Showing posts with label Katz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Katz. Show all posts

Monday, December 24, 2018

Genealogy on Christmas Eve

December is a busy month in my family tree and that of my husband. Weddings! Birthdays! Holiday cheer!

Here are two of many penny post cards sent to my husband's uncle in Cleveland, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957), from 1905 through 1917. Happily, these and other holiday greeting cards remain in the Wood family all these decades later.


In my family, great-uncle Alex Farkas (1885-1948) married Jennie Katz (1886-1974--the "nicest" aunt I recently wrote about here) in what looks like quite a fun Christmas Eve wedding in 1916.

Alex was the oldest of the Farkas siblings, born in Botpalad, Hungary, on Christmas day in 1885 to my great-grandparents, Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) and Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938).

The second-oldest was my grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964), who is shown in the wedding portrait with her husband Ted Schwartz (1887-1965) and their toddler son, my uncle Fred.

On the Schwartz side of the family, my great-aunt Mary Schwartz (1891-1959) eloped with handsome furrier Edward Wirtschafter (1889-1958) on Christmas Eve of 1913.

They went to City Hall in Manhattan, got married, and then returned to their separate apartments without saying a word to family and friends. Why? Because Mary's in-laws, the Farkas family, had "picked out" a suitable young man for her to marry, but she chose Edward. Mary's daughter told me this created a bit of a stir at first among the Farkas folks.

But then Mary and Edward were married a second time, just four days later on December 28, in a religious ceremony, with Mary's oldest brother Sam Schwartz signing the marriage license as a witness, representing the Schwartz family. Mary had just turned 22 on December 26.

Mary and Edward were happily married for more than 40 years. Above, my grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz with her husband Teddy Schwartz and his sister Mary Schwartz Wirtschafter, at a family celebration.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Remembering Aunt Jennie Farkas, the Nicest Aunt

Several of my cousins have shared fond memories of my great-aunt, Jennie (or Jenny) Katz Farkas (1886-1974).  She married Alex (Sandor) Farkas (1885-1948) on Christmas Eve, 1916, in New York City.

I remember Aunt Jennie as a constant, affectionate presence at Farkas Family Tree meetings. With no children of her own, she doted on her nieces, nephews, and their children.

I want to honor her as the "nicest aunt" for several reasons. Jennie was a top-notch professional dressmaker (not just family story, she also listed "dressmaker" as her occupation in 1920 Census).

Family legend is that she could look at a magazine photo or sketch of couture clothing and recreate it for herself or relatives. In fact, she made the bridal gown and all the ladies' dresses in the photo above, a family wedding celebrated in 1932. Jennie really went the extra mile to make the family look extra special, IMHO.

Another reason to honor and remember her is that the Farkas Family Tree organization was her idea in 1933. In the historian's report for 1959, her nephew Bob wrote: "Since the inception of the Tree, I would venture to say that she has been just about the most ardent supporter of our organization, and just about the most regular attender of meetings. With great respect and much love I dedicate this report to Jenny Farkas--AUNT JENNY."

Bob, I have to agree. Let me dedicate this week's #52Ancestors post to Aunt Jennie Katz Farkas, the nicest aunt and an ancestor to be remembered for her dedication to family.
PS: My great aunt's Hebrew name was "Sheindel" but never did I hear her called anything but Jennie.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Family History Month: Will You Bequeath a Mess or a Collection?

During Family History Month, I'm continuing to organize my genealogy materials for two main reasons: (1) so I can put my hands on exactly the records or photos I want when needed, and (2) so my heirs will receive a well-preserved genealogy collection, not a mess.

Above left, a photo of part of the mess I inherited. My parents left cardboard boxes of papers jumbled together with photos and movies and other stuff. On the right, what I'm bequeathing to my genealogy heirs: Photos and original documents organized by surname and family, in archival boxes for safekeeping.

I especially wanted to protect certain artifacts in archival boxes, including:
  • The college scrapbook of my late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), which is 90 years old but still in good shape;
  • The 1946 wedding album of my parents, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981) and Harold Burk (1909-1978), which was deteriorating;
  • The 1916 wedding portrait from my great uncle Alex Farkas (1885-1948) and Jennie Katz (1886-1974), which includes my maternal grandparents among the family members pictured.
Not only does organizing make my research easier, it also jogs my memory to put the pieces of the puzzle together as I categorize items and look at them more carefully. In the process, I'm getting my collection into good order for the sake of future generations (as explained in my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past). I don't want to leave a genealogical mess for future generations to untangle and decode!

Remember, you have to put your instructions into a written "genealogical will" so the next generation knows what you have, where your collection is located, and why it's important to save the family's history.

The NUMBER ONE thing we can all do is to put captions on our old photos. If we do nothing else, this will at least help future generations know who's who and how each person is related. Mystery photos might get tossed out, but not identified photos.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

School's in Session: Ancestors in Education

School days are here again, a good reason to remember some ancestors who were teachers or otherwise involved in education:
  • SCHWARTZ/FARKAS FAMILY: Above, my aunt Dorothy Schwartz (1919-2001), who was a high school teacher of typing, stenography, and business subjects. This is her faculty picture from a yearbook dated nearly 40 years ago. My uncle Fred Shaw (1912-1991) was a high school history teacher who wrote civics textbooks; his wife, Daisy Katz Shaw (1913-1985), was an educational guidance counselor who became Director of the Bureau of Vocational and Occupational Guidance in New York City. My great aunt, Ella Farkas Lenney (1897-1991) taught in the New York school system for years. 
  • McCLURE FAMILY: Hubby's great aunt, Lola McClure Lower (1877-1948) was a truant officer in Wabash, Indiana public schools in 1920. By 1930, her occupation had changed to "attendance officer, public schools" in Wabash (see Census excerpt above). Hubby's great aunt, Anna Adaline McClure  (1854-1928) was a teacher when she married Samuel Cook, a mason, in Petoskey, Michigan, in 1897.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Surname Saturday: Celebrating Family Holiday Traditions


In my husband's Wood family, the tradition was for first cousins to send each other greeting postcards for major holidays.

This Christmas card was sent to my husband's "Uncle Wally" (Wallis Walter Wood), in the 1910s, from first cousin Chester Maxwell Carsten (1910-1967) in Toledo. No postmark, so this was probably mailed with a bundle of cards to the Wood cousins in Cleveland.

My family's holiday traditions were different. Here's a b/w photo of my Mahler/Burk cousins at a Hanukkah party we all attended in the late 1950s. Note the desserts and chocolate milk for kids!

Also, a surprising number of my ancestors and relatives were married on Christmas Eve (including at least one of my 2d cousins). My previous post mentioned my great-uncle Alex Farkas marrying Jenny Katz on Christmas Eve, and here's the only photo I have of that wedding. Alex was my grandma's older brother.

As identified in the photo, my grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz is at right, with long dark hair. Her husband Ted Schwartz is next to her, wearing a funny hat. In front of them is their young son, Fred. Mom and her twin weren't even a gleam in their eyes--yet.

Wishing you all the happiest and healthiest of holidays! Celebrate with your family's traditions.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Sandor "Alex" Farkas, Born on Christmas?

Great-uncle Sandor (Alex) Farkas (1885-1948) was born in December 1885, in Botpalad, Hungary to my great-grandparents, Moritz Farkas and Leni Kunstler Farkas. His actual birth record, shown below, says December 12, but Alex always wrote December 25 on all his U.S. official records.*

Alex was married to Jennie Katz (1886-1974) on Christmas Eve, 1914, one of several weddings in my family tree that took place on December 24th.

Both Alex and Jennie are buried in Mt. Hebron Cemetery in NY, within the plot of the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick & Benevolent Association, which Alex helped to found in 1904.

* Turns out he sometimes claimed a different birth date. In 1918, Alex told the draft board that he was born Jan 5, 1885, suggesting he was almost a full year older than he really was. Hmm.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Family Weddings on Christmas Eve

Here are two stories of Christmas Eve weddings among members of my grandparents' families.


My grandfather's sister, great-aunt Mary Schwartz (1891-1959), eloped with handsome furrier Edward Wirtschafter (1889-1958) mid-day on December 24, 1913.

They were married at City Hall and kept their marriage secret from the family for a number of weeks.

Mary quickly became close to her sister-in-law Anna Gelbman Schwartz (1886-1940), wife of Sam Schwartz (1883-1954), a brother of Teddy and Mary.

The photo at right, courtesy of my 2d cousin, shows Mary and Edward in middle age, still a devoted couple.


My grandmother's brother, great-uncle Alex "Sandor" Farkas (1885-1948), married beautiful, talented Jennie Katz (1886-1974) on December 24, 1916.

Both Alex and Jennie worked in the garment industry. It was said that Jennie could sew a copy of any fashion after seeing it once, without a pattern. In fact, she sewed dresses for the bridal parties of many Farkas relatives.

Alex was one of the prime movers of the Kossuth Society in New York, which helped take care of sick members. This is where he met his future bride.

The photo at left shows Jennie with her husband Alex (at right) and her brother-in-law Teddy Schwartz (at left, hi Grandpa!). Teddy was married to Alex's older sister, Minnie Farkas (hi Grandma!). 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: The Christmas Eve Wedding of Great-uncle Alex Farkas and Jennie Katz

On Sunday, December 24, 1916, Jennie Katz (daughter of Elias Katz and Sarah Lindenbaum Katz) married my great-uncle Alex (Sandor) Farkas (oldest son of Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler Farkas). Below is the transcribed record from their marriage license, clipped from Family Search. That's how I know Jennie's parents' names and her birthplace of Malomfalva, which is now in Romania but when Jennie was born, it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Alex and Jennie met through the Kossuth Society in New York, where Alex was one of the founders. Alex was in the garment trade and Jennie was a dressmaker who could copy any fashion after seeing it once. Their wedding was quite an event, judging by the above photo. The bride and groom, both about 30 at the time, are at center.

Alex's sister Minnie (hi Grandma!) was the first of his siblings to marry, in 1911. Minnie married Ted Schwartz (hi Grandpa!), who's next to her in this photo, and their 4-year-old son Fred (hi Uncle!) is also in this photo.

Although the people are numbered on the photo for identification purposes, the list of names has been lost over time. All but one of Alex's 10 siblings are here, identified by my cousins. Younger brother Albert Farkas (born May 5, 1888) was in Vancouver at the time and doesn't appear in the photo.

Great-aunt Jennie Katz Farkas died on May 1, 1974, outliving her husband Alex by 26 years. He died on January 18, 1948.

Remembering these Farkas ancestors on Sentimental Sunday.