Showing posts with label Roth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roth. Show all posts

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Genealogist as Indexer-in-Chief

As genealogists, we should also be indexers-in-chief. Alas, family history rarely comes with a ready-made index, so we have to make our own. Here's a case in point.

My maternal grandmother Hermina Farkas Schwartz was the oldest daughter of the 11 children of Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938) and Moritz Farkas (1857-1936). As the Farkas children grew up, married, and had children of their own, they formed the Farkas Family Tree to keep the family close-knit. Members met up to 10 times a year (taking summers off because relatives scattered to the beach or other cooler places outside the New York City metro area).

Five years ago, my 1st cousin once removed lent me his bound books of family tree minutes from 1933 through 1964 to scan, collate, and index. I included a "who's who" of the 11 Farkas children, their spouses, and their children.

However, the bound books didn't have all the months from 1940 to 1944, a dramatic period in the family's life because of WWII. Earlier this year, my 2d cousin kindly provided the 1940-44 minutes, saved by his mother for decades. Now that we have 600-plus pages of monthly minutes to read and enjoy, a detailed index is even more important. That's my specialty!

As shown at top, I like to start with a legal pad and pen, listing the names by hand along the left as each one appears in the minutes. Then I jot down the month and year when each name is mentioned in the minutes, such as 9/40 or 11/42.

Later, I type up the index alphabetically by surname and expand the dates a bit so they can be read at a glance. A typical entry in the final index would be:

         Farkas, Peter Feb 1940, March 1940, Oct 1940, Dec 1940 . . .

To make it easy for later generations, I list married women by their married surnames AND include an entry for their maiden names, with the notation "see ___[married name]." Here's why: Younger relatives, in particular, may not know an ancestor's maiden name, but they will recognize the ancestor's married name. (I don't list dates twice, only next to the married name). The goal is to make the index as intuitive and reader-friendly as possible.

Also, I think it's very important to indicate when someone is NOT in the immediate Farkas family.

  • If I know the person's exact relationship, I include it. My listing for Roth, Bela indicates that his first wife was Lena Kunstler Farkas's sister. He was known as Bela "Bacsi" or "Uncle Bela" by Lena's children. 
  • If I don't know the exact relationship, I say what I do know. My listing for Hartfield, Jenny notes that her maiden name was Mandel and she was always referred to as a cousin, possibly related through the Kunstler family.
Sometimes the minutes include names known only to one particular family. Good thing one of my cousins clued me in that "Tommy" was a canine, not a kiddie. But if I don't say so in the index, how will future generations know?! That's why a genealogist should also be the indexer-in-chief, with explanatory notes. It doesn't matter what system you use, as long as you index with your readers in mind.

PS: Cousins, the full index will be completed soon!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

RIP, Bela "Bacsi" Roth

Bela Bernard Roth (1860*-1941) was married to my maternal great-grandmother's sister, Zolli/Sali Kunstler. I know Zolli died young because my wonderful cousin B saw her very worn gravestone while visiting the cemetery in NagyBereg (now in Ukraine) twenty years ago.

Bela and Zolli had three children together, Margaret, Alex (Sandor), and Joseph. After Zolli died, Bela married Bertha Batia Weiss (1885-1965) and they had three sons together: Hugo, Theodore, and Ernest.

Bela was affectionately nicknamed "Bela Bacsi" ("Uncle" Bela, in Hungarian) by my Farkas Family. Cousins still remember the family talking about him, and he is mentioned twice in the Farkas Family Tree monthly minutes.

First, he wrote to the tree in 1938, on the occasion of the death of his sister-in-law, Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938--my great-grandma). The other mention was when the Farkas Family Tree sent a condolence gift on the occasion of Bela's death.

Sadly, Bela died on November 3, 1941, when he was hit by a truck on the street near his home in Queens, New York. He died the same day of internal injuries and was buried the following day in Riverside Cemetery, Saddle Brook, New Jersey.

If I could ask Bela one question, I would ask him to tell me how his son Joseph is related to the other Joseph Roths so I can untangle the Weiss and Wajman family branches of the tree! "Cause of Death" is this week's #52Ancestors prompt by Amy Johnson Crow.

*Bela apparently was born on 10 August 1860, according to his very, very delayed birth record documented in Hungary in . . . 1889. His wasn't the only delayed birth record documented on the same page in 1889. I'm wondering whether he recorded his birth so he could get married? His first child, with first wife Zolli Kunstler, was born in 1892, but I don't know their marriage date (yet).

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How Our Grandparents Made a Living (or Not)

For this week's #52Ancestors prompt, "Work," I'm taking a look at how my grandparents and hubby's grandparents made a living. Both of us had one grandfather who worked with wood. That's where the similarities end. And this is another case of "don't believe everything in the census."

His grandparents (one immigrant, three grandparents with families long established in America)
  • Maternal grandpa Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) was a master machinist. When he married maternal grandma Floyda Steiner in June of 1903, Brice was working for the "big four" railway shops in Wabash, Indiana (see newspaper clipping). His skills were in demand--especially during World War II, when he lied about his age to seem young enough to work in a Cleveland, Ohio machine shop vital to the war effort. 
  • Maternal grandma Floyda Mabel Steiner (1878-1948) was a full-time mother, but also supplemented her husband's income during the Depression by working in a Cleveland-area store and stretching the family's income as far as possible. 
  • Paternal grandpa James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) was a carpenter and builder in Toledo, Ohio and, after his marriage, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Alas, this grandpa was a good builder but not as good a businessman, according to his oldest son. In fact, most of the homes he constructed are still standing and solid after more than a century. James was the last of this line of the Wood family to be a carpenter. None of his four sons worked in carpentry or wood, nor his grandsons.
  • Immigrant paternal grandma Mary Slatter (1869-1925) was, according to the London workhouse admission register, a servant at age 19 in 1888. My guess was it was more of a low-level maid's position. She lived in Whitechapel and came from extreme poverty. Her mother had been confined to an insane asylum for years at that point. How Mary supported herself after arriving in America in 1895 and before marrying grandpa Wood in 1898, is a mystery.
My grandparents (all four were immigrants from Eastern Europe)



  • Maternal grandpa Tivador Schwartz (1887-1965) was a "clerk" in 1909-10, working as a runner for the steamship lines and working with immigrants like himself (according to census and his naturalization papers). By 1915, he listed his occupation on the NY census as "steamship agent," technically a correct interpretation of what I suspect was commission-based sales of tickets or insurance or both to immigrants. By 1917, he owned his own grocery store in the Bronx, work he continued until he finally retired in the late 1940s/early 1950s. His grandchildren have exhibited some of his entrepreneurial drive!
  • Maternal grandma Hermina "Minnie" Farkas (1886-1964) used her sewing skills to help support her family after arriving as a teenage immigrant in late 1901. A Roth cousin "did her a favor" (according to my Mom) and found her paid work as a necktie finisher (census backs this up). She continued to work on "gents' neckwear" until she married grandpa in 1911. Once her husband owned his own grocery store, she worked alongside him--long hours on their feet, which hurt their health in later years. Minnie passed her love of needlework, as a hobby, to a daughter and granddaughters.
  • Paternal grandpa Isaac Burk (1882-1943) left his hometown of Gargzdai, Lithuania with training as a cabinet maker. He and his older brother, Abraham, made their living through carpentry. The UK census of 1901 shows them both living with family in Manchester, England, occ: cabinetmakers, true because I've seen Isaac's work. The 1910 US census lists Isaac as a "storekeeper, candy" but I'm not sure how true or long-lasting that was--maybe a quick stopgap in between his carpentry work. Isaac's 1942 WWII "old man's draft" card says he was a manufacturer of dress forms, but again, I'm not sure this is strictly accurate. One of Isaac's brothers-in-law had a dress-forms business. Isaac might have worked there part-time, especially to qualify for what was then a fairly new Social Security program.
  • Paternal grandma Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954) is shown as being employed as a "stenographer," according to the 1900 census. Mind you, she was in the country for 14 years. She was 19 at the time of that census and, I gather, a quick study, but I'm not sure she really took dictation. Probably she worked at some office-type clerical job (typing) to help support the family. Very likely she did some work in the garment trade, because her younger sisters worked in lace, millinery, and garment factories, cousins tell me. After she married grandpa, Henrietta took care of their growing family and transported the kids back and forth between New York City, where her widowed mother and siblings lived, and Montreal, where Isaac sometimes worked with his brother Abraham.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

V7a Mitochondrial Results and Next Steps

Finally, this week I received the results of my FamilyTree DNA mitochondrial test purchased at RootsTech 2018.

As shown above, my mother's mother's line is haplogroup V7a and its origins are in Northern/Eastern Europe and beyond to Russia. Apparently, this is not a common haplogroup, and it explains the odd trace of Iberian DNA mentioned in my Ancestry results.

My mitochondrial DNA traces back through my mother, Daisy Schwartz, to her mother, Hermina Farkas, then to Hermina's mother, Leni Kunstler and Leni's mother, Toby Roth. 

Toby is my 2d great-grandma, who was probably born early in the 1800s. She married Shmuel Zanvil Kunstler, who died in 1869 and is buried in a tiny cemetery with other Kunstler ancestors. My wonderful genealogy-minded cousin B ventured to the town (in modern-day Ukraine) to see the headstones 20 years ago. Only because of her trip have we been able to understand our tree's connections with Roth cousins and Kunstler cousins today.

Now what? Here are my MtDNA next steps, which are in progress:

  • Completed FTDNA pedigree to include mother's family tree as far back as I know it. This was a high priority because others who find me in their list of matches will instantly be able to compare surnames and locations. If only every DNA match in my list had a Gedcom or pedigree linked to their results!
  • Updated my Gedmatch profile to show V7a haplogroup and check matches for that haplogroup. So far, no family trees for the very, very few mtDNA matches...and the matches are for small chromosome segments, with most recent common ancestors more than 4 generations back. Also checking for matches in common with my matches. These may offer me clues to focus future searches.
  • To do: Use the MtDNA tools on the International Society of Genetic Genealogy site to learn more about interpreting the data and extending my research.
  • To do: Scrutinize the V7a matches on FTDNA (shown on map above), which are mostly concentrated in Europe with a few in other areas. Compare with matches on other sites (Ancestry and Gedmatch, for instance) to see whether I can get more specific when I do contact solid matches.
  • To do: Formulate a new, brief "query" note to send to DNA matches, mentioning my MtDNA as well as surnames/locations on my tree. The more concise and specific, the easier it is for matches to read and -- hopefully! -- respond with a synopsis of their genealogical backgrounds.
Looking forward to new genealogical adventures in DNA land!


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ancestor Timeline Reveals Gaps (Gasp)

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week was to create a timeline for one ancestor and explain how we created it, along with the image.

Since I'm still a RootsMagic7 newbie (less than 4 months' experience), I was delighted to follow Randy's detailed directions for how he created his ancestor's timeline in RM7. I did the same for my 2d great uncle, Bela Bernard Roth (1865-1941). His first wife was Sali/Zali Kunstler (? - 1895), sister to my great-grandma Leni Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938). Bela's parents were Shlomo/Salomon Roth and Hannah Klein.

After I created the timeline in RM7, I took a screen shot with my "Preview" function for Mac. To do that, I selected just the timeline itself as it appeared on my screen and saved it as a .jpg. There is more info available in the timeline, but I didn't include all in this screen shot.

As Randy indicates, the look is bare-bones but practical. At a glance, I can see how old Bela is during each moment on the timeline. When his children were born, when he came to America the first and second times, at the point of each census, when he died.

This timeline reveals (gasp!) gaps for me to research. For instance, Bela had four more children with his second wife (Bertha Batia Weiss, 1885-1967), including one mentioned in a 1907 passenger manifest and a 1914 passenger manifest.

This son, Imre (or Emery) Roth, vanished before the 1920 U.S. Census. He's a gap that I'd like to fill with more information so I can record him and honor his memory. For now, Bela's timeline will have to state that son Imre/Emery died "before 1920."

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday's Faces from the Past: Remembering Mom, Counting Her Cousins

Remembering my dear mother, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981), on the 36th anniversary of her death. This 1946 photo shows her looking radiant on her wedding day, just before the ceremony at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City.

Since I'm still researching siblings of her maternal grandparents Moritz Farkas/Leni Kunstler and paternal grandparents Herman Schwartz/Hani Simonowitz Schwartz, I can't yet name all of Mom's first cousins. Here are the 28 whose names I know:
  • George and Robert, sons of her uncle Albert Farkas and Sari Klein Farkas.
  • Edythe and Jacqui, daughters of her aunt Irene Farkas Grossman and uncle Milton Grossman.
  • Ron and Betty, children of her aunt Ella Farkas Lenney and uncle Joseph Lenney.
  • Harry and Richard, sons of her aunt Freda Farkas Pitler and uncle Morris Pitler.
  • Barbara, Robert, and Peter, children of her aunt Rose Farkas Freedman and uncle George Freedman.
  • Richard and Susan, children of her uncle Fred Farkas and aunt Charlotte Chapman Farkas.
  • Michael and Leonard, sons of her aunt Jeannie Farkas Marks and uncle Harold Marks.
  • Hajnal, Clara, Sandor, Ilona, and Elza, children of her uncle Joszef Kunstler and aunt Helena Schonfeld Kunstler.
  • Margaret, Alexander, and Joseph, children of her aunt Zali Kunstler Roth and uncle Bela Bernard Roth.
  • Burton and Harriet, children of her aunt Mary Schwartz Wirtschafter and uncle Edward Wirtschafter.
  • Morton and Eugene, sons of her uncle Sam Schwartz and aunt Anna Gelbman Schwartz.
  • Viola, daughter of her aunt Paula Schwartz Weiss and uncle [first name unknown] Weiss.
Remembering Mom today, with love.

PS: I can name every one of Dad's first cousins--he had only 20. But until a few months ago, I didn't know about all of them, and then I broke through a brick wall!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Genealogy Blog Pool Party: Which Weiss is Which?

Bertha and Bela Roth
Elizabeth O'Neal's July theme for the genealogy blog party is Annoying Ancestor? Push 'Em in the Pool!

Well, I'm too soft-hearted to shove anyone into the pool (especially a long-lost ancestor). Still, I'm swimming in Weiss in-laws. There are a lot of Weiss folks married into my maternal Grandmother Minnie Farkas's family tree.

Trying to connect these Weisses to each other is sending me off the deep end--but I'm convinced they're related.


Herman Weiss
Which Weiss is which?!

  • Bertha Batia Weiss (daughter of Solomon and Rose Hoffner) was the 2d wife of Bela Roth, a cousin to my maternal grandmother. She, like all the other in-laws named Weiss, was born in Hungary. She and her husband visited the Farkas Family Tree from time to time and were known to be cousins, but the exact relationship remains a bit fuzzy.
  • Herman Weiss (son of Chaim Yaakov and Rose Svarcz) was the husband of Ida Farkas, known to be a distant cousin to my maternal grandma. Herman & Ida's son Johnny was a frequent visitor to Farkas Family Tree gatherings.
  • Julia Ida Weiss (daughter of Isador and Fany Roth) was the wife of Herman Wajman. My Roth cousins were aware that the family (renamed Warren after daughter Gloria became a star of stage and screen) were cousins, and my research finally proved the link.  
Other Weiss folks appear in family documents. Sam Weiss was the witness to my maternal great-grandpa Moritz Farkas's naturalization. Weiss was the maiden name of the grandmother of cousin Alex Roth's wife, Blanche Schwartz. 

So which Weiss is which? Are any of them cousins or otherwise related to each other and/or to my Farkas family beyond intermarriage? A deeper dive is in my future if I want to figure out which Weiss is which.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Uncle Joseph Roth" Links the Wajman and Weiss Families

For two years, I've been searching for the link between the Weiman family, Roth family, and Weiss family. My Roth cousins knew they were related to the Weiman family, and vice versa. But how? And we all wondered how my Roth cousins are related to me!

Part of the answer was on page 2 of a passenger manifest showing Hersch Wajman, wife Ida, and daughter Magda, sailing from Liverpool on the "Carmania" on 18 February 1921 and arriving in New York City on 28 February 1921.

On line 6, shown above, Hersch (Herman) Wajman (later Weiman) said the family was going to "Uncle Joseph Roth" at an address in New York City--an address that appears on Joseph Roth's passport application. This is an exact match for the Joseph Roth who was the brother-in-law of my great-grandma, Lena Kunstler Farkas.

It's complicated--Joseph Roth's brother was Bela Roth, and Bela's first wife was Zalli Kunstler (sister of Lena, my ggm). Gets even more complicated: Bela's second wife was Batia Bertha Weiss.

If you're still with me, the maiden name of Hersch/Herman Wajman/Weiman's wife was Ida Julia Weiss, known as Julia. We have other Weiss in-laws in my Farkas family, some who are married to Roths.





I did a search for Herman and Julia's young daughter Magda, who arrived at Ellis Island as a one-year-old, and this turned up a second manifest. The family was originally booked to sail from London to Boston on the "Saxonia" on 17 February 1921, arriving on 2 March 1921. They were crossed off that passenger list, as shown above. How and why the Weiman family switched from the port of London to the port of Liverpool and chose to land in New York instead of Boston, I just don't know.

The manifest is readable enough to be sure this is the correct Wajman/Weiman family. Hersh named his mother, "K Wajmann" as the nearest relative in Opatow, Poland, where he was from. Hersh was a watchmaker who spoke Polish, Russian, Yiddish, and Hungarian.

On page 2 of the "Saxonia" manifest, not shown here, the family says they're going to join--"Uncle Joseph Roth," a manufacturer, at his business address in New York City. MY Joseph Roth!

Wait, there's more: Julia Weiss Weiman's Soc Sec application lists her parents as Isador Weiss and Fany Roth. So "Uncle Joseph Roth" appears to be Julia's uncle. Therefore: Joseph Roth's children are first cousins of Julia Weiss Weiman, and Joseph Roth's grandchildren are second cousins of Julia's children. Now we know!

Next, I'm going to look for Julia's siblings/parents and also try to learn more about Batia Bertha Weiss's siblings. If there's any overlap, then as they say in Britain, "Bob's your uncle." Or, in this case, "Joseph's your uncle."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sibling Saturday: The Kunstler Family from NagyBereg

Great-grandma Leni KUNSTLER Farkas (1865-1938), born in NagyBereg, Hungary (now Velyki Berehy, Ukraine) had at least four siblings.
  • Sally/Sarah/Zalli KUNSTLER married Bela Bernard Roth and had three children with him: Alexander (Sandor), whose Social Security application is shown above--Alex married Blanche Schwartz, a cousin of Tony Curtis; Margaret, who married Herman Mandel; and Joseph/Joszef, who married Evelyn Goldman. When my sweet cuz B visited Ukraine, she located Zalli's gravestone and also that of the Kunstler patriarch, Samuel Zanvil Kunstler (died in 1869), plus other Kunstlers.
  • Hinde KUNSTLER died in 1881, according to her gravestone. I wish I knew more about this sister of Leni and Zalli.
  • Yehudit KUNSTLER died in 1879, according to her gravestone, and I know nothing more about her.
  • Joszef Moshe KUNSTLER (1869-1935) married Helena Schonfeld and was a successful businessman in his time, employing many in his town.
Because Great-grandma Leni's mother's name was Toby Roth, and her sister Zalli married a Roth, I've been interested in learning more about the connections between the Kunstler and Roth families. Some of the descendants have names that echo the names of the Kunstler siblings, following Jewish tradition, and that gives me clues to the past.

Now that Ancestry is posting many SSA index files and transcriptions, I'm finding more clues and sending for original applications (like the above) to confirm parentage and relationships. On Alex Roth's SSA, as you can see, his birth place is Hungary, N.B. (meaning NagyBereg).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Josef and Julia Roth, Buried in Mt Moriah Cemetery

Earlier this month, I visited Mount Moriah Cemetery in New Jersey to pay my respects to cousin Josef Roth (abt 1858-1945) and his wife, Julia Gutfried Roth (1862-1937).

Josef was probably an older half-brother of my Farkas cousin Bela Roth (1865-1941).

Josef's inscription confirms he was the son of Shlomo (Solomon).

Julia's inscription says she was the daughter of Menacham Dov, the Cohain (priestly tribe).

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Was Cousin Alex Roth's Wife Blanche a Cousin of Tony Curtis?

Tony Curtis (Bernard Schwartz) was born in Mateszalka; my Roth cousins were born in Vasarosnameny.
Maybe one glamorous star of stage and screen isn't enough for the Roth branch of my family tree. We know that the 1940s Broadway and Hollywood star Gloria Warren  (original name: Gloria M. Weiman, daughter of Herman Weiman and Julia Weiss Weiman) was a cousin. She was related through the Farkas-Kunstler cousin Bela Roth (1865-1941), who frequently visited the Farkas Family Tree meetings--my mother's side of the family.

Cousin Alex "Sandor" Roth (1892-1949) was the oldest son of Bela Roth, born in Vasarosnameny, Hungary. The Roths came to New York in the early 1900s. While living in the Boston area and working in a car dealership (a family occupation in the Roth line), Alex married Blanche "Blanka" Schwartz (1897-1986). I've sent for Alex's Social Security application, and hope to have it before the calendar clicks over to 2016.

Meanwhile, I'd heard a whisper that Blanche Schwartz was some kind of cousin of Tony Curtis, whose original name was Bernard Hershel Schwartz. So I've been trying to find out more.

Parents of Blanche Schwartz
An experienced researcher interested in the Schwartz connection to Tony Curtis shared with me the following information:
  • Blanche Schwartz was very likely the daughter of Frank (Ferencz) Schwartz and Frieda Frimet Klein. We will know for sure once I get a copy of Blanche's Social Security application in January.
  • Blanche was born in Mateszalka, Hungary, which is close to Vasarosnameny, the home town of the Roth family (see map at top).
  • Blanche had 3 sisters who lived to adulthood: Elaine (married name was Stern), Violet (married name was Winton and then Fidel, and she was an actress), and Elizabeth
Because this researcher suspected that Blanche's parents were buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in New Jersey, I took a field trip and photographed their stone, shown above. Translating, Frank is the son of Shalom, Frieda is the daughter of Dov Ber.

The researcher also discovered that Frank Schwartz's mother's maiden name is Weiss. Remember Weiss? That's the maiden name of Gloria Warren's mother. Coincidence? Very possible, given how many Weiss families lived in that area of Hungary. But then again, there were a number of intermarriages with the Weiss family on my mother's side.

To discover the connection between Blanche Schwartz and Bernard Hershel Schwartz will require investigating older ancestors in the Mateszalka records. This is going to be quite a challenge!

Friday, October 31, 2014

52 Ancestors #46: Lojos the Tailor from Budafalu, Hungary

Lojos Mandel (1861?-1914) was the father-in-law of my cousin Margaret Roth (1892-1967). I've been tracing him back in the hope of learning more about the Roth family's history before they arrived in New York City.

Soon after Lojos (or Lajos) sailed into New York Harbor in November, 1890, he Americanized his name to Louis. In 1896, he filed his first papers for US citizenship and 10 years later, he took the oath of citizenship.

Lojos was a tailor, according to multiple census records, living on Avenue D in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for years. He and his wife, Rose Moskovitz Mandel, moved to the Bronx sometime after the 1910 Census period.

Lojos and his wife Rose returned to Europe in late 1911 and sailed back to New York in January, 1912 on the same ship that brought Joseph Roth, brother of Margaret Roth. In other words, Lojos's future daughter-in-law's brother was on the same ship from Hamburg to NYC. Coincidence? Hardly.

When Lojos died suddenly of a heart attack in 1914, at about 54 years of age, the family buried him in Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn. But that's not where he's resting today. His gravestone is in Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens, inside a large family plot.

Only by looking up his NYC death certificate on microfilm (thank you, Family History Center) did I learn that his hometown was Budafalu, Hungary, which is now Budesti in Romania, not far from Bucharest.

Was his wife Rose born near Budafalu? And did either have siblings who also sailed to America? Did the Mandels meet the Roths in New York or were they acquainted in Hungary before they left?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Workday Wednesday: Horsman Dolls and the Roth Connection

Cousin Joseph Roth and his son-in-law Lawrence Lipson were involved with the Horsman Doll Company, headquartered at 200 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, with a factory in New Jersey. Above, one of the beautiful dolls made by Horsman in 1956.

Horsman was founded right after the Civil War to manufacture baseballs and toys, as well as to distribute sporting goods like archery sets and croquet. There really was a Mr. Horsman (Edward I. Horsman) who established the company in 1865, when toy wholesaling businesses tended to locate in the Maiden Lane area of lower Manhattan. Mr. Horsman died in 1927 and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Just before the great stock market crash of 1929, the company narrowed its focus exclusively to doll manufacturing. I don't know how or when my Roth family became part of this business, which passed out of Horsman control a few years after the market crash. I do know that when Joseph Roth died in 1945, his son-in-law Lawrence Lipson told authorities that Joseph had retired from the toy manufacturing business in 1930. Lawrence was the president of Horsman during the 1950s and he remained in charge when the company was bought by Botany Mills in 1957.

My Roth cousins remember being gifted with Horsman dolls for birthdays and holidays. One cousin remembers going to the Fifth Avenue showroom and being dazzled by the stunning displays of one gorgeous doll after another!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

52 Ancestors #29: Cousin Jennie Hartfield and the Roth-Mandel-Farkas Connection

The gentleman second from left is "Hartfield." That's what my mother's Farkas family always called him, never by his full name--Isidore Hartfield.

His wife (next to him, in the white hat with black trim) was "Cousin Jennie." They lived in Brooklyn and often attended Farkas Family Tree meetings, even hosting on a few occasions.

This photo was taken in November, 1946, at my parents' wedding. The Hartfields are seated with members of my Farkas family and with Margaret Roth Mandel (in dark hat, third from right) and her husband, Herman Mandel (just visible behind the lady with a spoon in her mouth).

Margaret is definitely a cousin, but I wanted to learn more about the Hartfields.

I read through Isidore Hartfield's Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen and learned his marriage date and place: November 26, 1916 in New York City. (Isidore and Jennie celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary two days before they attended the wedding pictured above.)

Look at the above screen shot, and you'll see why I just sent for this marriage document. It shows Isidor Hartfield's bride's name as "Jennie Maudel." Very likely this is actually "Jennie Mandel." When this cert arrives, I'll know Jennie's parents' names.

Since Jennie was born in NagyBereg, Hungary, where my Roth relatives were born, it seems that she must be related through the Roth and Mandel cousin connection. More cousins!

UPDATE: Six weeks ago, I sent for this marriage cert. It arrived yesterday (see left). Now I know the family connection was through my great-grandma Lena Kunstler, who was related to Jennie Mandel's mother!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Matrilineal Monday: Where Grandma Minnie and Cousin Margaret Got Married

In 1911, my maternal grandma, Hermina Farkas married my grandpa, Theodore Schwartz, at the 8-10 Clinton Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


Here's their marriage cert. Note the name of the top witness: Marcus Aronoff.

This same gentleman witnessed the marriage of Grandma Minnie's first cousin Margaret to husband Herman in 1913, at the same synagogue, with the same rabbi officiating.

How does Marcus Aronoff relate to the family? Or was he a head of the congregation or some other official in the synagogue?

UPDATE: Cousin L noticed a very important detail: My Grandma Minnie lived at 745 E. 6th Street when she married, the same building where his mom (cousin Margaret) lived when she was married by the same rabbi in the same synagogue, just 18 months later. Here's a street view of that building, a 6-story apartment building built in 1900 that still stands today. Yet another indication that the families were close!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mystery Monday: How Was Gloria Warren Related to the Roth Family?

Visiting with my Cuz J the other day, I learned that actress/singer Gloria Warren is somehow a cousin to Joseph Roth and his father, Bela Bernard Roth. Bela was affectionately known as "Uncle Bela" in my Farkas/Kunstler family, even though he was most definitely a cousin.

So how are we related to Gloria Warren?

According to the Delaware Historical Society, Gloria was born in Delaware in 1926 (IMDB says the date was April 7th, in Wilmington). Her birth name was Gloria M. Weiman. Her father Herman, a jeweler/watchmaker, was from Russia and her mother Julia Weiss Weiman was Hungarian (see the 1930 Census snippet, which includes sister June Violet, 3 years older). Both June and Gloria were very beautiful young ladies.

Other cousins have confirmed that Gloria was a relative to the Roth family (and Cousin L briefly dated her, since the connection was distant!). Actually there are connections to two different Joseph Roths, both in my family.


Gloria's breakout role was in the movie Always in My Heart, and she became a singing phenom with the title song. She married Peter Gold in 1946. Cousin L saw her in the Broadway show What's Up? which also starred the popular comic Jimmy Savo.

Gloria made a few more movies, and then settled down to family life, having a son and a daughter in California, where her husband was a successful businessman.

There are Weiss relatives elsewhere in this side of my family tree. Perhaps they're related to Julia, Gloria's mother?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am honoring the memory of loved ones who perished from these branches of my family tree:
  • My grandpa Tivador Schwartz's family.
  • My great-grandfather Moritz Farkas's family.
  • My great-grandma Lena Kunstler's family.
  • My Farkas cousins, the Roth family.
I've searched for family members using these resources:
Never forget. Never again.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Census Sunday Surprise: Finding Two Farkas Relatives on a Roth Naturalization

Bela Roth--cousin to the Farkas family--was admitted as a US citizen on June 22, 1920. I've been hunting for the exact connection between Bela and my family. When I received a copy of Bela's naturalization petition this week, I was surprised to see the familiar signature of two great uncles: Alex Farkas and Julius Farkas, brothers of my grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz.

Luckily for me, this petition was dated only a few weeks after the 1920 census, so I was able to cross-check the address of my Farkas relatives to be sure I'm on the right track.

Here are a couple of lines from the 1920 census record of Alexander Farkas, who lived at 828 Dawson St. in the Bronx, with his wife Jennie. Alex's occupation: Cutter. Then I checked Julius Farkas's address in the 1920 Census, and his occupation: 843 Whitlock Ave., Bronx, NY, occupation: salesman.

Both Farkas names/addresses/occupations are an exact match with the information on Bela Roth's petition document! This is another important clue confirming a definite relationship between the two families. Exactly how Bela and his family were related to my Farkas family remains a bit of a mystery.

Friday, March 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #15: The Roth Family, Entrepreneurs

The Roth family from Vasarosnameny, Hungary--cousins on my mother's side--had an entrepreneurial streak. Adolf Roth, one of several sons of Salomon Roth, arrived in 1897, established himself, and then helped two of his brothers come to New York. Adolf owned a necktie factory in Manhattan (he said he was a "neckwear contractor"). That factory provided work for many of the Roths and relatives as they arrived from Hungary. My grandma sewed fine silk ties for Adolf, for instance. Bela Roth, another of Salomon's sons, arrived in 1907 and he seems to have worked in his brother Adolf's factory.

Josef Roth, a brother or cousin of Bela and Adolf, had two sons, Emil and Peter Roth, who both went into the restaurant business.
From the New York Call, January 6, 1914
  • Peter Roth (1872?-1956) co-owned the Viennese-style restaurant Cafe Monopol at 145 Second Avenue in Manhattan, with his brother-in-law Peter Stern and others (see incorporation note, above, from 1915 publication Polk's New York Copartnership and Corporation Directory, p. 730). The little restaurant ad, directly above, shows my Roth cousin in business 100 years ago!
  • Emil Roth (1887-1965) worked at the Rossoff Restaurant at 152 West 44th Street in Manhattan.
Now all of the above was probably common knowledge in the family, but not passed down to later generations. It took days to piece the info together from passport applications, Census data, obituaries, and--most fun of all--working with two (probable) cousins, one in NY and one in Maryland, who were way ahead of me in tracing our Roth family tree.

Plus I've just connected with another delightful cousin from the Roth family! She tells me that her father (a son of Bela Roth) was highly entrepreneurial. During the summer, he and a brother would drive city dwellers from New York to vacation spots in the Catskills. At the end of the summer, they sold their "cab" and made good money from the sale. Eventually, that led to her father going into the used car business and, ultimately, owning a new car franchise that remains in the family today.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: The Solomon & Adolph Roth Social Society

Yesterday's visit to Riverside Cemetery in New Jersey yielded more names and relationships to check out in my quest to uncover how the Roth family is related to my Farkas or Kunstler or Schwartz families.

Like many cemeteries, Riverside used to have a grave locator function on its website, with an easy e-mail request for more info.

Sadly for family history researchers like me, Riverside removed the online function earlier this year, because it was generating too many inquiries. But luckily, I had already located enough of my Roth cousins to know it was worth a visit.

I did see the burial places of my Roth cousins and check on their next of kin. Just as interesting as the graves were the gates to the Solomon & Adolph Roth Social Society plot, located at the corner of Jesse Walk and Israel Avenue in the cemetery's upper-left quadrant. Among the donors to the cemetery gates were Mr. & Mrs. Bela Roth (my family) and Mr. & Mrs. Peter Roth (son of the other Joseph Roth, not directly related to my Bela Roth).

Thanks to another Roth researcher, who kindly posted the incorporation papers for the Sol & Roth Social Society, I know who founded it (see below), when (incorporated in 1935), and where (NYC). The interim directors appointed until the first annual meeting were: Joseph Roth (not my Joseph Roth); George Rehberger; and Max Roth (possibly Joseph's brother). The officials who signed the certificate of incorporation were: Leon D. Miller, Joseph Roth, Margaret Stern Festinger, Louis Weiss, Louis Spielberger, and Abe Kramer. Leon D. Miller was the attorney who filed the incorporation papers, by the way, on 20 Sept 1935.

The society purchased the plot in Riverside Cemetery for its members and offered other benefits, including access to doctors. My newfound Cousin L (whose grandfather was in this society) says that especially during the Depression, it was a plum position to be the "official" doctor of such organizations.

And who are Sol & Adolph Roth, for whom the society is named? They must be related to the Joseph (not my family) Roth who is on the incorporation papers. Maybe relatives back in the hometown of Püspökladány, Hajdu-Bihar, Hungary?