Friday, April 17, 2015

Armin and Mary Roth

Mary Fried Roth and Armin Roth about 1920

     I wish I knew more about my grandparents, Armin[1] and Mary Roth.  I never knew them.  They were both gone before my Mother's family even moved to Trenton, NJ., and since my Father was much younger than his siblings, I never really even knew people who knew them.  I only have a few old photos, and some sketchy records to tell me anything, and they often leave more questions to be answered.
     According to his naturalization papers, Armin Roth was born in 1867 in Kassa, Hungary (now Kosice, Slovakia)[2].  His father was Bernard/Dov Roth and his mother was Minna Printz[3].  He left there about 1891, stopping in Vienna, before departing for the US from Rotterdam on August 10, 1891 aboard the S.S. Didam, bound for New York, and arriving there on August 29, 1891[4].  Like many Jewish immigrants he was a tailor.
     On February 10, 1895, Armin married Mary Fried.  Mary was also Hungarian, probably born in the town of Modor sometime between 1864 and 1876[5].  Her parents were Bernard Fried, and Rosi Friedman. She had a brother, Jacob Jeno.  Bernard had remarried after the death of Rosi, and Mary also had several half siblings.  She was the only one to emigrate, arriving in New York City sometime around 1889. Armin and Mary lived at 95 Goerke Street, at the time the center of the immigrant lower east side of New York, near the Williamsburg Bridge, but now disappeared under a housing development.  Their first child, Bennie, was born July 6, 1896.
     By 1897, Armin and Mary had moved to Trenton, NJ where their other three children (Isidore, Aaron and Barney) were born.  Armin had several other relatives there who will be the subject of another blog post as I have not been able to determine exactly how they were related. In 1900 the family was living in a rented house at 166 S. Broad Street in Trenton.  Armin was working as a tailor from the house.  Armin and Mary were naturalized on January 11, 1908, and were living in a house they owned at 86 Pennington Avenue, where he also had his tailor shop.  They lived there until his death on June 4, 1933, and her death on Feb 28, 1939[6].
     From what I can determine, they lived a quiet and moderately prosperous life.  Their two older sons went to college and the younger had their own businesses.  Armin and Mary were often noted in the social pages of the Trenton Times, but mostly for attending family events of their several cousins(?), the Roths, Saaz's, Lavinthals, Princes, Davidows and Greenbergers of Trenton, NJ, and nearby Pottstown, PA.  The newspaper notice of their 25th anniversary celebration, a dinner with dancing at a local restaurant, was filled with those names[7].

1.  Like many immigrants from Eastern Europe, Armin and his family had several names.  Although he went by Armin in most records, his tombstone says his Hebrew name was Areye.  On his marriage license he is listed as Leopold, an anglicization as both Areye and Leopold have "Lion" as meanings.  Armin's Father is listed on the certificate as Bernard, but on Armin's tombstone as Dov.  Again according to the JewishGen given names database, these are interchangeable, both having "Bear" as a meaning.
2.  New Jersey State Archives, R. Group: Mercer County; Subgroup: Court of Common Pleas; Series: Naturalization Records, 1838-1940; Petition (post 1906), Vol.1 (#1-#150) 1906-1909; No. 30.  Record for Armin Roth, original document.
3. State of New York, Bureau of Records, Health Department, City of New York Certificate # 2373.  Received Feb 14, 1895. Certification of marriage of Leopold Roth and Mary Fried on 10th day of February, 1895.
4.  Manifest of S.S. Didam arriving at New York on Aug 29,1891., New York Passenger lists 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, operations)record on-line
5.  Like many women of her time, Mary's date of birth was a moving target.  Her marriage license says that she was 20 years old in 1895 (b ca 1875).  The 1900 census says she was born in 1864 which would have made her about 36, but that she was only 25. Ten years later, the 1910 census says she is 33 and 44 in 1920.  In 1930 she owns to 55.   The 1875 date is most probable but this is something I hope to pin down in the future.  This also raises another question. If she was 20 years old in 1895, then she was only 14 when she arrived in 1891. What made a 14 year old girl emigrate without other family members? 
6.  Tombstones of Armin and Mary Roth, Brith Sholom Cemetery, Ewing Twp. NJ.
7.  "Roths Entertain on Anniversary" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Tuesday Mar 9, 1920 p.12.  Data online, accessed through

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