 2017

Family History Month: TUVWXYZ Surnames

Edward Wirtschafter, Mary Schwartz Wirtschafter (front left), and her friend
In this last of 5 posts listing surnames being researched, I'm highlighting T-Z names in hubby's McClure/Wood tree and my Farkas/Schwartz (maternal line) and Mahler/Burk (paternal line) trees.

McClure/Wood tree:
  • T is for Taber
  • T is for Traxler
  • V is for Van Roe
  • V is for Velpel
  • W is for Welburn
  • W is for Wilt
  • W is for Wood
  • W is for Work
  • W is for Wrona
  • Z is for Zollinger
Farkas/Schwartz tree:
  • W is for Weinberger
  • W is for Weiss/Weisz
  • W is for Wirtschafter
Mahler/Burk tree:
  • V is for Venezky
  • V is for Vinokur
  • V is for Volk
  • W is for Whitelaw
  • W is for Wilner/Willner
  • W is for Wolf

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Family History Month: NOPQRS Surnames

Four Steiner sisters in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, late 1930s
This is my next-to-last post with alphabetical surnames being researched on hubby's McClure/Wood tree and my maternal tree (Farkas/Schwartz) and paternal tree (Mahler/Burk).

McClure/Wood tree:
  • N is for Nitchie
  • O is for O'Gallagher (possibly Gallagher)
  • P is for Peabody
  • P is for Piper
  • P is for Post
  • P is for Priest (as in Degory)
  • R is for Rhuark
  • R is for Rinehart
  • R is for Rozelle
  • S is for Shank
  • S is for Shehen
  • S is for Short
  • S is for Slatter
  • S is for Simmons
  • S is for Smith
  • S is for Steiner
Mahler/Burk tree:
  • N is for Nemensinsky
  • O is for Ohayon
  • P is for Paris (or Peris)
  • P for Pompionsky
  • R is for Roth
  • S is for Sacks/Sachs
  • S is for Salkowitz
  • S is for Schlanger
  • S is for Schwartz
  • S is for Segal
  • S is for Shuham
  • S is for Siegel/Siegal
  • S is for Sobel
Farkas/Schwartz
  • R is for Rethy
  • R is for Roth
  • S is for Schwartz
  • S is for Simonowitz
  • S is for Steinberger/Stanbury

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Family History Month: IJKLM Surnames


Meyer Mahler, Tillie Jacobs Mahler, and their children
Now for the middle batch of the ABCs of surnames, beginning with I and ending with M. Above, an important M family on my tree: The Mahler family.

McClure/Wood tree:
  • J is for Johnson
  • K is for Kenny
  • K is for Kirby
  • L is for Larimer
  • L is for Larkworthy
  • L is for Le Gallais
  • L is for Lervis
  • L is for Lower
  • M is for McClure
  • M is for McKibbin/McKibben
  • M is for Murray
Mahler/Burk tree:
  • J is for Jacob
  • K is for Kodritck
  • L is for Lang
  • L is for Lawrence
  • L is for Leboff
  • L is for Lebowitz
  • L is for Levin
  • L is for Luria
  • M is for Mahler
  • M is for Markell
  • M is for Mikalovsky
  • M is for Mitav
Farkas/Schwartz tree:
  • K is for Katz
  • K is for Keidansky
  • K is for Klein
  • K is for Kunstler
  • L is for Levy
  • L is for Lewis
  • L is for Lipson
  • M is for Mandel
  • M is for Markovitz
  • M is for Moscovitz

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Family History Month: DEFGH Surnames

Lucille Ethel McClure de Velde with her husband, John Everett de Velde, and her mother, Margaret Jane Larimer McClure, before 1913
Today, more alphabetical surnames from three family trees I'm researching. These are D through H on each tree. Three more posts to go in the coming days as I complete the ABC surname meme.

McClure/Wood tree:
  • D is for de Velde
  • D is for Demarest
  • D is for Denning
  • D is for Devore
  • E is for Eagle
  • E is for Everitt
  • F is for Forde
  • F is for Fowler
  • F is for Freeland
  • G is for Grassley
  • G is for Gregg
  • H is for Haggarty/Haggerty
  • H is for Haglind
  • H is for Halbedel
  • H is for Hathaway
  • H is for Heemsoth
  • H is for Herrold
  • H is for Hilborn
  • H is for Hopperton
  • H is for Humrickhouse
Mahler/Burk tree:
  • E is for Epstein
  • E is for Etschel
  • G is for Gaffin
  • G is for Gennis
  • G is for Goldfarb
  • G is for Goodfield
  • H is for Harris
  • H is for Horwich
Farkas/Schwartz tree:
  • E is for Ezrati
  • F is for Farber
  • F is for Farkas
  • G is for Gelbman
  • G is for Girson
  • G is for Gutfried
  • H is for Hurwitch/Hurwitz/Horwich

Monday, October 23, 2017

Family History Month: ABC Surnames

Nellie Block (middle), Jennie Birk Salkowitz (right), and a brother (which one?)
Over at Olive Tree Genealogy, Lorine McGinnis Schultze has adapted the ABC surname meme and I'm following her lead with the ABC surnames (spouses included) of hubby's McClure/Wood tree and my Mahler/Burk and Farkas/Schwartz trees. Four more alphabetical listings in the days to come!

McClure/Wood ABC surnames:
  • A is for Adams
  • A is for Allen
  • A is for Allerton
  • A is for Auld
  • A is for Austin
  • B is for Baker
  • B is for Bentley
  • B is for Bradford
  • B is for Brown 
  • C is for Caldwell
  • C is for Carsten
  • C is for Cloud
  • C is for Coble
  • C is for Cook
  • C is for Coombs
  • C is for Cornwell
  • C is for Cragg
  • C is for Curtis
  • C is for Cushman
Mahler/Burk ABC surnames:

  • A is for Ash
  • B is for Berg/Berk/Birk/Burk/Burke/Block/Bloch
  • B is for Berkman
  • B is for Blauman
  • B is for Bourstein
  • B is for Burack
  • C is for Caplan
  • C is for Casson
  • C is for Chazan
  • C is for Cherry
  • C is for Claman
  • C is for Cohn
Farkas/Schwartz ABC surnames:
  • A is for Adelman
  • A is for Agata
  • C is for Cohen

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Family History Month: Three Belles in the Bronx

Until I wrote this blog post, I didn't know what to call the technique used in this reverse-glass-painted picture that graced the walls of my childhood bedroom for so long.

This appears to be a modern form of tinsel painting, a 19th-century folk art where people or objects are painted in reverse on glass, then embossed foils from cigar boxes or tea packages are placed behind the glass to add dimension and texture.

Sis and I remember that our parents knew the person who painted this mid-20th-century piece, which features three graceful Southern Belles. Her memory is that the guy was a dentist whose hobby was tinsel painting, and many people saved beautiful foil for him.

Maybe the painter didn't know it would be displayed in the bedroom of three little girls growing up in the Bronx, New York?

The photo above doesn't do justice to this heirloom. Each area of the glass has a different embossed foil behind it. The fashion details are painted just as carefully as the delicate facial features. Now these belles are being passed down to the next generation, along with the family story.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Family History Month: Ancestor Landing Pages as Cousin Bait

Yes, ancestor landing pages really work as cousin bait--attracting people (often real relatives!) whose online search for a particular surname brings them to my blog pages.

To see what I mean, you can click on one or two of the landing pages across the top of this blog page, the tabs with titles like "Wm Tyler Bentley's story" and "Abraham & Annie Berk's story." 

I first put up ancestor landing pages in January, 2013, after reading about the idea on Caroline Pointer's blog.

I use these to summarize what I know about each surname or family in the various family trees that I'm researching. I include not only photos and sometimes documents, but also links to specific blog posts about that person or family.

Six months after first setting up these landing pages, I had views but no cousin connections. In the nearly five years since I first posted these pages, I've gotten thousands of views and have actually connected with a number of cousins as well!

So if you have a blog or are thinking about creating one, consider landing pages or a similar mechanism. As you can see from the current statistics in the table at top, people keep clicking on my pages. Most aren't related to my ancestors or my husband's ancestors, but the few who are related (or researching a particular name) know how to get in touch via my blog now.

By the way, the McClure family from Donegal is by far my most popular landing page. Second-most popular is the page I created with free sample forms and templates from my genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Family History Month: Search Google Books for Places, Not Just Names


What was it like living in Wabash, Indiana, as a 19th century pioneer?

I want my grandchildren to know that their ancestors, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) and Sarah Denning McClure (1811-1888), experienced the challenges and rewards of Indiana's frontier life--and lived long enough to see the city and county thrive.

That's why I looked for history books about Wabash county in Google Books. Up popped a book titled History of Wabash County, Indiana, published in 1914. Full text is available for free, and I read through it.

In addition to recounting the history, this book also names settlers, civic leaders, educators, military leaders, and more. There are also photos and drawings of other well-known buildings, plus descriptions of land, agriculture, school life, and lot of other details that bring Wabash's history alive, allowing me to imagine something of the daily life of my hubby's ancestors.

At top is a page featuring a photo of the new city hall, built in Wabash in 1883. Because Benjamin was involved in the county and the town government for many years, I feel sure he and his wife Sarah would have attended the dedication with great pride.

Have you searched Google Books yet?

*Note: Dana Leeds recently posted a tip about searching newspapers for a specific address. That's a great idea that might also work for searching old books.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Family History Month: Auntie Dorothy in "With Love, Jane"

My aunt Dorothy Schwartz (1919-2001) was a WAC in WWII, as I've written before. She enlisted on September 11, 1942, the only female member of the family to serve in the military. She finally returned from overseas postings three years after enlisting.

During my Gen Go-Over, I've been searching newspapers for mentions of my ancestors, including Auntie Dorothy. Eureka!

I discovered my aunt's name at the end of a book review printed in The New York Times on Sunday, November 18, 1945. Her letter home was included in a compilation of letters written by 37 female service members. The volume, edited by Alma Lutz, is titled: "With Love, Jane." I've requested that my local library obtain this via inter-library loan so I can see the letter in its entirety.

The brief quote from Dorothy's letter, as excerpted in this book review, reads:
"There is no advantage in war except what the individual makes for himself. In the army we lose eccentricities, prejudices, pettiness, because they cannot survive in the face of matter-of-fact and non-luxurious living." - Sgt. Dorothy H. Schwartz, WAC

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Family History Month: Grandma's Ship Comes In

My maternal grandma, Hermina "Minnie" Farkas (1886-1964), left Rotterdam on October 31st with an older brother and two younger siblings, aboard the S.S. Amsterdam. Minnie celebrated her 15th birthday at sea, just two days before the ship docked in New York City.

I used to wonder how great-grandpa Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) knew exactly when the S.S. Amsterdam was going to dock in New York, carrying four of his children. No doubt the family in Hungary wrote ahead to let Moritz know when the children, including my future grandma, were leaving port and the name of the ship. Moritz had a general idea of arrival, but since weather was unpredictable, and a trans-Atlantic crossing might take an extra day once in a while, how would he get updated information?

Newspapers to the rescue. Back in the day, newspapers carried listings of ships arriving and leaving--news of interest not just to individuals but also to businesspeople.

I clicked to Chronicling America's free newspapers from New York City and found the New York Tribune for the ship's arrival date of November 12, 1901. On one of the last pages, the paper printed this listing of "incoming steamers" including port of departure, date, and steamship line. And that, I imagine, is how great-grandpa Moritz got an inkling of when grandma's ship came in. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Family History Month: Top 10 Surnames on the Family Tree


Picking up a great idea from Colleen G. Brown Pasquale at her Leaves & Branches blog, I learned how to use the "surname statistics list" report function on my Roots Magic 7 software. No surprise that for my husband's family tree, Wood was the top surname by frequency, followed by Larimer.

But I also realized, with a pang, how many people appear without surnames in that tree. Uh oh. These are mainly missing maiden names, stretching back to the 1500s. This means I'll have to intensify my Genealogy Go-Over to see how many missing surnames I can identify. Perhaps new information has become available since I added some people to the tree? Turns out that these statistics can also reveal gaps in research...

The top 10 surnames that appear most frequently on the Wood tree are:
  1. Wood (earliest instance: 1551)
  2. Larimer (earliest instance: 1719)
  3. McClure (earliest instance: 1660)
  4. Steiner (earliest instance: 1802)
  5. Slatter (earliest instance: 1811)
  6. McKibbin (earliest instance: 1766)
  7. Hilborn (earliest instance: 1794)
  8. Denning (earliest instance: 1775)
  9. Smith (earliest instance: 1724)
  10. Cushman (earliest instance: 1578)
PS: Randy Seaver made this "top 10 surnames" theme the subject of his Oct. 21 Saturday Night Genea-Fun.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Family History Month: Two Graduates in Dad's Family

For Sepia Saturday, two old photos of graduates. My Aunt Mildred Burk (1907-1993) was the oldest of the four children of my grandparents, Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954) and Isaac Burk (1882-1943).

This photo of Millie with her parents, taken between 1920 and 1925, shows a young lady holding what looks like a diploma. By 1925, the NY census shows Millie as a stenographer, and the 1920 US census shows her as a student. Thus, my guess that she's graduating high school in this photo, the first in my paternal family to attain that level of education.

At right, a photo of my father, Harold Burk (1909-1978), third-born child of Henrietta and Isaac. He's holding a diploma for what I believe is his grade-school graduation (since he's in short pants).

I have Dad's diploma put away in an archival box, safely stored flat, along with this photo (in an archival sleeve). Saving my family's past for the future!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Family History Month: Hyper-Local Research on Linkpendium

Another of my favorite free genealogy research sites is Linkpendium. This is the place to look for hyper-local family information, accessed via the millions of links listed on this site. I've clicked on this site a lot during my Genealogy Go-Over.

For best results, don't search using the box at top of the page. Instead, browse by locality (state, county, city/town) where your ancestor lived (or worked) and click to see what records or information are available.

The locality links will lead you to other sources, including Family Search, Ancestry, libraries, local genealogical societies, etc.. Dig deep enough, and you'll get all kinds of ideas and clues.


For example, the links at left were found deep in the Bronx, New York listings. These lead to photos and postcards of Bronx people and places. Wonderful background to help me imagine the area where my parents and grandparents lived decades ago.

Some links do lead to fee-based sites, as indicated by the green dollar sign. Everything else is free unless noted!

Go ahead, click to Linkpendium and see where its hyper-local links lead you during Family History Month.

UPDATE: In March, 2018, Amy Johnson Crow wrote a detailed post about using Linkpendium here--well worth reading!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Family History Month: Take a Virtual Field Trip to Ancestors' Homes

During Family History Month, I'm captioning old photos and writing a paragraph or two about who, what, where, when, and why.

Above left is a family photo showing my late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986) and a younger brother in front of a home built by their father, master carpenter James Edgar Wood (1871-1939).

I knew the address in Cleveland Heights, thanks to postcards mailed to the family and saved for more than a century. So I did an online search for the house and presto! Up popped this street view of the very same home, still intact and recognizable.

The carpenter's descendants were very happy to see that his home was handsome enough and sturdy enough to survive for more than 100 years. I've done a similar search for other addresses where the Wood family lived and found nearly all are still standing today.

Alas, the virtual field trip doesn't work for every old address. A number of the Manhattan tenements where my immigrant ancestors lived a century ago are long gone. But at least I can click around the neighborhood, looking at schools and parks and other highlights without actually going in person.

Have you taken a virtual field trip to see where your ancestors lived?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Family History Month: Picturing My Maternal Line

As I plan write-ups about the different branches of my family tree and my hubby's tree, I'm organizing my photos. Today, I wanted to picture my maternal grandparents (Hermina Farkas and Tivador/Theodore Schwartz) and their parents.

Top row shows Lena Kunstler and Moritz Farkas, my Grandma Minnie's parents.

Bottom row shows Hani Simonowitz and Herman Schwartz, my Grandpa Teddy's parents.

All six of these maternal ancestors were born in Hungary in the 19th century. Hani and Herman remained in Ungvar. Lena and Moritz came to New York City very early in the 20th century.

Grandma Minnie and Grandpa Teddy were a love match, not an arranged marriage, and they wed on October 22, 1911. Their names were shown on the ketubah as Chaya Sara (bride) and Yechezkel (groom).

According to family lore, the family rode to the wedding at the Clinton Street Synagogue by horse and carriage--but the groom was late because his horse had run away.