Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Nan (Lieberman) and Harry Carr

Cover of Mason Mint magazine (news letter of the Mason Au & Magenheimer Conf. Mfg. Co. Inc) September 1954 featuring the Trenton Tobacco Co., distributor of Mason Confectionery products.  L-R Harry Carr, Nan Carr, Alvin J. Carr[1]

     Nan Lieberman was the youngest daughter of Phillip and Bella Lieberman (more about them here and here).  Her exact birth date was always a matter of discussion in the family, and she got younger as the years passed, but she is listed with the family in the 1900 census as having been born in May of the previous year [2].  Her name then was Annie, and she continued as Anne through the 1920 census, when the family lived at 718 S. Beulah St. in a neighborhood of two story brick row houses.[3]
     Harry was the son of Louis and Fanny Cohen who had arrived in Philadelphia with their young son Joseph from Romania about 1898 (I haven't found their manifests yet).  They quickly had three more children, Harry in 1901, Herman in 1902, and Henrietta in 1909.  On his Declaration of Intention to be come a citizen in 1900, Louis said that he was living at 920 S. 5th St. in Philadelphia[4].  Like many recent immigrants, Louis moved often and worked in the garment industry.   By 1909 on his Petition for Naturalization, he listed himself as a tailor living at 8021 Suffolk Ave in South Philadelphia[5], and in April 1910 on the census he reported the family living at 1218 North Warnock St. (now part of the Temple University campus) and gave his occupation as operator in a pants manufacturing company[6].  When he registered for the WWI draft he was listed as a self employed tailor again, living at 994 N. 5th St[7].
     Around 1918, Louis moved his family to Trenton, NJ where they lived at 495 Logan St.  He soon bought Trenton Tobacco Company, a
Trenton Tobacco 806 South Broad St.
From Mason Mint Magazine.
The building is still there, and you can still
see the words Trenton Tobacco Co on the
top of the building.
wholesale business located at 177 South Broad Street in a three story store front building with an apartment above where the family lived[8].  Louis, Joseph, and Harry owned and ran the business together.   The business must have been very successful.  In 1921, Louis, Joseph and Harry invested $30,000 in the Salamandra Company, which was incorporating as a brewing business.[9]  In July 1922 Louis, Fanny, and young Henrietta travelled to Europe for six months, planning to visit Romania and Switzerland to visit relatives, England and France as tourists, and Germany and Austria-Hungary for business[10]. Also in 1922, Louis and Joseph Cohen bought a building with a storefront and apartments on South Broad Street for "upward of $50,000"[11].  Trenton Tobacco  moved from the original location to the new location at 205 S. Broad Street in 1923.  By 1923, Louis had acquired a large single family home at 8 Oak Lane in a newly built Trenton neighborhood where they lived with their children until each grew up, married, and moved out. [12]
      By the time of her wedding in Philadelphia in November, 1923, Annie Lieberman had begun to be called Nan[13].  Harry and Nan returned to Trenton where their son Alvin Joshua was born on August 18, 1924[14].  In 1930 they bought a newly built duplex at 30 Sanhican Drive[15], near Harry's parents where they lived into the 1940s.  Harry continued to work as a salesman and then manager of Trenton Tobacco.  Joseph married Gertrude Introligator about 1923.  Herman became a doctor and married Elizabeth Stein in 1930[16], and Henrietta married Nathan Levine in 1932 and moved to Philadelphia[17].  The ever growing Trenton Tobacco  moved again to 806 South Broad St. in about 1938[18].
     Alvin (known as "Sonny" within the family, and Al by others)graduated from Trenton Central H.S. in 1942[19], and in January 1944 he enlisted in the U.S. Army[20].  He served overseas in France for seven months and was severely wounded in the leg in April 1945[21].  After his recovery he resumed his studies at Lafayette College and the at University of Minnesota.  It was at this time, around 1950 when he wanted to go on to medical school and faced the widespread practice of quotas limiting the number of Jewish students in professional schools, that the family changed their last name from Cohen to the less Jewish sounding Carr[22].
    Joseph Cohen had died in 1942, and Louis in 1946[23], leaving Harry as the sole owner of Trenton Tobacco Company after he bought the remaining interest from his widowed sister-in-law[24].  Al joined the firm in 1948.  Things were going very well for the Carr family.  In 1954 they moved into a custom built home in Yardley PA across the river from Trenton.  The home featured 12 rooms, a 20' x 65' recreation room, a pool and cabana, and was decorated with marble [25].  I remember that special accommodations were made to store Nan's growing collection of antique furniture, china, and silver.  The raised dining room was secured by an ornate wrought iron gate, behind which one could see her collection of silver tea and coffee services.  One room had a full wall of lighted cabinets to store the many full services of antique china she had acquired.  She loved to open them up and let me examine everything when I visited a child.  She was a regular at high end auctions and estate sales.
     At the same time, Trenton Tobacco was growing, too.  By 1954 the business had about 1500 retail accounts and carried about 2000 different items, including tobacco and candy products, toys, watches, and shavers.  They built a new office and warehouse complex on the edge of town, increasing storage space from 6000 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft. The warehouse layout, designed by Al, had the latest innovations in stock management, designed so that filling orders was most efficient. Al said that Nan only paid social visits to the office, but that she was just as interested in the business as his father.[26]  I remember going to the grand opening when the display room was filled with candy boxes open for sampling.  I was literally a kid in a candy shop!
     Harry and Al continued to run Trenton Tobacco together.  Al married Rosalie Klinghoffer in 1961.  Harry died in 1976[27].  Nan closed up the big house and moved to a newly built condo at 860 Lower Ferry Road in Ewing until she died in 1980[28]. Al sold Trenton Tobacco Company in November of 1980, moving on to other business ventures[29].

1. "Mason Mint", Vol IX, No.4, September, 1954.  Mason Au & Magenheimer Conf. Mfg. Co., Inc.  Copy held by Mary-Jane Roth.
2.. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA,Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2004) www/ ancestry.com, Database online. Year 1900; Census place; Philadelphia Ward 2, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll:T623_1452; Page 11A; Enumeration District 40.  Record for Annie Liverman.
3.  Ancestry. com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA,Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2004) www/ ancestry.com, Database online. Year 1920; Census place; Philadelphia Ward 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll:T625_1614; Page 3B; Enumeration District 21.  Record for Anne Leiberman.
4. Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Federal Naturalization Records, 1795-1931 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, I,c., 2011), National Archives; Washington, D.c.; ARC Title: Naturalization Petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1795-1930; NAI Number 72; Record Group Number :M1522 Record for Louis Cohen.
5. ibid.
6. Ancestry. com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA,Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2006) www/ ancestry.com, Database online. Year 1910; Census place; Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll:T624_1394; Page 2A; Enumeration District 0343; FHL microfilm: 1375407. Record for Louis Cohn.
7.  Ancestry.com, U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Provo, UT, USA,Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2005) Registration Sate: Pennsylvania; Registration County; Philadelphia; Roll 1907612; Draft Board :10. Record for Louis Cohen.
8.  There are several sources for this information. The description of the building is from "O'Neill Property Sold for $35,000"   Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Sunday, February 15, 1920 p. 7.   Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com.  The family being resident there is from Joseph Cohen's WWI draft registration Card: Ancestry.com U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Provo UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2005) Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Mercer; Roll 175444; Draft Board 3. Record for Joseph W. Cohen., and well as Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2011) Ancestry.com, Trenton, NJ Record for Louis Cohen, manager of Trenton Tobacco.
9.  "Variety of Purposes for New Companies" Trenton Evening Times, June 22, 1921. p 6. Source: NewspaperArchives.com
10.  Ancestry.com, U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007) www.ancestry.com, database online.  Record for Louis Cohen.
11.  "Tobacco Company Takes New Home" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Sunday, November 12, 1922. p. 7.  Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source GenealogyBank.com.
12.  The 1923 date is extrapolated for several sources.  In his application for a passport cited above in 1922, Louis gives his address as 177 South Broad St.  An article about the trip gives the same address. "Will Travel Abroad for Six months" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Tuesday July 18, 1922. p. 8. Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source GenealogyBank.com.  Another article in early January 1924 gives the Oak Lane address for Henrietta. "Miss Cohen Honors Miss Fay Bookman" Trenton Evening Times. Saturday, January 5, 1924 p. 14. Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source GenealogyBank.com.  It is unlikely that Henrietta would have entertained in the first week of January 1924 if they had just moved into a new house that week.  Finally,  The City Directory of Trenton in 1925 gives Louis' address as 8 Oak Lane. Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), Ancestry.com, Record for Louis Cohen.  That Louis and Fanny lived there until their deaths is attested to by their obituaries. " Mrs. Louis Cohen" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), Wednesday July 6, 1943 p. 11, and "Louis Cohen" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton New Jersey) Thursday, June 6, 1946. p. 10 both Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source GenealogyBank.com.
13.  Ancestry.com, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 (Provo, UT. USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2011) Record for Nan Lieberman.
14.  Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009), www.ancestry.com, Database online, Number: Issue State: New Jersey; Issue Date: Before 1951. Record for Alvin J. Carr.
15.  Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2002) www. ancestry.com, Database online, Year: 1930; Census Place: Trenton, Mercer, New Jersey; Roll:1365; Page 13B; Enumeration District : 71; Image: 929.0. Record for Nan L. Cohen.
16.  "Miss Elizabeth Stein Becomes the Bride of Dr Cohen at Pretty Ceremony Yesterday at Belmar - Interesting Notes of Various Women's Organizations" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Monday , July 7, 1830 p. 11. Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com. 
17. " Lavine-Cohen Nuptials" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Monday, August 29, 1932 p. 14. 
Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source GenealogyBank.com.
18. "Tobacco Company Negotiates Lease" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Sunday, December 11, 1938 p.22 Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com. 
19.  Ancestry.com, U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), Ancestry.com, Record for Alvin J. Cohen.
20.  National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc.) Ancestry.com, Database on-line. Record for Alvin J. Cohen.
21.Ancestry.com, AJHS WWII Jewish Servicemen Cards, 19-42-1947 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. ), www.ancestry.com. Database on-line. Record for Alvin J. Cohen.
22. Personal e-mail. "RE: Long Time No Hear". Alvin J. Carr (ALCARR@compuserve.com) to Mary-Jane Roth. Wed. 30 Jul 1997. Copy held by Mary-Jane Roth.
23. Obituaries. " Rites Held Today for Joseph Cohen" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Friday July 17, 1942. page 16. and "Louis Cohen", Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Thursday, June 6, 1946. page 10. Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com. 
24. "Mason Mint" Op. Cit. p2.
25.  "Lower Makefield is Proud of its People and Homes" Levittown Times (Levittown, PA.) January 28, 1957. p 11.
 Source NewspaperArchive.com
26. "Mason Mint" Op. Cit. pp. 3-5
27.  " Obituary Harry N. Carr at 75, Trenton Businessman" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Tuesday, May 18, 1976. p 32. Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com. 
28. Obituary "Nan Lieberman Carr" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Wednesday, December 24, 1980. p 23. Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com. 
29. "Buyers Exchange under new owners" Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Thursday, July 9, 1981. p 37. Copyright NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

IAJGS 2016 - Seattle

Attendees at the "Blogger Breakfast" Banai Feldstein, Emily Garber, Judy Russell (conference banquet speaker), Steve Jaron, Mary-Jane Roth.  Missing from the photo, Lara Diamond and Janice Seller

     I started this blog by saying that it would include my adventures in genealogy, so I thought I'd post a bit about my week at the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS) annual conference in Seattle.  This is my fourth conference (Paris, Boston, and Salt Lake City), and I thought that I might find fewer sessions of interest and have some time to walk around the neighborhood.  I was wrong.  There were so many intriguing presentations that I couldn't get to everything.  Most days started at 7:30 AM and ended about 10PM.  In the few spaces where I wasn't going to a presentation, I met with folks that I had corresponded with about shared research, or new folks whose shared interests had become apparent in discussions during presentations we had both attended.

I was interested in several of the "tracks"; Hungary, Ukraine, DNA research,  research techniques so there were many things to choose from.  New at this conference was a detailed session on the requirements to become a Certified Genealogist.  That is something that I will probably explore further.  There was also a workshop on writing your family stories that gave me some good ideas.  Several presentations about Hungarian research gave me a way forward towards finding out more about my Hungarian grandfather, which is exciting.

At the Ukraine Special Interest Group meeting I gave a short presentation about a document acquisition and translations project I am working on, and as a result I found more people willing to work on the difficult translations of some of the documents.  That was a real win for me, too.  Other presentations highlighted new records that have been located and will be available for the area where my Lieberman great grandparents lived.

I did have time to visit the exhibitors hall as well.  I bought two more FTDNA kits (on sale!) and worked with the folks there to answer some questions I had on the kits I manage. DNA research is a new area and I find it complex, but the presentations during the conference really helped me to structure the problems that I want to solve, so that the DNA results can provide answers.

In addition to the regular presentations there was an extensive selection of Jewish themed short films running all during the conference.  I didn't get to see many, but I was a volunteer monitor for a film about the Jews of Cuba that was a new area for me.  There was also a showing of "Woman in Gold", a feature length film about a woman who goes to court to recover art looted by the Nazis from her family.  The lawyer who won the case, Randy Schoenberg, is now a genealogist and spoke after the film.  We also had a live theater presentation of the play "Door to Door" by the Seattle Jewish Theater  Group.

A nice addition to my conference experience this year was a "Blogger's Breakfast" arranged by fellow blogger Emily Garber.  We gathered at 6:30AM (!) in a hotel restaurant and spent a pleasant hour or so discussing what we had learned at the conference.  It was an opportunity for me to get to know some folks whose blogs I have learned from.  I hope that this becomes a regular feature where we can share blogging approaches and genealogy tips.

All in all, this was another excellent conference.  The organization was splendid and the selection of speakers and events appealed to the novice and seasoned attendees.  I'm already looking forward to "Next year in Orlando!"

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Moshe and Chaya Sura Groiskopf

Mosche and Chaya Sura (Kurman) Groiskopf
Labun, Ukraine abt 1925
     Mosche Groiskopf was born about 1880 in Labun, a small town near Polonnoye, in what is now Ukraine.  He was the fourth child (that I know about) of Chaim and Chaya Groiskopf.  Like his father and brothers, Mosche grew up to be a blacksmith.  He married Chaya Sura Kurman, daughter of David and Miriam Kurman of Labun in about 1900, when he was about 20 and she was a few years younger.  They quickly had two children, David, in July 1902, and Alexandra (Shivka) in about 1905.
    As I have mentioned before, times were hard in that area of Ukraine, so in 1907 Mosche decided to go to America where his older brother Elkunah (Elcon Grosser) was living and where he was quite successful.  Leaving his family behind, Mosche made his way to Liverpool, England, where on July 8, 1902 he boarded the RMS Lake Megantic [1], newly refurbished to carry immigrants to Halifax and St John, Canada [2].  He arrived in Quebec on July 17 listing Philadelphia as his final destination.[3]   He crossed into the U.S. by train, declaring that he was a smith, and that he was going to his brother (Cohn Grosser) in Philadelphia[4].   
Brothers Elcon, Joe and Mosche Grosser
Philadelphia, abt 1907
     Some time between 1902 and 1906 he returned to Labun, perhaps to try to convince Chaya Sura to return to the U.S. with him.  He returned to the U.S. alone in February 1907, this time traveling through Hamburg [5] and arriving in New York City aboard the Graf Waldersee on February 16 [6].  He listed his last residence as Tadeushpol, a small village about 4 miles from Labun, and again said that he was going to his brother Elcon Grosser in Philadelphia.
     Within a few years, he had accumulated some money, and, missing his family, returned again to Labun.  According to his grandson who often visited Mosche and Chaya Sura in Labun as a child, he built three brick "American style" houses in Labun.  His family lived in one of them, his brother Zise, also a blacksmith, lived in one, and Chaya Sura's brother, also called Zisye, lived in the third.   Mosche worked as a blacksmith, having a forge set off from the house, and also repaired tractors for the local farmers.  One of the houses had a garage, but since none of them had a car, they used it for the animals.
     After the 1917 Russian Revolution conditions got worse in the Ukrainian countryside, especially for Jews.  Civil war, and invasion by German, Russian and Polish forces between 1917 and 1922 devastated the area as various groups fought for control of Ukraine. [7] There were pogroms in the area of Labun.  The family sent their son, David to the United States in 1921[8].  Mosche, Chaya Sura and Shivka tried to follow him, going to Riga, Latvia for about a year in about 1922, but because the U.S. had passed restrictive immigration laws by then, they were unable to get visas, despite strong efforts by family already in the U.S.  They returned to Labun.  The wars ended after the area was incorporated into the Soviet Union, in 1922, but they were followed in the 1930s by a man-induced famine, the Holodomor, resulting in the deaths of millions across Ukraine[9].
       The farms in Labun were collectivized.  Because Mosche was skilled with iron work and fixing tractors, he worked for the agricultural commune as a blacksmith.  They and most of their relatives were still living in Labun when the Nazis arrived in 1943. (Shivka had married and moved to Kiev). They, along with the rest of the Jews in the town, were all murdered in the woods near the town.  There is now a small memorial in the woods for those who were murdered there[10].      

1. Ancestry.com, UK Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc 2012) Ancestry.com. Record for Mosche Grosskopf
2. http://www.theshipslist.com Record for ARAWA / COLON / LAKE MEGANTIC / PORT HENDERSON / ANAPO / PORTO SAID 1884 , accessed April 16, 2016.
3.  Ancestry.com, Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010) Ancestry.com, Record for Marche Groeskoff
4.  Ancestry.com, U.S. Border Crossings from Canada to U.S.1895-1956 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010) The National Archives at Washington, DC; Manifests of Passengers Arriving at St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports1895-1954; National Archives Microfilm Publication: M1464 Roll: 13; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number 85. Record for Mosche Groiskopf.
5. Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg Passenger Lists 1850-1934 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008) www.ancestry.comStaatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1798. Record for Moische Groiskopf
6.  Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010) Ancestry.com, Year: 1907; Arival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 0830; Line 25; Page Number 22. Record for Meiskke Greiskopf
7  Wikipedia.org Ukrainian War of Independence. .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_War_of_Independence
8.  Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006) www. ancestry.com, database online. Year: 1921; Arrival:, Microfilm serial: T715; Microfilm roll: T715_2938; Line 23 Record for David Grojskop
9.  Wikipedia.org, loc.cit.
10. Blog: Going the Extra Yad: Labun (home at last) 14 June 2013 .http://extrayad.blogspot.com/2013/06/labun-home-at-last-14-june-2013.html

Monday, March 7, 2016

Harry and Bessie Tepper Nitt

Bessie Tepper and Harry Nitt, about 1917
     Rebecca, or Bessie as she was commonly known, was one of the children of Meier David and Lena Tepper about whom I have posted off and on over the past year.  Bessie was born in Miropol, Ukraine, around 1892.  She moved with the family to Baranivka, then travelled with her parents and many of her siblings to the U.S.,through Libau, Latvia,  arriving in New York on December 22, 1907 aboard the SS Lituania[1].  The family then travelled by train to Philadelphia to join the siblings already established in that city.  
     By 1910, Bessie was working in a shirt factory in Philadelphia, and living with her parents at 312R Front Street[2].  On February 1, 1914, 22 year old Bessie married Joseph Stanley Blender[3].  Joseph was also born in Russia, had come to the US in about 1902, and had served in the US Coast Artillery from December 1909 until May 13, 1912, when he was discharged for disability[4].  The marriage did not last long, and by the time he registered for the draft for WWI in 1917, he listed himself as single and living with his parents[5].
     I'm not sure what Bessie did for the next few years as I haven't been able to find her 1920 census record, but by 1924 she had met the love of her life, Harry Nitt, and on August 6, 1924 Bessie and Harry had travelled to York (Toronto), Ontario, Canada, where they were married[6].  Harry was tall, rangy and handsome, He was somewhat exotic as well, a Lutheran, raised in the American West, and a bit of a rolling stone.
     Rhinehalt Gustav "Harry" Nitt was the son of a German immigrant, Pauline Mampel, and her husband Gustave Nitt a first generation American.  Pauline came to the US in 1885 destined for Detroit, MI[7].  She worked as a domestic[8]. S  In August 1889 she married Gustave Nitt, a blacksmith[9]. A son, Rheinhalt Gustav, was either born in June 1889 or in June 1890 according to various records.  By 1894,  Gustave had moved to the town of Denver Colorado where he continued to work as a blacksmith[10]. Denver had benefited from a "silver boom" and was growing rapidly, attracting workers to support new industries.  The boom ended suddenly in 1893 with a financial panic, leaving Denver and the country in the grip of a severe depression.  Denver did not begin to recover until 1897.  Gustave had died in Denver in 1896, leaving his young wife and son[11]. In the 1900 census of Denver, Pauline is listed as a widow, and 9 year old Harry is still in school[12].  Sometime around 1909, Harry married a woman named Hildred Josepha (last name unknown.)  They are listed in the 1910 census as living in Sterling, Colorado where Harry worked as a cement worker[13].  In the 1911-1912 Business directory for Sterling, Hildred is listed as working for the New Method Laundry and living at 528 Walnut St[14].  There is no mention of Harry.
     When Harry registered for the WWI draft on June 5, 1917, he was living in Salem, New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia, and working as a munitions worker at the DuPont Powder Company.  He declared himself to be married, although I have found no record of Hildred at that time in New Jersey or elsewhere[15].  Based on the clothing from the photo above, it is likely that Harry and Bessie met at about this time.
     I have not been able to find either Bessie or Harry in US or Canadian records until August 6, 1924, when Rhinehalt Gustav Harry Nitt, 34, a salesman, son of Pauline Mampel, and Bessie Rose Tepper, 32, daughter of David Tepper and Lena Zelbsman signed a marriage record in Toronto, Canada.  They both listed themselves as widowed, although I don't believe that their ex spouses were dead, but this designation was not unusual at a time when divorce was not approved of in many places[16]. (I have spent some time trying to determine the fates of Hildred and Joseph with no success so far.)
     Although Harry and Bessie had no children, they were welcoming to Bessie's nieces and nephews.  They moved to San Luis Obispo, California, sometime in the 1920s.  There is a family story that Bessie's nephew Hy Cohen (of whom more in another post) took has Bar Mitzvah money and travelled from Philadelphia to California in about 1925 to live with Bessie and Harry there.   Another of Bessie's great nieces told me that her mother and baby brother lived with Bessie and Harry during WWII when her husband was stationed on the West Coast.
     By 1930 Harry was a clothing salesman[17].  By 1935 they had moved to Santa Monica, where they rented various homes near the Santa Monica Pier[18] and took in boarders, one of whom was a friend of the (then little known) Desi Arnaz, who used to call the house often.  Harry was still a salesman, and Bessie had a concession on the pier[19].  Bessie's great niece told me that Bessie was a nurse during the war.  Harry had gone gray, and standing at 6' 1/2" 225 pounds was no longer rangy by the time he registered in the "Old Man's draft" in 1942.  He still worked "In and around Santa Monica"[20].  Harry died on July 17, 1953[21].
     Sometime after Harry's death, Bessie moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey,[22] where her sister Jennie lived.  According to one of her great-nieces, she worked as a "shill" at an auction house on the boardwalk.  Later, after the death of her sister-in-law Ida Tepper in 1963, she moved to Miami, Florida, to help her brother.  She continued close contact with her family in Philadelphia area, visiting often for family occasions, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvah's and the like, and entertaining family who visited Miami.  I remember her as warm and funny.  Bessie died in Miami in August, 1966[23].

1.  Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010),Ancestry.com, Year:1907; Arrival: New York; Microfilm serial : T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: 1064; Line 15, Page 133, Record for Riwke Teper.
2.  Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2006) www.ancestry.com, database online. Year 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 11, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll T6254_1390; Page 6B; Enumeration District 159; Image:13. Record for David Japper.
3.  Philadelphia City Archives. Philadelphia, PA. Marriage Record for Joseph Stanley Blender and Bessie Tepper. Filed Jan 8, 1914.  License No. 306833 copy held by Mary-Jane Roth
4.  Ancestry.com.  U.S. Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2007), Ancestry.com. Database on-line.  Record for Joseph S. Blender
5.  Ancestry.com, U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2005). Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County; Philadelphia; roll: 1907647; Draft board 27. Record for Joseph Stanley Blender.
6.  Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1926 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010) www.ancestry.com. Database online.  Record for Rhinehalt Gustav Harry Nitt.
7.  Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006), www.ancestry.com, Database online. Year:1885; Arrival :New York, United States; Microfilm serial: M237; Microfilm roll: M237_490; Line:29; List Number: 1241. Record for Pauline Mampel.
8.  Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011) Ancestry.com, Record for Pauline Mampel. Detroit, 1888.
9.  Ancestry.com, Michigan Marriage Records, 1867-1952 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015) Ancestry. com, Record for H.H. Gustav Nitt.
10.  Ancestry.com, Ballenger & Richards twenty-second annual Denver city directory containing a complete list of the inhabitants, institutions, (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2005). Ancestry.com. Record for <No Name>.  Gustave Nitt
11.  Ancestry.com, U.S. Find a Grave Index, 1600-Current (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012), Ancestry.com,  Record for Gustave Nitt.
12.  Ancestry.com, 1900 Unitred States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004), www.ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census place: Denver, Arapahoe , Colorado; Roll:119; Page:10B; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL Microfilm: 1240119. Record for Pauline Nil.
13.  Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006) www.ancestry.com, Database online. Year:1910; Census Place: Sterling Ward 3, Logan, Colorado; Roll;; Page; Enumeration District: Iname: Record for Hildred Joseh Nitt.
14. Ancestry.com. Hoffhine's Sterling Colorado directory for 1911-1912 containing an alphabetical arranged list of business firms and prove (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2005).  Ancestry.com, Record for <no name> Hildred Nitt.
15.  Ancestry.com, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Provo, UT, USA Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2005), Ancestry.com, Database online.  Registration Location: Salem county, New Jersey; Roll: 1754437; Draft Board: 1; Record for Harry Rhineholt Gustave Nitt.
16.  Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), Ontarion, Canada Marriages, 1801-1926 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010) www.ancestry.com, database online.  Record for Rhinehalt Gustav Harry Nitt.
17.  Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Provo, Ut, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2002) www.amcestry.com. Database online. Year: 1930; Census place: San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, California; Roll: 213; Page: 8A; Enumeration District:21; Image: 364.0; Record for Rhinehalt G. Nitt.
18.  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012) www.ancestry.com. Year: 1940; Census Place: Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T627_256; Page 1B; Enumeration District: 19-761. Record for Harry G. Nitt.
19.  Ancestry.com. California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 (Provo, Ut. USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008). Ancestry.com Database online.
20.  Ancestry.com. U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010). Ancestry.com.  World Wat II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the Sate of California; State Headquarters: California; Microfilm Roll: 603155.  Record for Rhinehalt Gustav Nitt.
21. Ancestry.com. U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index. 1936-2007) (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015). Ancestry.com. Record for Rhinehalt G. Nitt.  And Ancestry.com. California Death Index, 1940-1997. (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2000). www.ancestry.com. Database Online. Place: Los Angeles; Date 17 Jul 1953: Social Security: XXXXXXX Record for Harry Gustav Nitt.
22.  Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1922-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011), Ancestry.com. Record for Mrs. Bessie Nitt.
23.  Ancestry.com.  Social Security Death Index (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009). www.ancestry.com. Database online. Number XXXXXXXXXX; Issue State: California; Issue Date: Before 1951. Record for Bessie Nitt.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ben and Alice Roth

Alice and Ben Roth at Jeffrey Roth's Bar Mitzvah abt 1963
Ben's brother Aaron and his wife Pearl in the background.

     Although he later claimed to have been born on Independence Day, Beny Roth was born to my grandparents, Armin and Mary Roth, on July 6, 1896 in Manhattan[1], where Armin had first settled on arrival in the US, and where he and Mary had married.  As I mentioned in my post in April about Armin and Mary, the family soon moved to Trenton, NJ where Armin had cousins.
     Now called Benjamin, or Ben, The young man went to elementary school where he learned to play the piano.  He graduated from Trenton High School in the class of 1914.  After High School, Ben went to the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied dentistry, graduating on June 20, 1917[2].  The announcement that he had passed the state licensing exam was made on July nineteenth of that year[3].
     When he registered for the draft in June of the next year, he had already opened a dentist office at 129 S. Broad Street in Trenton[4].  In July 1918 he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve Forces, serving actively in the war until December 26, 1918.  After the war Ben worked on establishing his dental practice.  He maintained the office at 129 S. Broad for a while, then moved briefly 200 S. Broad St., before settling in at 37 West State Street in about 1928[5].  Ben was in the inactive Reserve until September 1921 when he again became an active reservist as a Captain in the Officers Reserve Corps, 119th Medical Regiment, 155th Hospital Company, of Trenton.[6]  Captain Roth participated in a recruiting exhibition of the Hospital Company's facilities held in Stacy Park, Trenton in July 1926.  The 50'x16' tent was fully equipped and contained "surgical units, dental units, first aid and shower baths" as they would be set up in time of action[7].   
     Daniel Block had come to the US in about 1880 from Wurttemburg, Germany.  He went to work for his uncle Simon Samler, already in Trenton, and later ran the Washington Market Clothing Company. He married Bertha Gutmann in Philadelphia in 1891[8], and had two children, Lester Gutmann Block in 1895, and Alice Block in 1898. By 1907 he owned the Daniel Block Clothing Company at 107-109 South Broad Street[9], a successful business that paid $9 in taxes in 1908. [10].   He was a successful businessman and active in many charities and civic associations as well as Har Sinai Temple[11].  Between 1900 and 1903, he and his family travelled back to Germany three times, the last trip with his son Lester, lasting from July to October 1903[12].  Lester joined the Naval Reserves in April 1917 and served on Submarine Chaser No. 243.  He nearly lost his life in an explosion aboard the ship on May 6, 1919 when it was docked in Bermuda on its voyage back to the U.S.  When he returned home  in June after treatment, Lester was made a partner in his fathers business[13], as Daniel was already confined to his home by the illness that took his life on September 10th, 1919[14].
     In October, 1923, Ben Roth became engaged to Daniel and Bertha's daughter, Alice Block. Alice had graduated the Model School (predecessor of the State Teachers College)[15]. Perhaps they met through Ben and Lester's shared Naval Reserve activities.  Lester chaired the committee that organized a bachelor dinner for Ben at the Hotel Sterling on the night before the wedding.  It featured several short talks and the gift of a vacuum cleaner[16].  On April 16, 1924, Ben and Alice were married in a quiet ceremony at The Hillwood Inn in Trenton attended by their immediate families.  Alice wore a gown of powder blue beaded crepe romaine and carried roses and lilies of the valley. Fanny Block, Lester's wife, wore a coral beaded gown.  Unusually for a wedding, both mothers, Alice's aunt Rose Samler, and the Rabbi's wife all wore black.  After the ceremony, the couple left on a motor trip through the South, returning to their new home at 24 Newell Avenue[17].
     On February 24, 1927, Alice and Ben welcomed a son to the family.  He was named Daniel Block
Ben Roth with son Daniel.
About 1935
Roth after Alice's father.  In 1934, after the death of Ben's father Armin, Ben's youngest brother Barney,, and possibly his mother Mary, moved into the house at 24 Newell Ave[18].  The house, a duplex, was too small for the family, and in 1935 Ben and Alice moved to a large freestanding home at 928 Edgewood Avenue, near the Cadwalader Park[19].  Ben's mother died in 1939, and by 1940  the three family members lived in the large home alone.  About 1949, after Daniel was grown, Ben and Alice moved into the newly completed Brookville apartments in "the Island"section of town between Riverside Drive and Clearfield Avenue.  The complex was advertised as providing "homes for 132 families who can afford to pay $85 a month rent."[20]  

     My family lived on the same court in Brookville between about 1950 and 1954, and my strongest memories of Ben and Alice are from that time.  I remember going to Ben's office to have my teeth checked, although if any of us needed work, he sent us to someone else because "you are family".  We were in and out of their apartment as kids.  Ben (the dentist) always had a stash of candy in a drawer of the breakfront and he gave it to us in quantities that I know our parents disapproved.  Alice often made meals the we kids ate sitting at metal TV Trays in front of the set in the living room.  She encouraged us to eat our vegetables (especially succotash) by suggesting that we mix them into the mashed potatoes and calling the mixture "chaserei", Yiddish for pig food.  Alice was very active in the synagogue and various women's groups, and enjoyed playing cards.
     Alice died on March 19, 1966[21].  Ben, who in my parents words, "did not know how to get himself a glass of water without Alice," moved to a smaller place at the Carteret Arms at 333 West State Street.  He died on June 15, 1970.[22]  Alice and Ben were buried at the Ewing Cemetery.

1.  Ancestry.com, New York, New York, Birth Index, 1879-1909 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2014) Ancestry.com. Record for Beny Roth
2.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Monday June 18, 1917. "Roth to Graduate then Join Army" Genealogybank.com.
3.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Thursday July, 19, 1917 p.4 "Two Trentoniana Pass as Dentists" Genealogybank.com
4.  Ancestry.com, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2005) ancestry.com Database online. Registration Location;Mercer county, New Jersey; Roll 1754444; Draft board 3.  
5.    Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 (provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2011) Ancestry.com. Directories for Trenton New Jersey  1920, 1926, 1936
6.  Ancestry.com, U.S. Select Military Registers, 1862-1985- (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013) Ancestry.com, Record for Benjamin Roth USNRF.
7.  Trenton Evening Times, (Trenton, NJ), Tuesday, July 6, 1926 "Medical Company has Tent Exhibition"  Genealogybank.com
8.  Ancestry.com, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marriage Index, 1885-1951 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011) Record for Bertha Gutmann.
9.  Ancestry.com.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ), October 25, 1907. p. 11 "Advertisement for Daniel Block Clothing Co."
10.  "Twenty-fifth Annual Report of the State Board of Assessors of the State of New Jersey for the Year 1908, Part II"  Trenton, N.J. MacCrellish & Quigley, State Printers. 1909. p. 110. Accessed via Google Books.
11.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) p. 1, Wednesday September 10, 1919. "Daniel Block, Ill Long Time, Dead. Prominent Merchant Passed Away this Morning -- Confined to Home a Year" Geneaologybank.com
12.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ). Monday, April 30, 1900. "Trentonians Off for Europe".; Tuesday, July 23,1901 p.5. "Personal". Tuesday, May 26, 1903. p. 1 "Will Visit in Germany" Genealogybank.com
13.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Monday June 23, 1919. p. 2. "Hero Will be his Father's Partner. Lester G. Block , Naval Explosion Victim, Soon to Receive Discharge" Genealogybank.com
14.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Wednesday September 10, 1919. Op Cit.
15.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Wednesday, April 16, 1924. p. 8 "Miss Block to Be Bride of Dr. Roth" Genealogybank.com
16.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Tuesday, April 15, 1924. "Dr. Benjamin Roth is Tendered Dinner" Genealogybank.com
17.  Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Thursday, April 17, 1924. p.9 "Miss Alice Block Bride of Dr. Roth" Genealogybank.com
18.  Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011) Ancestry.com 1935 Trenton, NJ, City Directory.  Record for Barney Roth.
19,  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012) www.ancestry.comYear:1940; Census Place Trenton, Mercer, New Jersey;Roll T627-2437; Page 1B; Enumeration District: 27-139 Record for Roth D. Benjamin.
20.  Trenton Evening Times (trenton, NJ) Friday, December 3, 1948. p. 14 "Island Apartment Project Progressing" Genealogybank.com
21.  Sunday Times Advertiser (Trenton, NJ) March 20, 1966. "Mrs. Benjamin Roth, Wife of Doctor." Genealogybank.com
22.  The Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) Tuesday June 16, 1970. p. 10. "Dr. Roth, 71, Dentist Here for 50 Years" Genealogybank.com