Monday, May 2, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Mandell Newmark Comes Home - 1948

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at newspaper articles concerning the death and burial of my great uncle, Mandell Newmark.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 1, 1945, page 5.

Sgt. Mandell Newmark, 21, medical corpsman, died April 15 of wounds suffered in action in the Philippines. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Barney Newmark, live at 5573 Delmar Boulevard.



St. Louis Post Disptach, Aug 14, 1948, page 8

BODIES OF WAR DEAD BEING BROUGHT HERE
34 From This Area, Originally Interred in Philippine Cemeteries.

Bodies of 34 service men from the St. Louis area who lost their lives during World War II are being brought here. They are aboard the United States Army transport Dalton Victory, which will dock at San Francisco. Most of the dead originally were interred in temporary cemeteries in the Philippine Islands.

The names, branch of service and names and addresses of next of kin were announced by the Army as follows:

St. Louis

….Cpl. Mandell Newmark, Army, Barney Newmark, 5573 Delmar boulevard.



St. Louis Post-Disptach, Aug 29, 1948, page 33.

NEWMARK, MANDELL, Technician 5th Grade; killed in action Apr. 15, 1945 at Jolo Island, dear son of Barney and Bertha Newmark, dear brother of Melvin and Harold Newmark, our dear brother-in-law, cousin, uncle and nephew.

Graveside service Sun., 12 noon, at Mt. Olive Cemetery. OXENHANDLER Service.

Notes:

1) Before the Post Dispatch put their digital archives online recently, I only knew of the 1945 notice. I had found a copy of the form my great grandfather filled out in 1948 to order a headstone, so I had a good idea when the body was transferred, but I hadn't searched the microfilm archives yet to verify.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Arson at 1106 North Eighth Street - 1892

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

My second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein, first appears in the St. Louis City Directories in 1892. He is recorded as a Shoer, working at 1106 North Eighth Street.

He arrived in America in 1890, but his wife and children didn't arrive until October of 1891. It's possible they migrated to St. Louis after that. When did they arrive? When did he start working at 1106 North Eighth? The 1892 directory was published in April of 1892.

The below newspaper article, dated Feb 11, 1892, describes a fire at 1106 North Eighth Street.



ACCUSED OF ARSON
Two Men Charged With Burning Stable and Horses
WARRANTS ISSUED AGAINST SAM BANKS AND HENRY STERNS
They Are Alleged to Have Set Fire to the Place of Rival Junk Dealers – Both Men Assert Their Innocence – An Insane Butcher’s Deed – Other Police News of the Day

Six horses perished in a stable in the rear of 1106 North Eighth street which was destroyed by fire early this morning and Henry Sterns and Sam Banks are locked up at the Four Courts accused of setting fire to the place. Sam Banks, who has been arrested before on charges of arson, is a junk dealer, in business at 616 Lucas avenue, formerly Christy avenue, and lives with his wife and several children in a suite of rooms over his shop. His is about 80 year of age and has been in the junk business about eight years. He was taught the business by Wm. Welsman, whose stable was burned and who owns another junk shop in partnership with William Larner at 607 Lucas avenue, a few doors further east on the same street. Harry Sterns is about 2? Years of age, in the employ of Banks, and lives with his parents at Seventh and Wash streets. There is an intense business rivalry between Banks, his man Stern and Welsman and Larner, but Banks claims it was only business rivalry and not prejudice or unfriendly feelings.

Welsman and Larner kept six horses, their harness, feed and other belongings in a stable in the rear of 1108 North Eighth street. Every morning very early Moses Welsman and Charles Slinsky in the employ of Welsman and Larner, go to the stables to groom and feed the horses and prepare for the day’s work. When they reached the stable this morning they saw flames breaking out of the structure in several places and at the same time noticed two men sneaking away. They chased the men some distance, but the fellows were more fleet on foot than their pursuers and escaped.. Slinsky ran to the engine house on Eighth street and gave the alarm. When the firemen arrived the stable was one great flame in which the fire was too hot for the firemen to attempt any rescue, and they saw the horses fall one by one before the water thrown on the fire had any perceptible effect on the flames. The stable and outhouses were completely destroyed, causing a loss of $100 to the structure and $400 to the horses, harness and feed. There was no insurance on either the building or contents.

Notes:

1) There is more to the news story, but I haven't transcribed it all, since my ancestor isn't mentioned. According to a later news article, Sam Banks was acquitted of the charge. I do not know about Henry Sterns. What interests me is that we know there was a stable, and horses, which might mean there were shoers employed as well as groomers.

2) In 1900, when Selig finished his career as a shoer/blacksmith, he entered into the junk store business himself.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Selig Feinstein Elected President of Tpheris Israel Congregation

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at the newspaper article concerning the congregation my second great grandfather helped found in 1899. In 1899 he was the initial vice president.

November 22, 1903, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Israel Congregation Elections

At the fifth annual election of the Tpheris Israel congregation, Ninth and Wash streets, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: S. Feinstein, president; F. Yedlin, first vice-president; D. Yavitz, second vice-president; M. Rich, secretary; S. Weisberg, financial secretary; J. Ellman, treasurer; L. Kaupman, M. Rubenstein, S. Siegel, trustees; D. Goldberg sexton; M. Shapiro, first gabi; H. Spector, second gabi; S. Rosenberg, reverend.

Notes:

1) This is another instance where searching for a surname is unhelpful, because the search engine at Newspapers.com returns no matches for 'Feinstein' on this page. Why not? Probably another instance of Optical Character Recognition failure. But I knew my ancestor helped found the congregation, so I conducted a search on 'Tpheris."

2) It is still difficult for me to get used to seeing Rabbis referred to as 'reverend,' as apparently it was a custom at the time. 'Gabi' is likely an alternate spelling for 'gabbai', which may have performed multiple roles.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary for Morris Blatt - 1926

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at the obituary from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for my second great grandfather, Morris Blatt.

BLATT- Entered into rest Tuesday, April 13, 1926 at 3 a.m., Morris Blatt, age 61, husband of Mollie Blatt, dear father of Mrs. J. Wyman, Mrs. H. Feinstein, Henry Blatt, Mrs. Dankner.
Funeral Tuesday, April 13, at 2:30 p.m.

Notes:

1) I do not like the old style of identifying women by their husband's name/initial, either from the perspective of equality, or genealogical helpfulness. However, I already know the identities of my ancestors' children, so this doesn't yield any confusion.

Mrs. J(acob) Wyman is Blanche (Blatt) Wyman. Mrs. H(erman) Feinstein is Anna (Blatt) Feinstein. Mrs. Dankner is Pearl (Blatt) Dankner. The mother of Blanche and Anna died in Poland. Henry and Pearl were born in Missouri, the children of Morris and Mollie (Kellner Katz) Blatt.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: The Obituary and Will of Louis Cohen

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at the obituary from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and an article about the will for Louis Cohen (1867-1926), the husband of my great grandmother's first cousin.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 13, 1926, Page 11

LOUIS COHEN, WHOLESALE GROCERY FIRM HEAD, DIES
Was Director of Jewish Organizations; Funeral To Be at 2 p.m. Tomorrow.

The funeral of Louis Cohen, 59 years old, president of the L. Cohen Wholesale Grocery Co., who died yesterday at his home, 5129 Vernon Avenue, following a heart attack, will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow from B'Nai Amoona Congregation, Academy and Vernon avenues.

Mr. Cohen was born in Lithuania. In 1890 he established a retail grocery at Seventh and Wash streets, later changing to wholesale. He was a member of the directorates of the Federation of Jewish Charities, Hebrew Free School Association and Jewish Old Folks' Home. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Sarah Cohen; three sons, Nathan, Samuel and Ralph Cohen, and five daughters, Mrs. Anna Rosinsky, Mrs. Esther Lippman, Mrs. Jennie Franzel, Mrs. Blanche Steele and Miss Goldie Cohen.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, Sept 21, 1926, page 19

$3000 Left to Jewish Charities

The will of Louis Cohen, pioneer grocer, who died Sept. 13 at his home, 5129 Vernon avenue, was filed in Probate Court yesterday. He bequeathed $3000 to Jewish charities and the remainder of his estate to the widow and two sons and six daughters after making bequests of $1000 to a sister, Hannah Kruvant, living in Russia; $2500 to each of four grandchildren, and $500 each to two nieces. Mrs. Cohen gets one-half of the residue, the other half going to the sons and daughters.


Notes:

1) Louis Cohen was married to Sarah Kruvand, a first cousin of my great grandmother, Bertha Cruvant. Sarah was a minor (17) at the time of marriage, and with the marriage documentation there was a note saying her parents were in Europe and approved the marriage. Family lore suggested that they didn't know each other prior to her arrival in the United States, and that it might have been an arranged marriage.

2) When reading the newspaper article about the will, my first thought naturally was that the 'sister' Hannah Kruvant, was a sister-in-law. But wills are usually quite specific about relationships. So I checked if the will was part of Ancestry.com's collection, and it was. The will also mentioned a nephew, Archik Kruvand. He wasn't mentioned in the newspaper, since he was already deceased. (I transcribed his will previously.) That told me exactly who Louis's sister married. Past research had identified her as "Hannah Kaplan." However, the surname Kaplan is an alternative form of Cohen.

3) David Kruvand had six sons, three of whom were Girsh, Samuel, and Moshe Leyb. Girsh remained in Lithuania, but his son, Archik immigrated to America. Samuel immigrated to America after his daughter, Sarah, travelled alone prior to marry Louis Cohen. (The marriage was in 1886, and Samuel was in St. Louis by 1889) Louis Cohen's sister was Archik's mother. Moshe Leyb was my second great grandfather.

4) Interestingly - Some of the Kruvant family branches have changed their surname to Cohen, believing themselves to be Cohanim (male-lineal descendants of Aaron.) It is not surprising that Cohanim would want their daughters to marry other Cohanim such that marriages would be arranged. Since Cohanim status is determined through male-lineal descent, it would be the only way to keep the grandchildren Cohanim.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Searching Digital Newspaper Archives: Don't stop with the names

My great grandfather's name is Barney Newmark, with a 'W.' How do you think I found the below article in my search of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch archives at Newspapers.com?

 Not by being creative with surname spellings. As you can see below, a search on the page yields no results for 'Neumark' (or, for that matter, 'Noumark'). Why not? I'm not sure. The search engine does just fine ignoring commas in places such as obituaries. I suspect it's just that Optical Character Recognition can be finicky, and will at times miss stuff.
Because of this, it's important to search for more than just an ancestor's name. If you know it, search for their address as well. The article above doesn't reveal much about my ancestor, but the classified below, from the August 10, 1952 edition, tells me when my great-great uncle, David Cruvant, put his pawnshop up for sale before moving to Louisiana, an approximate date for when the shop opened (I don't trust that it was exactly 1920), and it tells me his move was for health reasons.
Classified ads from 1954 also tell me that the business that bought the location and moved in was Veterans Linoleum and Tile, which became Becky's when the next generation of the family-owned business took over. Becky's Carpet and Tile closed in 2012, but had become an extremely well-known local business, so knowing that their first store was in the same store front as my great-great uncle's pawnshop means something to me. (And I'm looking for a photograph of Veterans Linoleum's Collinsville Avenue location to compare it to this 1920s-1930s photo.)
Also search for business names. The classified ad below, from May 4, 1902, doesn't say much, but it is the only appearance I've found other than in the City Directories of my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein's, junk store, which he operated 1901-1902.
Maybe you know a relative was an officer of a local organization, and there is a newspaper article that mentions them by title and  not by name?

Finally, a search for names of neighborhoods can also yield important information. My research on the neighborhoods of Little Jerusalem and Carr Square has uncovered descriptions of the conditions my paternal ancestors lived in during the late 19th early 20th century. I even discovered a photograph which could be of family, though it isn't definite.

In short, search for everything you can think of connected with your ancestor. You don't know when your ancestor may be referred to, or even photographed, but not named. And you can't control mistakes made by faulty Optical Character Recognition.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Max Newmark Killed by Robbers - 1931

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at a newspaper artcile from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentioning the murder of my great great uncle, Max Newmark - brother of my great grandfather, Barney Newmark. (I previously transcribed the St. Louis Globe Democrat's report, but this provides additional information.)

St. Louis Post Dispatch, Feb 1, 1931, page 2

EAST SIDE GROCER SHOT BY ROBBERS DIES OF WOUNDS

Max Newmark and a Customer Fired on in Store When Dog Tries to Defend Its Master.

Max Newmark, East St. Louis grocer, died late yesterday afternoon of bullet wounds suffered early yesterday in a holdup, when three Negroes opened fire after a small dog attacked one of the robbers.

Newmark, who was 38 years old and lived over his store at 512 South Twentieth street, was shot in the right side, right shoulder and abdomen. A Negro customer, Walter Hurnton, 26, 1927 Piggott avenue, who was shot in the right breast, is in serious condition at St. Mary's Hospital, where Newmark died.

Newmark armed with a revolver in a holster at his side, opened the store at 6 a.m. and was walking from the rear with a cigar box containing about $60 when the robbers entered with drawn revolvers.

At the command "Stick 'em up," Newmark placed the box on the counter and raised his hands. At the same moment, his dog, Peggie, darted from behind the counter, barking viciously at the leader of the robbers.

The robber kicked the dog away and fired two shots as it advanced again. One bullet grazed the dog's shoulder and it fled to the rear of the store.

Hurnton walked into the store as the leader, with his back to the door, fired three shots at Newmark, who was standing with hands raised. A second robber fired two shots at Hurnton, one of which struck him, while the third robber fired one shot in the direction of Newmark.

The leader seized the money box and snatched Newmark's revolver from its holster. Hurnton ran outside and collapsed on the sidewalk, followed by the robbers who fled south in Twentieth street on foot.

Newmark's wife and two sons, sleeping upstairs, were awakened by the shots and heard the grocer crying for them to call an ambulance.

Notes:

1) Max and Dora's sons Nelson and Harold were 16 and 12 at the time.

2) Compared to the Globe Democrat article, this report provides greater detail of the sequence of events, and indicates the family's residence was above the store -  his wife and sons awakened by the shots. It also consistently gets the spelling of the surname correct.