Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Phillip Lieberman

Philip Lieberman 1868-1937
     Philip Lieberman, another great-grandfather of mine, has been a genealogical mystery man to me for a long time.  No family members I spoke to seemed to know much about him, and nothing about his contemporary family.  To further complicate my research, although I thought I knew that my Philip lived in Philadelphia, other folks who posted what seemed like his family tree had him living in New York and dying there.  I couldn't find a passenger list or a naturalization record for him either. Finally, with the assistance of the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS.gov), I obtained his naturalization record and was able to untangle him from another Philip Lieberman (born about the same time, wife also named Becky), who was a Romanian furrier living in New York.
     My Philip (Pinchus as he was then) was born  February 27, 1868, in the town of Berdichev, Zhitomir district, now in Ukraine.  According to his tombstone, his father's name was Tszi Hirsch.  Berdichev was a large and prosperous town having more than 40,000 Jews out of a total population of over 53,000 in 1897.[1]  In about 1886 he married Beile Kandel of the nearby town of Makhnovka.  They quickly had three children, Dwore, Lieb, and Chaie.  In 1893, Pinchus left Makhnovka and travelled to Bremen where he embarked on the ship H.H. Meier sailing to New York City.  He arrived on August 1, 1893, listing himself as a laborer.[2]
      By 1895 Philip had moved to Philadelphia where he lived at 532 South Street.  In September 1985 he went to the Rosenbaum Immigrant Bank and purchased passage to Philadelphia for Beile and the three children. He paid in two installments, $48.25 in the first, and $20 due in 30 days[3].  They arrived in New York, also aboard the H.H. Meier, on November 15, 1895.[4]  Five years later, according to the 1900 census, they were living in a rented house at 308 Christian Street, along with the original three children, now named Dorothy, Louis, and Ida, as well as a new son, Nathan, and a daughter Annie .  By 1910, they had bought a new house at 716 Tasker Street, where Philip had a tailor business [5].  At that time, their grandson, Henry Bogatin was also living with them, as well as another son, Irving, and a servant, a 26 year old black woman named Rebecca Anderson.
     Philip and Beile (Bella, Becky,) continued to live at the Tasker Street address until his death in 1937.  Census records and various City Directories show that he continued as a tailor making pants (trousers, pantaloons)working for himself or as a contractor.  They have many descendants and I have traced most of them, but I have not been able to find anything about any siblings or other relatives of his.  I was told that a Simon Lieberman, a well known colleague of V.I. Lenin, was a cousin.  He was also born near Berdichev and photos show a resemblance, and I have done some research on him, but can't confirm that he was related in any way.  Lieberman cousins out there.... do you know any more about Philip or his family?

1.  Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust. Vol 1. p. 112. Shmuel Spector, Editor in Chief.  2001. Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.  New York University Press, Washington, Square, New York.
2.  New York Passenger List for S.S H.H. Meier, arrival 1 August 1893 in New York City.  Manifest for Pinchus Lieberman (indexed as Pinchus Hieberman aboard H.H. Heier). (Ancestry. com Provo Utah.) record online.
3.  Rosenbaum Bank Ticket Purchase Books  1890-1934. September 1895 page 105. Record online. accessed at Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
4.  New York Passenger List for S.S. H.H. Meier, arrival Nov 15, 1895 in New York City.  Manifest for Beile, Dwore, Lieb, and Chaie Lieberman p.0354. (Ancestry.com, Provo UT.) database online.
5.  Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006) database online.

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.  Ancestry.com, New York Passenger lists 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, Ancestry.com 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 GenealogyBank.com.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Elcon Grosser Part 2 - Elcon and Jennie

Elcon and Jennie with Ida, Herman, and baby Sam abt 1903

     It took nearly a year for Elkunah's wife Czerna to come to the United States.  She arrived in New York on May 22, 1901 aboard the S.S. Barbarossa from Bremen, Germany with daughter Chaie and son Chaim[1], and joined Elkunah in Philadelphia.  Their next child, Samuel, was born in July 1902. The photo above was taken about 1903. It was typical of photos taken by recent immigrants and sent back to the old country to show family and friends that they were well and prospering in the new land. When I recently showed this photo to the grandson of Elkunah's brother Moishe, he remembered that a copy had still been hanging in his grandparents home in Labun when he would visit there before the war.
    By the time Elkunah and his family were naturalized in 1904, they had become Elcon and Jennie Grosser, and the older children had become Ida and Herman[2].  Three other children followed quickly; Abraham (Albert)(1904), Jacob (1907) and Esther (1909).
     Elcon continued to work for Baldwin Locomotive as a Tender Shop mechanic for a few years but Jennie didn't like it.[3]  By 1905 they had opened a shop at 322 Poplar Street where they sold stoves[4] and household things[5].  Jennie operated the store.  By 1908 they had moved to a bigger store at 814 S. 4th Street where they also lived in the apartment above the store[6].   By 1912 they had moved to a store at 338 South Street, selling hardware and children's furniture.  The store continued to operate on South Street into the 1940s although by 1930 Elcon, Jennie, Sam and Jacob (now Jack) had moved to a larger duplex home at 1014 Lindley Avenue in the leafy area of Logan [7].  By then Elcon listed himself as a plumber doing general jobbing, while the boys ran the store.
     From the time he arrived in the U.S. until immigration was restricted in the mid-1920s, Elcon and Jennie continued to provide a welcome to family members arriving from Europe.  Jennie's parents, all of her siblings, Elcon's brothers, and a variety of nieces, nephews, and in-laws all listed Elcon as the person to whom they were destined on their immigration manifests.  The Rosenbaum Immigrant Bank records even show that he purchased passage for several of the immigrants[8].
  Both Elcon and Jennie were very active in the community.  They both served as officers in Landsmanschaft organizations for the towns of Baranivka and Makhnovka (the town from which their daughter Ida's in-laws emigrated.)  They were also active in a variety of Jewish charitable organizations.  With business, family and community, their lives were very busy.

1.  Manifest for S.S. Barbarossa, May 22, 1901 Record for Czerna, Ciaje and Chaim Groeskop.  Record on-line Ancestry.com, New York passenger lists 1820-1957 (Provo UT, USA) roll T715_197, line 9
2.  Naturalization record for Elcon Grosser. Ancestry.com Selected U.S. Naturalization Records- Original documents 1790-1974 (World Archives Project)
3.  "Couple Married 74 Years Invite 300 to Celebrate"  The Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, Tuesday August 11, 1970. p B9.
4.  Philadelphia City Directory 1905 &1906.  Ancestry.com online record.
5.  "Couple Married 74 Years Invite 300 to Celebrate"  The Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, Tuesday August 11, 1970. p B9.
6.  1920 Federal Census.Philadelphia Ward 4, page 1A ED 105. Roll T625_1616. record for Elcon Grosser record on-line.  Ancestry.com (Provo UT)
7.  1930 Federal Census.  Philadelphia, PA Roll 2136; page 15A; ED 1075  Record for Elcon Grosser. Record on-line Ancestry.com (Provo, UT)
8.  Rosenbaum Immigrant Bank Records.  Record on-line.  Holding of Center for Jewish History, Paley Library, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tepper Grosser Passover Seder 1934

     It's Passover again, and all over the world, families are gathering for the Seder.  My earliest Seder memory was at my great-grandparent's apartment in Atlantic City.  I remember that the service was long, but the food was good and I was permitted to sip some sweet Manischewitz concord grape wine, heavily diluted with seltzer.  Passover was always my favorite holiday.  I loved polishing the silver, setting the table, and preparing all of the special foods, starting with the Charosets, the first dish I was allowed to make on my own.  Since my immediate family was not very observant, I became the person who led the seder as well, a tradition that remains today.

     This photo was also taken at my great grandparents' seder, but about 14 years before I made it on to the scene.  The attendees were (R-L) seated: Elcon Grosser (my ggfather), Jennie Grosser (his wife, my ggmother), Ida Grosser Lieberman (my grandmother, their daughter), Nat Lieberman (Ida's husband, my grandfather). Standing (R-L): Jerry Lieberman (Ida's son), Marcella Sterling (Mary's daughter), Phyllis Lieberman (Ida's daughter) Cissie Sterling (Mary's daughter), Joey Sterling (Mary's son),  Elynore Lieberman (Ida's daughter, my mother), Mary Tepper Sterling (Jennie's sister).  Mary's husband Nelson Sterling was probably behind the camera.

    Feel free to comment with your favorite family Passover memory.