Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The surprises keep on coming

It is now Saturday evening and I go to bed early feeling proud of myself for all the new discoveries. I have shown that Arnaud Clerc is definitely the son of Joe Liebman, and also that Gerald Clerc is definitely the son of Arnaud.

But I wake up overnight feeling uneasy about those other names, Sophie and Helene. I searched for them in Ancestry, without finding anything promising. Then it occurred to me to try a search in the NY Times archive, which has frequently been helpful in our Ruby research in the past. Sure enough, here is a NYT death notice published August 20, 1968.

Here is what I wrote to Walter and Joanne on Sunday morning:

Van der Lyn? Mack? Montgomery, Ala.? What unexpected names and places! But also Arnaud L. Clerc and two other Clerc names.

What this says is that Arnaud's mother, Joe's first wife Sophie, lived until 1968 under the name Sandra Van der Lyn. So Joe was not a widower but a divorcee when he married Hilda! Sandra has a sister also named Van der Lyn, so that could have been her family name in Antwerp where she met Joe. Is it possible she was not Jewish?

Joe's daughter Helene married a man named Victor Mack (some of this I have gotten elsewhere and will summarize). They raised a family in Montgomery, Ala., of all places. Helene and her children Leslie and Darrell Mack attended the memorial service for Sandra Vanderlyn in Hempstead, Long Island. (From another source, I believe that Sandra died and is buried in Alabama, where likely she had moved to be near her daughter.)

Also attending the service is Helene's brother, Arnaud Clerc, and two children Alexandra and Stephane Clerc. Ah, so Alexandra could be the young woman Walter met in Monte Carlo! What year was that? Am I right that Stephane is a male name, so the second Clerc child is a son?

Note that this is in August 1968, the very month Arnaud has married in Palm Beach and a year before the birth of Gerald.

All this tells us that Arnaud had a first marriage and wife. Since I haven't found a first marriage record in the U.S. for Arnaud, I am thinking his wife was French and that he returned to Paris by 1953 to work in the Clerc business and to raise his French-American family. At some point, Arnaud either divorced or his first wife died. We don't know yet.

As for Joe Liebman, I don't know about you, but I always thought he was widowed when he met Hilda at Grossinger's. This paints a different picture. Aside from knowing something about Arnaud, did we ever hear from mom about Helene and the various Liebman grandchildren? Or about Sandra?

I have done some quick searches for them and there is one piece of solid information. Helene Mack died at age 63 in Boca Raton, Fla., in October 1980. There are Florida and U.S. death records matching Helene's birth date to prove it. As for the grandchildren, there are a number of Leslie and Darrell Macks and Alexandra and Stephane Clercs that come up under Google searches. I haven't narrowed down the possibilities. We know how to contact Gerald and can do so when we wish.

I'll leave you with a last document to view. It is the INS visa information sheet for Helene Mack on her arrival by air in New York on May 29, 1947. You will see that it references Arnaud's West End Ave. address, Joe's Hampshire House address, and the name of her husband Victor Mack at an address in Paris.


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