Showing posts with label Harold Burk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harold Burk. Show all posts

Monday, May 28, 2018

Write Family History Now, Add or Change Later

Thinking about writing your family history? There's no time like the present. Anything you write will be a real gift to your family and to future generations, whether you write about a special family photo or trace the life of a matriarch or patriarch.

If all you have is a photo and the names of some or all of those pictured, you've got enough to make a good start. The goal is to write as much as you know about who, what, when, where, why, and how. Today, you may only know "who" and "when" but tomorrow, when you discover "where" or "when," you can add that to your write-up or make corrections.

Always ask family members for help. Many times, cousins can identify people we've never seen or met. Photos can also trigger recall of a family story that adds color and personality to the family history.

Here's a photo taken at the NYC wedding of my parents, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981) and Harold Burk (1909-1978). When I was writing about their courtship and marriage, I asked several cousins to help identify the wedding guests. Unfortunately, we identified only four of my mother's maternal aunts and uncles shown here. Still, I kept moving ahead with my write-up.

A few weeks later, one cousin suddenly remembered the name of the lady seated fourth from the right. Based on this new info, I located the lady's son and ultimately connected his branch to my great-grandma's family tree in Hungary. Because of my cousin's memory, I now have more names, relationships, and stories to add to my family history.

Never give up! Eventually, we identified the last two "unknowns" in this photo as more cousins on my mother's side.

Please, do the "write" thing for the sake of future generations. There's no time like the present for starting on this gift to the descendants of our ancestors.

NOTE: This is part of my series about writing family history:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend Wedding, Mom & Dad

Above, my mother (Daisy Schwartz) being walked down the aisle at New York's Hotel McAlpin by her father, Teddy Schwartz. She and Dad (Harold Burk) were married on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in 1946.

Mom wore a gold lame dress, matching shoes, and a simple headdress. At right, she's in her wedding outfit, topped by her stylish new Persian lamb coat.

Dad and all the men wore handsome double-breasted suits, the height of postwar fashion.

After the lunchtime wedding, Daisy's aunt Ella gave a party that included most if not all of the bride's Farkas Family Tree. The tired but happy couple eventually boarded a train for their Atlantic City honeymoon!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Hello to My Farkas Relatives

From the 1946 wedding album of Daisy Schwartz and Harold Burk, who got married at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City, here are some photos of my Farkas side of the family, showing my grand-aunts and -uncles and lots of cousins.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Harold the Travel Agent

Dad (Harold Burk) was a travel agent who did the most traveling of his life during WWII.

Here you can see brochures and timetables for trains and other transportation methods, next to his desk at the luxe Savoy Plaza Hotel, located at the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City, a ritzy address just across from the Plaza Hotel.

Dad started his WWII travels at Camp Upton on Long Island, where he was inducted in 1942 for what became 3 1/2 years in the US Army. He served from late 1944 to mid-1945 in "Central Europe" and in "Rhineland," according to his honorable discharge documents. His younger brother Sidney also served in Europe then.

We know Dad was stationed outside Paris for a time because he sent photos home to his mom, Henrietta Mahler Burk. For instance, the photo at left below shows him in uniform at a cafe outside Paris (and below right, Dad in Paris itself).

Harold Burk (right) and friend

After WWII ended, Dad came home, met Mom (possibly through a date arranged by two aunts, one on each side) and were married, followed by a Bermuda honeymoon.
Once Dad became a father, his travels usually consisted of getting onto the IRT subway to ride from the Bronx into Manhattan every day for work. His biggest post-war trip was in 1959, when he went to Hawaii for what turned out to be a very short stay, as I wrote last year here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sisters Visit D.C. in 1966ish

Dad (Harold Burk) took my younger sister Harriet (in blue) and me (in yellow print) to Washington, D.C. around 1966ish to visit cousins and see the sights.

Previously, I wrote about trying to identify the year because of the outfit I wore in photos from that trip.

Here are more photos from that trip, when we met cousin Lois for the first time. The date on the edge of the bottom photo says March 1968, but that's hard to believe because we're dressed for summer.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Mom & Dad's Bermuda Honeymoon

Mom (Daisy Schwartz) and Dad (Harold Burk) were married in late November, 1946, and immediately went on honeymoon to Bermuda. No swimsuits on that trip: It was cool, as you can see from my mother's warm coat, but good weather for a horse-drawn carriage ride and a honeymoon hug.

Below, Mom getting her flowers ready for the wedding ceremony. Wish I had even a small bit of her gold lame dress as a keepsake, but it fell apart many, many years ago (well before today's preservation techniques!).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: My Merry Gen Gadget Christmas

Thank you, Santa, for the gift of a portable wand scanner! And batteries of course...not to mention the mini SD card.

Now I can scan documents that won't easily fit in my flatbed, such as these two curled-up diplomas earned by my father, Harold Burk.

The top one shows my father's graduation from PS 171, an elementary school in Manhattan, NYC, in June, 1923. He was 14 at the time. The bottom one shows his graduation from Junior High School 171 in Manhattan, NYC, in January, 1925. He was 15 at this point and went to work right after graduation, which (if I recall his stories correctly) meant he ended his educational career after eighth grade. Note that this was a "commercial" diploma, indicating that Harold wasn't expecting to continue to high school but always intended to go to work.

Here's what PS 171 looks like today: Its "name" is Patrick Henry and, as in my father's time, it serves grades K-8. The school is within walking distance of where Harold and his family lived at the time of the 1920 census, at 1642-44 Lexington Avenue near 104th Street.

Santa is so smart and even sentimental! He knows that this genealogy gadget will help me capture so many documents and photos for the future. Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: The Salad Scoopers That Returned Home

Fourteen months ago, my 2d cousin Lois found me through this blog. We saw each other twice this year, both times at happy family occasions (one in her immediate family and one in mine). It has been such a joy getting to know her and her family!

Now I'm going through my photos looking for connections between our branches of the family tree, and here are two, along with the story of the salad set that went from my part of the family to hers and back again.

Lois's grandma was Ida Mahler Volk, shown above at far left with my mother, Daisy Schwartz, who was then engaged to marry my father, Harold Burk, Ida's nephew. Ida (my great-aunt) is shown alone in the photo at the right, quite a glamorous lady IMHO.

Both of these photos were taken in July 1946, when Daisy and Harold, then engaged for six months, flew to Washington, D.C. to visit with the Volks. (They flew because Harold was a travel agent and this was one of the perks at the time.*)

Ida was extremely close to her sister Henrietta Mahler, my father's mother, and Lois has several stories about the sisters' love for and generosity toward each other.

Lois also told me that Harold and Daisy brought a house gift to Ida and Louis when they visited: A lucite/stainless steel salad set with a big bowl and a serving scooper, very "mid-century modern" in today's language of style. That set was used and enjoyed for many, many years and Lois inherited it, along with the story.

Now fast-forward to my niece's wedding last month. Lois gifted the happy couple with this very set of salad utensils, a wonderful, sentimental reminder of the ties that connect the generations of our family.

My niece never met her grandparents, Daisy and Harold--they died long before she was born--but now she's the delighted caretaker of this salad set, which has come back to the Burk part of the family after 65 years. Thank you, Lois!

*How do I know they flew? These photos were in a photo album in a series that starts with a photo of Daisy and Harold on the staircase leading off a plane. That photo is marked "July 1946, Washington, D.C." The photos with Ida are only a page or so beyond. Thank you, Daisy, for marking these so clearly!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Military Monday: A WWII Officer Answers Mom's Note

On Memorial Day, my thoughts turn to family members who've served our country in the military. Looking for a photo to scan and post, I chanced across this letter written to my mother (the then-unmarried Daisy Schwartz) on April 17, 1945. 

The writer, Major A. Schn___(illegible), showed a return address of Northington General Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Although the hospital no longer exists, it was a major war-time medical center specializing in plastic surgery. 

I don't know whether AS was recuperating or on staff, but he clearly knew Mom from an office job she had during the war. This is the only letter AS ever wrote her (if there were others, they haven't survived), but it speaks volumes about his longing for an end to the war and his knowledge that my mother hoped to settle down and marry some day soon. She was 25 at the time AS wrote, and her first date with Dad (Harold Burk) was still six months in the future.

Here's what Major AS wrote:

Dear Daisy,

What a pleasant surprise it was to read your most welcome note at the end of your boss' letter. And to learn that you still like me made the outlook in this war-torn world much brighter for me. Now wouldn't these words sound swell if they came from a single, unattached fellow? Trouble is there are too many men off to war, and the rest haven't been lucky enough to meet you yet. Perhaps at your new job there'll be plenty of eligible men around to recognize your charm. Then you'll need a bat to keep them in line.
     So you're really going to leave Charlie Phillips? He'll surely miss you, I know, and the office just won't be the same. But you must know what you're doing. So good luck! Let me know where you locate and what happens to you. Maybe I'll find your Prince Charming for you and I won't know where to send him.
     Best regards to you, Charlie, and Freddie. Here's hoping you have a swell vacation. Take a rest for me too. 

     Cordially,  AS

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

52 Weeks - Entering the Jet Age

If I had all the commemorative airplane models that my father (Harold Burk) received during his career as a travel agent, I'd be sitting on a gold mine.

Whenever a new plane (such as the Super Constellation, above) entered service, the airlines and/or manufacturers would hype the new technology by sending travel agents a model of that new model.

My father had this very plane (not the DIY model) on his desk for years and years. It was painted with the now-defunct Eastern Airlines colors, as this model is. He had others, too, but this one is most vivid in my mind.

My father was born just one year after the Wright Brothers successfully made their first flight and became, for a time, the most famous inventors in the world. I doubt Dad was in many planes before his service in WWII, but afterward, as a travel agent, he flew more than the average person--but not as often as he'd like.

One of Dad's perks was getting freebie tickets to tourist flights over what was then Idlewild Airport in Queens, NY (now JFK Airport). When I was in elementary school, our whole family would go over to Idlewild, flash those freebie tickets, and we'd all get on a prop plane for a 25-minute spin over the airport and NY harbor, including the Statue of Liberty. Can you imagine tourists getting that kind of quickie tour today? Well, technology really has changed--we can just sit at our keyboards and use Google Earth :) But the memories wouldn't be the same.

Friday, January 7, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Winter

Week #2's challenge is to write about winter. Growing up in the Bronx, NY, nearly every December our parents took me, my twin, and our younger sister on the subway downtown to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and walk along Fifth Avenue gawking at the holiday displays.

Many years we went to Radio City Music Hall to see whatever blockbuster movie was opening and the main attraction, the Rockettes' Christmas show. (I think I recall seeing "The Sundowners" there.) It was thrilling to see the organ slide into view as the deep chords started the show. At intermission, the luxe bathrooms were a big attraction.

A real treat was going to the elegant Savoy Plaza (later the Savoy Hilton) Hotel, above, where my father Harold BURK and his brother Sidney Burk maintained their travel agency (see my father at his desk, below). The hotel had a Trader Vic's restaurant and we loved tiki meals! But once the GM building was built, it was goodbye to the hotel and the restaurant . . . and my father's travel agency. That's a story for another day.

In those days, we kids would drag our sleds over to Bronx Park after a big snowfall, spend an entire day going down the gentle hills, and return home positively encrusted with snow. I don't remember many times when snow forced schools to close, but this must have happened more than a few times.

The elementary school was 10 blocks away, no school bus, so yes, we really did walk 1/2 mile each way in all kinds of weather (and often we walked home for lunch and back again!). No wonder fitness wasn't an issue. No school cafeteria*, so anyone who brought a lunch (which we usually did during heavy rains or very cold weather) ate in the school basement, sitting on benches. *My sister says there was a cafeteria in the basement, and the food was (stereotypically) terrible and she preferred the bag lunches!

And who could forget my mother's beloved Persian Lamb coat? She's wearing in the above photo from her wedding day in November, 1946. For years, she'd wear that when the temperature dropped. We kids loved to run our hands through it, another winter memory.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - 1946

The biggest social event of 1946 in my father's side of the family was the wedding of my parents (center, seated). Alas, Mom's gold lame wedding dress is long gone but it was quite glamorous!

Surnames: Burk, Birk, Schwartz, Volk, Mahler

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday - Busted Because of a Coal Road

A Black Sheep Sunday story. My dad, Harold Burk (right, above), worked his way up to sgt in the US Army during WWII, in charge of getting some supplies to certain Allied troops fighting in Europe. He was frustrated that he couldn't easily deliver coal to the barracks in a heavily wooded area, and with the weather getting very cold, and no official way to get the coal to freezing troops, he took matters into his own hands.

He ordered a tank (or heavy truck, not sure which) to knock down some of the smaller trees and create a narrow road that could then be used for transporting coal to the barracks! Higher-ranking officials weren't happy because they feared the narrow road would tip off enemy planes if they spotted the route, and my dad was busted, losing at least one stripe. But he always felt the men would not have survived the winter without some fuel for the stoves, so he made their day-to-day welfare his concern. Is this a Black Sheep story? My husband doesn't think so, but maybe that's because all ended well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day and Dad

As a salute to all the brave members of our armed services, a bit of my Dad's military history. Harold Burk enlisted in Mar 1942 at Camp Upton, Yaphank, New York, "branch immaterial," as a private. He was assigned to the Army Signal Service Corps and was in "Central Europe" and "Rhineland" battles. He's at right in photo taken in Europe, probably 1945.

Discharged in Oct 1945 in Ft. Monmouth, NJ, he went back to civilian life as a self-employed travel agent. Here's to you, Dad, on Memorial Day.