Friday, June 20, 2008

Abraham Ratner & Sons in Albany business directory

Walt, you should get a kick out of this because of the other entries under Bottlers—Carbonated Beverages, including Albany Coco-Cola Bottling Works and Orange Crush Bottling Co. This is interesting in light of the family story that Abe turned down the opportunity to become a Coca Cola franchise.

Rabinovich surname

Here's an excerpt from Beilen on the surname Rabinovich, which he treats as a special case of rabbinical surname. If you can't make it out in the image, go here for a full size version.

Katz name derivation

Oh boy, I have a lot to catch up on here. I visited the Mormon Family Research Center in Oakland, where I met Jeremy Frankel, the president of the SF Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. More on that, and what I learned about ordering LDS records, in an upcoming post.

Also, I connected online with Dave Howard, who is the leading researching about the Jewish community in Rezekne. His and sites are a treasure trove of information. I will be posting highlights and links to the most relevant stuff in an upcoming post.

For now, I thought I would post this excerpt from Alexander Beider's Dictionary of Jewish Surnames From the Russian Empire. Howard has a few small parts of the work available to view on his Horwitz site. Here is a section dealing with the surname Katz.

Since it is hard to read, I will summarize. Katz originates from the name Kohen, which means priest in Hebrew, possibly the same as Goan. Kats or Katz is an acronym for Kohen Tsadek (Kohen of righteousness). The name was common throughout the Russian Empire. Of course, our great-grandmother was Bette Katz, the wife of Julius Wolgemuth of Koenigsberg.

By the way, Beider has another volume on Jewish surnames in Galicia, which are likely to contain informative entries for Ringel and Kaufler. The books are published by Avotainu and are very expensive. I will be looking for where I can find them in a library.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cannold loose ends

From various U.S. census records from 1880 through 1930, I now have a better picture of the Cannold family. Most of this is only marginally of interest to us, since the only Cannolds that had any relation to us were Lester, who was married and divorced from our great aunt Meta, and their two children, Thad, who committed suicide in 1946, and Harrison, who appears to have lived until at least 1965 and could have had children. Should that be the case, those children would be our second cousins.

Lester was the second of five children of Samuel and Sarah Cannold, who were both born in Poland but met and married in New York. By 1910, Lester is 23 and working as a public school teacher. Three years later, he marries Meta Rabinowitz and they start a family.

We know the outlines of the sad story after that. Lester rises in his career as a administrator in the Newark school system, but emotional problems begin to have an impact. By the time of the 1930 census, he and Meta have divorced. In 1942, we have him registering for the WWII draft from his mailing address at a Connecticut sanitarium.

On his registration card, he lists his sister Harriet Klein as "Name of person who will always know your address." And his home is given at an address on Seabreeze Ave. in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

So to tie up loose ends I went back and looked at Lester's siblings. At some point the family had moved from Manhattan to Coney Island, the same address Lester would later use. Of the daughters, one stayed single and continued to live with her mother, and two others married. One of those was Harriet Klein, who did not appear to have children. The other was Pearl Gerst, who had two or three children.

So that's all on the Cannolds, a family we are related to only by marriage but one with some tragic twists that seem to echo events in our family. Only Harrison and Thaddeus Cannold are of direct interest to us, so the hunt for Harrison goes on.

Revisiting Cannold 1930 census record

In an earlier post I wondered about Harrison Cannold birth date and decided to take a new look at the 1930 census record I had previously found for our great aunt Meta Cannold nee Rabinowitz.

First, it was hard to locate the record on because they have the name listed as Connold, not Cannold. But I persisted and found the right census document. On the age question, it shows that Harrison was 14 and Thaddeus 13 in April 1930. So on the earlier question, if living, Harrison would be 92 plus or minus.

There are some other interesting facts from the census record, which I will list here:

The family consisted of Meta (head of household) and her two sons. They lived in an apartment building at 236 Renner Ave. in Newark NJ. At the time 43 years old, Meta is indicated as having been married at age 26 but her "Marriage Condition" is listed a "D" for divorced. Under "Occupation" she is listed as "Teacher," and under "Industry" it says "Public School." Both boys are noted as having been born in New Jersey to parents born in New York. Meta is shown as born in New York to parents born in Russia.

Ruby family tree is posted on Geni

I signed up with a new genealogy social networking site called Geni and have uploaded a recent version of my Ruby Family GEDCOM file, which now includes 325 names of our ancestors and living relatives.

Geni appears to be a really cool system with loads of great features for displaying information about the family as well as connecting with living family members. To get it rolling, I invited immediate family members and so far Walter, Joanne and Twyla have now signed up. I hope they will be active users by updating their profiles and adding new information to the tree.

If that happens, then let's start inviting various cousins to join in and see what kind of network we can create. If you want to get started on your own, go to and create a free account. Then do a search for any family member you can think of. Once you find the person, you should also be able to find yourself in the Ruby family tree. Link your account to that listing and you will become part of our social network.

Or here's a simpler solution: Write to me at and I will sent you an email invitation to join.

To give you an idea how the program works, here is a sample screen shot:

Harrison Cannold's letter to the editor

Well, here's good news, a letter to the editor of the New York Times written by Harrison Cannold in November 1965. This is our first sighting of Harrison after WWII, and it opens up likely avenues for learning more about his life and possible descendents. It is even remotely possible that he is still living. I don't have his birth date handy, but will look for it on the 1920 or 1930 census record that we have.

That Harrison was interested in the political situation in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, is not surprising for a member of our politically attuned family. Here is the clipping:

Thad Cannold's obituary

Still following up the Cannold family, I decided to look in the NY Times article archive. Here are the two items I turned up for Thaddeus Cannold--his February 1939 graduation notice and his December 1946 obit notice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A childhood friend checks in

Okay, so it has already been an amazing day, learning of 10 new direct ancestors and three times that many new relatives. Also, I didn't mention the general reading I did on the history of the Jewish community of Rzeszow, and the cursory reading on the same subject in Krakow. (This was to help gather resources for Walter's upcoming trip, in which by chance he will have two days in Krakow.)

So it was an amazing day and then an email arrives in my inbox from my long-lost childhood buddy Derek Jeffers. Now, I have been Googling Derek on and off for 15 years, or I should say I was Alta Vista-ing or Lycos-ing him. Remember those search engines from the pre-Google days?

Derek left very few tracks. The best lead I had found was an article about a French auto workers' strike from the early 1980s. That sounded like Derek, who had gone on from our youthful activism to become a committed Socialist. I had thought that since I hadn't found his biline in the Socialist Worker Party newspaper, that maybe he had fallen out with that group and taken another direction.

The idea of him as a strike leader in Paris was certainly romantic. If so, surely he was an international provocateur, riding closed trains across the continent. Such had Derek devolved into a mythic idea in my mind that I nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw the message arrive in my inbox.

Yes, it turns out he has been living in Paris for 30-plus years and he actually is an auto worker, though he mentioned the Peugeot plant is currently shut down waiting for parts from Portugal. He filled me in about his three children and wife Esther, an economics professor. They are coming next month to San Diego, where Derek's father had owned a condo before recently passing away.

(Digression: When I would sleep over at Derek's house when we were 11 and 12 years old, his dad would always start the day with a bang by playing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" at top volume on the living room stereo.)

Since they are French, they will have six weeks for the vacation, which means there is every likelihood that I will be able to meet up with my old buddy during his sojourn in California. Plus, he mentions that Esther has an upcoming sabbatical in New York, so there will be more meetings after that.

Earlier today, I expressed my delight at hearing from him but begged off from a lengthy reply because I was getting ready to take off on a festival trip. Well, neither Twyla or I were ready to leave at a reasonable hour this evening, so we decided to go in the morning instead.

Thus, I was able to spend the last few hours updating this blog. Perhaps Derek will check it again before I get back. If so, he can enjoy this post until I have a chance to write to him directly.

One last thing and I am off to bed. Unlike Derek, I'm fairly easy to find on the Internet, though you have to avoid the red herrings like the legislator in Fargo and the sportswriter in San Jose. Walter the prolific author is even more discoverable. Now, with this blog, both of us are popping up even more.

I find it interesting that this blog lands high up on the first Google results page for searches on terms like "rabbi spektor" and "ruby family." After this item posts and Google spiders have taken note, we'll also show up among the first hits on "Derek Jeffers."

Adding our two cents

After absorbing the news about the four new generations of Kauflers, I felt I should communicate what we knew about Feigla's descendants to the Hirschberg knowledge base. So I found Dan Hirschberg's email address at University of California at Irvine, where he is a mathematician.

I sent him details of Feigla's marraige to Schija, their child Hermann, his wife Elly, their child Helga, her husband Stanley, and their three children, us. He wrote back within 15 minutes, having already added all the info to his listing.

Here is the updated family tree, where you will now see much of that information in place. Note that he does not include people born after 1945. Also note that a few of the dates I gave him were off the top of my head and still need to be corrected. I will do that when I contact Hirschberg again next week, also with information on Hermann's siblings Rosa and Bette.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Major breakthrough: Kaufler family tree

Yay! This is the first time one of our names has matched someone else's family tree. After my nice find of Schija Ringel's family in Rzeszow, I thought I would see what more I could dig up on the Kauflers of Krakow.

As noted from a few days ago, I had already found the birth record for Feigla Kaufler. This time I did an ordinary Google search on kaufler, and, lo and behold, I hit the mother lode. A gentleman named Dan Hirschberg has done a tremendous service by compiling extensive family trees for 600 Jewish families from Krakow, including the Kauflers.

According to Hirschberg's research, the family name goes back to a Nachman Kaufler, born 1755. Yes, 1755. That is as far back as we have traced any branch of our family. Nachman's son Izaak (born between 1771 and 1775) married Beili (1773-1831, daughter of Abraham, last name unknown) and they had a son Schulim (1798-1847). Schulim married Reisel Bluma Singlust (born 1805-1877) and they parented Abraham Mojzesa Kaufler (b. 1829).

Hang in a little longer. Abraham married Chaja Ester Grunberg (b. 1825) and the second of their three children was our great grandmother Feigla.

Here is Hirschberg's full listing of Kauflers:

Izaak KAUFLER 1771-75 (Nachman b.1755) {census family 503}
m:Beili 1773 - 1831 #148 (Abraham)
|o Chane Zlate KAUFLER 1783-93
|x Schulim KAUFLER 1798-99 - 1847 #638
| m:Reisel Bluma SINGLUST 1805-06 - Mar 23, 1877 #130
| ! married Jun 20, 1825 #27
| !o Dressel KAUFLER 1826 #116 - 1826 #62
| !o Taube Reila KAUFLER 1827 #154 - 1830 #14
| !x Abraham Mojzesz KAUFLER 1829 #357
| ! m:Chaja Ester GRUNBERG 1825 #31
| ! | bann 1892 #10
| ! |o Rifka KAUFLER Sep 27, 1852 #492
| ! | M:Wolf Leib BIRKNER 1843 #418
| ! | married Jul 11, 1888 #81
| ! |o Feigla KAUFLER Mar 29, 1854 #188
| ! |x Jakob Kopel KAUFLER
| ! | m:Chawe Bluma EHRLICH
| ! | bann 1892 #1
| !o Bayla KAUFLER 1832 #239
| !x Aron Hirsch KAUFLER 1834 #347 - 1835 #132
| !x Markus Jakob KAUFLER 1836 #435
| !x Lipman Tobiasz KAUFLER 1839 #79
| !o Haja KAUFLER 1841 #292
| ! |x Moses Hirsch HOCHBERG 1873 #451 - after 1929
| ! | m:Ruchel SPINGARN 1872 #483
| ! | bann 1915 #199
| ! |o Sara Rifka HOCHBERG Nov 3, 1875 #793 - Dec 15, 1877 #538
| ! |x Dawid HOCHBERG Aug 9, 1879 #609 - Aug 1, 1881 #393
| !x Dawid KAUFLER Dec 26, 1843 (1844 #27) - 1847 #543
| !o Sara KAUFLER Dec 23, 1846 #555 - 1847 #62
|o Sussel KAUFLER 1803
| M:Akiwa BERGER 1794-96 - 1831 #360
| married May 1, 1820 #15
|x Isser KAUFLER Jun 17, 1804 - 1847 #227
| m:Gela Rebeka KOLBERG 1813 #139 - Apr 13, 1888 #111
| ! married 1829 #57
| !x Markus Hersch KAUFLER 1830 #378
| !o Bayla KAUFLER 1832 #238 - 1839 #87
| !x Abraham Mozes KAUFLER 1835 #225
| ! m:Fraydel RAUCHINGER 1842 #173
| ! | married 1906 #109
| ! |o Szeindel KAUFLER
| ! | M:Dawid SINGER
| ! | !x son SINGER Apr 29, 1887 #225 - Apr 29, 1887 #166
| ! | !o Gela SINGER May 27, 1888 #327 - Jun 2, 1888 #185
| ! | !o Gusta SINGER Aug 9, 1889 #534
| ! |x Isser Hirsch KAUFLER 1871 #759
| ! |o Beile Hendel KAUFLER Apr 16, 1876 #374 - May 5, 1877 #193
| ! |o Rachel KAUFLER Sep 19, 1878 #621
| ! | M:Izaak KAUFLER Jul 9, 1879 #473
| ! | bann 1908 #187, married Aug 9, 1908
| ! |x Szachna KAUFLER Oct 10, 1881 #702 - Jan 19, 1884 #34
| ! |x Izaak KAUFLER Sep 30, 1890 Krakow
| ! | m:Chana LANDAU Feb 7, 1891 Krakow
| ! | married Aug 3, 1915 Marienbad
| !o daughter KAUFLER 1837 #555 - 1837 #352
| !o Chaja KAUFLER 1839 #237
| !o daughter KAUFLER 1842 #122 - 1842 #70
| !x Moyzesz KAUFLER 1842 #181 - 1842 #89
| !x Aron KAUFLER 1843 #244
| ! m:Jachet LIEBFELD 1841 #241
| ! | married 1897 #174
| ! |o Reisel KAUFLER Aug 31, 1869 Krakow
| ! | M:Salomon KLEIN
| ! | !o Gela KLEIN Jun 18, 1894
| ! |o Breindel KAUFLER Dec 1, 1871 #753 - 1924
| ! | M:Pawel/Saul GISSER
| ! | ! bann 1914 #216, married Sep 15, 1914
| ! | !x Gustaw GISSER Aug 10, 1902 #601
| ! | !x Maks GISSER Nov 29, 1904 Krakow
| ! | !x Aleksander GISSER Jul 24, 1908 #592
| ! |x Motel KAUFLER Aug 8, 1874 #466
| ! |o Hinda Rachel KAUFLER Nov 9, 1875 #666
| ! | M:Abraham FINDER
| ! | bann 1902 #251
| ! |x Mojzesz KAUFLER Feb 1, 1878 #61 - Sep 26, 1878 #398
| ! |x Izaak KAUFLER Jul 9, 1879 #473
| ! | m:Rachel KAUFLER Sep 19, 1878 #621
| ! | ! bann 1908 #187, married Aug 9, 1908
| ! | !o Stefania KAUFLER Sep 10, 1908 #661
| ! | !o Roza KAUFLER Mar 31, 1911 #178
| ! | !x Marcel Arnold KAUFLER Oct 13, 1913 Krakow - after 1944
| ! | ! m:Chaja MANASIEWICZ
| ! | ! married Nov 26, 1949
| ! | !x Salo KAUFLER Oct 3, 1917 #398 - after 1944
| ! |x Szaja KAUFLER Jun 12, 1881 #339 - Nov 25, 1881 #576
| ! |o Gitel KAUFLER Apr 7, 1883 #218
| ! | M:Izak ZIMERSPITZ Feb 23, 1879 #278
| ! | bann 1908 #162
| ! |x Alter KAUFLER Oct 15, 1885 #608
| m:Ruchel KOHL
| !o Regina KAUFLER Apr 29, 1914
| ! M:Rubin TRAUM
| ! married Feb 14, 1948
| !x Litman KAUFLER Apr 18, 1846 #174

Schija Ringel's birth record

Rzeszow 1835,41-1866 Births
Lwow Wojewodztwa / Rzeszow Province
Located at 50°03’ 22°00’
Last updated February 2001
Surname Givenname Year Type Akt Page Sex Father Mother Mothersurn Date Witness House Town Died Comments
RINGEL Jermias 1845 B 2 22 Hirsch Beile unknown illegible
RINGEL Golde 1849 B 18 40 Hirsch Beile unknown 2
RINGEL Schija 1856 B 9 80 Mos. Rose blank 299
RINGEL Juda 1859 B 10 105 M Moses Rose Lea REICHMAN 16-Feb-1859 299
RINGEL Hirsch Löb 1860 B 11 119 Abraham Witte KLEPEL 48
RINGEL Jakob Schia 1861 B 5 140 Moses Lea REICHMAN 299
RINGEL Reisel 1864 B 2 193 Hersch Rose REICHMAN 441
RINGEL Basze Sure 1866-1876 B 383 1870 55 F Moses RINGEL Roise REICHMAN

I know it is hard to read because the columns don't align, but of the various Ringels here, Hermann Ringel's father Schija is shown in this index of the LDS microfilm records to have been born in 1856. His parents were Moses Ringel and Rose Lea Ringel (nee Reichman) and he had siblings Juda, Jakob, Reisel and Basze Sure.

Actually, there is a mystery here in that Reisel Ringel appears to have the same mother but different father from the other three. First I thought Moses might have died and she remarried before having her third child, but then Moses is back as the father of the fourth child. Something to figure out.

I learned that I can obtain copies of these and any LDS records where we have the index listings by visiting an LDS family history center, such as the one nearby here in the Oakland hills. I have meant to visit there for some time, but now I have a concrete reason to go.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rabinowitch death records

An email update about Washington DC death records from the Tracing the Tribe blog this morning got me looking at the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry for the first time. I couldn't find Harrison Cannold, my first search, but then I tried Rabinowitz in New York, and hit a small mother lode.

Below are the burial records for Joseph and Lena Rabinowitch (note the spelling), their son Julius and his wife Annie (nee Cohen), and their son Abner Robbins and his wife Judith.

The Joseph record does not include any information on his parentage, but I am confident that a visit to his gravesite in Plot 10R 5 at Mt. Carmel Cemetery Queens, NY, will confirm that he was the son of Chaim, and possibly reveal other interesting information. The burial dates indicate that Joseph and Lena lived to age 85 and 86, respectively, and that they both outlived their son Walter, who we know died by suicide in 1939.

The information on Julius, Annie, Abner and Judith gives us another likely avenue for identifying new living close relatives. Our other best possibility for living descendants of Joseph and Lena is Harrison Cannold. We don't know yet what became of him after the war or if he married or had any children.

Here are the various death records I discovered today:

(Other Surnames) Place of BirthPlace of Death Date of BirthDate of Death Hebrew NameHebrew Date AgeBurial Date
RABINOWITCH, Lena 18-Jun-1944
No Image Available
Plot Spouse FatherMother Comments Cemetery NameCity / Country
10R 5 Mt. Carmel Cemetery Queens, NY / USA

(Other Surnames) Place of BirthPlace of Death Date of BirthDate of Death Hebrew NameHebrew Date AgeBurial Date
RABINOWITCH, Joseph 18-Feb-1940
No Image Available
Plot Spouse FatherMother Comments Cemetery NameCity / Country
10R 4 Mt. Carmel Cemetery Queens, NY / USA

(Other Surnames) Place of BirthPlace of Death Date of BirthDate of Death Hebrew NameHebrew Date AgeBurial Date
(LINCOFF / ROBBINS / COHEN) Bronx, NY 08-Nov-1940 64
No Image Available
Plot Spouse FatherMother Comments Cemetery NameCity / Country
Annie COHEN Joseph Lena LINCOFF beloved husband and dear father/father of Abner J. ROBBINS Montefiore Cemetery Queens, NY / USA

(Other Surnames) Place of BirthPlace of Death Date of BirthDate of Death Hebrew NameHebrew Date AgeBurial Date
(COHEN / BERGER / ROBBINS / CO / EN) Manhattan, NY 01-Jan-1942 60
No Image Available
Plot Spouse FatherMother Comments Cemetery NameCity / Country
Julius Solomon H. COHEN Rebecca BERGER our beloved mother/mother of Abner J. ROBBINS Montefiore Cemetery Queens, NY / USA

(Other Surnames) Place of BirthPlace of Death Date of BirthDate of Death Hebrew NameHebrew Date AgeBurial Date
(RABINOWITZ / COHEN) 13-Aug-1958 53
No Image Available
Plot Spouse FatherMother Comments Cemetery NameCity / Country
Judith? Julius RABINOWITZ Annie COHEN Montefiore Cemetery Queens, NY / USA

(Other Surnames) Place of BirthPlace of Death Date of BirthDate of Death Hebrew NameHebrew Date AgeBurial Date
ROBBINS, Judith 03-May-1965 47
No Image Available
Plot Spouse FatherMother Comments Cemetery NameCity / Country
Abner? Montefiore Cemetery Queens, NY / USA

Lester Cannold registered for WWII draft

Lester Cannold was 55 and residing in a Connecticut sanitarium in 1942, but he still had to register for the draft in WW2. Here is his draft registration record. Click to enlarge.

Cannold family confirmed

Searching NY vital records for Rabinowitz events at ...

Meta Rabinowitz married Lester Cannold June 29, 1913 in Queens NY.

Cannold was my best guess of Meta's married name based on the 1930 census handwriting, so this is a definite match. Lester was the unhappy schools superintendent. Meta was Walter Ruby's sister.

Then I did an search on Meta's son's Thaddeus and Harrison Cannold (Stan's first cousins) and found both their U.S. Army enlistment records. The data follows. Check out their occupations.

Name: Harrison S Cannold
Birth Year: 1915
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: New Jersey
State: District of Columbia
County or City: District of Columbia

Enlistment Date: 21 Jan 1943
Enlistment State: Virginia
Enlistment City: Fort Myer
Branch: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life

Education: 2 years of college
Civil Occupation: Bandsman, Oboe or Parts Clerk, Automobile
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Height: 64
Weight: 132

Name: Thaddeus Cannold
Birth Year: 1916
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: New Jersey
State: Pennsylvania
County or City: Philadelphia

Enlistment Date: 25 Sep 1941
Enlistment State: New York
Enlistment City: New York City
Branch: Air Corps
Branch Code: Air Corps
Grade: Private
Grade Code: Private
Component: Regular Army (including Officers, Nurses, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life

Education: 4 years of college
Civil Occupation: Actor (Motion picture actor. ) or Director, Motion Picture (Motion picture director.) or Entertainer
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Height: 69
Weight: 140

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Feigla Kaufler's birth record

Krakow Births 1798-1855,71-89
Krakow Wojewodztwa / Krakow Province

Surname Givenname Year Type Akt Film Indexfilm Date House
KAUFLER Feigla 1854 B 188 718917

The right name, location and year. Photocopies can be obtained from a collection in Israel, and I sent in an order.

Abe Ratner was from Minsk

In the 1920 census form for the Ratner family, the enumerator first wrote down Minsk and then crossed it out and wrote Russia for Abe's birthplace. Similarly, Rose is noted as born in Rostof, which is also crossed out and replaced. I'm not going to put up the image, since the quality is very bad and will not be legible at blog size and resolution. If you want to check for yourself, look up the 1920 census in Ward 5 of Albany NY.

So then I did a quick look for the name Bloch in the JewishGen Belarus database. What pops up are lots of people named Blokh in the Minsk guberniya. On a first pass, I didn't find a Abram Blokh born in May 1869, but I think it is pretty likely we now have the original home region for another of our eight great-grandparents.

To recap:

Selma Ratner's parents came from Rostov by way of Rezshita in Latvia (Rose) and the Minsk area of Belarus (Abe).

Walter Rabinowitz's parents came from Lithuania probably Kovno (Joseph) and unknown but probably also Kovno guberniya (Lena).

Hermann Ringel's parents came from the Rzezow area of Poland (Schija) and Krakow (Feigel).

Elly Wohlgemuth's parents Julius and Bette resided in Koenigsberg but we don't yet know where they were born.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Family attends Twyla's Barnard graduation

Also late, but congratulations are in order for the latest member of the family to pass through the gates of academe and step into the so-called real world. Twyla completed her undergraduate degree from Barnard College at Columbia University, the same institution (Columbia) where her grandfather Stanley was an undergrad and graduate student.

We had a big turnout of Rubys and Eilertsens to celebrate the occasion in New York City. Among Ruby kin, Danny, Joanne, Walter and Tanya, Gene, Janis Brenner and her husband Mitchell Bogart, and Sandy Brenner were on hand for some or all of the festivities. On the Eilertsen side, Kate and Allen, Ed, Judy, and Susie went all out to make the experience special, including at the several special celebratory meals. I was so sad that Stan and Helga could not be there that I broke up trying to say that in a toast at the first celebration dinner.

The graduation ceremony was plenty interesting, with featured speeches by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, David Remnick, Anna Quindlen, Judith Shapiro, and others. Billie Jean King was among those who received the Barnard Medal. Twyla walked with the Anthropology department as she was recognized for her double major in Anthropology and English.

At a couple of departmental receptions, Kate and I had the opportunity to meet two of the professors who advised Twyla's senior project—Ross Hamilton of the English department and Brian Larkin, the chairman of the Anthropology department. Both had lovely things to say about our graduate. Her thesis, "Made Visible: Scientific Constructivism Through the Lens of Hooke's Micrographia, received a 'A' grade from the two professors.

Graduation morning, there was a screwup because I failed to get word to Sandy on where we would meet. She came anyway—solo on the train with Mel in the hospital recovering from a knee operation—but we never managed to find each other. Janis was getting ready to leave for Asia that morning, and the last thing she needed was my frantic call looking for her mother. She ended up missing her flight while Mitchell worked the phones trying to track her down.

Turns out Sandy was there for the graduation ceremony and post reception. Then, not finding any of us, she sensibly went home, where she discovered everyone had been looking for her. My apologies for my part in the screwup. Thankfully, everything worked out okay and Joanne took the next day to visit with Sandy and help get Mel home from the hospital.

Translation reveals Hermann's parents were unmarried

I should have posted this in March, but better late than never.

The German translator came through and we now have more information about Hermann's parents, including something unexpected. Here are the highlights:

Hermann Ringel's birth record shows he was born November 5, 1885 in Berlin, that his parents were Schija Ringel and Feigel Kaufler. Kaufler was Ringel's unmarried Jewish housekeeper. A notation on the birth record from two and a half years later indicates that Schija and Feigel married on July 2, 1888.

Feigel's death certificate from November 28, 1921 (three years before her granddaughter Helga's birth), describes her as 67 years old, a shopkeeper, born in Krakow and residing at the same address in Lothringstrasse as her son Hermann.

Hermann's death record from June 25, 1938 is pretty spare, and does not appear to tell us anything new.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rezekne Family List turns up trove of Tulbowitz kin

Walt, I just looked again at the 1900 U.S. census record for Solomon and Sophie (and Edward) Tulbowitz, and noticed a couple of interesting things. First, the census includes information for "Mother of how many children" and "Number of those children still living." In Sophie's record, the responses are 5 and 3. Second, Solomon and Sophie are both listed as having been married 34 years.

That's a lot of years. Since they were 52 and 49, respectively, at the time of the census, they would have been 18 and 15 at the time of their marriage. I don't remember what we know of exactly when and why they left Rezhitsa. Can you remind me?

On the number of children, I have Rose, Gavriel, Edward and Yitzhak (who died young). That's four, not five. I'm not sure where my information is from, but I have both Gavriel and Edward with a birthday in September 1876. Were they twins? Also, little Yitzhak (Isai) is 3 years, 5 months at the time of his death in August 1879, which does not compute. There are some mysteries there.

Twyla got me started on this today trying to talk up a trip to the Baltics in September. Intriguing idea. She'll have been in Finland with Kate, so maybe I would meet her in Riga and try to take in a circle from Rezhitsa to Kovno to Königsberg.

Anyway, that's what got me looking up Rezekne information today and I surprised myself with what I turned up. I'm not sure why I hadn't found the Tulbowitz stuff before. I guess because I hadn't searched the Latvian SIG. By the way, the info that came from Maxim on Tulbowitz in the all Russia census is also in Jewish Gen, but I have a hard time matching those names with the ones from the Rezekne Family List that I sent earlier.

My working theory is that our ancestor Sholom Ahron Tulbowitz' father Gavriel had a brother Leiba. The two brothers had sizable families that accounted for most but not necessarily all the Tulbowitz population of Rezhitsa.

On Gavriel's side, there were four sons (information is less available about daughters)-- Peisach, Salman, Eliasch (the eldest) and Abram. Peisach married Sara (not Sora?) and had Sholom Ahron, apparently an only child or at least only son. (From there, in our direct lineage, Sholom Ahron married Schifra Ita, also known as Sophie and later Bubbie, and they had Rose Ratner nee Tulbowitz as the first of their five children.)

Piesach's three brothers produced a total of five other sons and at least five grandchildren. Thanks to the Rezekne Family List, I have complete birth dates and spouse names for all of them. Same for Leiba's three sons and their offspring. One reason that branch is interesting is that two of the names Manzik (or possibly Manzin) Tulbowitz (son of Mowscha son of Leiba) and his wife Beila are also on another list of people in Riga with travel documents in 1900.

So that establishes that other Tulbowitz relatives of ours made the journey to America, and presumably accounts for the number of Tulbowitz sightings in places like Bayonne NJ and Wilmington DE. Not all came to the U.S.--a Sergio Tulbowitz is a musician and Marcelo Tulbowitz a professor, both in Montevideo.

The Jewish history of Rezekne is pretty well documented and memorialized, and there is an archivist who seems to be the major expert. He also does videos about Jewish historical subjects. Here is the catalog.